China's telecommunications giant Huawei thanked the Indian government for permitting it to participate in the upcoming trials for 5G networks, a major boost to the company amidst a US clampdown on it citing national security risks. The 5G is the next generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than current 4G networks. The 5G networking standard is seen as critical because it can support the next generation of mobile devices in addition to new applications like driverless cars and gadgets made out of artificial intelligence (AI).
Huawei rivals western equipment makers, such as Ericsson, and is banned in the US. India on Monday indicated its unwillingness to keep any company out of the 5G trials.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government will allocate airwaves to all telecom service providers for conducting trials of super-fast speed 5G networks.
"Huawei has been notified by the Indian government of permission to take part in the 5G trials," Cyril Xu, Senior Manager, International Media Affairs at the Shenzhen-based company told PTI here while reacting to India's decision.
"We thank the Indian government for their continued faith in Huawei," Cyril said in a statement.
"We firmly believe that only technology innovations and high quality networks will be the key to rejuvenating the Indian telecom industry. We have our full confidence in the Modi government to drive 5G in India," he said.
"We have our full confidence in the Indian Government and industry to partner with best technology for India's own long term benefit and also for cross industry development. Huawei is always committed to India," he said.
Huawei's participation in the 5G trials in India, which is the next biggest telecom market after China, has been one of the key topics in the India-China talks at various levels. China has been asking India to take independent and objective decision to permit Huawei 5G services in the country.
Significantly, India's decision to permit Huawei came after the recent 22nd round of Special Representatives talks on the border issue between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New Delhi.
India had been maintaining that it would take a decision in the best interest of the country.
The issue of Chinese companies like Huwai participating in 5G trials also came up during the recent 2+2 Indo-US ministerial dialogue in Washington.
"We discussed the risks that Chinese-built communication networks, including 5G, pose to our treasured freedoms and how China's unfair and predatory economic activity in the Indo-Pacific presents a risk to those very freedoms," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a joint news conference attended by Defence Secretary Mark Esper, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on December 18.
The US has classified Huawei as a national security threat amid claims the company has "close ties to the Chinese government and military apparatus". Huawei rejected the US allegations.
The Trump administration has been pressuring other countries to restrict the operations of Huawei in the 5G trails.
The 5G trials in India are widely-expected to begin in the last quarter of the current financial year. In September this year, Huawei had said it was hopeful that the Indian government will treat all foreign investments "fairly" and had urged the world's largest democracy to make an "independent decision" on permitting 5G trials in the country.
At that time, the Chinese firm, the world's leader in telecom equipment and the number two smartphone producer, had also sought to assure the Indian government that the company is fully compliant with regulations in India, and of addressing concerns around cybersecurity.
Earlier, India allowed Huawei to take part in the 5G case demos at the India Mobile Congress held in October this year along with other international networks.
Huawei has big operations in India including an R&D centre in Bengaluru. It is also a major supplier of 4G technology for Indian telecom firms.
Concerns over Huawei's operations abroad has risen after China passed a new security law which requires individuals and organisations to assist and cooperate with the country's national intelligence efforts.
China also protested to the US over Washington's efforts to extradite Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada to face prosecution under domestic American law for violations of US sanctions against Iran.
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