[Global Times reporter Hu Bofeng] The news that the Indian government will revise the telecom licensing regulations has been attracting much attention since it was released. There had been rumours that Chinese telecoms companies such as Huawei and ZTE could be placed on the government’s list of “untrusted telecoms equipment providers”, which would significantly reduce their chances of entering the Indian market. But India’s Mint newspaper suddenly quoted an anonymous government official as saying on Monday that “Chinese companies can be included in the list of trusted telecom equipment providers as long as they meet the relevant standards currently set.”
India does not currently have any kind of ban on procurement of telecom equipment, but most telecom operators purchase equipment at the lowest bid price and the government is concerned that some telecom equipment “poses a threat to national security,” the official said. As a result, in addition to telecoms equipment providers, the government will also scrutinise suppliers of chips and semiconductors for telecoms equipment, such as Intel and Qualcomm, to decide which suppliers and manufacturers to put on trusted procurement lists. The Ministry of Telecommunications will announce the final list in June, he added. The Indian government plans to launch 5G services by the end of this year or early next year, and if Chinese suppliers are barred from participating, only Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung’s equipment may be left to purchase, which will greatly affect the costs of Indian telecom operators, Mint said on Tuesday.
Global Times reporters have noted that since the China-India border standoff, discussions on whether to allow Chinese telecom companies to gain “trusted” status have been going on. The Mint and other media reported in early March this year that the Indian government was “cautious”. Two anonymous government officials even bluntly pointed out that Huawei and ZTE were likely to be on the “untrusted” list, stressing that “national security risks” outweighed economic benefits. Another senior Indian government official said that while applications from China had begun to be approved, “no investment [from China] will be approved in the telecoms infrastructure and financial sectors”. The Ministry of Telecommunications of India had not responded to the Global Times’ request for comment on the report as of 24 PM on Tuesday.
India and China may hold a new round of military-level talks this week to discuss disengagement at other stand-off points in “eastern Ladakh”, the Hindustan Times reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. Discussions are expected to focus on the withdrawal of troops from Dapsang, Dian Kok and other areas, Indian go nment sources said.