Huawei Technologies. Photo: iStock

Telecom giant Huawei’s prospects in India suffered a setback when a senior government official reportedly opposed Chinese companies taking part in trials for a 5G network.

India’s Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan, who heads a high-level committee on 5G, has said trials should begin immediately and all telecom gear makers, except those from China, should be allowed to take part, Times of India reports.

The committee is made up of officials from the Intelligence Bureau, Telecommunications Department and those from Home Affairs and External Affairs ministries.

During a subcommittee meeting on June 13, Raghavan reportedly said: “For China, we should prepare the pros and cons for going with them,” the daily reported quoting officials. In the meeting, representatives from different government departments held differing views on Huawei taking part in the trials but were unanimous about the need for tight security safeguards during the trials.

The recent blacklisting of Huawei by the United States because of the company’s rumored close ties with China’s political leaders and military establishment has aroused widespread suspicion across the world.

Recently, Huawei India chief executive officer Jay Chen said his company was willing to sign a “no back door” pact with the Indian government and his Indian clients to address any security concerns.

Also read: India yet to make a call on Huawei

A “back door” is a point of access in network equipment that guarantees entry into the network or equipment under exceptional circumstances. Without it, the equipment supplier would not be able to access the customer’s network without consent.

For the Indian government deciding on Huawei has been a tough diplomatic balancing act, as the decision will affect trade and ties with China on one hand, plus relations and security links with the US on the other. Huawei also runs a research and development center in Bangalore and employs more than 4,000 people.

However, the Trump administration’s recent move to provide a reprieve to Huawei, following a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit, could make matters easier for India.

The US President said: “US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei – we’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it,” Techcrunch reported.

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