WASHINGTON: China is “blackmailing” India into using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure, an influential US Congressman said on Tuesday, even as Beijing hoped that New Delhi will not succumb to any pressure from the United States.
The US has banned Huawei, the world leader in telecom equipment and the number two smartphone producer, over concerns of security, and Washington has been putting pressure on other countries to restrict the operations of the Chinese telecom firm.
The Trump administration has been asking all its allies and friends, including India, to block the entry of Huawei from using their 5G infrastructure, which is a next generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G LTE networks.
“China is now blackmailing India into using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure – they know no bounds!” Congressman Jim Banks said.
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.
The US believes that Huawei has links to China’s People’s Liberation Army and carries out “surveillance and espionage” activity for the Chinese military. The Chinese Communist Party “moves to strong-arming countries into exposing themselves to surveillance and espionage”, the top US Congressman said.
However, China on Tuesday hoped that India would make an “independent and objective” judgement on permitting its telecom giant Huawei in 5G trials and services in the country.
With digital connectivity playing a crucial role in all walks of life, 5G networks have a direct impact on national security. According to a recent report quoting Union Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, India plans to develop its own 5G network.
Senator Marsha Blackburn highlights that China, along with its state-run company Huawei, is looking to push its spy embedded technology onto America and its allies. “We need to draw a hard line to protect our national security interests and intellectual property,” she said.
Early this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that if a country adopts Huawei technology, the US “won”t be able to share” any information with them. “We won’t be able to work alongside them,” he said.