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Davos 2023: US-China tensions definitely benefitted India

At the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023, Bharti Enterprises Founder and Chairman Sunil Mittal affirmed the fact that India benefitted from the prevalent tensions between the US and China on the technology front.

Mittal was responding to a question pointed at him on how India stood to gain from the US-China rift, which continues to play out even in 2023.

The noticeable tensions between the US and China came out into the open during Trump’s presidency when the Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies was arrested on the charges of bank frauds and more in 2018.

Speaking on India’s rise in the recent years, Mittal said that on the manufacturing-side India has been pushing very hard to become a manufacturing base, “especially the electronics field, the digital parts”.

“We import USD 715 billion worth of electronic parts. So, that is an opportunity which we missed seven decades back. And we, it seemed, would not see [the same opportunity] during our lifetime. This particular issue now has forced India to sort of become ready and put out subsidies and programs, which have never been seen before,” he said.

Mittal said that semiconductors has become a huge rallying point between the US, UK and the entire Quad as a result of the rift between the US and China.

“India is now committed to spend very large amounts of money, we’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in the 5-10 years to finally attract the semiconductor base into India, which we could never build over the last several decades,” he explained.

“So, I would say India is benefiting, definitely, because the US wants a lot of things to be shifted from China to India. Trusted nations, trusted sources and trusted products is becoming the mantra,” he added.

The Bharti Enterprises Chairman said “100 per cent benefit” was going to the western world at the moment and a bit to Korea through Samsung. “But that is also giving India the opportunity to develop its own 4G Stack,” Mittal said.

Mittal also informed the panel at Davos WEF 2023 that Airtel had been using Chinese equipment in its network but all of it was being currently replaced. He said that 20 per cent of Airtel’s network was currently using Huawei and ZTE technology on the radio-side, which is being replaced now. Moreover, the Bharti Enterprises Chairman said that Airtel’s 5G push did not include any Chinese tech and its usage was declining on the 2G and 4G front.

“[Chinese tech in] 4G, I would say by end of next year will be down to zero,” Mittal said. BusinessWorld

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