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Govt yet to take call on China’s entry into 5G

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Friday said the government has not taken any call on allowing Chinese telecom companies to enter into the 5G trials in India but acknowledged that the penetration of the neighbouring country into the existing network is too extensive.

Bhalla, however, also made it clear that the government is making special safeguards to ensure safety and security of the country’s communication network.

“On 5G, the government in any case has not taken any call. Discussions are still on…when it will be allowed and who are the people to be allowed. Point is very valid. The penetration of existing telecom hardware and software is too extensive,” he said at the Diamond Jubilee webinar organised by National Defence College.

He was replying to a question on participation of Chinese telecom players in India’s 5G trials.

The home secretary said unless India gets a substitute, the existing facilities cannot be closed down abruptly.

“Unless we have a substitute available, we just can’t switch off and say that this will not be allowed. But the government can definitely make special safeguards and ensure the safety and security of the system of communication of the country. That we are having and we are developing and we will definitely be able to deal with that,” he said.

The US has banned Huawei, the world’s 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.

India, however, is yet to take a call on whether it intends to place curbs on Huawei or allow the Chinese telecom equipment maker to participate in the upcoming 5G trials.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier said India has its security issues over allowing Huawei to participate in the upcoming 5G trials.

“We will take a firm view on it. There are also security issues…it is not only a matter of technology, as regard their participation in 5G is concerned…Participation of 5G is not conditional upon the trial being started. Whether a particular company is allowed to participate or not, is a complex question, including security issues,” he had said. PTI

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