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India yet to take final call on Chinese vendors, NITI CEO

India is yet to take a final call on allowing Chinese companies to participate in the 5G network rollout, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said on Thursday, adding that security will be a “major concern” in 5G.

To grow at a higher rate, India must leapfrog technologically by embracing both 5G and artificial intelligence (AI), Kant said while addressing the ‘Raise 2020’ virtual summit.

“My personal view is that we will go all out for 5G, but security will be a very, very major concern in 5G.

“… I think all the leading players are there (for 5G trials in India), including Chinese companies are there. So let them do the testing. The final word on this is still to be taken,” he said.

Kant said the government has interacted with 5G technology providers like Nokia and Ericsson.

“Now Reliance has developed its own 5G technology from open sources etc. Therefore, for us right now it is very important that 5G is opened out, grows, prospers in India, but it grows with technologies which are very friendly to India,” the Niti Aayog CEO said.

There is growing reluctance by a number of countries to allow Chinese firms like Huawei to roll out 5G services in their territories. The US has already banned Huawei over security concerns, and Washington has been pressuring other countries to do the same.

5G is the next-generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G networks.

Kant further said India’s digital footprint is one of its biggest strengths. He said the government has constituted a committee under Justice B N Srikrishna to draft the Personal Data Protection (PDP) bill.

“The Personal Data Protection (PDP) bill has gone to Parliament. We will soon have a data privacy law,” Kant said.

Kant also noted that the government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative is not anti-globalisation or protectionist by any means. TOI

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