COAI Defends Huawei Over National Security Concerns

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The Association has requested the Telecom Export body to not make any submission to the National Security Advisor without consulting the Department of Telecom.

The Cellular Operations Association of India (COAI) has come out in defense of Huawei Technologies after the Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC) sought a ban on the company on grounds of national security. COAI took Huawei’s side by saying that the company is equipped to drive the 5G ecosystem in India.

“They are suitably equipped to prepare operators and industry to build 5G capabilities in operations, organisation and most importantly in the eco-system and to ensure they are fully compliant with all government requirements,” COAI wrote in a letter addressed to the Department of Telecom (DoT).

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COAI urges TEPC to not make security submission

COAI has requested the Export body to not make any submission to the National Security Advisor without consulting DoT. It has also requested the government to conduct its own due diligence in this context. It said that any arbitrary exclusion of certain companies on hearsay may be detrimental to the overall digital communications mission of the nation.

The body further added that the DoT is competent to judge for itself in case there are concerns in the Indian context and to put suitable measures to ensure the security of customers and that of the country is in no way compromised.

Rules to check on security

COAI, in its letter, stated that the government had already introduced measures to test telecom services providers to ensure network safety. It said that it had also been working on security policies to prevent any security breach. Recently, it announced that telecom equipment makers must undergo a mandatory test for all the equipment or handsets that were lined up for the Indian market. Any company failing to comply with the norm could be excluded from the market.

TEPC’s concern

The Telecom Export body had sought a ban on Chinese companies like Huawei, ZTE and Fiberhome for government networks. It claimed that these could pose as threat to national security.

“Ban the procurement of any Chinese telecom equipment in any government telecom network (centre or state), including power, rail, defence and PSUs. We believe that indigenous equipment makers already have the products, IPR, as well as manufacturing capability and capacity to address these needs,” said Shyamal Ghosh, Chairman, TEPC, in a letter addressed to Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor.

The move sparked after the US, Japan, Canada, the UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand decided to ban purchase of equipment from Huawei, ZTE and Fiberhome for 5G networks. Ghosh said that Chinese telecom equipment poses as a serious security threat to India.

DoT, however, had permitted Huawei to conduct trial runs for 5G that are scheduled to begin from 2019. Huawei also said that it had not received any official communication and the reports or statements made are not backed by any proof.

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