According to foreign media reports, the Indian Ministry of Telecommunications (DoT) said last week that after June 15 this year, Indian telecom operators will only be able to purchase certain types of equipment from “trusted sources” approved by the government, and said that a “no purchase” blacklist may be created. Two Indian government officials who asked not to be named told Reuters that Huawei is likely to appear on this list.
One of the officials said: “If an investment constitutes a national security risk, we cannot give priority to economic gains.”
The Ministry of Telecommunications of India has not yet provided more detailed information on reliable sources or procurement blacklists.
In addition, another official told Reuters that another Chinese supplier, ZTE, may also be excluded.
Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Ministry of Telecommunications of India stated in an amendment last Thursday: “From June 15th, licensees (telecommunications companies) can only connect to ‘trusted products’ in their networks and when using those products to upgrade existing networks with telecommunications equipment from trusted sources, you must apply for permission from the Designated Authority.”
As part of this policy, the National Cyber Security Coordinator of India will act as the designated agency and notify the list of sources that cannot be purchased.
The notified body will soon notify the equipment categories applicable to the relevant safety requirements of trusted sources. In addition, it will notify related telecommunications equipment or so-called “trusted products” that can be deployed. All telecommunications companies are required to provide all types of information about this matter.
However, this amendment states that the changes to the regulations will not affect ongoing annual maintenance contracts or updates to existing equipment already introduced in the network.
It is reported that two of India’s three major telecom operators-Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are using Huawei equipment. Industry analysts said that any restrictions on Huawei equipment could push up costs.
A senior Indian government official told Reuters: “We have even begun to approve some investment plans from China, but we will not approve any investment in areas such as telecommunications infrastructure and finance.”