Border vs business: India tells two state firms to not use China telecoms gear

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 18, 2020, 10.06 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Boycott China Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

New Delhi's move comes amid a backlash against companies from China after the killing this week of 20 Indian soldiers by Chinese forces in a Himalayan border dispute.

India has told two government-run telecoms firms to use locally-made rather than Chinese telecom equipment to upgrade their mobile networks to 4G.

New Delhi's move comes amid a backlash against companies from China after the killing this week of 20 Indian soldiers by Chinese forces in a Himalayan border dispute.

The instruction is aimed at Chinese telecom gear makers Huawei and ZTE, after India last year announced an almost $8 billion plan, some of which was earmarked for network upgrades, to help loss-making operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL).

The ministry has also directed all concerned departments to make the purchase of goods manufactured in India as their topmost priority as part of the Centre's push for "Aatmanirbhar Bharat".

Chinese companies face a public backlash after the worst clash since 1967 between China and India, where anti-Chinese sentiment is already strong.

Beijing has also come under fire over the coronavirus outbreak, with social media campaigns urging Indians to boycott Chinese goods.

The effective ban on the use of Chinese network gear could extend to private telcos like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea which also use it in their networks.

The auctions for 5G spectrum will not be held this year, and this, hence, gives the government the time to make a decision over Huawei.