India has agreed to allow telecom equipment manufacturing equipment from ZTE and Huawei after banning them due to security concerns. Hectic lobbying efforts by Huawei/ZTE,Chinese trade bodies and the Indian telecom operators has made the Indian government change its decision.As a face saving gesture, telecom equipment will have to be screened by international security audit firms.I think this change of mind was driven more by the powerful telecom lobby rather than pressure from the Chinese government or Huawei/ZTE .Chinese equipment is supposed to be 20% cheaper than comparable equipment from Western firms like Nokia Siemens and Alcatel which has made telecom operators a strongly interested party. India’s telecom regulation history has been one of opacity,controversy and corruption.The infamous 2G spectrum allocation to newcomers has generated a lot of heat for the government with losses due to incompetence,shady deals and possible corruption running into billions of dollars.This soft capitulation to the corporate interests has the potential to generate another storm.
India to allow Chinese gear after checks – report – Economic Times
India has agreed to allow import of Chinese telecom gear certified by international security audit firms, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday, to help mobile operators fend off possible delays.Top officials from the prime minister’s office, the home (interior) ministry, the telecommunications ministry and intelligence bureau took the decision, the newspaper said.
Industry officials have earlier said the Indian government has been blocking imports of equipment made by Chinese firms such as ZTE Corp and Huawei Technologies due to security concerns.The newspaper cited an unnamed official as saying the government would also allow self-certification of imported telecom equipment by mobile operators against a bank guarantee given to the communications ministry.Canada’s Electronic Warfare Associates, U.S.-based Infoguard and Israel’s ALTAL Security Consulting are among the international security audit agencies whose certification would be needed, the paper said.