India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has denied it has placed a formal ban on the importation of Chinese telecoms equipment.
But the DoT has reportedly written to several operators, including the country’s leading cellco Bharti Airtel which includes Huawei as one of its leading suppliers, requesting they not buy technology from Chinese vendors.
“I don’t think there is any blanket ban on import of any Chinese telecom equipment,” home secretary GK Pillai told the Economic Times on Saturday.
However, the DoT told one unnamed operator that "security clearance is not granted for procurement of telecom equipment from Chinese OEMs [original equipment manufacturers],” said the Wall Street Journal.
In December, operators were told they needed security clearance on all equipment importation plans from the telecoms ministry.
The order reportedly came in the wake of Home Ministry concerns that telecoms equipment from some countries could contain malware or some security backdoor.
The Daily Times cites Telecom Ministry sources as saying that the government has cleared telecoms imports on a case by case basis since December, stopping “only those that have some security complications.”
The SCMP says Indian mobile firm Sistema Shyam Teleservices and at least three other cellular firms have failed to win government approval to buy Chinese equipment.
Huawei Technologies, China’s biggest telecom vendor, said in a statement emailed to telecomasia.net: “We have not received any notification on this matter and we are currently seeking clarification.”