Hindu group sees Chinese telecom firms as security risk for India

Hindu group sees Chinese telecom firms as security risk for India

A Hindu nationalist group close to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party has stepped up criticism of Chinese telecommunications equipment makers, warning that their presence in India posed “an unacceptable security risk.”

The economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has been campaigning to keep Huawei Technologies out of India’s plans to install the next-generation 5G cellular network.

Now it is extending the campaign to other telecommunications companies based in China.

“India must recognize the full extent of the national and economic security threat posed by foreign and especially Chinese equipment in India’s ICT [information and communications technology] networks,” said Ashwani Mahajan, who heads economic wing of the RSS, known as Swadeshi Jagran Manch, in an August 2019 statement.

“China today controls a significant section of India’s telecom networks even though information dominance is at the core of China’s military strategy, posing an unacceptable security risk,” Mahajan said.

In October 2019, Modi will host Chinese President Xi Jinping in the sacred Hindu city of Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency in northern India, where the two are expected to address trade issues including India’s concerns about its U.S. $53 billion trade deficit with China in the year to March 2019.

Mahajan said earlier that India was unlikely to sign a PRC-backed Asia-Pacific trade pact because of opposition from industry and farmers, in a blow to prospects for creating a giant free trade zone.