The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is finding it hard to accord ‘domestic manufacturer’ status to Chinese telecom equipment-makers Huawei Telecommunications and ZTE in the wake of concerns shared by indigenous industry and security agencies.

Huge investment

The two firms, particularly Huawei Telecommunications, have committed huge investments in India by setting up their research and development units and manufacturing plants. At least three prominent telecom industry bodies — the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (TEMA), the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) and the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) — have written to the DoT supporting their cases.

Normally, the TEMA recommends to the DoT a list of companies to be granted ‘domestic manufacturer’ status, which is usually accepted. This year TEMA, apart from the COAI and the AUSPI, has recommended that the two Chinese firms be added to the list.

Huawei India spokesperson Suresh Vaidyanathan said, “we hope government will soon grant us ‘domestic manufacturer’ status.’’

A senior government official said, “We have not rejected the claims of the Chinese firms…we are considering it. It is the security concern that is holding the government from taking any decision in this regard. Moreover, the interests of Indian equipment makers are also likely to get hit once the Chinese majors make further inroads into the Indian telecom industry.”