China expresses ‘concern, regret’ over India’s 5G exclusion

Image used for representation purpose.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

China on Wednesday expressed “concern and regret” at India’s move to not include Chinese telecommunication firms among the companies permitted this week to conduct trials for the use of 5G technology.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, speaking at a Global Dialogue Series event in London, reiterated India’s view on Wednesday that it is “not realistic” to have good relations in other domains when there was tension on the border. Mr. Jaishankar did not specifically mention the 5G issue, but said broadly on India’s view on the relationship: “I can’t have friction, coercion, intimidation, and bloodshed on the border, and then say let us have a good relationship in other domains. It is not realistic.”

On Tuesday, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) gave permission to several Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to conduct 5G trials, and did not include Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. “The applicant TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd., Vodafone Idea Ltd. and MTNL,” the announcement said, adding they had “tied up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT” while Reliance Jio Infocomm will conduct trials using its own indigenous technology.

Reacting to the move, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said in a statement it “express[es] concern and regret that Chinese telecommunications companies have not been permitted to conduct 5G trials with Indian Telecom Service Providers in India”.

“Relevant Chinese companies have been operating in India for years, providing mass job opportunities and making contribution to India’s infrastructure construction in telecommunications,” spokesperson Wang Xiaojian said.

He said moves to “exclude Chinese telecommunications companies from the trials” would “harm their legitimate rights and interests”. “The Chinese side hopes that India could do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation, and provide an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory investment and business environment for market entities from all countries, including China, to operate and invest in India.”

At Wednesday’s dialogue, Mr. Jaishankar said the relationship was “going through a very difficult phase, because in violation of agreements and understandings of many, many years, the Chinese have deployed a very large part of their military on, and close to, the Line of Actual Control, without explanation, and they continue to be there”.

Mr. Jaishankar noted it had been one year since the LAC crisis began, on May 5, 2020 with reports of tensions then starting in the Galwan Valley and Pangong Lake.

He said China’s “actions have disturbed peace and tranquillity”, including leading to bloodshed in Galwan last June, and India “has been very clear that peace and tranquillity on the border areas is essential for the development of our relations”. The disengagement process was completed in some areas but one year on is still ongoing in others, and both sides had not yet come to the de-escalation part.

On Friday’s phone call with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the External Affairs Minister said both sides had discussed their mutual interest in cooperating on tackling COVID-19 at a time when Indian companies have placed many orders to source supplies from China amid the current crisis.

He told Mr. Wang that “many of our companies are ordering stuff from China and we are encountering difficulties in logistics, so please take a look at it which is something which we would appreciate”.

“After our conversation things did move,” he said. “Some of our airlines got quicker approvals, the logistics chain is flowing, and that is something which is very laudable.”

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 12:54:19 AM |

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