In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch – economic arm of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – expressed its “disappointment” after the government allowed the Chinese telecom company Huawei to conduct 5G trials in India.
“We endorse the development and evolution of technology and strongly back its use to make human life more meaningful and easy. But we are equally conscious of national security and the privacy issues of our fellow countrymen.”Dr Ashwani Mahajan, SJM National Co-Convenor
This comes as Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday, 30 December, announced that the government will not bar any equipment suppliers (including Huawei) in the upcoming trials for super-fast 5G networks, specifying that it will allocate airwaves to all telecom service providers for this purpose.
Read more about the what the telecom minister said here.
Concerns Over National Security & Domestic Players
SJM’s National Co-Convener Ashwani Mahajan, in the letter, argued that the government’s decision is discouraging for domestic players as, “They will always be suspicious that the Chinese company managed (to get a) foot inside the door and could undercut the price to take the project.”
Stating that Huawei has been banned in several countries and is suspected of snooping on military and technological secrets, Mahajan raised concerns over national security and privacy.
“There is ample evidence, that leads to suspicion of Chinese companies indulging in the exfiltrating of sensitive information from devices and equipment that they export.”Dr Ashwani Mahajan, SJM National Co-Convenor
He also claimed that misinformation has deliberately been floated, with the help of bureaucrats, that India doesn’t have the pool of talent to provide 5G and 6G solutions.
“At this stage, these entrepreneurs need patronage of the government to accelerate. This will arm India to build the infrastructure to take fruits of leap in the technology, that too without compromising security (sic),” he added.
Concluding the letter, Mahajan said that SJM’s words of caution were either over-ruled or were deliberately ignored by the telecom ministry and that the Prime Minister’s Office must immediately intervene.
Huawei is banned in the US and is also barred by Australia and Japan, while Canada and New Zealand are likely to follow suit. Many countries, however, have allowed telecom service providers to use Chinese gears.
The 5G trials are widely expected to begin in the last quarter of the current financial year.
Here is the letter written by SJM, reproduced in full (unedited):
December 31, 2019
Shri Narendra Modi
Honourable Prime Minister, Government of India
Respected Modi ji,
We are writing this mail to share the disappointment at the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, after the department of telecommunication allowed the Chinese telecom company Huawei to conduct 5G trials in India. As you are aware, that we endorse the development and evolution of technology and strongly back its use to make the human life more meaningful and easy. But we are equally conscious of the national security and the privacy issues of our fellow countrymen.
The in-principle approval might not mean that the actual contract is given to Huawei, we understand this, but this is very discouraging for the domestic players. They will always be suspicious that the Chinese company managed the foot inside the door and could undercut the price to take the project.
Irrespective, the presence of the Chinese companies in our telecommunications networks would compromise our national security. Huawei has been banned in several countries as more and more countries realise the full implications of having Huawei and Chinese companies in their communication networks. There are ample evidence that lead to suspicion of Chinese companies indulging in the exfiltrating sensitive information from, devices and equipment that it exports. Many of these countries suspect that the Chinese companies indulge in stealing massive amounts of military and technological secrets through cyber-hacking from various countries. We all understand that these Chinese companies are also bound by Chinese Intelligence law to share intelligence with their government.
Interestingly, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China and the Chinese establishment also understand ramifications. They don’t allow market access to the foreign companies to provide them neither the equipments nor the software. We too must push the clause of reciprocity here. There is a misinformation, deliberately been floated with cohesion of some bureaucrats that India doesn’t have pool of talent to provide the 5G and 6G solutions. This is not true. In fact, there are series of entrepreneurs working extensively on this. An Indian company has patented their 6G concept in the US. At this stage, these entrepreneurs need patronage of the government to accelerate. This will armor India to build the infrastructure to take fruits of leap in the technology, that too without compromising security. The countries, who have grown big in the telecommunication equipment manufacturing, groomed their domestic players. Even Huawei took $75 billion from the chinese establishment.
We have made representations to the department of telecommunications cautioning and alerting them various threats Huawei brings in. But unfortunately, the words of caution were either over-ruled or were deliberately ignored. Hereby, we request you and your kind office to intervene. We can’t compromise India’s interests in this digital era. We understand that the 5G is an important leap in the technology and India must not miss this. But this still can be achieved by promoting the domestic and indigenous players. The ‘Chinese information warfare doctrine’ is core of its military strategy. The time has come, to support our domestic players and create a base for the digital ecosystem.
As you are firmly dedicated to India's Independence and national security, we request you to immediately restrict Huawei and other Chinese companies from operating in the Indian market and conducting 5G trials. Secondly we request you to prove patronage to the domestic players. Investing in 5G and 6G capability development will catapult India technologically. And create the most advanced telecom ecosystem in the world in India, guaranteeing national security, jobs, exports and prosperity, a complete win-win for the country.
Dr Ashwani Mahajan
CC: Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad (Union Minister for Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics & Information Technology