“Intelligence agencies were never comfortable with Indian companies installing Huawei equipment in their networks. Now, their concern has been supported by their Australian counterpart,” said an official in knowledge of the development.
On Monday, Australia blocked Huawei from bidding on the proposed national broadband network, an ambitious project that is expected to run high-speed Internet cables throughout the country except some remote homes, for security reasons.
Intelligence agencies have asked the Indian government in the past to ban telecom operators from using Chinese equipment in their networks due to security concerns.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has also said that Huawei is controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Three years ago, intelligence agencies forced the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to issue a directive to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to ban it from buying equipment from Chinese vendors in North and East Zones. Intelligence agencies said that the Chinese equipment should not be used in the border states and in strategic locations.
Later in March 2010, the DoT extended the ban on Chinese equipment to private vendors as well. Five months later, the government released new security guidelines allowing operators to buy from any vendor as long as the companies share their source code with the government. Source code is the software embedded with the equipment.
When contacted, Huawei declined to comment.