US Congressman Accuses China of ‘Blackmailing’ India Over 5G Amid Washington’s Pressure on Allies

Earlier Beijing reportedly warned New Delhi that if it blocks Huawei Technologies from doing business in the country, Indian firms operating in China could face repercussions.

An influential US Congressman Jim Banks has accused China of “blackmailing” India into using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure, reports NDTV.

The Congressman has also claimed that the Chinese Communist Party “moves to strong-arming countries into exposing themselves to surveillance and espionage.”

Echoing these statements, Senator Marsha Blackburn alleged that state-run company Huawei and Beijing were seeking to foist their spy-embedded technology onto US allies.

“We need to draw a hard line to protect our national security interests and intellectual property,” she said.

Earlier this week US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the warning that should a country adopt Huawei technology, the US “won’t be able to share” information with them. “We won’t be able to work alongside them,” he emphasized.

China’s foreign ministry has responded by expressing the hope that India will make an independent call on the 5G issue.

At the same time, spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Huawei had carried out operations in India for a long time, contributing to the development of Indian society and economy, adding:

“On the issue of Chinese enterprises participating in the construction of India’s 5G, we hope the Indian side makes an independent and objective decision, and provides a fair, just and non-discriminatory commercial environment for Chinese enterprises’ investment and operations, to realize mutual benefit.”

The Indian foreign ministry has not yet commented on the statement.

Earlier, Beijing warned India that its firms operating in China could face “reverse sanctions” if New Delhi moves to block Huawei Technologies from doing business in the country, Reuters reported citing sources familiar with the matter.

According to the sources, India’s ambassador in Beijing, Vikram Misri, was summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on 10 July over concerns regarding US attempts to keep Huawei out of 5G mobile infrastructure globally.

In July, India began exploring the possibility of collaborating with the US to build its 5G network. According to India’s Foreign Ministry, New Delhi and Washington could leverage their respective abilities to work together on 5G infrastructure.

Earlier, the Indian Prime Minister’s Principal Scientific Adviser Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan reportedly recommended that India should initiate 5G without the involvement of Huawei, despite the Chinese tech company’s June proposal of a formal commitment to reassure New Delhi about espionage risks.

As New Delhi is yet to confirm if Huawei will be allowed access to its 5G network development, India plans to conduct trials of the cutting-edge technology in the near months to upgrade to 5G-ready by 2020.

The US has been asserting that Huawei has links to China’s People’s Liberation Army and carries out “surveillance and espionage” activity for the Chinese military – allegations that the Asian tech giant and Beijing have emphatically rejected.

In May Washington blacklisted the world leader in telecom equipment and the number two smartphone producer, over security concerns. The sanctions make it illegal for US firms to strike deals with the company without first procuring a special license.

On 29 June, US President Donald Trump eased the sanctions placed on Huawei by allowing US companies to sell components and spare parts to the still-blacklisted company.

Washington has been increasingly putting pressure on friends and allies including India, to restrict the Chinese telecom firm’s operations and refrain from using Huawei equipment while adopting 5G network technology.

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