The Department of Telecom (DoT) by mistake allowed Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei to conduct trials for its gear at a time when the government issued a National Security Directive over procurement of equipment to be used in the telecom sector.
DoT’s Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) in a goof-up granted certificates allowing Huawei Telecommunications India Pvt Ltd last month, to conduct testing of its gear, according to a report in Business Standard.
The error was no without consequences though as a top official is believed to have been transferred over the matter which left DoT red-faced. The DoT rushed to suspend the certificate at a time when the whole exercise of issuing National Security Directive for the secure it against potential threats from companies such as Huawei and ZTE which have alleged ties with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Huawei reportedly issued three ‘Mandatory Testing Certification of Telecommunication Equipment (MTCTE)’ dated November 4, 2020, for conducting the trial and testing, the report said.
The issue occurred despite government urging telecom companies earlier to reduce their dependence on Chinese equipment. The DoT issued a notice suspending the MTCTEs issued to the Chinese equipment manufacturer. Similar certificates issued to other telecom manufacturers have also been reportedly suspended.
“Huawei India received the certificates as part of MTCTE Phase-2 procedure. We will fully support the authorities and continue to comply with MTCTE or any other requirements as per the law of the land,” the company’s spokesperson told BS.
Huawei had even started shipping the equipment from the Chinese port but later had to stop it after the certificates were suspended.
The government on Wednesday issued a National Security Directive to formulate procuring policies of equipment to be used in the telecom sector.
PM Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will approve a list of ‘trust sources’ for such equipment and products that can be safely used by India’s telecom companies. Notably, the CCS will also decide upon licence norms of telecom companies operating in the country.
The names of the manufacturers deemed unfit or unsafe by the government will also be shared, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday. “Considering the need to ensure India’s national security, the cabinet has accorded approval for the national security directive on the telecom sector. Under the provisions of this directive, to maintain integrity of the supply chain security, the government will declare a list of trusted sources,” Prasad said.