Bei­jing watch­ing In­dia closely for stance on Huawei

Global Times US Edition - - BIZCOMMENT - By Hu Wei­jia

If In­dia blocks Chi­nese tele­com gi­ant Huawei from do­ing business in the coun­try, it can only be seen as a sig­nal by New Delhi that it’s tak­ing sides in China-us trade ri­valry.

“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,” Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesper­son Hua Chun­y­ing told a press brief­ing on Tues­day, in re­sponse to a ques­tion of whether Chi­nese of­fi­cials have said there will be sanc­tions on In­dian com­pa­nies if In­dia blocks Huawei from its mar­ket.

Why does China at­tach great im­por­tance to In­dia’s Huawei de­ci­sion? That’s partly be­cause it’s to some ex­tent a re­flec­tion of In­dia’s broader at­ti­tude to­ward China and the US. Wash­ing­ton has put pres­sure on New Delhi to act against Huawei. For ex­am­ple, in June, the US warned the In­dian gov­ern­ment that com­pa­nies found to be sup­ply­ing equip­ment of US ori­gin to Huawei or its units could face puni­tive ac­tion, the Eco­nomic Times re­ported.

Chi­nese com­pa­nies can af­ford to lose In­dia’s 5G mar­ket. But if In­dia cracks down on Huawei be­cause of pres­sure from Wash­ing­ton, the move will send a sig­nal that In­dia doesn’t re­ject its in­clu­sion in the Us-led camp against China. This means In­dia stands on the op­po­site side of China and Chi­nese com­pa­nies amid the trade war.

In­dia has seem­ingly been an ad­vo­cate of the US In­dopa­cific strat­egy, but deep down, New Delhi has re­al­ized that the strat­egy rep­re­sents the in­ter­ests of the US in­stead of In­dia. Bi­lat­eral re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and the US will likely grow in­creas­ingly com­plex dur­ing In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s se­cond term.

A tough test for New Delhi will be how to strike a bal­ance be­tween its re­la­tions with the US and China. In­dia’s at­ti­tude to­ward Huawei is not just a sim­ple mat­ter of whether a Chi­nese com­pany can en­ter In­dia’s 5G mar­ket. It of­fers a win­dow to ob­serve the coun­try’s China pol­icy dur­ing Modi’s se­cond term. That’s why China is closely watch­ing the de­vel­op­ment of is­sues re­lated to Huawei.

Few EU na­tions have clearly stated that they will ban Huawei from in­volve­ment in their 5G net­works. Why? That’s be­cause they don’t want to take sides in China-us dis­putes and toe the line set by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion that only serves US in­ter­ests. After all, any of these coun­tries will pay a heavy price if they be­come a lackey of the US.

In­dia has to think about whether to co­op­er­ate with Huawei on 5G. If In­dia in­cludes it­self in the Us-led camp against China, the coun­try will lose Chi­nese business op­por­tu­ni­ties. The au­thor is a re­porter with the Global Times. bi­zopin­[email protected] glob­al­times.com.cn

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