In a renewal of past security concerns, the Indian government is investigating whether Chinese vendor Huawei hacked the network of state-owned operator BSNL.
“The government has constituted an inter-ministerial team to investigate the matter,” Minister of State for Communications and IT Killi Kruparani told the Lok Sabha, the country’s lower house of parliament.
Huawei has denied the allegation
There were reports of a cellular tower being affected a few months ago in the coastal area of Andhra Pradesh that was blamed on hacking by the Chinese company’s engineers, according to The Times of India.
The minister did not refer to this particular incident in his statement.
BSNL chose ZTE for a big chunk of a network expansion contract for about 10 million lines in 2012 rather than Huawei, although the latter was in the running. The latter declined to match ZTE’s low prices, said the report.
Back in 2012 a Parliamentary committee reacted to the growing role of Chinese vendors as network suppliers in the mobile industry by recommending the government test their equipment for security.
Security concerns between the two countries has added to the caution in Indian government circles regarding Huawei.
“The company continues to work closely with its customers and governments in India to address any network security issues that may arise in technical and business operations with full compliance with network security norms, regulations and laws,” said a Huawei spokesman.
Elsewhere, the company and ZTE have long faced concern from US politicians over their alleged threat to national security.
Then in the summer the UK’s Intelligence Security Committee, a parliamentary body, criticised what it saw as the slack manner in which Huawei was allowed to get “embedded” in the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI).