Indian authorities were tipped to demand the exclusion of equipment supplied by Chinese vendors in 5G operator trials on national security grounds, as tensions between the countries continue to escalate.

Bloomberg reported India’s Ministry of Communications was set to restart approvals for 5G trials and planned to apply restrictions which would ban Huawei and ZTE.

Applications for pilot schemes have already been submitted by companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio with the approval process held-back by Covid-19 (coronavirus) lockdown measures.

In January, Indian telecoms minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gave the greenlight for all vendors to take part in the trials, despite US pressure to exclude those it deemed a security risk.

However, since then political relations between China and India have soured significantly with the after effects spilling into the economic sphere.

India introduced new rules on investment from neighbouring countries earlier this year, which Bloomberg sources claim was aimed at China and will be cited in the decision to shut out Chinese vendors from 5G trials.

In June, the country cancelled a tender to supply 4G kit for state-owned BSNL to rework rules, a move also reportedly designed to exclude ZTE and Huawei which had been expected to apply.

A ban from 5G trials would not bode well for the vendors’ prospects of supplying equipment for the full 5G rollouts when India’s operators are finally allocated spectrum, a process delayed due to economic conditions.

Elsewhere, India has been cracking down on a large number of apps linked to China including a ban on Tencent-owned WeChat and ByteDance’s TikTok.