Australian cybersecurity officials explained the reasoning behind the country’s ban on the use of 5G equipment from Huawei during high-level meetings in Delhi, setting up a potential conflict between India and China if the vendor is barred from supplying network gear, The Australian Financial Review reported.
India’s Foreign Ministry stated both countries discussed the growing importance of critical technologies to national and international security, and agreed to continue dialogue on these issues and identify opportunities for cybersecurity collaboration.
The Australian delegation, led by ambassador for Cyber Affairs Tobias Feakin, included representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, and Federal Police.
In addition to being barred from selling 5G network equipment in Australia, Huawei faces bans in the US, Japan and potentially New Zealand. The US has also blocked companies providing components and software to the vendor.
In early August, the Chinese government increased its pressure on India not to ban Huawei, indicating it could retaliate against Indian companies doing business in China.
The Indian government had in June established a committee to review Huawei’s network security and previously expressed reluctance to allow the vendor to deploy its 5G gear, which it fears could contain backdoors allowing the Chinese government to spy on users.
Mobile operators in the country are expected to run 5G trials later this year using gear from all major suppliers, including Huawei.
After previously cutting its workforce in Australia by 100 to 600, Huawei announced in late August it would reduce the number by more than half due to the government ban.