Greg Kalbaugh, deputy under secretary for policy at the International Trade Administration, a US Department of Commerce agency, told an online event organised by lobby group US India Business Council, in the Indian capital New Delhi: “I would encourage the government of India to review the risk to India’s communications networks to undertake appropriate measures to remove and exclude equipment from Huawei, ZTE, and other untrusted vendors from India’s 5G networks and broader ICT infrastructure."
The Indian publication The Print reported that Kalbaugh said Chinese vendors could not be trusted as they were under the thumb of the country's government.
“As India, the US and many other countries have already experienced, utilising technologies from untrusted vendors that are subject to the control of the government of China is an unacceptable risk,” he said.
“China has used global communications networks to undertake aggressive economic espionage, to stifle free speech, to violate the privacy and personal data of our citizens, and disrupt the operations of other countries’ networks.”
The US has campaigned for more than two years to try and push countries it considers allies to avoid using 5G equipment from Huawei in their networks. Thus far, Australia and Vietnam have said openly that they would follow the US' lead. Sweden recently became the third country to say so openly.
Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Poland have indicated that they are likely to toe the US line, but have yet to make public pronouncements about what policy they would follow.
The UK broke ranks with the US in January, saying it would allow Huawei to supply up to a third of equipment for non-core parts of its 5G networks but more recently changed its stance, saying it would remove Huawei gear completely by 2027.
iTWire contacted Huawei Australia for its reaction but the company said it had no comment.