The new Netflix documentary ‘The Great Hack’ has been a revelation in many ways. While many of us were aware that our personal information and privacy are stake with the advent of social media and technologies into every aspect of our lives; seeing it play out on screen has been spine chilling. “World’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data,” one of the protagonists declares in the documentary. So it’s not surprising that the new generation wars are fought over technology, and India finds itself right in the middle of a major one brewing today.
“China is now blackmailing India into using Huawei for its 5G infrastructure – they know no bounds!” said US Congressman Jim Banks yesterday. Today’s headline shows us the key players in this “game of bans”, which began in May when the US put the Chinese Technology giant on its blacklist. The Eastern powerhouse has backed its brand, which is world’s biggest manufacturer of equipment gear for next generation 5G cellular network. It has escalated the geopolitical war that now sees India in the thick of it.
Huawei and the US
The US has banned the #1 telecom equipment company in the world on the basis of national security concerns. They have vehemently stated that the state run company would push China’s spy embedded technology into America. Since then, the US has been asking its allies all over the world to ban Huawei. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to the extent of saying, “if a country adopts Huawei technology, the US won’t be able to share information with them.” So where does it leave India, seen as a strong ally and a business partner by the US?
Huawei and India
India is gearing up for 5G network installation but there has been no decision on whether Huawei will be invited to be a part of it. While earlier, China had stated that it hoped India would invite Huawei for 5G trials, passing time has seen it tighten the screws. In a meeting between diplomats of the two countries, Chinese officials have stated that if India blocks Huawei under US pressure, there will reverse sanctions on Indian companies doing business in China. That puts top names like TCS, Infosys, Mahindra and Mahindra, who have presence in China in jeopardy.
As things stand, India has received six proposals for 5G technology trials including Huawei. A high level committee found no proof of Huawei using malware to collect data. Whether India goes with its mighty neighbor or stands by the US remains to be seen. But for now, it’s at the center of a technology war that it did not start.
– Authored by a student of Jaipuria Institute of Management