Investigation relates to shady happenings around Indian state telecoms company
Chinese network giant Huawei is under investigation in India following claims that it hacked into state-run telecoms carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam.
According to reports, the Chinese manufacturer, which was founded by a former officer of China’s People’s Liberation Army, hacked into the carrier’s phone network, and is now under investigation by the Indian government, which has dispatched an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the matter.
The incident came to light following an enquiry from a member of India’s parliament, who wrote to the government for information. In reply, he was told, “An incident about the alleged hacking of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) network by M/S Huawei … has come to notice,” by Killi Kruparani, junior minister for communications and information technology.
A senior government official told Reuters that the decision to investigate Huawei came after a media report said the company had hacked a BSNL mobile base station controller. BSNL declined to comment beyond Minister Kruparani’s statement.
Huawei India issued a statement denying any wrongdoing had taken place, stating that it fully complies with all the country’s network security rules and regulations.
“Huawei India denies such alleged hacking and continues to work closely with customers and governments in India to address any network security issue that may arise in technical and business operations,” spokesman Suresh Vaidyanathan said in a statement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Huawei has been operating in India for more than 14 years, employing 6,000 people in the country. It has partnerships with all the major local telecom operators, and built its first overseas research and development centre in Bangalore in 1999, which currently employs 2,500 staff.
Huawei previously came under question in India in 2010, when the country blocked domestic carriers’ imports of Chinese telecoms equipment for several months regarding suspicions that spying technology to intercept sensitive conversations and government communications was embedded in the products. The ban was lifted following protestations from the company, who agreed to new equipment rules with tougher checks.
The United States has also previously flagged Huawei telecoms equipment as a potential security risk, believing that Huawei’s alleged close ties to the Chinese government made it a security risk to their country. Following government urgings to stop doing business with both Huawei and its fellow Chinese manufacturer ZTE, to American companies, the company finally admitted defeat in December 2013, deciding to pull all telecommunications products from the US to avoid any further political wrangling.
Huawei has been cleared to operate in the UK by the government, recently opening a new HQ office in Swindon and establishing a Cyber Security Evaluation Centre in late 2010 as part of a £1.3 billion investment plan into the country.
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