Sunil Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, on Thursday lend his voice in favour of Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei Technologies that has been caught in the ongoing US-China trade war.
Sitting beside the US Secretary for Commerce Wilbur Ross, who voiced concerns over security risks involved with firms like Huawei, Mittal said its products were ‘significantly superior’ than European companies’ on whom the US departments are dependent.
Mittal, who was part of the discussion panel on the trade war at the India Economic Summit, said, “Without getting into a debate on security risks, I can say that over the past 10-12 years, Huawei have become extremely good with their products. I can safely say their products are superior to Ericsson and Nokia, without a doubt. I use products from all three of them.” Mittal was responding to Ross’ allegations on Chinese telecom equipment maker’s breach of internet protocols for American companies in the past.
According to Mittal, it is surprising how fast Huawei have improved their technology. “The power consumption is a fraction of Europeans, the footprint is small if you have to put it on a tower, and they have powerful leading features. They are leading edge and have very powerful features,” he said. His response came after Ross highlighted Huawei’s poor records forced the US to ban it as security risks involved in the 5G technology is much higher.
Ross outrightly rejected the notion that US’ concerns around Huawei were in anyway linked to advancing cause of American telecom players. “Notion that our views on Huawei are a function of US protectionism is incorrect. The reason we are doing it. We think there are genuine security issues. 5G is different from 3G and 4G. In 3G and 4G, you are able to separate the peripheral from central part. In 5G that is not possible. In 5G, if there is a penetration or backdoor, it will infiltrate the whole system. So, proportionality of risk is very considerable. It is the US government’s opinion. India needs to take a call on its own,” Ross said.
Amid growing tension between the US and China for the past few quarters, the US administration put a blanket ban on use of Chinese products. Later in July, in a twist to the continuing trade war, American technology giant Google stopped some of its Android features to Huawei that also manufacturers smartphones. Other US-based tech giants such as Intel and Qualcomm, too, deserted Huawei globally.
Mittal said, while Ross’ call on Huawei is an US advisory, India must have its play in this war. “My view is that they should be in play. India must use this as leverage. Unlike opening it to many other western firms and then having very little leverage I would rather have this leverage today because it is an important part,” Mittal said.
With inputs from PTI