The alleged hacking of India’s state-owned telecoms carrier by the Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei, has led the Indian government to launch an investigation into the matter.
“An incident about alleged hacking of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) network by Huawei, a Chinese telecom company, has come to notice,” said Killi Kruparani, Indian minister for communications and information technology, said in a written reply to a question from a member of parliament.
Kruparani said that the government has constituted an inter-ministerial team to investigate the matter.
Huawei is not facing scrutiny in India for the first time. Way back in 2010, India had blocked imports of telecoms equipment with made in China label, worrying over the possibility of any embedded spying technology. The ban was lifted after the Chinese companies agreed to stronger security check and safer equipment.
In 2012 BSNL had given a major network expansion tender of 10.15 million lines to the Chinese company ZTE; however, Huawei, the major contender of the tender, stepped back to supply equipment at low prices.
During the same year, an Indian parliamentary committee had recommended the government to test telecom equipment for security as more and more Chinese companies are supplying hardware and software to Indian companies. The committee asked the government to audit telecom equipment with serious security threats the way United States does.
Meanwhile, in 2012, a committee of the U.S. lawmakers on intelligence had warned of cyber espionage by Chinese Companies and asked American companies doing business with Huawei and ZTE to search for other vendors. However, both Chinese companies denied the charges.