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5G networks

India hardens 5G freezeout on China with border tensions

Huawei and ZTE equipment now excluded from network trials

India's exclusion of Chinese telecom suppliers from 5G trials is seen as a reprisal against the yearlong border standoff between the two Asian powers.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- The Indian government has shut Chinese vendors out of the nation's 5G network trials in what appears to be another consequence of border tensions between the two Asian powers.

Indian mobile carriers are set to test 5G communications over six months. The telecoms will monitor the performance of equipment supplied by Samsung Electronics, Ericsson and Nokia.

Left out of the list of participating suppliers are Chinese players such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE, according to the announcement by the Indian government Tuesday.

Companies left out of the trials risk missing the business opportunities created by India's shift to 5G telecommunication. Last June, the government told local telecoms to not use equipment from Huawei and ZTE for 5G trials and 4G network upgrades, according to local media.

India's move to formally exclude Chinese companies from the 5G infrastructure is widely seen as an act of reprisal against Beijing.

It comes come amid a standoff at the disputed Himalayan border with China that has turned one year old this week. Last year's clashes between troops from both sides resulted in the first military causalities in the region in 45 years.

The two sides agreed in February to a partial troop withdrawal, raising hopes that soldiers will completely pull out from the border region. But the momentum for a full drawdown is fading.

Meanwhile, India is moving to strengthen ties with the U.K. and the European Union. The Quad, which includes India, the U.S., Japan and Australia, is also putting pressure on Beijing.

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