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Shutting the door on Huawei

  • IASbaba
  • August 14, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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SCIENCE & TECH/ INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE 

Topic: General Studies 2 and 3

  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests 

Shutting the door on Huawei

Context: U.K’s decision to ban the Chinese company Huawei that entails banning its mobile providers from buying new Huawei 5G equipment after 2020 as well as removing all of Huawei’s 5G kit from their networks by 2027 

What is 5G? 

  • 5G is the fifth generation cellular technology that apart from increasing the downloading and uploading speeds (speed of 1 Gbps) over the mobile network, also reduces the latency i.e. the time taken by a network to respond. 
  • It also increases energy efficiency and offers more stable network connections. 
  • 5G is also designed to deliver signals more reliably than earlier cellular networks  
  • 5G will have a wider area in the frequency spectrum (range of frequencies) that will ensure no network congestion. 
  • In addition, it will also ensure connectivity to a full circle i.e. everything is connected to every other thing. 
  • 5G will help facilitate the ecosystem for the Internet of Things (IoT) and to incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our daily lives and  
  • To get the benefits of 5G, users will have to buy new phones, while carriers will need to install new transmission equipment to offer the faster service. 

 Source: The Hindu 

What made UK to ban Huawei? 

  • It was primarily due to pressure mounted by USA 
  • US views technological progress made by Chinese company as threat to its own dominance in the field of technology & trade 
  • On the grounds of cyber security and data privacy, US had banned Huawei company from its economy in 2019 
  • US also imposed sanctions on Huawei that created uncertainties around Huawei’s supply chain impacting its global business. 
  • The U.S.-China relationship is entering a phase of Cold War 2.0, the Trump administration had made it clear that the U.K.’s “special relationship” with the U.S. will be jeopardised if UK doesn’t ban Huawei. 

What has been the response of China? 

  • China strongly opposed the U.K.’s ban and warned that it would take measures to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese companies 

Consequence of UK’s decision 

  • Win for USA: The U.K.’s change of stance is a major diplomatic win for USA as it might also convince fence sitters to make a final decision. 
  • A domino effect: Other countries in Europe will also come under pressure to take similar decisions 
  • France also decided to limit the use of Huawei’s 5G kit by issuing limited term licences. 
  • Germany too is reducing its reliance on Huawei as the mood against China has soured across Europe.  
  • Geopolitical Changes: After years of close relation with the Chinese, the European Union is becoming more explicit than ever in challenging China.  
  • Perception of China: The response of China has made countries to view China as a “systemic rival” that is hell bent on challenging the extant global order  
  • Political Battle: What once looked like a battle which the U.S. was waging on its own has suddenly been joined by a number of other players. The decision on Huawei is not merely a technological or economic decision but a fundamentally political decision for most countries.  

India and Huawei 

  • India had allowed Huawei to participate in 5G trials which could not happen because of the disruptions caused by the pandemic. 
  • Today, India-China ties have altered due to the border crisis and Chinese insensitivity to Indian concerns. 
  • With New Delhi toughening its posture against China, it looks rather unlikely that Huawei would get to participate in the 5G network roll-out in India.  
  • India is signalling that it is willing to bear economic and technological costs on limiting Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure. 

Conclusion 

  • China’s decision to weaponise trade and technology ties might now come back to haunt it as other nations begin to pay back in the same coin 

Connecting the dots:

  • Steering Committee on 5G under the chairmanship of AJ Paulraj  
  • AI – its merits and challenges 

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