Chinese firm gives govt the jitters
(R. Krishnan )
10 December 2001
More than a year after it commenced operations, the Ministry of External Affairs has gathered evidence to suggest that a Chinese software firm's business deals may be prejudicial to India's security interests. Top official sources confirmed that the government is perturbed by the fact that the software exported by the Bangalore-based Huawai Technologies may have helped Pakistan and the Taliban regime in the years 2000 and 2001 to upgrade their telecommunication network.
The government has also got credible information that the company helped Iraq improve its military communication systems. A detailed note to this effect has been prepared with inputs from various agencies. The Cabinet Committee on Security is expected to discuss the matter once Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee returns from Japan.
(Srinivasa Prasad and R. Krishnan )
11 December 2001
A tip-off from agencies in the US had alerted Indian authorities about the activities of the Bangalore-based software firm Huawei Technologies. Citing a note compiled from intelligence inputs that is to come up for discussion when the Cabinet Committee on Security meets next, the Hindustan Times reported that the firm may have had business dealings with Pakistan, the Taliban and Iraq which were prejudicial to India's security interests. Central agencies had put Huawei on the watchlist well before the September 11 attacks, but the revelation seems to have taken the Karnataka government by surprise.
State information technology secretary Vivek Kulkarni dispatched officials to Huawei to question senior executives about the company's business dealings. The Karnataka government hasn't come up with anything but senior software professionals attribute Huawei's "unusual growth" to the firm's "unusual activities" and known disrespect for intellectual property rights. The company, formed in 1988, claims total sales of US$ 2.66 billion in 2000, an increase of almost 80 per cent over the previous year's US$ 1.5 billion.