India, despite having barred the two Chinese telecommunications giants from participating in sensitive national projects just a few days back, is looking at the options to grant them a status of ‘domestic manufacturer’ following which Huawei and ZTE may eventually be able to bid in national level projects and probably in sensitive projects.

Three separate industry bodies have recommended that Huawei and ZTE be given the status of ‘domestic manufacturers’ – the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI), the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), and the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (TEMA). TEMA’s recommendations are normally accepted by the DoT and with two other bodies recommending the same, chances are that the Chinese may eventually be able to make inroads in the Indian Telecoms market.

This move is not only in contrast to DoT’s earlier stand but, will also hamper the growth of domestic players. According to senior government officials, who didn’t want to be named, the government hasn’t rejected the claims and was currently considering it. “It is the security concern that is holding the government from taking any decision”, the official said.

“Moreover, the interests of Indian equipment makers are also likely to get hit once the Chinese majors make further inroads into the Indian telecom industry”, the official added.

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