India will make its own judgments in terms of digital development and security
Abhishek G Bhaya

Editor's note: Amid growing tensions between China and India, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to Union Minister for Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad on August 9, seeking to ban Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE from participating in India's 5G network rollout. Dr. Lu Yang, a research fellow at Tsinghua University's Institute of the Belt and Road Initiative and an associate member of the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, shared her thoughts on India's stance on the issue as well as its future relations with China and the United States. The opinions expressed in the video are her own, and not necessarily the views of CGTN. 

CGTN: The UK has barred Huawei from its 5G networks. Will India do the same?

Lu Yang: The UK did so because of U.S. pressure. This [decision] could be changed again after the U.S. election. 

The service Huawei provides is in infrastructure building in telecommunications. So many governments would like to choose Huawei at the beginning indicating the importance of technology and the quality of services. They have changed their positions mainly due to the political considerations and the U.S. pressure, not the service itself.

So, I think India will make its own judgments in terms of Huawei, in terms of its 5G network, and the digital development is anyway very important for India's economy.

CGTN: New Delhi has remained equidistant from Washington and Beijing due to its focus on strategic autonomy. Now, will India be more open to embrace the U.S.?

Lu Yang: The opinion of leaning on the U.S. for security has always existed in India's strategic discourse. Under the current circumstance, it is natural that the voices of embracing the U.S. are stronger. 

However, I think India will not ally with the U.S. in a manner that Japan or South Korea did in Asia. Strategic autonomy, national identity and its understanding of its position in the world will keep echoing in India's relations with other countries. Sometimes it is more prominent, sometimes weaker.

It will also have to consider seriously whether the U.S. is a reliable security provider or partner for India. Going by the past, it hasn't been the case and I don't think it will be in the future. The action of the U.S. has become more unpredictable due to the upcoming U.S. election. I think India will be very cautious in taking hasty decisions.

CGTN: Do you think that India will be more willing now to fully participate in Washington's Indo-Pacific strategy?

Lu Yang: I would rather ask whether the Indo-Pacific strategy could really safeguard India's security. Security is not only about military security, there's also human security, security for jobs, health, food, employment, etc. This security framework of the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy would only enhance conflict potentials with China and India's other neighbors, and in turn may also sacrifice other aspects of security. 

Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation of the Indo-Pacific strategy and its consequences is needed on the Indian side.

Interviewer and script: Abhishek G Bhaya

Video editor: Liu Shasha

Cover image: Feng Yuan

Managing editor: Zhou Xin

Senior producer: Wei Wei

Managing director: Mei Yan

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