Listing Jio among the “world’s leading” telecom operators, Pompeo said on Wednesday that it was one of the “Clean Telcos” for spurning Huawei, which he called a part of the “Chinese Communist Party (CCP) infrastructure.”
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani had told US President Donald Trump during his February visit to India that Jio was the only network in the world to not have a single Chinese component.
Jio is reportedly trying the ‘swadeshi’ route for 5G and has applied to the Department of Telecommunications for permission to carry out lab tests for the technology without third-party participation.
Facebook announced a $5.7 billion investment in Jio in April.
Pompeo said that by Jio along with some other Canadian, British and French telecoms was “disconnecting from the Chinese Communist Party infrastructure” by not using Huawei equipment.
“They are rejecting doing business with tools of the CCP surveillance state, companies like Huawei,” he added while speaking to the media before the release of the State Department’s annual terrorism report.
The US campaign against the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer over fears its gear can be used for espionage has intensified as the company begins its push into the next-generation 5G networks.
According to US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brian, Huawei is able to access sensitive and personal information wherever its equipment is installed and “by law, must comply with directives of the Chinese Communist Party” making networks using it vulnerable to Beijing’s surveillance.
Trump had brought up the security concerns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the February visit in a bid to stop Huawei’s inroads into India’s 5G networks.
Trump told reporters after meeting Modi, “We discussed the importance of a secure 5G wireless network and the need for this emerging technology to be a tool for freedom, progress, prosperity, not to do anything with which it could be even conceived as a conduit for suppression and censorship.”
The Trump administration has put a series of sanctions on Huawei to cut off its access to US technology to develop or manufacture its systems.
In the latest action against it, Washington barred the use of US equipment and software by companies anywhere to produce components for Huawei.
Short for fifth generation cellular network, 5G is capable of being more than 25 times faster than the 4G network and it has applications in manufacturing and in future technologies like self-driving cars.
(Arul Louis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)