The telecom sector is acknowledged to be a force multiplier with spillovers across various sectors of industry. Its integral role in society makes it not only a pillar of national security but also a proxy for measuring a country's technological advancement. China's dominant position in the telecom sector can be traced back to its edge in low- cost manufacturing of telecom equipment. However, superior capabilities in hardware manufacturing coupled with advances in artificial intelligence and China's national experience of deploying the world's largest data network in the shadow of weak privacy laws have turbo-charged its capabilities into a potent weapon against countries with lesser capabilities. India is part of a long list of countries that are grappling with the dilemma of balancing cost and security when it comes to deployment of telecom networks. China has leveraged such vulnerability of countries by making Huawei's acceptability a policy objective of its foreign policy. What is the nature and extent of India's dependency on China in the telecom sector? How did this come about? What risks does this entail for the State, consumers and industry players? How can India reduce dependency? What lessons can be learnt to ensure such dependency on China does not repeat in other sectors? We will combine different perspectives from domains of policy, industry, and technology to deliver clarity on this topical issue to our audience.
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