Huawei: Island states in the Indian Ocean region on Huawei’s radar for alleged surveillance activities

A recent controversy over Huawei’s plan in Mauritius, a close strategic partner of India in the Indian Ocean region, has brought the broader issue of cybersecurity, information security and security to the fore. electronic surveillance in small island developing states, allegedly at the request of China.

Huawei has had a presence in Mauritius for almost two decades and the company states on its website that Huawei will play a key role in installing the Safe City infrastructure to “transform Mauritius into a safe and stable country and make it the first nation Africa with integrated security and intelligence”.

Huawei, in partnership with Mauritius Telecom, proposed to build an all-cloud Safe City based on the “one cloud and one pool” concept; Leverage centralized and mixed storage of video, image, voice, and structured data gathered from multiple sources, including surveillance cameras. Huawei says it is the only industry vendor capable of simultaneously integrating converged control, intelligent monitoring, intelligent transportation and cloud computing, and its Safe City solution has been deployed in 230 cities in more than 90 countries. and regions.

This very technology has created controversy on a global scale. But Huawei has always firmly rejected claims about its special ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, former deputy regimental commander of the People’s Liberation Army, the company has steadily captured a significant share of the global market over the past three decades. However, the company’s operations and technology have come under scrutiny around the world, including in India.

In 2016, Huawei Marine Networks partnered with E-marine, the leading submarine cable solution provider in West Asia, to complete the 260 km marine installation of Avassa’s submarine cable system in Comoros. . In 2018, the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, during an official tour of China, visited Huawei’s Executive Information Center in Beijing. During the visit, Assoumani said his government intends to cooperate with Huawei to realize the Strategic Vision 2030 in Comoros.

The company claims to serve 80% of the population of Comoros with its products and services. In neighboring Madagascar, in 2015, a Smart City project was launched in partnership with the Huawei group, and has since accelerated. Reports said that in 2020, the country’s senate approved a US$42.7 million deal to upgrade the country’s public communications infrastructure with Huawei.

Lynn A. Saleh