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India's government investigates claims that China's Huawei hacked state telecoms

India has launched an investigation after a media report alleged that Chinese telecoms company Huawei hacked into the state-run telecoms carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL), according to a senior government official.

"An incident about the alleged hacking of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) network by M/S Huawei ... has come to notice," said junior minister for communications and information technology Killi Kruparani in a written reply to a question from a member of parliament.

However, he was cagey about releasing any further details, saying only "the government has constituted an inter-ministerial committee to investigate the matter."

Last month, the Commission Election of India (CEI) made the decision to shun Google as an IT partner when they rolled out their online voter registration tool ahead of the upcoming general elections for the Lok Sabha, or parliament due to concerns over national security.

A spokesman for Huawei India denied any involvement in the hacking of BSNL.

"Huawei India denies such alleged hacking and continues to work closely with customers and governments in India to address any network security issue that may arise in technical and business operations," the spokesman, Suresh Vaidyanathan, said in a statement.

Huawei, which was founded by a former officer of China's People's Liberation Army, has been accused by multiple countries of participating in surveillance for the Chinese government.

Huawei is not allowed to do business in the United States due to issues surrounding national security, although the company has loudly protested its innocence in the past.

In the UK, a government security review released in December raised security concerns with the company's operations, and recommended that a centre for overseeing its work be supervised directly by members of the GCHQ.

If true, the allegations would be a further focal point of tension in an already tense relationship between the two countries, and would certainly damage Huawei's reputation in India and abroad.

Image: Flickr (h00j-A)