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Taliban ties: B'lore firm under microscope

Taliban ties: B'lore firm under microscope

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Publication: www.sify.com
Date: December 10, 2001
 
Bangalore, Dec 10 - The Karnataka government has despatched a team of officials to a Chinese IT facility here to investigate reports that it had developed equipment for the Taliban in Afghanistan, an official said Monday. "We have sent officials of the Software Technology Parks of India to investigate the report," said Vivek Kulkarni, Karnataka's secretary of Information Technology.

"The team will submit an official report later Monday to the Ministry of Information Technology," Kulkarni said. The Software Technology Parks of India is an autonomous body under the IT ministry.

The Hindustan Times daily reported Monday that the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by Home Minister L K Advani, may deport 185 engineers of Bangalore-based Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Ltd. for allegedly helping the Taliban to upgrade their telecommunication network.

"The government has also got credible information that the company helped Iraq improve its military communication systems," the daily quoted top official sources as saying.

The daily said the committee was expected to discuss the matter with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee when he returns from Japan.

Huawei Technologies set up its Bangalore research and development centre, the largest software development center outside China, in February this year. The facility is currently doing research in telecommunications and networking solutions, especially third generation (3G) systems. Huawei has so far invested eight million dollars in the center and employs 280 software engineers.

The Economic Times said Huawei had brought in 185 telecom engineers from China in September on six-month visas to ensure total secrecy in the project. "The company was completing the project under contract, which now turns out was from the Taliban," it said.

The national daily said not only could India deport the IT professionals, it may further tighten foreign direct investment (FDI) norms from neighbouring countries. "Already, investment proposals from unknown Chinese and Sri Lankan companies are being rejected on the external affairs ministry's recommendations," the daily said.
 


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