Former Mauritius telecom chief under lens for deep link with China’s Huawei


Former CEO of Mauritius Telecom (MT) Sherry Singh

Fresh evidence has surfaced of the deep links between former CEO of Mauritius Telecom (MT) Sherry Singh, known for his anti-India views, and Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The Mauritius government has launched an investigation into Singh’s conduct for possible offences pertaining to the breach of the country’s information and communications technologies act, spreading false news and for criminal defamation. 

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Singh has been facilitating China’s interests in the Indian Ocean region by allowing Huawei to create a strong presence in the telecom sector in Mauritius.

Singh is reported to have gone out of his way to implement bidding processes that have boosted Huawei’s interests in Mauritius. The company has close links with the Chinese government and has been banned in several countries including India, US, UK, Australia and Canada due to security reasons.

Singh’s nexus with the Chinese telecom giant could have direct implications on India’s national security as well, a report by Hindustan Times noted.

Mauritius has very close links with India as it has a large Indian diaspora and Singh’s comments were widely seen as against the interests of the island nation.

“The larger issue involves a thorough assessment of the extent to which Huawei or other Chinese telecom companies have made inroads into the security systems of other countries. Mauritius is naturally important for India due to its location but we need to take a harder look at the overall penetration of the Chinese telecom ecosystem that is critical to China’s surveillance mechanism,” Abhijnan Rej, researcher and consultant focusing on Asian security and geopolitics, told India Narrative.

The Mauritius incident is also a reflection of how Beijing has been using its telecom network to boost its surveillance mechanism. Several reports suggest that Huawei, one of the key players of fifth generation (5G) technology and smartphones in the world -- is being used by Beijing for espionage.

Huawei has almost become a synonym for controversy.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei is a member of the Communist Party of China (CPC). According to the question-and-answer segment on the company website, the Chinese law mandates Chinese and foreign companies operating in China to set up CPC committees. Unsurprisingly, however, it also mentions that the committee is not involved in any operational or business decisions.

The CFR said that Huawei’s “global influence has stoked fears in many countries, particularly the United States, that the Chinese government could force it to spy, sabotage, or take other actions on its behalf.”  “Washington has imposed sweeping restrictions on Huawei and is pressuring its allies to do the same as part of a larger crackdown on Chinese technology companies,” it added.

Huawei, which entered Mauritius in 2003, has a strong presence in the country. It has provided local customers with end-to-end communications solutions, and built the country's first 4G network with local operators.