China on Wednesday urged India to provide a "level playing field" to Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE that have been barred from testing 5G network in the country.
The Indian government has reportedly excluded ZTE and Huawei from the list of telecom companies for developing 5G network in the country.
The move comes at a time when Australia has banned these two telecom majors from providing 5G tech equipment to local mobile carriers due to security concerns.
"The Chinese government always encourages its enterprises to abide by international rules and local laws when pursuing economic cooperation overseas. We also hope that relevant country could offer a level playing field, transparent and fair environment to Chinese enterprises," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said when asked about New Delhi's move.
ZTE and Huawei have been accused by the US, Australia, the UK and other countries of snooping for the Chinese government. These companies, as well as Beijing, deny these charges.
After banning ZTE, US President Donald Trump in July allowed the company to buy US components. However, a group of US senators proposed a legislation to reimpose a ban on the company as it violated the terms of the deal it struck with the Trump administration.
The UK has already blacklisted ZTE. In reaction to India's reported move, the Chinese media has said this has been done to "please the US".
"India's alleged exclusion of Chinese telecom equipment companies from 5G trials will eventually hurt its own telecoms industry and it's a move that follows the US in terms of politicizing business deals," China's Global Times quoted an expert as saying.
"India usually blocks Chinese investment, especially in sensitive sectors, by using the excuse of safeguarding national security in line with the intention to please the US by adopting a tough stance against China," said Tian Guangqiang, assistant research fellow with the National Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.