‘Will sign no-back-door-entry pact; will invest more in India if allowed to participate in 5G rollout’
Stating that it will comply with any security guidelines proposed by the Indian government, including upcoming data privacy laws and signing a ‘no-back door’ agreement, Huawei on Monday said it was willing to invest more in India if given a green signal for participating in 5G roll-out.
Stressing that India should take an ‘independent’ and ‘informed’ decision, Huawei India CEO Jay Chen said the government should provide a “level playing field” for vendors to participate in the much-awaited 5G trials in the country.
The statement comes a day ahead of the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to India. The U.S. has banned Huawei over security and espionage-related concerns and has been lobbying with other countries, including India, to ban the telecom major. India is yet to announce its decision over the company’s participation in the much-awaited upcoming 5G trials. Mr. Chen said, “We provide the pipe in the form of equipment and we provide the tap in the form of a smartphone etc. What is being transported in this pipe or equipment is up to the operators, content providers… We are like a car manufacturer… what is being transported by the car on the highway, we don’t know. It is up to the police to check it... So guidelines and policy can be formulated by the Indian government and we are ready to comply with everything, including data privacy laws as and when they are finalised.”
However, he added, that the company has proposed that the government should ask all the OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to sign a no-back door agreement. “We agree to it. Other OEMs should also come forward for such a agreement with government and operators,” he said. A ‘backdoor’ refers to getting access to a computer system or data by bypassing the system’s inbuilt security mechanism.
On timing, he said, “As and when they give a 5G green signal, we are willing to work at various places and do more investments in India,” he said, adding that it could be in the form of collaborating with Indian start-ups for 5G use cases, in skill development and for local manufacturing.
“The [Indian government] also understands that it is not a question of cybersecurity but trade war… We have been in India for 20 years… if it was about security, we would have been caught. You can’t hide in an open world. We have been following all the laws…. There is no evidence… just by listening to the U.S., we don’t see India taking a decision that will create a trouble for us...,” Mr. Chen said.