As India prepares to roll out 5G spectrum-based field trials and participation of Huawei in this process remain open to question primarily due to security concerns, the Chinese tech giant has said that it shares the "same opinion" as the Indian government that network security is important.
"Security is a marathon, and Huawei is part of the positive initiatives to improve India's network security and capability, which goes beyond just 5G," said Huawei India CEO Jay Chen, adding that network security depends upon the joint efforts of all stakeholders.
Huawei, which holds more than 2,500 standard essential patents for 5G, is widely recognised as a leader in the fifth-generation cellular technology, but its participation has been under scrutiny in face of allegations of spying on behalf of the Chinese government.
According to India's top 5G expert V Kamakoti, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, security is the primary concern during the roll out of 5G and the nation "cannot take any chances" when it comes to security.
Huawei, however, has sought to assuage these concerns, by offering to sign a "no backdoor" agreement with the government to ensure that its technology could not be used for malicious purposes.
"We are committed to bring digital for a fully connected, intelligent world and in this process will continue to abide by the laws of the land. We understand that it is reasonable and the right approach for the Indian government to evaluate the network security carefully and then make their independent decision for 5G trials," Chen said.
"It is to be noted that Huawei has stepped up to advocate to the industry to sign the ‘no backdoor' agreement with the Indian government indicating our strong commitment towards network security," he added.
Huawei has invested heavily on 5G research and development — $4 billion in the past decade — but a campaign by the US, asking its allies to cease doing business with the Chinese tech giant may have dampened its spirit a bit, prompting its founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei to offer access to know-how of its existing 5G technology for a fee to a western firm.
To decide on the company's participation in the 5G trials, the government has constituted a committee headed by the principal scientific advisor Professor K VijayRaghavan.
IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Parliament in June that the government has received six proposals for 5G technology trials in India "which includes proposals from China's ZTE and Huawei."
Any field trial in respect of 5G is to be carried out only through licensed telecom service providers in a restrictive, limited geographical area and for specific use case.
"A committee under the principal scientific advisor has been constituted to give recommendations on various issues, including security, relating to 5G and technology trials in India. To address security concerns including surveillance, there are comprehensive security conditions as part of existing License Agreement," the minister informed.
Three equipment vendors who have got the green signal from the panel until now are Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson.