Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei's willingness to make available the source code may ease the path for its participation in Indian 5G trials amid continuing US security worries, reports say.
Huawei has expressed willingness to place the source code in escrow with New Delhi to allay security fears.
The US government has warned Huawei equipment users worldwide of the suspected presence of embedded spyware that could make possible Chinese surveillance of networks. Australia and New Zealand have acted on the advice by banning Huawei on the heels of US action against the telecommunication giant.
Huawei has also been facing US investigation over helping Iran violate sanctions. A full-fledged diplomatic row has erupted involving the US, Canada, and China after Ottawa arrested a senior Huawei official and founder's daughter Meng Wanzhou, who has since been released on bail.
Huawei CEO Jay Chen has said his company was the only one to make available the source code in 2010 to India, a report said. "In 2010, we were the only equipment company which offered to place the software code of the equipment in an escrow to the Indian government, when similar questions on security were raised. We are willing to do the same again for 5G so that there are no apprehensions," a report in Business Standard quoted Chen as saying.
Telecom experts are of the view that the control over the software codes will enable the government to check for security breaches in the network at any time or ascertain any spyware activity.
The reference Chen made to 2010 was about the time when the company faced a ban from telecom projects on bidding for BSNL projects in sensitive areas like international borders. The authorities withdrew the restriction after a few months.
Indian trade bodies have taken different positions regarding the controversy.
India's Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council, which represents domestic Indian manufacturers, have also expressed reservations over Huawei's security record. It wrote to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval seeking restrictions on the use of telecom equipment made by all Chinese manufacturers including Huawei and ZTE.
But, the Cellular Operators Association of India has urged the government not to make any hasty decision banning Huawei.
Reports say Chen has clarified that the company was ready to comply with any other conditions the government might set for the 5G rollout.
Huawei has also been facing US investigation over helping Iran violate sanctions. A full-fledged diplomatic row has erupted involving the US, China and Canada after Ottawa arrested a senior Huawei official and founder's daughter Meng Wanzhou, who has since been released on bail.