John Suffolk,senior vice president and global cyber security officer at Huawei,talks to Sagnik Chowdhury on issues faced by the Chinese telecom equipment firm in India.
A proposed telecom security policy is under consideration in India. What has been your experience in dealing with the Indian government and its regulations?
What we have seen over the last two years in India is a consistent evolution of policy thinking. Having the policy is only the first part. Youve now got to work with the community. From an Indian perspective theres been a lot of collaboration between industry and the government to work through all of the issues … And I think thats been very helpful in terms of the Indian government and officials being very open to that kind of approach. But I think what we need to move to now is the finer detail on how we will execute some of the policies. What we look for are the details of the policy so that we can make our investment decisions.
Indian intelligence agencies have raised concerns over installing telecom kits from Chinese companies. What are you doing to allay these concerns?
We do this not just in India but in all countries we operate in. We have a policy and approach in working with the government to share and inform our approach to cyber security. Ive spent time in India speaking with ministers,government officials,associations to describe the Huawei way. We have quite a big investment in R&D. We employ a lot of local people. Our model is how can you claim to be a part of the community if you dont employ local people. We have a global average of 75 per cent of local employees. In India,it is 95 per cent of 6,000 employees.
What are the modalities worked out on independent testing of Huawei equipment within India?
We dont have a regional verification centre in India. Well work with the government on whats the right model. Thats part of the strategy thats coming up. What we would say is this: Given that our products are pretty consistent around the world,if I verified a product in India or Canada,it doesnt add value to any other government.
Give us a sense of your investment ambitions in India in the near future.
I will be in India in December. India is very important to us because we have an R&D centre,where we develop codes.
(The correspondent was in Seoul at the invitation