Foreign telecom equipment serving critical networks must be banned: Panel

Inter-ministerial panel in its report has recommended ban on use of foreign telecom equipments for all critical networks. The panel supported 100% domestic sourcing of such equipments.

Objective: The move was taken due to apprehension over intrusion and control of vital cyber networks by foreign countries like China which can compromise with the security of the country.

The report suggests that India should not use telecom apparatus from unfriendly countries. It highlights networks in countries such as Taiwan, Japan and South Korea which also do not use telecom equipment for their critical networks manufactured by countries hostile to them.

However it does not call for violation of WTO norms as preferential treatment in buying equipment will be given to domestic manufacturers only for projects that have security implication for the country.

Projects recommended for complete domestic sourcing are:

  • National Optic Fiber Network
  • Network for spectrum
  • Other defense communication networks
  • National Knowledge Network
  • All communication projects of all utility companies such as the Indian Railways, and oil, gas and power companies.

The current preferential access policy directs that both state-owned and private phone, mobile and landline companies buy up to 30 % of network equipment and other related infrastructure from domestic manufacturers. The new policy wants these licensees to increase this up to “a minimum of 80 %” by 2020.

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