India-ITU Host Country Agreement (HCA)

On 3rd March 2022, Union Minister of Communications, Ashwini Vaishnaw, and Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) signed the Host Country Agreement (HCA).

About the agreement

  • HCA was signed in a virtual ceremony during the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly-20 (WTSA-20) being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • HCA provides the legal and financial framework for the establishment and operations of the Area Office and innovation center of ITU in New Delhi, India.

About the Area Office and innovation center

  • The Area Office and Innovation Centre is expected to be operational by mid-2022.
  • Innovation Centre will provide opportunities to academics, start-ups, and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to showcase their innovation on a global stage.
  • It will give impetus to research and development in telecommunication technologies in the South Asian region.
  • It will serve Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

  • ITU is the United Nations specialized agency responsible for information and communication technologies (ICTs). It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It was established in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union, making it the oldest UN agency.
  • ITU currently has a membership of 193 countries.

World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA)

  • WTSA is a four-yearly global conference of ITU dedicated to standardization of the Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).
  • WTSA defines general policy and adopts working methods and procedures for ITU-T.
  • Article 18 of the ITU Constitution and Article 13 of the ITU Convention provides the  functions of the WTSA.
  • India has proposed to host the next WTSA to be held in 2024.

India has taken many initiatives to develop telecom standards. ITU recognized 5Gi standards developed in India.

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