India's Department of Telecom (DoT) plans to build a nationwide secure fixed and wireless network for government use in a project estimated to cost 4.5 billion rupees (US$8.55 million).
Quoting the DoT, Times of India reported on Monday that the government announced plans to develop a secure pan-India network and and deploy secured network-based services for government use such as e-mail, voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) and mobile communication.
Among the 4.5 billion rupees that has been budgeted, 3 billion rupees (US$57 million) has been set aside for the building of the fixed and wireless network infrastructure, while 1 billion rupees (US$19 million) will go toward operational expenditure for five years. The remaining 500 million rupees (US$9.5 million) will be allocated for research and development.
According to the Times of India, a working group under DoT--assigned to the country's 12th Five-Year Plan for the period of 2012 to 2017--noted that many users in the country rely on e-mail and VoIP services provided by foreign companies. While these services may be secure from hackers, the communication can still be accessed by governments of other countries in which the servers are hosted, said the group.
It suggested that for the security of communication within India, data traffic should not flow outside the country and should be routed through the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), which is a government-supported, not-for-profit organization that facilitates the exchange of domestic Internet traffic.
Interestingly, also on Monday, the U.S. government said it was looking into claims that an Indian government spy unit had hacked into the e-mail system of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, using technical know-how provided by mobile phone vendors.