India backtracks on domestic networking tech rule

Country's Department of Telecommunications has dropped the stipulation that 50 percent of all core telecom technology will have to be developed or made locally in its latest draft.

The Indian government plans to drop a clause from its draft telecom security policy stating that at least half of all core telecom network equipment must be locally developed or manufactured.

According to a Times of India report Monday, the draft policy released by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) earlier this year said India must "progressively develop indigenous capacity to manufacture telecom equipment--both hardware and software--with the aim to have at least 50 percent of the core telecom network equipment being inducted into the network to be indigenously developed and manufactured in the country".

The revised draft, which was completed on Aug. 3, was then updated to say India will "progressively develop indigenous capacity to manufacture electronic telecom equipment and software [to be] inducted into the network", the news site said.

The Telecom Commission has been informed of the revised draft and will formally notify the DoT once it reaches its decision, the report added.

Previous draft faced strong opposition
Western vendors as well as governments such as the United States have protested against the proposed telecom security policy as it threatened their business interests in the country.

Besides the concession on procuring locally made networking gear, India will also allow global certification of such equipment to act as proof of its safety. The previous draft stated that all telecom hardware could only be installed after being inspected and certified in India, the report noted.

All other contentious clauses will, however, not be changed, it added.


Last week, an expert group constituted by the telecoms department said the country should boost its use of locally-made technology products in its network equipment, starting with 30 percent in 2013 and increasing it to reach 80 percent by 2020.

Last month, a cybersecurity analyst in India said countries can fend off cyberespionage activities if they use only homegrown technology . However, security players noted that government who take the homebrewed technology route would incur a higher cost and miss out on the latest technology available in the market .