Restrict Chinese presence only to telecom manufacturing: DoT

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has suggested that India restrict Chinese presence only to telecom manufacturing while keeping strategic areas such as infrastructure and broadband networks for non-controversial countries like US, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Sweden and Finland.

In a 15-country international cooperation strategy prepared by the DoT, India's largest exporter of telecom goods was pushed to the lowest spot on a weighted assessment based on trade and strategic parameters.

Though it received a high trade value, China got a very low strategic position pushing it into the trade-centric zone with a recommendation that future cooperation be limited to telecom manufacturing. The report on strategically relevant countries was presented to telecom minister Kapil Sibal on August 16.

It says that key businesses such as infrastructure, broadband penetration, managing urbanisation and resilient networks be targeted from the US, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Sweden and Finland while satellite and emergency communications be assigned to the US, Russia, Japan and France.

The DoT outlook could jeopardise future Chinese sale of third-generation wireless broadband networks while continuing to allow imports of cellphones, computer hardware like laptops and accessories such as USB dongles. Security, encryption and surveillance technologies have been earmarked for the US, Israel, Finland, Canada and Japan for strategic reasons. Mobile applications too would be from strategic countries the US, Japan, South Korea and Israel while cooperation in cloud computing would be restricted to the US and Japan.

The report said joint working groups would be set up with the identified countries and relevant organisations to pursue the road map. Expert groups would be formed for each of the identified area with high-level delegation, including private firms, constituted to interact with the country. Since 2010, India has become security conscious and closely screens imports of network equipment. Equipment vendors are required to make their software code and facilities available for inspection or else, face penalty.

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