Amid rising concernsat wide scale level over the use of Chinese equipments in telecom network, R S Sharma, Trai Chairman said that India must accelerate its domestic manufacturing of communication equipment for strategic reasons.
As the country has become a manufacturing powerhouse of mobile handsets, the same should also be done for the telecom equipment, which forms the “central nervous system” of sensitive and strategically important telecom networks, Sharma told PTI.
He also added that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had earlier given its detailed recommendations on promoting the local manufacturing of telecom equipment.
Comments of Sharma assume significance in the backdrop of growing clamour around the world, also in India against the use of Chinese equipment in networks over the security reasons.
India is evaluating whether to keep Huawei and ZTE out of upcoming 5G trials, though the confirmation on the issue is yet to come.
Sharma said that, “It is in strategic interest of our country that we accelerate the process of manufacturing telecom equipment, domestically. Trai has already given detailed recommendation on it, sometime back,”.
When asked a renewed push for indegenious manufacturing in telecom sector is all more important given that the red-flags around Chinese made equipment, he responded , “Definitely. Certainly, it is important. Strategically, it is important.”
He added, “We had given our recommendation, where we said that it is in strategic interest of our country to have domestic manufacturing of telecom equipment,”.
The reason is that handsets are there at the edge of the system, as the central nervous system is also extremely important and sensitive piece, and therefore those equipments must be manufactured in the country itself , Sharma said.
“So we have given our suggestions on what should be done to drive that process,” the Trai chairman said.
Lauding the measures taken to the promote local manufacturing of handsets in the country, the production had already reached massive scale and now India must build on that success in indegenous telecom gear.”We are doing handset manufacturing on a very massive scale, and having tasted that success, I am sure we can always build an ecosystem for manufacturing of domestic telecom equipment and we can become a global leader, stated RS Sharma.
So far, India has banned around 106 apps with link to China for being prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and defense of the country. Also the state owned BSNL has cancelled a multi crore tender for upgrade 4G telecom network after the government directed the firms not to use any Chinese equipment.
Sharma declined to comment on the recent app ban, but overall said that digital sovereignty has to be ensured through various policy measures.
“I can say National Digital Communications Policy talks of three areas — connecting India, empowering India in terms of software and third is securing India…and digital sovereignty is one of the stated objectives in NDCP. So digital sovereignty has to be ensured through various policy issues,.what is being done is to ensure digital sovereignty,” Sharma said.