India’s increases Telecom equipment procurement from local manufacturers

A press release from the Department of Telecommunications indicates the GOI will seek to boost its procurement of domestically manufactured electronic products–including telecom equipment–for government use and industries affecting national security.

The National Telecom Policy-2012 (NTP-2012), inter-alia, has the following objectives to give a boost to the Indian telecom equipment manufacturers in the country:

• Create a system to promote indigenous R&D, IPR creation, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, commercialisation and deployment of state-of-the-art telecom products and services during the 12th five year plan period.

• Provide preference to domestically manufactured telecommunication products, in procurement of those telecommunication products which have security implications for the country and in Government procurement for its own use, consistent with our World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments.

•Provide affordable and reliable broadband-on-demand by the year 2015 and to achieve 175 million broadband connections by the year 2017 and 600 million by the year 2020 at minimum 2 Mbps download speed and making available higher speeds of at least 100 Mbps on demand.

The full policy paper is available here

Despite the boost to local manufacturers, India may have a genuine case about using locally constructed equipment. Huawei, a Chinese firm often cited with ties to the military, has been under investigation by the US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for over a year regarding alleged reports of espionage. In addition, US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks shows substantive internal US and foreign government reporting with concern growing around companies like Huawei.

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