An inter-ministerial team has sought a total ban on overseas sourcing of telecom equipment connected to all vital systems. This comes following an apprehension of cyber interference and subsequent domination by China. The panel has also called for total domestic sourcing for all related projects. The projects that have been identified for total domestic sourcing are: national optic fibre network, spectrum network, defence communication networks, national knowledge network, communication projects of utility sectors like Indian Railways, oil, gas and power. The report is titled ‘Preference to Domestically Manufactured Electronic & Telecom Goods in Procurement, due to Security Considerations, and in Government Procurement’ and was released on 19 July.
“India’s territorial boundaries are adjacent to unfriendly neighbours. If any critical network is built using equipment from hostile countries and the same is shut down for a small time period, the country’s security will be seriously compromised,” stated the report. “For this very reason, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, who also are in close geographical proximity to hostile countries, do not allow any critical network to be built using equipment from such countries,” it added.
“Since most of the products are already available in the country or can be developed in the required timelines, it must be ensured that 100 per cent of the requirement of critical equipment for such projects should be domestically manufactured at the earliest,” suggests the report.
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