No tie up with Huawei to set up equipment testing lab: Kapil Sibal

Thursday, 30 June 2011, 13:30 Hrs
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New Delhi: Amid security concerns, India has decided to conduct testing and certification of software and hardware of all foreign telecom companies and has initiated the process with Huawei of China.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said the decision had been taken in view of the fact that 70-80 per cent of telecom equipment are imported and have been deployed largely by the private service providers.

In order to perform 'Testing' on recent generation of telecom hardware being manufactured world over, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore was entrusted with the job to set up a lab at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore of which Rs 50 crore would be funded by the government.

The IISc had simultaneously approached several vendors including Cisco, Juniper, Huawei from the US, Europe and Asia to share internal details of their telecom equipment like detailed design document and internal architecture which are vital for detailed testing.

"Huawei responded proactively before other vendors and hence requisite MoU got signed on June 15 between the IISC and Huawei," Sibal said while rejecting the apprehensions that the government has collaborated with Huawei to provide documentation, expertise, methods and standards for studying telecom equipment.

"We are not collaborating with any company to set up our testing laboratory," he said while making it clear that all the foreign vendors will have to share their architecture for India to develop its own security protocol.

In case of any breach of security, the service providers and vendors would be held responsible and it may lead to cancellation of their licences and imposition of hefty penalties.

He also clarified that the Department of Telecom (DoT) has full support from the Ministry of Home Affairs over this project.

In order to set up domestic testing facility, the IISc had run a pilot project for Center for Telecom testing and Security Certification.

"It may be understood that Huawei is not helping IISc Bangalore to setup any Lab as the institution set up the same as part of the pilot project, where in all equipment and software are theirs," Sibal added.

Detailed Design Document and Internal Architecture are common details that the companies would share with 'Testing Laboratories' world over but not to any ordinary buyer.

Indian Institute of Sciences Bangalore (IISc) had contacted simultaneously several vendors from the US, Europe and Asia to give the internal details, for getting their telecom equipment tested. Selection of vendor is an ongoing process and more vendors from the US, Europe and Asia will be selected for getting their telecom gear tested, as soon as they respond positively to IISc/ DoT.

Further, given the commercially secretive nature of such valuable information, all vendors normally insist that testing laboratories should sign 'Non-Disclosure-Agreement', prohibiting labs to make their study report public in manner prejudicial to business interests of vendor, without explicit prior consent vendor.

On the issue of European vendors, Sibal added, "We are waiting for the European vendors also. If they want to do business with India they have to come forward."

Replying to a question on whether the scams in the telecom sector have impacted the investment in this area, Sibal said, "I don't think so. The Indian market is too deep in India to destroy the confidence of the telecom vendors. The market has depth the market has enormous potential and the fact is that even while what is happening is happening vendors are coming to me saying we are totally committed to the Indian market.
Source: PTI
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