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Yogesh Singh asked: In view of serious security risks in a 5G network, can India rely on foreign vendors (including non-Chinese) to roll out 5G networks in the country?

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  • Munish Sharma replies: India is not a key player in the technology design, development or manufacturing of telecommunication equipment and, therefore, 5G is quite likely to rest upon either technology imports or equipment manufactured under license in India. The Report of the 5G High Level Forum had aptly pointed out towards the dire need of building India’s capacity in core technology development and manufacturing of telecommunication equipment. Since imports account for a whopping 90 per cent of India’s overall telecommunication equipment market, the concerns over foreign surveillance would always loom large, whether it is Huawei (China), Nokia (Finland), or Ericsson (Sweden). Under these circumstances where security threats in the form of backdoors are very much pertinent and domestic capacity is limited, it would be a good proposition to build competency for security evaluation and assurance of the telecommunication equipment at both source-code and hardware levels.

    For details, please refer to my following publications:

    Munish Sharma, “The Road to 5G: Technology, Politics and Beyond”, MP-IDSA Monograph, No. 65, 2019.

    Munish Sharma, “To Ban, or Not to Ban Huawei”, MP-IDSA Comment, April 03, 2019.

    Posted on November 27, 2020

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.