Amid security concerns over the probable participation of Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei in India’s 5G roll out process, a professor at Indian Institute of Technology Madras has stressed that only 100 per cent indigenisation of technology can make the country secure in the era of the fifth generation cellular network.
“The primary concern in 5G roll out is security. 5G is important because of the scale of impact it can have on the economy and human life in general,” said V Kamakoti, while delivering a lecture at Indian Council of World Affairs.
With the roll out of 5G, transmission speed could be many times higher than 4G and services such as collaborative manufacturing and remote surgery could be possible. But in case bad actors exploit any vulnerability in the system, there could be data leakage and denial of services.
“When it comes to national security, we cannot take any chances,” he added.
While he said that it would not be advisable to skip rolling out 5G altogether fearing security issues, India, should nevertheless start pushing the indigenisation of technology.
“While indigenisation cannot be achieved overnight, there should be a concrete plan for indigenisation from day one and policy makers should have an India-specific 5G roll out model,” he said, while addressing a packed house.
While deploying 5G, it is especially important not to have the software and hardware from the same vendor, explained the professor of computer science and engineering.
“Indigenous microprocessors and nano sensor design research and development and its mandatory use need to be encouraged,” Kamakoti said.
The professor recommended that the government step forward to nurture indigenisation and create Indian tech giants with the necessary enabling mechanism from the government to support their sustenance.
“Identify promising Indian 5G equipment industries and source-fund them,” he said, giving examples of Signalchips, Nivetti and Tejas Networks.
“Chip-fund should be monitored by a committee coordinated by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,” he said, adding that to ensure security India should also have printed circuit board testing facility for supply chain vulnerabilities.
According to Kamakoti, while the government should take care to maintain existing Indian infrastructure such as BSNL and MTNL, it is also time for India to start planning for a 6G network.
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