Large Chinese telecom imports a worry: PM

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Prime minister Manmohan Singh recently expressed concern on Chinese telecom equipment in large quantities.

Singh articulated his worry at the sixth India Telecom event backed by sponsors including China’s ZTE Corporation.

While telecommunication networks could be set up with imported equipment, it becomes a concern when a large telecom network in a country like ours requires continuous large imports, Singh said. India has nearly 880 million wireless subscribers split amongst private and public-sector operators.

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“Keeping in view growth potential for manufacture of telecom equipment in our country, our strategic and security interests, there is an urgent need to give impetus to domestic Research & Development and manufacturing in the telecom sector,” prime minister Singh said.

Two years back, national security advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon had for the first time brought to fore security implications of large-scale Chinese imports especially in sectors like Telecom having strategic implications.

Prime minister said that a thriving telecom manufacturing industry would have large positive impact on sectors like electronics manufacturing value chain apart from generating other benefits like additional employment.

Electronics value chain has been identified as one crucial area where the government proposes to push up investments through a fiscal incentive package shortly.

Touching on industry-government differences on issues like spectrum licensing, intra-circle roaming and one-time fee, Singh acknowledged the concerns raised by the industry.

“To help our country realise its potential fully in telecommunications sector, we are working on National Telecom Policy 2011. I am aware of some concerns of the telecom industry regarding government policies in the telecom sector. I wish to reassure industry of the government’s full commitment to sustaining growth, creativity and enterprise in this vitally important sector of our economy,” he said.

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