EU welcomes India's decision to open telecom to FDI, concern about in-house testing

NEW DELHI: The European Union has noted with satisfaction India’s recent decision not to use security as justification for domestic manufacturing preference policies in telecom and electronic goods; and not to extend restrictive measures to private procurement (e.g. of telecom operators as licensees for radio spectrum).

The EU has also supported India's decision to open up the telecom sector to foreign direct investment (foreign ownership had been limited to 74 per cent).

During a meeting of the EU-India Joint ICT Working Group met in Brussels, EU expressed concerns about mandatory 'in country' testing and certification of telecom network elements by Indian labs and demanded that mutual recognition for example under the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement (CCRA) should be accepted. India has also mandated compulsory registration of 15 groups of consumer electronics products in order to comply with Indian product safety standards.

It was decided at the meeting that two sub-groups will be established: one on Market Access and ICT Manufacturing (lead: EU) and another on internet security (lead: India) which should focus on matters of network and information security and provide input to EU-India Cyber Security Consultations.

Both sides highlighted the crucial role ICT research and innovation can play in tackling the economic and societal challenges of our time, and agreed to deepen cooperation in this area. Interest was expressed particularly in the areas of e-Infrastructures, High Performance Computing, Cloud Computing, Wireless Broadband Communications, Internet of Things, and Electronics. Cooperation was proposed, inter alia on standardisation and interoperability matters, for which follow-up is envisaged.

The Indian delegation was referred to the High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility as the "one-stop shop" where concerns regarding the ease of mobility of Indian IT professionals could be addressed.

India's request for "data adequacy status" under the EU data protection legislation (which is of high importance for Indian services and business process outsourcing businesses), will need to be addressed to an expert group of national data protection authorities, which is ready to meet with Indian representatives in order to advance the dialogue.

The EU delegation was led by Gerard de Graaf, Director, DG Connect, and the Indian side by Raj Kumar Goyal, Joint Secretary for International Cooperation in the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

DigitalEurope had hosted the EU-India ICT Industry Dialogue, where leading industry experts from Europe and India met with delegations of the Government of India (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) and of the EU (European Commission – DG Connect and European External Action Service). There was a unanimous call by both Indian and European participants for global approaches and global solutions.

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