In continued push to Modi’s aggressively marketed MakeInIndia campaign, Chinese telecom gear manufacturing giant Huawei’s 19 months old proposal to set up a manufacturing unit in Tamil Nadu, has finally been given security clearance by The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) (via ET).
As per the officials, the proposal which was submitted on December 12, 2013 by Huawei Telecommunications (India) had been cleared last week by the ministry.
The ministry asked the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and Department of Telecom to consider reserving critical positions, such as officer in charge of technical operations, chief security officer, etc. for Indian nationals as a measure of security.
Along with setting up manufacturing unit for electronics/telecom hardware, it will also start support services including trading and logistics activities at SIPCOT Special Economic Zone, Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
For the first time, the Chinese telecom behemoth will be able to manufacture telecom gears in India. This will come as a huge relief for Huawei, whose approval was stalled as some security agencies had expressed their concerns about gears being infected by malware or bugs.
In addition to technical, quality and interface parameters, the Department of Telecom will also draw “mandatory security parameters” to enable the definition of clear security standards for technical equipment relating to network system.
The ministry has also specified that there should be continuous testing and audit of networks, after the deployment of such equipment and that all these requirements and systems should be in place in a one-year time-frame.
Recently, the Home Ministry, in advancement of Modi government’s “Ease of Business” and “Make in India” initiatives, remodelled its security clearance norms to ease country-specific barriers. The new guidelines welcome investment from countries of concern like China, while proposing a mandatory national security clause in the contract as well as post-investment monitoring to rule out anti-national activities in India.
Huawei India has an existing SEZ in Chennai where it builds optical network transmission systems, but which are meant purely for export markets like China, APAC & the Middle East. It had also recently invested about $170 million in an R&D facility in Bengaluru.