India, Russia moot setting up JV to produce telcom hardware

"Russia is among the four countries, including the US, Taiwan and Korea, which have the capacity of making silicon chips for 3G and WiMax," Raja told reporters at the end of his Moscow leg of five-day Russia visit.

The idea of an Indo-Russian JV in India came up after Raja visited the Micron Company here, which produces silicon chips.

"I was highly impressed. It is an integrated company with full cycle of production from silicon wafers to micro chips. We will welcome technical and financial contribution from Russia in the JV," Raja said.

Raja is the first Indian Telecom and IT Minister to visit Russia after a gap of nine years since the former IT Minister Pramod Mahajan's Moscow visit in September 2001. The government then had vowed to invest heavily in the Russian IT sector, famous for its hi-end software.

Raja had parleys with his Russian counterpart Igor Shchegolev in Moscow to explore the possibilities for interaction in IT and telecom.

"We believe that joint work will bring information and communication technology to the masses. The two sides have agreed to sign a MoU to this effect," Raja said.
Russia is among the first few countries to implement commercial cellular networks of WiMax. At present they function in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi and some other cities.

"We believe that this technology is ready for export," Russian IT and Mass Media minister Shchegolev told Raja.

The two ministers expressed satisfaction at the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the space-based navigation system GLONASS and productive activities of Russian-Indian venture Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL), marketing cellular services in India under MTS brand.

Raja also visited the hi-tech Emergency Response Centre of the disaster management authority of the country in Moscow, which continuously receives online data from all over the country and automatically disseminates it among the concerned bodies.

"I was highly impressed by the centre. I think our Home Minister will visit it and the IT Ministry on its part is ready to help in creating such centre badly needed by India," Raja said.

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