Govt clears text of India-Japan pact for 5G cooperation

Govt clears text of India-Japan pact for cooperation in 5G, telecom security

The pact is likely to be signed when PM Modi and the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga meet at the annual bilateral summit

Representative image. Credit: iStockPhoto

India on Thursday approved the text of the proposed India-Japan agreement for cooperation in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) amid growing concern over snooping by Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation of China.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the proposed Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC).

Officials said that the MoC will pave the way for cooperation between the two countries in various fields like the rollout of 5G network, telecom security, submarine cable, standard certification of communication equipment, utilisation of the latest wireless technologies, capacity building, public protection and disaster relief, Artificial Intelligence, BlockChain, Spectrum Chain and Spectrum Management.

It will also set the framework for bilateral cooperation in multilateral platforms, they said.

The pact is likely to be inked when Modi and the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will hold the next annual bilateral summit.

They also sign the pact on cybersecurity cooperation which was approved by the government on October 7.

The government said the MoC would further enhance opportunities for India to get into the global standardisation process, apart from helping it strengthen its ICT infrastructure and the development of future submarine cable networks and technologies will help in boost connectivity of mainland India to remote areas.

A government press release issued after the Cabinet meeting said, “the MoC aims to promote human capacity building in the field of ICTs and further development of the startup ecosystem which will contribute in realising the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat.” 

Tokyo had in December 2018 banned the use of Huawei equipment in rolling out 5G technology in Japan, months after President Donald Trump’s administration did so in the US.

Japan’s telecom giants Rakuten Mobile Inc, NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. have already launched 5G mobile internet service.

Notwithstanding pressure from the US to exclude companies based in China, Modi government had on December 30 last year announced its decision to let all network equipment makers, including Huawei, to participate in the 5G trial in India.

In the wake of the stand-off between the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, New Delhi earlier this year banned the use of several apps linked to China-based companies.

But Modi government last month informed the Parliament that it had no plan to keep Huawei and ZTE Corporation out of the 5G rollout in India.