'BSNL Has 60% Chinese Dependency': On Security, Lt Gen DS Hooda Wants India to Take Cue from Beijing

News18.com

New Delhi: Citing China's recent order, Lieutenant General Deependra Singh Hooda (retd) on Tuesday said that it was time India replaced foreign hardware, particularly from critical infrastructure.

"Two days ago the Chinese administration gave directions that all foreign hardware and software from government office and public institutions be replaced by individual equipment, and this will be done over a period of three years. It is a staggering 30 million pieces of hardware that are going to be taken out of Chinese government system and replaced by the indigenous system," Lt Gen, who oversaw the 2016 surgical strikes, said at the third edition of News18.com's Tech and Auto Awards here.

The former Northern Army Commander further said that even state-owned telecommunications company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited or BSNL, has 60% Chinese dependency.

"Now we might turn around and say a lot of this is due to commercial interest and may be that is true. But there is also a security aspect that we cannot ignore. And here I find a strange hesitancy in the Indian system to try and at least move towards replacing foreign hardware and software to indigenous products, particularly from critical infrastructure. So BSNL still has 60% Chinese decency. Military communication networks have very large dependency on American Cisco products. I think it's time that we need to move towards greater indigenisation, and the government has a policy that preference be given to indigenous products in IT. But I think this policy needs much greater strengthening," he said.

Hooda, who was the keynote speaker for this year's, spoke on 'India's Next Battlefield Would Be Cyberspace', a day after Financial Times reported that Beijing has ordered all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software within three years. The report stated that that move could hit major US firms including Microsoft, Dell and HP.

China's move comes against the backdrop of the ongoing US-China trade war in which technology has been front and center.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Science and Technology, Harsh Vadhan, who was also present at the event said that he will be in Chennai in a few weeks to lay the foundation stone of Rs 100 crore lithium-ion battery unit, which will be led by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).