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The telecom sector is acknowledged to be a force multiplier with spillovers across various sectors of industry. Its integral role in society makes it not only a pillar of national security but also a proxy for measuring a country's technological advancement. China's dominant position in the telecom sector can be traced back to its edge in low- cost manufacturing of telecom equipment. However, superior capabilities in hardware manufacturing coupled with advances in artificial intelligence and China's national experience of deploying the world's largest data network in the shadow of weak privacy laws have turbo-charged its capabilities into a potent weapon against countries with lesser capabilities. India is part of a long list of countries that are grappling with the dilemma of balancing cost and security when it comes to deployment of telecom networks. China has leveraged such vulnerability of countries by making Huawei's acceptability a policy objective of its foreign policy. What is the nature and extent of India's dependency on China in the telecom sector? How did this come about? What risks does this entail for the State, consumers and industry players? How can India reduce dependency? What lessons can be learnt to ensure such dependency on China does not repeat in other sectors? We will combine different perspectives from domains of policy, industry, and technology to deliver clarity on this topical issue to our audience.

About the Speakers

Smita Purushottam served as Ambassador to Venezuela (Jan 2012 - Jun 2015), Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Holy See (Aug 2015-Oct 2017). Her most formative experience was as Counsellor Economic at the Indian Embassy in Beijing, where she had the opportunity to see Chinese economic reforms first-hand, which she analysed and relayed back to India. She is founder of the non-profit Do Tank "SITARA", a Science, Indigenous Technology and Advanced Research Accelerator, to bring increased vigour to the indigenisation of high-tech production and building a Science Nation in India.

Rajiv Mahajan is working as Senior Vice President at Tejas Networks, as a member of the core startup team to drive the sales and marketing initiative for the company. He also takes a keen interest in public policy, working towards supporting and promoting domestic manufacturing with value addition, product development and IP creation in India. He holds an MS in Computer Science from BITS, Pilani and an Engineering Graduate from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

Charulatha V is a Solutions Architect with Larsen & Toubro Smart World and Military Communications. Her expertise lies in network requirements in routing, switching, microwave and mesh radio, LTE base station, EPC, IMS, application servers with QoS, RF planning, cell planning, power and weight budgets for deployment scenarios.

Parag Naik is CEO at Saankhya, and has 28 years of industry experience. Parag is considered one of the foremost experts on Software Defined Radios (SDR) and Cognitive Radios as a technology for telecom, broadcasting, and is one of the inventors of the 5G Broadcast Broadband Technology. He is a named inventor on 40+ international patents in the areas of VLSI design, CPU/SDR architecture, Digital Communications, Signal Processing and Hardware-Software Co-design/ Code generators.

About the Chair

Santosh Pai is Honorary Fellow and Treasurer at the Institute of Chinese Studies, and a partner at Link Legal, an Indian law firm. He holds a B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NLSIU, Bangalore, LL.M. (Chinese law) from Tsinghua University, Beijing and an MBA from Vlerick University, Belgium (Peking University campus). Mr. Santosh Pai is also a member of CII's Core Group on China, teaches two courses on India-China business at IIM Shillong and volunteers at NGOs in his free time.

Webinar details and guidelines


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For ease of meeting attendance, it is recommended participants use the Zoom application on their respective devices. Please ensure you join the meeting only once, and that you remain muted throughout the event. To pose questions, participants may send in questions via the chatbox or use the Raise Hand option. Only unmute yourself if called upon to do so by the Chair. Participants are required to enter their names while joining the meeting for ease of interaction during discussions. The meeting room will be open 3 PM IST onwards, with the talk formally starting at 3:30 PM IST. The talk will also be live-streamed on ICS's YouTube Channel, linked here.



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