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India taps EU to adopt bloc's security recommendations for 5G network

A series of stakeholder meetings are planned among the member states, and the final guidelines are expected by December

Romita Majumdar & Sohini Das  |  Mumbai 

5g, telecom, spectrum, trai

The Indian telecom policymaker and regulator are engaging with their counterparts in the (EU) to standardise norms so that security risks can be captured. This comes even as the telecom operators remain in a fix about rollout amid financial and security concerns.

The European Commission — an institution of the EU, responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the EU treaties and managing the day-to-day business of the EU — is working on a recommendation which addresses cybersecurity risks in networks. The Commission aims to set out guidance on appropriate risk analysis and management measures at the national level, on developing a coordinated European risk assessment and on establishing a process to develop a common toolbox of best risk management measures.

In March-end, a set of recommendations was released. A series of stakeholder meetings are planned among the member states, and the final guidelines are expected by December.

The findings will be shared with the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to help them formulate similar measures for the Indian telecom ecosystem, said Benoit Sauveroche, first counselor delegation of the EU to India, on the sidelines of the 5G India 2019 conference in Mumbai.

“Communication infrastructure is so deeply interconnected that any digital threat to one of the member states can impact all of the others. We are taking inputs from all members on what are the likely risks that they see and our relationship with the Indian telecom regulator ensures that we can share our finding for them to incorporate in their future planning around 5G risks as well,” said Sauveroche.

India, he claimed, was keen on engaging with the EU on the matter.

“We met the director of Trai and he explained a set of measures that have already been taken to ensure that (5G) auctions give the best results. It will help us issue minimum security standards and will be of interest to India as well. We are working with the Telecom Engineering Center (TEC) and the DoT is also interested in this in order to develop the framework,” he added. The TEC is a technical body representing interests of the DoT.

Sauveroche said experts from India would visit the testing laboratories in the EU and possibly even the manufacturers to understand the security concerns. With the US recently raising concerns around telecom equipment from China, all geographies are analysing the situation for security risks but also to ensure that countries are not pulled into a trade war between the two larger nations.

Chinese technology giant Huawei, which is under fire in the US over alleged breach of sensitive user information, has offered to sign a “no-backdoor” agreement with the Indian government to allay concerns that it might use its telecom gear for surveillance.

Huawei’s top competitors are European telecommunication giants Ericsson and Nokia although the Chinese company holds a bulk of 5G patents in the market.

Huawei has made similar offers to other governments that have banned or are debating an entry into 5G telephony.

First Published: Wed, June 26 2019. 22:47 IST