India, Russia discuss IT cooperation

Nikolai Nikiforov. Source: Sergey Mikheev / Olesya Kurlyaeva / RG

Nikolai Nikiforov. Source: Sergey Mikheev / Olesya Kurlyaeva / RG

Russian Minister of Communication Nikolai Nikiforov and Indian Minister of Communication and Information Technologies Ravi Shankar Prasad spoke about joint software development and the reduction of roaming costs on international calls within India and Russia.

India and Russia discussed cooperation in the domain of information technology ahead of an international conference in South Korea.

Russian Minister of Communication Nikolai Nikiforov held a discussion with Indian Minister of Communications and Information Technologies Ravi Shankar Prasad on cooperation in the field of information technology, as well as on the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding for the reduction of tariffs for international calls while roaming between Russia and India. The meeting was held within the framework of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference hosted by South Korea.

Nikiforov said Russia is interested in the diversification of its high-tech equipment supply and hopes for a more active promotion and use of Russian software on the Indian market. “The development of IT products and software has traditionally been a strong point of India. We welcome possible joint projects in the field and closer contacts between Russian and Indian companies,” he said.

Nikiforov and Prasad also discussed the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding for the reduction of tariffs for international calls and roaming rates between Russia and India. The draft document emphasizes a mutual concern for high roaming costs and a fixed agreement by the two countries to hold bilateral talks for agreements on new tariffs and the dates when they will take effect.

“In light of modern conditions, the widespread availability of information and the ability to communicate are of paramount importance. We hope for a speedy response from the Indian side to the earlier draft of the memorandum,” Nikiforov said.

Nikiforov also voiced Russia’s position in the field of information security. “The current model for the management of critical Internet resources will not be feasible if the need arises to ensure the independent functioning of individual BRICS countries domestic internet segments,” he said.

The Russian Minister and his Indian counterpart also discussed the Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL) joint venture, which is a subsidiary of AFK Sistema.

SSTL has dealt with difficult conditions in India. As a result of the 2G scam, the Russian company, which was not involved in the scandal, lost its licenses in 21 circles in the country. It rebid for spectrum and operates in 9 circles.

The issuance of new licenses and frequencies, which were acquired in February 2013, were not accessible until October 2013. But now, the requirements of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India allegedly make it difficult for SSTL to acquire the necessary 1.25 MHz in the 800 MHz band frequency for its carrier.

“In the event that the purchase of an additional 1.25 MHz by SSTL is not possible, the company will be deprived of long-term development prospects. That situation would be detrimental to our bilateral business cooperation,” Nikiforov said.

The parties also agreed that both sides will not monopolize the software development market.

First published in Russian by IKS Media.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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