Indian government will reportedly change the process of issuing official tenders and selecting contractors to work on key technology infrastructure sectors, a top government official revealed to CNN-News18. According to the official, the move is in line with the Indian government’s increased focus on data and cyber security, which have come under increasing scrutiny in light of China’s cyber espionage activities on India.
According to the official, the Indian government is in process of ramping up enhancing security in all levels, including the nation’s online security framework. However, this is being seemingly done as a precautionary step in response to China’s attempts at cyber espionage, and no critical sectors of India have been compromised, according to CNN-News18’s sources. China, it was noted recently, has been using private “intelligence” players track over 10,000 Indian citizens and create surveillance maps for them.
Such surveillance maps can lead to China attempting to interfere with Indian socio-political affairs. As a precautionary measure, the government of India has over the past two months banned over 200 apps that had ties to China, with TikTok and PUBG Mobile being two heavily popular apps that were also banned. Prior to this, the Indian government had also actively discouraged Chinese infrastructure players such as Huawei and ZTE from participating in India’s 5G trials.
According to the official, the Indian government will change the process of tech tenders, which so far was based on the lowest bidder winning the government contract. Such a structure, it has been noted, has helped Chinese companies win numerous contracts with the Indian government. Now, under a new tender structure, the government will give preference to Make in India and Aatmanirbhar startups and companies in order to promote homegrown services in the country. This, he said, will also work to push economic change in India.
So far, Reliance Jio, India’s largest mobile telecom operator, has announced the rollout of Jio 5G, which is has said will be built entirely from scratch in India. Furthermore, following a ban on TikTok, Indian startups such as ShareChat, Roposo, Chingari and Koo took centerstage in response to Chinese services being suspended. These instances are being highlighted as India’s ability to sustain itself entirely, while minimising China’s access to India’s cyberspace.