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Entrepreneurial thinking [Financial Express (India)]
[November 09, 2012]

Entrepreneurial thinking [Financial Express (India)]

(Financial Express (India) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The October 26th 2012 issue of Morning Whistle, quoting the Chinese language 21st Century Business Herald, said that China Unicom replaced Cisco in one of China's most important networks "China 169", citing product vulnerabilities and back door problems. In short, security reasons. Unsurprisingly enough, this move comes soon after a US Congressional report branded Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp as security threats in the USA. Cisco enjoys a huge market share in China with over 70% share in the China 163 network and 80% share in the China 169 network. These two networks in turn carry over 80% of China's internet traffic.

Now contrast this with the situation in India: The August 26th 2012 issue of The New Indian Express reported this regarding Indian soldiers at Nathu-La in Sikkim "Most of the time, when Indian army men posted at Nathu La in Sikkim dial home, the Chinese mobile towers pick up the signals, therefore turning them into international calls on roaming. Strangely, there are no mobile towers of Indian cell phone providers along the border, though soldiers use their cell phones frequently. It is a peculiar situation. Whenever we try calling home from Nathu La, our cell phones catch signals from the nearby Chinese towers. Many times we end up paying up to R130 for one call," rued a soldier about the problem....Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence had brought to light the poor connectivity issue and said jawans posted at Nathu La were even forced to borrow handsets from their Chinese counterparts on the other side of the fence to stay in touch with their families... The public sector BSNL, which is the major service provider near Nathu La, has not been able to install towers and telephone exchanges there.... This has also created a piquant security situation since the phone calls of our soldiers can be easily monitored by the Chinese".

India's telecom network, on the other hand, is entirely run on imported equipment and, though India is one of the largest and fastest growing telecom markets in the world, there isn't a single Indian telecom company that owns key assets. Telecom is a strategic national asset, particularly in today's world and not having indigenous capability can be a serious detriment to national security. China, realising this fact, has consciously nurtured and supported the creation of telecom powerhouses Huawei and ZTE that are now taking the battle to the US.

Clearly, the pathetic and tragic state of affairs relating to India's strategic thinking on matters of national security is evidenced by our attitude to critical areas such as education, healthcare, sanitation, energy, finance and defence. Investments and innovations in each of these areas can be huge game-changers for the country. However, real reforms-administrative and legal reforms-are necessary for unleashing the enormous entrepreneurial energy for creating solutions for India's problems.

India however, seems content to be a market for the world and at best a low cost contract supplier rather than a branded designer and supplier. To be a branded designer and supplier (Designed and made in India) requires one to have pride in one's name, identity and place in the world. Examples abound from Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Israel, US of how pride and belief in their place in the world helped create and maintain national policy that furthered national agenda. Entrepreneurs played a crucial role in this effort.

India is a huge market and given the incredible complexities and diversity of our country, unique Indian solutions have to be crafted. Why shouldn't Indian entrepreneurs be the ones delivering solutions for India Why can't Indian technology and innovation be the source of solutions for Indian problems This will happen only when those in authority develop a sense of pride and a passionate burning desire, independent of currently available resources, to take India to its destiny. Resources will then be found, sourced and, indeed, created; people will be challenged and energised through audacious goals (remember the Telecom Mission ), policies and procedures will be put in place that will facilitate the achievement of these goals. In short, it is time for those in authority to become entrepreneurial if India isn't to remain a perpetually aspiring and perspiring superpower! Sanjay Anandaram is an advocate of entrepreneurship. He's involved with Nasscom, TiE, IIM-B and Insead. Copyright 2012 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by Credit: Sanjay Anandaram (c) 2012 The Indian Express Online Media Pvt. Ltd., distributed by

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