India's Aim For Being Atmanirbhar In Digital Connectivity

CIOReviewIndia Team | Wednesday, 03 February 2021, 09:16 IST

With the ongoing digital progress, India is aiming to becoming Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) in the internet connectivity and mulling for setting up the IPv6 or Internet Protocol version VI-based root server locally to protect the critical digital infrastructure and end the foreign dominance.

The next quote is stated by ITI Limited Chairman, Rakesh Mohan Agarwal said to a renowned media house – “The country has the biggest subscriber branch of IPv6 and it contributes to the total base with 50 percent volume. This initiative will boost a trusted and fully-secured digital infrastructure.”

It was back in 2009, India started its IPv6 roadmap and the task was imposed on the state-run Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) under the leadership of Agarwal, who conducted 50+ workshops nationally for bringing awareness.

Moreover, in 2012, another roadmap was unveiled by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and had penned out the strategy with collaboration with a Japanese laboratory. However, this was slow progress.

Mukesh Ambani, the owner of world-renowned Reliance Jio, which is a native IPv6 operator commands more than two-thirds of India’s IPv6 traffic which also concluded in the rapid progress of India’s IPv6 user base from mere 1 percent to 15 percent in 2016 and was almost 50 percent by the end of 2020.

Agarwal explained, “For taking things to the next level for developments of India’s digital infrastructure, ITI will extend full support. This step will connect devices with IPv6 and protect Digital India program and place the country at an advantageous position.”

The Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi’s Digital India evolution program was launched in 2015 and it aims to facilitate 100 percent mobile telephony, digital delivery of citizen-centric services, and high connective broadband to 1.3 billion Indians.

A topmost ranked official said, “In the third phase of the ambitious IPv6 roadmap, the private sector should come forward and provide a role in protecting the connected infrastructure ingeniously for achieving the Atmanirbhar connectivity rollover of connected Bharat.”

When India has gained successful establishment of root server locally, it will be able to provide multifold benefits since IPv6 can assign nearly 340 trillion IP addresses and corresponding devices in comparison to 4.3 billion IPv6 addresses.

The recent version would also boost billions for the connected devices predicted in the Internet-of-Things (IoT) era following the fifth generation or 5G launch for the commercial sector.

From the present 13 servers, the United States alone hosts 10 of them and two are located in Europe. One is located in Japan, while Russia and China have entered and went ahead to bring their own servers into existence in a step towards ending Western dominance.

Satya N Gupta, an Industry veteran, and Bharat IPv6 Forum Chairman said that a homegrown root server would be critical for security and data protection purposes and outperforming cyber threats.

Satya said, “We have the indigenous capacity. Such an initiative is either taken by the state-run company or a local private entity, and the industry can contribute in making it operational.”

Gupta also said that for the protection of Work-from-Home (WFH) or remote-work culture, it is important and it can integrate a single Virtual Private Network (VPN) address for every individual at home. This technology will be creating an entirely secure infrastructure.

India’s ability for creating a root server requires extensive research and development activity mainly in the software domain, and with administrative head nods, it will be an independent function with IPv6 technology.

Now, when digital connectivity is evolving, where the internet is the key resource for socio-economic development, the root server is the mainstream in the protection and stability of the Internet at the top of the Domain Name System or DNS.

When the prestigious program is approved it might be undertaken by the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI).

Some of the present and the former government officials and veterans like Anil Jain – the chief executive of NIXI, Dr. Govind – former NIXI chief, RK Bahuguna – former chairman of RailTel, and Praveen Misra – a senior scientist at the Education and Research Network (ERNET) have stepped for collaboration in the national initiative.

The recently-launched forum plans to bring a whitepaper on IPv6 by July this year for expanding the advice to the policymakers on the next steps for achieving self-reliance in the Internet wires.

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