India is considering making use of local chips mandatory for defense, space and atomic energy sectors.
According to a report by Economic Times, “the Make in India campaign is set to make the sectors source chips from local vendors to boost domestic semiconductor manufacturing business and also meet the national security standards.”
“A meeting that included top government representatives from department of space, atomic energy, information technology and defense was recently held at the Niti Aayog and there have been discussions on the matter,” the news daily quoted unnamed sources as saying.
India is trying to set up two semi-conductor fabrication facilities that were cleared by the UPA government in 2013 but have still not taken off given a lack of direction and government support for the very high investment units. Officials say that the government is aware that 'Made in India' chips and electronics are necessary in national interest, given the dependence currently India has on imported products that can be rigged and bugged.
"There is a fear of overdependence on foreign sources for such a vital thing. Cases of spurious and even suspicious electronic parts from abroad have come to light, making it necessary for at least the core strategic sectors to have an Indian option," a senior official was quoted as saying by ET.
Officials have also identified cyber security at a key area where India made chips can be encouraged, given that it falls within the purview of the government. By most estimates, the strategic electronics industry in India is worth over Rs 12,000 crore annually and growing.
"It is clear that the semi-conductor industry has to stand up on its own and be competitive. However, the industry will never take off on its own due to the global competition. Encouragement in the form of a firm, committed market will be useful in starting the industry," the senior official said.