News Release

Indian Government and Cisco Systems Collaborate on Internet Training and Research

Global Internet leader to help India build world-class networking infrastructure
May 23, 2000

NEW DELHI, India -- 23 May 2000 -- ERNET India, an autonomous society under the Ministry of Information Technology of the Government of India, and Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that includes a strategic collaboration on advancing training and research in networking and Internet technologies.

The agreement was signed during the visit of Mr Pramod Mahajan, Minister of Information Technology, Government of India to Mr John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems in Cisco's corporate headquarters in San Jose, California. Mr Chambers also shared with Mr Mahajan that Cisco is committed to increasing its presence in India and helping the country to build a world-class networking infrastructure.

Mr Mahajan, during the meeting, emphasized the importance of a good infrastructure in the country and said "that while India has excellent educational institutions and produces nearly 100,000 engineers a year, a partnership between India and Cisco to enhance and develop the data and telecommunications infrastructure would truly be a win-win situation for both."

Under the terms of the MoU, ERNET will build the infrastructure for a Center of Excellence that will showcase state-of-the-art technologies, including the leading networking solutions from Cisco. The main aim of the center will be to raise technology awareness in the country, especially among government organizations. Both ERNET and Cisco will also explore various means of providing networking and Internet training in India, to support the Ministry of Information Technology's strategy to increase the number of information technology trained professionals.

"The mind-boggling information technology revolution, driven by the Internet, has made the world a global village. ERNET has made a significant contribution to the emergence of the Internet in the country but this agreement with Cisco, the global leader in the Internet, will yield great benefit for India and its information technology industry," said Dr Gulshan Rai, Executive Director of ERNET India.

Said Mr Prem Jain, Vice President of Enterprise Line of Business, Cisco Systems: "It is an honor for us to be able to engage the Government of India at the very highest levels and through this contribute to the development of the country. There is no doubt about the strategic importance of India in the New Internet Economy and our rapidly growing R&D lab in Bangalore is a testament to that."

The contributions of ERNET to bringing the Internet to India include building a large network that provides various facilities to the intellectual segment of Indian society - the research and education community - in the process becoming a trendsetter in the field of networking. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has lauded ERNET as one of the most successful programs it has funded. The Government of India has committed itself to further strengthen the project by including it in the 9th Plan and by creating a new organizational set-up in the form of a Society.

Mr Anil Batra, President, India and SAARC Region, Cisco Systems, said: "There is no better fit than the leader in the Internet in India working closely with the leader in the global Internet. The synergies from this relationship will be significant not only for India and the surrounding region but for the world at large. We are standing on the doorway of history."

About ERNET India

ERNET (Education and Research Network) was initiated in 1986 by the Department of Electronics (DoE), with funding support from the Government of India and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), involving eight premier institutions as participating agencies - NCST (National Centre for Software Technology) Bombay, IISc (Indian Institute of Science) Bangalore, five IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) at Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Chennai-, and the DoE, New Delhi. ERNET began as a multiprotocol network with both the TCP/IP and the OSI-IP protocol stacks running over the leased-line portion of the backbone. Since 1995, however, almost all traffic is carried over TCP/IP.

Today ERNET is an autonomous society under the Ministry of Information Technology and its objectives are: providing state-of-the-art communication infrastructure and services to academic and research institutions, government organizations, NGOs, private sector R&D organizations, and various other non-commercial organizations; research and development; training and consultancy; and content development.

About Cisco Systems

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