India's Critical Role in the Resilience of the Global Undersea Communications Cable Infrastructure

Commander Sarabjeet Singh Parmar is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile.
Ronald J. Rapp is Director of Industry and Marine Liaison at TE SubCom, Morristown, New Jersey
Franz-Stefan Gady is an Associate at the EastWest Institute, New York
Karl Frederick Rauscher is a Distinguished Fellow and Chief Technology Officer at the EastWest Institute, New York
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  • May 2012


    Asecure maritime environment is vital to India's national security, the security of the South Asia region and, increasingly, to global economic stability. Powerful evidence for this, which is both timely and pointed, is the Global Undersea Communications Cable Infrastructure (GUCCI), connecting India to the rest of the world via cyberspace. This often overlooked critical international infrastructure underpins the internet, is responsible for financial transactions of the order of $10 trillion daily, and is tightly intertwined with India's ability to emerge as one of the world's few cyber superpowers. Private and public sector stakeholders are currently examining a critical aspect of India's role relating to the resilience of GUCCI: the timely repair of damaged cables. Specifically, focused efforts are underway to improve Indian processes for according approval to specialised cable repair ships to enter established maritime zones in order to perform cable repairs. 1 The goal is to ensure that India's process execution speed is within range of best-in-class standards. The important interests that must be addressed in this process encompass five distinct areas across a broad spectrum of concerns: national security; immigration; customs; economics; and safety and environmental concerns. The implementation of newly formulated and proven international best practices is crucial for effectively addressing each of these concerns. Because of India's critical role in the continued operation of multi-national software-based companies, outsourcing services and other aspects of the world's economy, it is imperative that India succeeds in this mission.