India’s first ever Mobile Congress kicked off in New Delhi last month with the goal of fostering digital inclusion across the country. A number of government ministers, officials, as well as top industry executives from around the world, spoke at the inaugural event. I am writing to you today to share some of the key messages I conveyed during my keynote address at IMC.

India’s Internet Wave – It’s Massive, and It’s Growing

India is experiencing unprecedented digital growth. With more than 400 million current users, the country’s Internet adoption is the second largest in the world (China’s is first)… and it is growing. As its citizens embrace new technologies, a massive number of connections are coming online. These users are expecting more services and better experiences—as a result, consumption is pressing heavily on the limits of the country’s current broadband infrastructure.

Source: NVI

This chart depicts the digital revolution that is underway in India. Over the next four years, Internet usage is expected to double to more than 829 million users. While the numbers are impressive, the outcome that touches me most is the impact this will have on job creation, economic expansion, and most importantly, social and economic empowerment.

We are witnessing a similar digital revolution across the globe. In my point of view, there are three main factors that enable digitization: a high-quality/secure infrastructure, sustainable business models, and ease of doing business (enabled by a robust policy framework). While these three enabling factors are critical for accelerating digitization anywhere in the world, in India, it takes on some unique characteristics.

Yet, Challenges Abound

The scale, speed of transformation, and the cost structures needed pose a unique challenge in India. While improving customer experiences, simplifying operations, reducing costs, increasing network flexibility, and heightening network security are table stakes, a new paradigm of operations is required to succeed. Unconventional, nonlinear innovation— such as the innovation that we can deliver through mass scale networking and automation—is what India needs.

How Can Cisco Help?

Cisco’s strategic solution frameworks is our blue print for economies like India to truly embrace digitization. Our solution framework encourages innovative products and services that enable mass-scale networking. Automation is critical, as running networks manually is not sustainable. In addition, we are enabling new business models – both business-to-business and business-to-consumer offerings – that derive new revenue streams such as video, security, internet, and enterprise services.

Cisco in India

We are fortunate and honored to be at the center of this exciting journey with India. Already, we are engaging with central and state governments, as well as private enterprises (including our major service provider customers) to guide this transformation.India is not just a country that we do business in—we have shared values and we are on a shared journey. That is why we are very aligned to the government’s initiatives around Skill India, Startup India, Digital India, and Make in India.

India’s economy is gaining huge momentum from digitization and is creating a significant Socio-economic impact. Every second, three Indians experience the Internet for the very first time. This means a great deal to a farmer or a student

— In terms of equalizing opportunity and empowering them. Digital growth will help create jobs, promote innovation, positively influence the GDP, and enable citizen welfare.

Some examples include:

  • Rural India – 250,000 villages will be connected to the Internet by 2019.
  • Education – the Indian government is aiming to train 400 million people in different skills by 2022. Cisco has committed to train 250,000 by 2020.
  • Innovation – Cisco’s Innovation Labs and Centers of Excellence will touch 200 new startups. India now ranks third in global startups.
  • GDP – 20% of all transactions are online. By 2020, India’s internet industry will double to $250 billion and contribute 7.5% of the GDP and Cisco will be playing a key role in this transformation.
  • Healthcare – India is currently ranked 127th by the World Health Organization. By the end of 2018, citizens across India will benefit from E-Healthcare, which includes virtual consultations, online medical records, and online medicine supplies.

In addition, Cisco is playing a proactive role in shaping India’s digital landscape through the CDA (Country Digital Acceleration) program.

Our Journey Ahead

As we look ahead, I believe the acronym SCALE tells us what to focus on:

  • Skill building: we will continue to partner and grow our educational programs in India such as NetAcad, digital classrooms, and collaboration with universities.
  • Create: India is Cisco’s second largest R&D center
    (Silicon Valley being the largest). We will continue to invest in this valuable development resource both for India and for the rest of the world. Because of the unique, non-linear innovation opportunities, anything we build and operationalize in India can potentially succeed elsewhere in the world.
  • Accelerate: we will continue to collaborate with India to accelerate growth, transformation, and prosperity for Indian and global citizens.
  • Lead: we will continue to develop the business models, products, and services that we create in India, and we will lead with them globally.
  • Ecosystem: we will continue to grow our successful ecosystem, comprising the Indian government, private-sector companies, educational institutions, and industry associations.

These are exciting times for India, and Cisco is proud to be a part of this shared journey. We look forward to continuing to partner closely to develop innovative solutions that help transform India and the world.

If you are interested in learning more about Cisco’s investment in India, I encourage you to check out the video.

Best regards,



Sumeet Arora

SVP Engineering

Core Software Group - US