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Cisco Targets transportation and Infrastructure Modernisation Opportunity in India

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Based in US the computer networking gear developer, Cisco is looking for an opportunity to exploit transportation and infrastructure modernisation potential in India, which is expected to attract $500 billion in investments in the next 5 years. The company is aiming to tap projects related to highways, ports, airports and railways by selling its technology and services.

“The government, over the next five years, irrespective of which party comes into power, would spend about $500 billion on [modernisation of these sectors],” said Sameer Garde, president, Cisco India and SAARC, in an interview. “We think that is a big area of focus,” said Mr. Garde, who has set up new digital transformation office that would focus only on such sectors.

India would need an investment of about $4.5 trillion till 2040 to develop infrastructure to improve economic growth and community well-being, says Global Infrastructure Hub.

Its report ‘Global Infrastructure Outlook’, says India’s infrastructure investment need makes it the second largest infrastructure market in Asia after China.

Mr. Garde considers sectors like transportation and infrastructure as part of the company’s ‘big impact’ projects. These also include industries such as manufacturing, defence and projects like national broadband. “We bagged one of our largest [telecom] deals with the Indian defence in the last quarter,” Mr. Garde said.

He, however, declined to reveal the specific name or contract size of the deal. Mr. Garde said Cisco had also won 18 out the 23 smart city projects bid in the country.

In September, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and signed agreements with BSNL and government think-tank NITI Aayog. The company is setting up a lab along with BSNL to demonstrate the use case of 5G technology, the fifth-generation mobile network.

These ‘big impact’ projects contributed significantly to the India growth of Cisco. Last month, it reported first quarter results for the period ended October 27, 2018. Its revenue globally rose 8 % to $13.1 billion compared to the year earlier and the company witnessed a robust growth in Asia-Pacific. “India has been the only geography which grew at 50% plus for two quarters in a row,” Mr. Garde said.

Through Cisco Networking Academy, the company is also re-skilling its employees as well as individuals in new emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and big data analytics. In the last 15 years, the academy had trained over 2.5 lakh people mostly on networking. “We are now looking to train another 2.5 lakh people in just three years,” Mr. Garde said.