India to showcase Aakash 2 at UN despite 'Made in China' allegations

The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that it will go ahead with its plan of showcasing the Aakash 2 tablet at the United Nations, Times of India reports. This report comes just days after the tablet’s Canadian manufacturer refuted claims that alleged the tablet was a cheap Chinese import and not Indian. 


Reports about the nation's plans of showcasing its innovation behind developing what it referred to as the 'most competitively priced” tablet computer first appeared earlier this month. At that time, Hardeep Singh Puri, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, said that the Aakash 2 will be showcased on November 28 at the UN headquarters. It was revealed that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been invited to the event. Also present would be Suneet Singh Tuli, the CEO of Datawind, which manufactures Aakash under the commercial name Ubislate.


Datawind CEO  Suneet Singh Tuli, at the launch of the Aakash 2



At a news conference to outline the monthly agenda, Puri referred to the Aakash tablet as the most competitively priced tablet computer by an entrepreneur of Indian origin and added that in UN terminology, it would be referred to as "frugal innovation". "Later talking to PTI, Mr. Puri said the Indian mission to the UN took the initiative to showcase the tablet at the world body and other UN member states as well as media persons will be invited to the event," added the report further.


Responding to ET's query in an email, India's UN Mission in New York, Joint secretary at Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said that, "The decision to unveil the Aakash 2 at the United Nations (during India's Presidency of the UNSC) was taken after it was confirmed that the device would be formally unveiled by the Hon'ble President of India on November 11, 2012. Hence it will go ahead." He added that the event would go as planned, despite allegations. 


A couple of days ago, a report carried by Hindustan Times alleged that Datawind founders and NRI brothers Suneet and Raja Singh Tuli ‘may have procured these devices off-the-shelf from manufacturers in China' for $42 (Rs 2,263 then), exactly the price at which they sold these to the Indian government.


The report further added that Datawind bought more than 10,000 or more ‘A 13’ made-in-China tablets from at least four manufacturers in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The company’s Indian manufacturing partners in Hyderabad, Delhi and Amritsar had not played any part in the manufacturing process.


The UK based company that has been authorised to supply Aakash 2 denied this report, calling it ‘misleading’ and ‘inaccurate'. CEO Suneet Singh Tuli insists that the tablets are built in India, including all circuit boards, which are made in Hyderabad.

Published Date: Nov 28, 2012 01:36 pm | Updated Date: Nov 28, 2012 01:36 pm