The Ministry of External Affairs will go ahead with the planned showcase of Aakash 2 tablets citing it as India's technology innovation at United Nations on Wednesday, despite allegations of some tablets been purchased off the shelf from firms in China.
In an email to ET's query to India's UN Mission in New York, Joint secretary at Ministry of External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin replied that India's UN Mission 'will go ahead' with the event despite the allegations. "The decision to unveil the Aakash2 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."
India has the rotating presidency of UN Security Council for the month of November. The device is expected to be unveiled in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other member nations.
The MEA spokesperson said that the device was designed at the request of the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India. "Given its cost competitiveness, it aimed to bridge the digital divide by providing access to quality education for all. It was the successful implementation of this 'idea' and such technologies, that we intend to show case, using the platform provided by the United Nations, which is a common practice amongst developing countries."
India's permanent representative to the United Nations Hardeep Singh Puri earlier this month told media that a presentation on Aakash would be held on November 28, at the UN's global headquarters in New York. Media and member states would also be invited to the event. Indian Mission may also distribute the tablets to some member states.
Aakash 2 got mired into controversies last week after some Indian and global media including ET published reports of how several tablets supplied to the Indian government were picked off the shelf from firms in China by the contracted firm Datawind. ET cited invoices of purchase from firms such as Trend Grace Limited, Kalong Technology Co Ltd and Dasen International Electronics Co Ltd.
UK based Datawind denied the allegations. Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli said the touch panels used in the device were manufactured in Montreal but ""were consolidated in Hongkong or China"" for expediency.