U.K.-based Marconi PLC will invest US$50 million over the next five years to develop a research and development (R&D) division in India that will explore future broadband and switching technologies, the company announced on Tuesday.

The centre, expected to open in April, will start by employing 50 engineers with an eye towards increasing that figure to 200 engineers within 18 months, Marconi said in a statement.

Called the Marconi Development Centre, the R&D unit, comprising 50,000 square feet of office space, will be part of the Science Park at Gurgaon just outside Delhi, Marconi said.

The London-based Internet routing and switching company is looking to take advantage of the highly educated work force in India. The company also wants to establish links with the Indian Institutes of Technology and Science for future collaboration, Marconi said.

In November, the company introduced a technology for a multi-protocol switch-router for service provider core networks that handles multiple types of traffic.

Marconi, in London, can be contacted at http://www.marconi.com/.

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