updated 5/3/2005 1:25:18 PM ET 2005-05-03T17:25:18

VeriSign Inc., the U.S.-based company that runs the Internet's key address books, opened a research and development center in India on Tuesday and plans to make it the company's largest abroad.

VeriSign has begun hiring programmers in Bangalore to develop software to manage wired and wireless networks and to keep Internet transactions secure, said Aristotle Balogh, its senior vice president.

"What we are bringing to India is absolutely leading-edge research and development, the kind that (Indian outsourcing firms) don't have exposure to," Balogh said.

VeriSign, based in Mountain View, Calif., keeps the master list of Internet suffixes, such as ".com" and ".fr," used to route e-mail and Web traffic. It also runs the directories for two of the leading suffixes, ".com" and ".net." VeriSign also sells security and other tools for e-commerce.

Balogh said the company will hire 125 people and invest $6 million in India during 2005. The company wants to hire grow the center to 500 employees within five years.

"We will ramp up in the U.S. also, but the ramping up here will be faster," he said.

The company employs 600 researchers in the United States and 250 in Europe. Earlier this year, it obtained 190 researchers in India from its acquisitions of U.S.-based messaging software firms, Lightsurf and Unimobile, both of which had Indian centers.

Verisign also outsources some software work to India's Infosys Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services.

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