National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector has been framed keeping in mind the national security
In a bid to prevent the rampant use of Chinese equipment, India has decided to frame a policy on the National Security Directive in the Telecommunication Sector. This policy is to secure telecom infrastructure by designating a “trusted source” for the purchase of equipment by service providers. Briefing reporters after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that a National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector has been framed keeping in mind the national security.
“Considering the need to ensure India’s national security, the Cabinet has accorded approval for the National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector,” Prasad said. Under the provisions of this directive, the government will declare a list of trusted sources and trusted products for installation in the country’s telecom network. “The methodology to designate trusted products will be devised by the designated authority, the National Cyber Security Coordinator. Telecom service providers are required to connect new devices that are designated trusted products,” Prasad said, adding that the policy will be formed in 180 days.
The directive has provisions to qualify telecom gears made by domestic players in the trusted category. Those that meet the criteria of the Department of Telecommunications’ preferential market access (PMA) scheme will be certified as India-trusted sources.
In recent months, India has banned the import of equipment from China for use in sectors ranging from telecom to power citing national security reasons. These bans were driven by concerns such as spyware or malicious software – known as “malware” – being embedded in the imported equipment. The list of the trusted source and product will be decided based on the approval of a committee headed by the Deputy National Security Advisor.
The government will also create a list of designated sources from whom no procurement can be done. “The present directive does not envisage mandatory replacement of the existing equipment already inducted in the network of TSPs,” the Minister said. Last year, the government banned imports of Chinese handsets without the International Mobile Equipment Identity, or IMEI, number, again citing security reasons such as the use of stolen handsets to make terror or hoax calls.
Prasad said the directive will also not affect annual maintenance contracts or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on the date of effect of the directive. The directive has provisions to qualify telecom gears made by domestic players in the trusted category. Those that meet the criteria of the Department of Telecommunications’ preferential market access (PMA) scheme will be certified as India-trusted sources.
The Telecom Department will suitably notify guidelines and ensure monitoring of compliance by telecom service providers of the directive. “The Department of Telecom will make appropriate modifications in the license conditions for the implementations of the provisions of the directive. The policy will come into operation after 180 days from the date of approval,” Prasad said.
Earlier PGurus had reported that Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group had taken a loan of 18 billion dollars from Chinese Banks to purchase Chinese equipment to install in their Telecom and Power sectors. Chinese Banks have sued Anil Ambani in London court for nonpayment and the London court has asked him to pay Rs.5,400 crores immediately. Anil Ambani is facing trial and deposed in court that he is facing acute financial shortage due to the fall of his empire.
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