The government today issued security instructions for the telecom sector to strengthen the security of the communication network. As per the directions issued by the Cabinet Committee on Security service providers will be able to procure equipments only from companies which have been considered trustworthy by the Government of India. It is estimated that the government’s decision can rein in telecom equipment coming from China.
Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the cabinet has approved national security directives on telecom sector to ensure national security of the country. Under this the government will release a list of reliable sources and reliable products for the telecom network of the country. The Union minister said that the modalities of reliable products will be removed by the national cyber security convener. Service providers will be able to include new network devices that would be termed trustworthy for the security of the country.
According to the Union minister, the list of reliable sources and products will be prepared on the approval of the Sub-National Security Advisor-led committee. He said that the Committee will consist of two members of the industry and independent experts besides members of the concerned departments and ministries. The Committee will be called the National Security Committee on Telecom. Further, the Government will also prepare a list of sources from which no procurement can be made. That means the government will also take a list of black list companies and sources.
In recent months, India has imposed a ban on import of Chinese equipment from telecom to power sector citing national security reasons. These devices have been banned for spyware or ‘ malware ‘ concerns. Last year, the government had banned imports of Chinese handsets without international mobile device identification (IMEI). The IMEI number is very important from security point of view. In view of these steps, it is believed that the government is very strict about China and can take more stringent steps against it in the coming time. India is a big market in the telecom sector, which is seeing a steady growth. If Chinese companies are banned here, they will be out of one of the largest markets in the world.