Amid China Row, Centre May Blacklist Some Telecom Equipment Vendors

The telecom sector may soon have a list of companies from where firms can buy products and services.

Amid China Row, Centre May Blacklist Some Telecom Equipment Vendors

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security.

New Delhi:

Amid border tension with China, the government today said it may blacklist certain telecom equipment vendors and prepare a list for "India Trusted Sources". The government move effectively means the telecom sector will have a list of companies from where firms can safely buy products and services.

The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security to "enhance security of telecom sector" by designating trusted vendors, said Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

"The Cabinet Committee on Security has given approval for a National Security Directive on Telecommunication Sector. Under this, in order to maintain the integrity of supply chain security, the government will declare a list of trusted sources or products for the benefit of telecom service providers," Mr Prasad said.

"So there's a trusted source and there's a not-trusted source," he added.

The government refused to elaborate on whether the move could lead to curbs on Chinese vendors.

Mr Prasad called it an important step for national security. "Existing telecom equipment with operators will not be impacted," he said.

India is among the top three countries in the world when it comes to facing cyber-attacks. In 2019 the nation lost an estimated Rs 1.24 lakh crore due to cyber crimes.

Experts say cyber-attacks are perpetrated through interconnected networks and devices.

Last month, the government banned several Chinese mobile apps for activities "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order".

The apps were banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said today.

The move was based on "comprehensive reports received from Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs," said a government statement.

Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a drawn out standoff at the border in Ladakh since April. The two countries have had several rounds of military and diplomatic dialogues in which India has demanded that the Chinese troops restore status quo.