The Minister of State for Communications and IT Milind Deora said that telecom equipment and networks in the country are prone to spyware and other forms of malicious software irrespective of the location where they are manufactured.
In a written reply to the Parliament, Deora said, “It is a known fact that in the modern age, telecom equipment and networks used for provisioning of telecom services are prone to spyware/malwares etc emanating from the equipment itself or embedded software contained in it or from …anti-national individuals or agencies.”
The statement has yet again raised questions on the operations of Chinese telecom equipment providers—Huawei and ZTE. The minister added, “Such potential threats exist in the network, irrespective of the sources like telecom gear manufactured in China or supplied by some other vendors.”
Deora reiterated that the government is aware of recent “Investigative Report on US National Security issues posed by Chinese Telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE”. He added that the government has issued comprehensive guidelines in the form of license amendments on May 31, 2011 to address security concerns related to telecom network.
The Government has mandated telcos to install only those elements in the network which have been tested as per relevant contemporary Indian or international standards until March 31, 2013.