Chinese telecom gears to face fresh curbs

By: |
December 17, 2020 2:30 AM

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the creation of the national security directive, which the government said is an important decision with respect to national security.

The move could significantly impact Chinese telecom equipment makers like Huawei and ZTE.The move could significantly impact Chinese telecom equipment makers like Huawei and ZTE.

To curb telecom equipment from China, the government on Wednesday announced the creation of a national security directive on telecom under which a list of “trusted and not trusted” sources will be created and operators as well as vendors will have to purchase devices and equipment only from the trusted ones.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the creation of the national security directive, which the government said is an important decision with respect to national security.

The move could significantly impact Chinese telecom equipment makers like Huawei and ZTE.

“Considering the need to ensure India’s national security, Cabinet has accorded approval for national security directive on telecommunications sector. Under provisions of this directive in order to maintain integrity of the supply chain security, the government will declare a list of trusted sources and products for benefit of telecom service providers (TSPs),” Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a briefing after the Cabinet meeting.

Items to be covered under this directive and methodology to designate trusted products will be devised by the designated authority — the National Cyber Security Co-ordinator, he added.

“The TSPs are required to connect new devices which are designated trusted products. The designated authority will make its determination based on approval of a committee, headed by the deputy NSA (National Security Advisor),” the minister said, adding that the panel will include members from relevant departments, ministries; two members from the industry and an independent expert. The committee will be called national security committee on telecom.

“A list of designated sources from whom no procurement can be done may also be created,” Prasad pointed out.
However in a major relief for the industry, the directive does not envisage mandatory replacement of existing equipment already inducted in the network of TSPs. The directive will also not affect the ongoing annual maintenance contracts or updates to existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect of the directive.

“From among the sources declared as trusted source by the designated authority, those which meet the criteria of DoT’s preferential market access scheme will be certified as India Trusted Sources, Prasad explained.

The national security committee on telecom will take measures to increase use of equipment from such India trusted sources. The guidelines for the manner in which in-house supervision and effective control could be maintained by TSPs will be issued by the designated authority at regular intervals.

The DoT will suitably modify its guidelines and ensure monitoring of compliance by TSPs. The designated authority will put in place a portal for easy upload of applications by TSPs and equipment vendors. It will improve ease of doing business through a predictable assessment methodology.

The department will make appropriate modifications in license conditions for the implementation of the provisions of this directive. The policy will come into effect after 180 days from the date of approval.

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