On Wednesday, the Cabinet approved the development of a National Security Directive on the telecommunications industry, which will have a major effect on India's telecom industry, said Minister of Security, IT and Telecommunications, Ravi Shankar Prasad, announcing new guidelines for providers of telecom services.
The government's decision essentially ensures that the telecommunications industry can have a registry of firms from which companies can purchase goods and services safely. The Deputy NSA will lead the National Telecom Protection Committee, which will decide which suppliers are trusted and which are not.
The move would also be a drive to a "self-reliant India" as the group of reliable sources might consider telecom gears generated by domestic players. "Considering the need to ensure India's national security, the Cabinet has accorded approval for the national security directive on the telecommunication sector. Under this, in order to maintain the integrity of the supply chain security, the government will declare a list of trusted sources, trusted products for the benefit of telecom service providers," the minister added that there would likewise be a list of designated sources from which no procurement would be made.
There will be no statutory repair clause for existing infrastructure currently deployed in the service providers' network, and the annual servicing arrangements will not be affected either. The move comes at a time when many mobile applications, all Chinese, have already been banned by India for being a threat to the "sovereignty and integrity of India". Since April, Indian and Chinese troops have been stuck in a drawn-out standoff on the Ladakh frontier. There were several rounds of military and diplomatic dialogue between the two countries in which India insisted that the Chinese troops restore the status quo.
The government barred access to 59 apps in June this year and on September 2, under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, another 118 apps were barred. Famous gaming applications banned include PUBG, TikTok, UC Browser, Baidu, Baidu Express Edition, Tencent Watchlist, FaceU, WeChat Reading, and Tencent Weiyun.
Telecom service providers (TSPs) will not be affected, such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and others. The directive will come into effect after 180 days.