Guidelines coming on sensitive gear imports

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 28, 2013

Depts can ban products from unfriendly origins

The Ministry of Home Affairs is preparing to issue guidelines that will allow government departments to cite security concerns for banning products originating from unfriendly countries.

The guidelines will also mandate security clearance whenever sensitive equipment is imported by any government department.

Security sensitive products will include equipment for observation such as cameras, radars; equipment for communication such as routers, switches; gear used for data and information storage, biometric control devices and even general computers connected to networked systems.

“Security related provisions may be invoked on grounds of national security to place an embargo on products originating from certain countries and the manner of placing embargo may be determined in consultation with Ministry of Commerce,” stated the draft guidelines circulated by the Home Ministry for comments.

While the Department of Telecom has issued guidelines for importing equipment, the Home Ministry wants to bring in other mission critical products into the ambit of security screening.

“In today’s networked world, a single point of failure at one location or to one controlling system in a seemingly unrelated critical infrastructure can bring cascading effect, crippling the nation for a long period of time through remote action with intentions of sabotage,” the draft guidelines said.

While the draft guidelines do not name any specific company or country, security agencies have been asking for a standard operating procedure for dealing with the perceived threat from Chinese suppliers. The worry is that Chinese agencies may be using home grown suppliers to embed spyware into equipment that could allow them access to Indian networks.

Vetting of suppliers

The Home Ministry also proposes to carry out security vetting of suppliers before opening any bids for buying sensitive gear. “The security vetting carried out by Home Ministry shall be ‘supplier specific’,” it said.

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Published on May 28, 2013
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