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Developments in Security Requirements for Telecom Equipment in India

22 Jul 2010     India

The Indian government is set to put the responsibility on telecommunications network operators to ensure that their networks are secure and protected from things like unlawful intercept of communications or remote controlled network disruption in times of crisis. This issue has received a lot of attention in India's telecommunications sector since earlier this year as the government focused on foreign telecom equipment vendors and even barred the import of equipment from 26 foreign companies. This move is seen as resolving it for now.

New provisions in the telecommunications network operators' licenses will require them to take several measures to address security-related concerns. Among them, vendors may only employ Indian engineers to maintain and operate networks in India, and network operators must ensure that vendors' source code and all other relevant data is placed into escrow accounts so that the carriers and government security agencies can access it. Network operators will enforce this by putting in place certain legal agreements with any vendors or outside personnel who have access to their networks. There are other rules to be followed by vendors, as well.

However, the responsibility to follow these new rules rests on the shoulders of the network operators. By clearly delineating the responsibility this way, the government hopes to eliminate the confusion surrounding what any new requirements.

The immediate impact on foreign telecommunications equipment vendors is that those vendors whose equipment had been banned will now be permitted to continue imports of new equipment for their customers in India. However, we expect that vendors will be required by their customers to meet the new requirements set out by the government in the new operator license provisions.

If you have questions about these new requirements please contact us any time.