Indian Gov advises against importing encryption equipment from China

Minister of State in the Ministry of Defense made a statement that state-owned electronic equipment manufacturer for the armed forces has been advised not to source critical encryption components from China.

A year back, the Government of India warned telecommunication operators to avoid importing mobile network infrastructure components from China. The warning was based on fear of China misusing the equipment to monitor India. Back during the Cold War era, one of the theories presented for the West's success was Russia using photocopiers by Xerox. It is believed that these photocopiers were fitted with cameras allowing the CIA to monitor Soviet communication.

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is a state-owned company that manufactures electronics equipment used by India's armed forces. Citing national security concerns the government has advised, BEL to not import any components used in their encryption products, from China. In a written response to BJP MP Shivarama Gouda, Minister of State in the Ministry of Defense, Pallam Raju said:

Government has taken cognizance of security implications of the import of electronic components from China especially while manufacturing encryption products. M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL), a Defence Public Sector Undertaking, which is a manufacturer of strategic defence electronic systems has been advised to ensure that components of encryption products manufactured by BEL are not imported from China.

The government of India has been tackling cyber terrorism and use of consumer technology against the nation. Services like RIM's BlackBerry and Skype have been on the government's radar to help them get a heads up on possible threats. India's relations with China have always been a tight walk for the country.  The floodlights illuminating the Indo-Pak border were met with objections from Pakistan while India has raised concerns against China undertaking projects in PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir).

China's alleged role in cyber espionage against the US is another reason for caution and the government's proactive measures are in the India's interest.