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SECURITY AGENCIES RED-FLAG FIRMS WITH CONNECTION TO CHINESE GOVT.

Focus: GS-III Internal Security Challenges

Why in news?

Faced with a belligerent People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in East Ladakh, Indian security agencies have red-flagged the penetration of companies believed to have ties with the Chinese government in critical sectors, particularly telecommunications, higher education, and power supply and distribution.

Details

  • It is understood that the recent senior-most bureaucrats of the critical ministries met on directions from the top leadership to understand the extent of this penetration.
  • Senior officials of security agencies sensitized the officers on the issue, and the government has since issued verbal instructions to various departments to prevent this intrusion.

Concerns in Education

  • In education, under the garb of cultural promotion, Indian universities and colleges have tied up with their Chinese counterparts through Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), often without the requisite clearance of the designated authority — in this case, the Ministry of External Affairs or the Human Resource Development ministry.
  • A classic example in this are the Chinese-government funded Confucius Institutes to promote Han Chinese language and culture — typicality set up in association with a local partner institution.

Concerns in Telecommunications

  • Private sector companies have preferred cheaper Chinese infrastructure for mobile and internet telephony.
  • There have been allegations that large tenders are sometimes designed to suit the Chinese companies.

Other Directions given

  • The Department of Telecommunications asked BSNL to tweak its tender to exclude Chinese equipment makers from a large 4G upgrade project.
  • The power ministry issued a detailed order where all equipment, components and parts imported for use in the power supply system and network will be tested in the country to check for any kind of embedded malware/trojans/cyber threat and adherence to Indian standards.
  • The order states that power is a strategic and critical sector that supports not only India’s national defence, vital emergency services and critical national infrastructure but also the entire economy and the day to day life.

-Source: Hindustan Times

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October 2022
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