NCSC will finalise the names of trusted suppliers and recommend them to the National Security Committee on Telecom
After a long standoff between India and China over the Ladakh border, Chinese companies may make it to the list of trusted’ vendors of telecom equipment if they fit the eligibility criteria currently under preparation by the National Cybersecurity Coordinator (NCSC), Mint reported citing a government official aware of the matter.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has been preparing to issue a final list of such approved manufacturers on a portal that is scheduled to be launched in June and NCSC Lt. Gen. Rajesh Pant (retired) has been working on these criteria since December, the source cited said.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
The telecom communication companies will use this portal to identify the suppliers, and they will be required to submit the details of the vendor and its products on the portal, where they can track the progress of their approval process. If the companies want to buy equipment through a vendor not listed on the portal, then it will have to update the details of the vendor and request approval for the same.
“Currently, most service providers buy equipment on an L1 (lowest-bidder) basis. We do not have any form of embargo or condition to procure such gear. We are worried about the procurement of active programmable components such as chips for which we are tightening the rules," the official said.
Following the border standoff between India and China in 2020, the Indian government had banned over 200 Chinese apps and had reportedly amended rules for acquiring telecom equipment.
The official further told the publication that in addition to the gear vendors, chip or semiconductor manufacturers such as Intel Corp and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. will also be scrutinized for inclusion in the list of trusted sources.
As the country prepares to launch 5G, some of the components will be skipped, as a result of which the core of a network will have direct exposure to cybersecurity threats and attacks, the official added.
“Any wireless network has these components — mobile phones/devices, which is the endpoint, RAN (radio access network), transport where optical fibre cable is used, and core, which is where details of subscribers, location register, etc., are stored, making it the most crucial part," the official said.
NCSC will finalise the names of trusted suppliers and recommend them to the National Security Committee on Telecom, who is the final approving authority.