India on Wednesday said telecom equipment vendors must allow inspection of their gear and made carriers solely responsible for the security of their networks, addressing security worries that had led to restrictions on Chinese manufacturers. Earlier this year, India barred some local mobile phone operators from placing orders with China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp because of security concerns, Indian telecom industry officials have said. The restrictions centred around India's suspicion that Chinese equipment may have spying technology embedded to intercept sensitive conversations and government documents.
Carriers in the world's fastest-growing cellular market must have their equipment certified by an approved international audit agency, the Department of Telecommunications said in a note posted on its website late on Wednesday. If a breach is found, carriers face penalties of 500 million rupees ($11 million) per order and 100 percent of the contract value,while a vendor could be barred from supplying Indian operators. The vendors must allow the telecoms carrier, government or its designated agencies to “inspect the hardware, software, design, development, manufacturing facility and supply chain and subject all software to a security/threat check at the time of procurement of equipment,” and subsequently, it said. The government also said carriers must work to ensure that the operation and maintainance of networks is entirely by Indian engineers and dependence on foreign engineers should be “minimal and/or almost nil” within the next two years.