The Government of India has announced that loss-making PSU Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is free to import telecom equipment from foreign vendors, including Chinese companies.
"The government had directed BSNL in May, 2009 that resources should not be procuredin the interest of national security from the Chinese vendors for deployment in the sensitive regions of Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra," said Sachin Pilot, minister of state, Telecom and IT.
He said new guidelines had been issued for procuring telecom equipment from foreign vendors in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs to address security concerns. "Accordingly, now BSNL may enter into agreement with foreign vendors for purchase of equipments/ software/ services."
Recently, BSNL employee unions alleged that the telecom ministry had allowed private players to install Chinese equipment, but restricted BSNL from doing so. Elaborating more on this 'discrimination', Pilot said that participation of foreign companies in strategic sector has bearing on national security. "BSNL being a public sector undertaking, it network has to be relied upon in emergency."
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