HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Home ministry rejects plan to allow roaming calls in Pak

M Rajendran, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 05, 2014
First Published: 00:34 IST(5/9/2014) | Last Updated: 00:37 IST(5/9/2014)

The home ministry has rejected a proposal by private telecom operators to ink international roaming agreements with service providers in Pakistan, following an adverse report by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

The proposal was mooted by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) during a meeting with home ministry officials in March this year. The ministry submitted its report last week citing RAW’s findings.

“On border areas, roaming should not be allowed… but operators in India would like to have roaming agreements with as many countries as possible, if the government permits,” said Rajan Mathews, director-general, Cellular Operators Association of India.

This is the second attempt by telcos and DoT, after 2004,  to get into an agreement with operators in Pakistan. “Telecom operators in India had argued that the use of geophysical location tracker (GLT) would help manage the security issues,” a senior DoT official said.

GLT works with a software that can be customised to report the location of a specific mobile phone device anywhere in the world.

The RAW report has pointed out that there should be a roaming agreement with the country in which the target customer is located and the service provider in the home county should be cooperative to provide connection with the tracker.

But according to DoT sources, Pakistan being a hostile neighbour may have wide interest to track their probable contacts/targets operative in India… and the facility may be covertly extended to militant organisation in their country for carrying out subversive activities.  

“In view of the above, it is recommended that international roaming with Pakistan should not be permitted,” according to the report.

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