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'Google images threat to security'

Army chief said the matter would have to be tackled jointly with other nations.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2006 17:37 IST

Army chief JJ Singh on Monday said high-resolution images of strategic defence facilities on Google Earth posed a danger to national security.

He said the matter would have to be tackled jointly with other countries.

Speaking on the sidelines of a business seminar, Singh said in reply to a question on the images easily accessible on Google Earth: "To some extent it is dangerous to national security."

He said the images could give "an advantage" to parties that did not have their own defence satellites.

"It is equally dangerous to all countries and will have to be jointly tackled by all countries," Singh added.

The seminar was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Army and focused on the theme "Communications in the Tactical Battle Area". It was addressed by Singh and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Singh said the Army had also sought clarification from the defence ministry on the 30 per cent offset clause on all defence deals worth more than Rs 3 billion.

"The offset clause is vague at the moment. We have requested the defence ministry to elaborate on it. A white paper is needed on this," the Army chief said.

Google Earth has put up on its website high-resolution satellite images of strategically sensitive air bases in northern India. Strategic installations of other countries, including Pakistan and the US, are similarly available on the site.