Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday stressed greater cooperation between the telecom industry operators and equipment makers on the one hand and the security agencies on the other to help crack down on terrorists who use communication links to further ends.
“As I have been briefed about the havoc in Mumbai, I also discovered that modern technology and also the way powerful instruments in the hands of anti-social elements like terrorists, and how they could make use of this advanced technology like Internet," said Singh, who was speaking after inaugurating India’s first 3G (third-generation) mobile services from Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL).
“So it is very important that there should be effective cooperation and coordination between the agencies whose responsibility is to safeguard security efforts and the producers and all those who are in the industry.”
Terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks used SIM cards procured in India. They also used satellite phones extensively.
The department of telecommunications (DoT) has a special security wing to have useful coordination between intelligence agencies, industry and the licensor (DoT), said telecom secretary Siddartha Behura.
Singh said he expects the telecom subscriber base in the country to touch 70 crore by 2012. The government had set a target of 50 crore phones by 2010, but the current penetration is at 32 crore. Singh kicked off the 3G service by receiving a video call from the union communications and IT minister A Raja.
Raja said mobile number portability which would enable subscribers to switch operators without changing their numbers was likely to be implemented in the metros and category "A" circles by middle of 2009 and in the entire country by the end of 2009.