Chi­nese tele­com prod­ucts vul­ner­a­ble, says Mehrishi

Red flags raised over hack­ing: out­go­ing Home Sec­re­tary

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Out­go­ing Home Sec­re­tary Ra­jiv Mehrishi said on Wed­nes­day that the gov­ern­ment has raised red flags re­gard­ing the use of Chi­nese equip­ment in tele­com and other sec­tors but this was not go­ing to im­pact in­vest­ments.

Speak­ing to The Hindu on his last day in of­fice, Mr. Mehrishi said, “We have raised red flags with­out doubt. The threat is there from any hacker or mis­chief­maker. Chi­nese prod­ucts have to be looked into more closely,” he said.

About two years ago, var­i­ous tele­com giants were sen­si­tised about the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of equip­ment and prod­ucts im­ported from China.

On the sit­u­a­tion in Jammu and Kash­mir, Mr. Mehrishi said “alien­ation among Kash­miris” was more of a Delhi me­dia con­cept and the real is­sues were ter­ror­ism and rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion.

“95% of the peo­ple want peace in Kash­mir. Pak­istan in­spires ter­ror­ists and stonethrow­ers. Ter­ror­ists are be­ing funded from Pak­istan, and there are no two opin­ions about it.”

He said Pak­istan was in­im­i­cal to the in­ter­ests of In­dia and at in­ter­na­tional fo­rums it was known as a “rogue” state.

‘Sep­a­ratists not lead­ers’

Mr. Mehrishi said sep­a­ratists should not be re­ferred to as lead­ers as they treat Kash­mir as a “busi­ness propo­si­tion.”

“If the sep­a­ratists con­test elec­tions today, none of them will win. Their cred­i­bil­ity has taken a hit (af­ter NIA raids). Their chil­dren study in the best schools and they have bought pala­tial prop­er­ties. While they de­prive the Kash­miris of a bet­ter fu­ture, they treat it [is­sue] as a busi­ness propo­si­tion,” he said.

On the con­tentious Ar­ti­cle 35A that has been chal­lenged in the Supreme Court through a Pub­lic In­ter­est Lit­i­ga­tion (PIL) pe­ti­tion, Mr. Mehrishi said the Cen­tre will as­sist the apex court in deter­min­ing its le­gal as­pect.

Ar­ti­cle 35A pro­vides spe­cial rights and priv­i­leges to the per­ma­nent res­i­dents of J&K and bars non-res­i­dents to buy prop­er­ties and ap­ply for jobs in the State. J&K Chief Min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti has warned against any tin­ker­ing with it.

Mr. Mehrishi said he was no one to com­ment on the re­cent vi­o­lence in Haryana where 38 peo­ple were killed as they protested the con­vic­tion of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for raping two women.

“Sit­ting here in Delhi, I can­not com­ment how the State ad­min­is­tra­tion tack­led the is­sue. No po­lice of­fi­cer or chief min­is­ter wants vi­o­lence in their State. They must have taken ad­e­quate steps,” he said.

He said of­fen­sive mes­sages on so­cial me­dia were an on­go­ing bat­tle and “cer­tainly go­ing to be fought on all fronts.” “It is a huge chal­lenge that ev­ery na­tion is grap­pling with. Tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing rapidly that keep­ing up with it will be a chal­lenge. We are get­ting our act to­gether that such in­ci­dents are min­imised and tack­led as they hap­pen.”

He also said that a draft policy on op­er­at­ing pi­lot­less low fly­ing ob­jects will come up next month. It will fo­cus on reg­u­lat­ing their use rather than ban­ning them.

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