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India Seeks to Relax Security Rules on Foreign Telcos

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India's Department of Telecom is pushing for a relaxation on the security clearance rules that can impede the appointment of senior managers to local mobile networks.

At the moment, any senior appointment of a foreign national to a telecoms operator has to be approved by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and that permit has to be renewed every year.

Adding to the burden, the permit is valid from the application date, not the date of issue, and there have been examples where the permit was issued almost too late for its to be of any use.

The DoT is pushing for the permits to be valid for five years, reducing the administrative burden and providing a decent level of reassurance to investors that their nominated appointees can get on with the job.

As it happens, the security clearance issue is seen as a minor irritant, and rarely a genuine problem, but it is symbolic of the restrictions that the Indian government imposes on foreign investment and seen as an easy piece of red tape to deal with.

That said, Norway's Telenor, which has investments in both India and Pakistan had to offer assurances to the Indian government that none of its Pakistan employees would work at its Indian subsidiary when raised its stake in its former venture with Unitech Wireless back in 2009.

On the web: Economic Times

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Tags: India