New Delhi: India's proposed hotline network with other nations may take some time to set up with the Government now roping in the country's premier defence establishment, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop an encryption system for communications.
According to official sources, a high-level meeting, chaired by national security advisor, Shiv Shanker Menon, considered various options for setting up hotline connections with other countries.
At the meeting it was decided to draft a standard international agreement for establishing hotlines and a set of standard operating procedures, which would be prepared by the DRDO and the MTNL. These parameters would be used for negotiations with foreign partners, sources said.
They said variations, if any, would be considered separately.
India intends to set up a hotline with China as well as a dedicated telephone line between the two home secretaries of India and Pakistan.
According to the sources, comparative parameters of leased lines and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) lines, including vulnerability to interception and availability of encryption capabilities were among issues that were discussed.
While reliability of encryption was listed as key to security of communication, the meeting took note of capabilities of DRDO which can provide bulk encryption on Internet-based communication system.
The meeting was informed that internal mechanism used for encryption of calls could not be applied on any communication system outside Indian territory. This would prevent any grade of Indian encryption devices to be forwarded to foreign partners.