India's hotlines with other countries may take some time to be set up as the government now plans to rope in Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for encryption of the communication system.
A high-level meeting was chaired by National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon to consider various options for setting up hotlines with other countries, official sources said in New Delhi.
After a detailed deliberations, it was decided a standard draft international agreement for establishing hotlines and a set of standard operating procedures will be prepared by DRDO and MTNL, which will be used for negotiations with foreign partners, the sources said.
They said variations, if any, will be considered separately. India intends to set up a hotline with China as well as a dedicated telephone line between 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 the control of Indian territory, thereby, prohibiting any gradation for Indian encryption device to be given to the foreign partners.