8 March 2000
Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2000 09:05:50 EST
Subject: ECHELON EXTENSION TO INDIA?
THE STATESMAN, March 6, 2000
NEW DELHI, March 6. - The government's clarification notwithstanding, the RSS is gearing up to mount pressure against the Rs 1,000-crore Sankhya Vahini Indo-US joint venture to establish a high-speed data network in India.
The RSS has alleged a connection between the swift Cabinet approval given to the project and two events - the transfer of the then chairman, Telecom Commission, Mr Anil Kumar, to the department of textiles, immediately afterwards, and the forthcoming Clinton visit.
The organisation quotes "experts" as fearing that Sankhya Vahini is a part of the US design for world domination, and claims there is every reason to suspect a direct involvement of the US National Security Agency and an extensive spying network developed in the USA.
The RSS report also apprehends that the project will turn the entire Indian education system and syllabi topsy turvy, "particularly when the government is putting so much stress on teaching Indian students about India's contribution to world civilizations".
The report cites a US system - Echelon - that can allegedly eavesdrop on every telephone, e-mail and telex communication around the world. It is pointed out that newly declassified US documents last week provided the first official confirmation that the global electronic eavesdropping operation exists.
According to the senior RSS leader, Mr Dattopant Thengadi, many officials in the DoT had raised objections on the strategic and financial implications of the project, but were overruled. It was due to the reservations that the project was delayed by one year from the original time of implementation, September 1999.
The RSS report observes that the project requires the initial transfer of 10,000 km of a pair of fibres by DoT to the books of Sankhya Vahini India Limited within 90 days of the agreement.
The report quotes a classified brief prepared by the US-based Prof. Raj Reddy and Dr VS Arunachalam on the project, thus: "the DoT partnership is vital for speedy execution of the programme. Only with the captive fibres DoT could lease or bring in as equity, would it be possible to establish the network within a year".
The project brief states: "to minimise excessive and redundant use of international gateways, we plan to set up mirror sites within India that would help caching of requests. Such a mirror site would also be available in the USA to provide for the US needs for Indian information".
The project expects the government to provide for an initial support to colleges and universities for subscribing to the IUNet. Based on the excerpts, the RSS report asks why the US corporates mentioned in the brief are not "coming openly in the fray".
The Sangh points out that so far, the government has not been able to explain why it did not look into more than one company for the possibility of partnership.
Certain queries posed by the RSS do not have any logical answers. A sample: "what is the guarantee that three IUNet nominees in the board of directors will not be CIA agents? And that the facility for Sankhya Vahini in the DoT complexes will not be used for interception of India's trade and strategic secrets."
Cryptome welcomes leads on obtaining the "classified brief prepared by the US-based Prof. Raj Reddy and Dr VS Arunachalam." Send to: email@example.com