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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2959

After toys, dairy products, Chinese phones face Indian wrath

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 18 June ( After toys and dairy products, it is the turn of Chinese phones to be banned in India. The Commerce Ministry clamped the ban on Chinese hand sets without ‘unique identity’ code numbers.

‘Import of mobile handsets without International Mobile Equipment Identify (IMEI) number or with all-zero IMEI is prohibited with immediate effect’, a notification issued by the Director General of Foreign Trade here said.

IMEI is a 15-digit number. It identifies a mobile. It prevents the use of stolen handsets for making calls and allows police to track down a specific user. Most Chinese sets sold in the Indian grey market don’t have the IMEI code.

The ban comes in the wake of concerns voiced by security agencies over mushrooming Chinese hand sets which are cheap and therefore have captured the grey market.

Already the mobile phone service providers are under orders to disconnect services to subscribers who own handsets that do not have the IMEI code.

To protect the interests of mobile phone users who have non-IMEI Chinese sets, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has found a way out. It is taking recourse to a software for embedding genuine identity code on such handsets. The software is issued by the global association of telecom operators COAI is setting up 1,600 retail outlets across the country to provide the IMEI number on ‘non-IMEI Chinese’ handsets, which are estimated to be about 25 million in all.

Subscribers who do not avail this facility will be disconnected after June 30, the COAI said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday India extended the ban on import of dairy products from China. The ban will be in force for another for six months from June 24 to ward of any threat of contaminated whitener which had caused deaths and made several thousands ill.

Initially, the ban was placed for three months in September 2008. It was later extended in December last year for six months. India does not import milk products from China. The ban is primarily a preventive measure.

India also banned imports of toys that do not meet international safety standards. The ban will be valid till January 23, 2010. Imports of Chinese toys accompanied by a certificate from laboratories accredited to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) will, however, be allowed.

-Asian Tribune -.

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