Amid reports of snooping on some Indian leaders by China-based companies, the government took up the issue with the Chinese envoy here, according to a letter by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Congress leader K C Venugopal. The letter stated that the matter has also been taken up with the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“The matter was taken up by the Ministry of External Affairs with the Chinese Ambassador today. Our Embassy in Beijing also raised it with the Foreign Ministry of China. The Chinese side conveyed that Shenzen Zhenhua is a private company and had stated its position publicly,” the minster told Venugopal.
“In their part, the Chinese Foreign ministry maintained that there was no connection between the company concerned and the Chinese government,” he also said.
Jaishankar”s remarks came after Venugopal, during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, raised the issue that some Indian leaders were being spied on by Chinese companies and asked the government what it was doing in this regard.
Jaishankar in his letter said that in their statement, a representative of Shenzen Zhenhua has stated that the data collected was from open sources and is no different from its peer organisations in western countries. The minster said they have denied accessing private information from confidential sources.
“The Government of India takes very seriously the protection of the privacy and personal data of Indian citizens. It is deeply concerned at any report that suggests that foreign sources are accessing or seeking to access the personal data of our citizens without their consent,” the External Affairs Minister told the Congress leader.
Jaishankar said the government has constituted an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator to study these reports and evaluate their implications.
The panel will assess any violations of law and submit its recommendations within 30 days, he said.