India and ASEAN nations have jointly approved a work plan under which they will develop a system to combat use of stolen and counterfeit mobile handsets, among other things, an official statement said on Saturday.
The work plan was approved at the 2nd ASEAN Digital Ministers' (ADGMIN) Meeting with India, held virtually on Friday.
"The Ministers' meeting approved the India-ASEAN Digital Work Plan 2022. The work plan includes system for combating the use of stolen and counterfeit mobile handsets, wifi access network interface for nationwide public internet, the capacity building and knowledge sharing in emerging areas in the field of information and communication technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, advanced satellite communication, cyber forensics, etc," the statement said.
ADGMIN is an annual meeting of telecom ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries —Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—and dialogue partner countries—Australia, Canada, China, EU, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, UK and US.
The telecom ministry in December 2019 had launched a portal to help people in Delhi-NCR block and trace their stolen or lost mobile phones.
The project is backed by the Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) system, which was undertaken by the telecom department for addressing security, theft and other concerns including reprogramming of mobile handsets.
During the meeting, the Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said that information and communication technologies (ICT) enables and strengthens democratic systems and institutions through enhanced engagement between citizens and the state.
He added that use of ICTs promote free speech, human rights and the free flow of information besides expanding citizens' opportunities to participate in decision-making process and have potential to transform lives of people living in rural areas, the statement said.
Mr. Chauhan said that technology has emerged as a powerful tool to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which is not just a challenge for the public health system but is also adversely impacting the economy and social order of the countries.