Indian govt. restricts mobile connections for foreign tourists

According to a report appearing in the Economic Times (Sept. 2, 2012), the Government of India „has asked Telecom Service Providers not to provide mobile connection for more than three months to any foreign tourist visiting India“.

„Any mobile connection issued to a foreigner should not have a validity beyond the validity of the visa. In case of foreign tourist, the validity of connection should not be beyond the visa period and also not exceed three months at a time even if the validity of the visa is beyond three months,“ the fresh guidelines, which have been vetted by Union Home Ministry, said.

[Read the complete report]

The fresh regulations are set to cause hassles to foreign tourists, who regularly travel to India and wish to keep their local mobile number unchanged. It may be subject to question, how effective such a policy is going to be in achieving its stated objective, i.e. to check misuse of SIM cards by terror groups. Those bent on harming India can probably use the numerous STD/ISD booths, WiFi networks, or satellite phones without getting detected easily. It is a common, innocent tourist, who will have to face the hassles, despite registering him- or herself and thus being identifiable at any point of time. The regulations are especially and unnecessarily harsh, because they do not even allow a connection for the full period of visa validity and restrict it to a maximum of 3 months, as if a terrorist would misuse his or her connection only after 3 months.

This goes in the same direction as the (incomprehendible) restriction on entry within less than 2 months on a tourist visa, despite having a „valid“ visa for the complete duration. Those who wish to harm India probably do not necessarily apply for a visa and rather infiltrate the country in an illegal manner. But it is a commoner who usually suffers the consequences of a short-sighted policy.