23:20 GMT01 June 2020
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    Use of satellite phones is illegal in India. Moreover, these foreign nationals were found to be in areas of strategic importance pertaining to national security close to the India-Pakistan border.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian security officials on Friday morning detained two German nationals in possession of satellite phones in the sensitive zones of Jaisalmer — an area very close to the Indo-Pakistan border. The arrest was made a week ahead of country's biggest air warfare exercise "Vayu Shakti-2019", which is to be held in the Chandhan area of the Pokhran Field Firing Range of Jaisalmer. They were arrested when they were found to be illegally using satellite phones in Khuhri village of Jaisalmer.

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    "We have arrested the two Germans on inputs from military intelligence official who captured the signal transmitted by the satellite phone on Thursday night. Joint interrogation by intelligence agencies is currently underway", a police official told Sputnik on the condition of anonymity.

    A media report on the Hindi news portal hindi.oneindia.com says that the German nationals told police that they were using the satellite phone to call their family and girlfriend.

    The use of satellite phones in India violates the Indian Telegraph Act, The Indian Wireless Telegraph Act, The Indian Penal Code and the Foreigners Order of 1948. Use of satellite phones for personal and commercial use is prohibited in the country.

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    As the Indian government has not provided any license for satellite telephony in the country under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, the use of satellite phones by any individual/foreigner is deemed un-authorised and considered to constitute a threat to national security.

    Further, the Central Board of Excise and Customs along with the Ministry of Finance issued a circular in 2010, stating that all inbound passengers importing satellite phones as baggage are required to declare the same to Customs Department on arrival.


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