14:39 GMT31 October 2020
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    A Shenzhen-based data-harvesting firm with links to the Chinese government was monitoring more than 10,000 Indians, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several key federal ministers, heads of the armed forces, scientists and political functionaries, an investigative report by the Indian Express claimed.

    The Chinese government claimed it has no connection with the Shenzhen-based company that has allegedly been monitoring thousands of Indians. The clarification was given to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, which had taken up the issue with Beijing.

    “The Chinese side has conveyed that the company is a private entity. The Chinese side has also claimed that there is no connection between the company concerned and the Chinese Government,” spokesperson of Indian External Affairs Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

    New Delhi, meanwhile, has established an expert committee headed by National Cyber Security Coordinator retired Lieutenant General Rajesh Pant, to evaluate the implications, assess any violations of law and submit its recommendations within thirty days.

    The range of targets by Zhenhua Data Information Technology Company Limited, according to the report, include President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, several state chiefs, federal ministers, chief of defence staff, over a dozen former chiefs of armed forces, chief justice of India and several judges.

    The development came at a time when India and China were at loggerheads over its boundary in eastern Ladakh, sparking concern among lawmakers, who raised the matter in Rajya Sabha – the Indian Parliament’s upper house - on Wednesday, 16 September. Rajya Sabha’s chairman, Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu, then asked the government to establish whether the media reports were true.

    In November 2019, there were attempts to breach the computer system of Russian-built Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. A South Korean cyber-security firm claimed the plant was attacked by North Korean malware in an attempt to obtain information about the plant’s technology.

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    Tags:
    Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi, Ram Nath Kovind, Cyber Security, China, New Delhi, India
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