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Indian Army launches WhatsApp-like encrypted messaging app

Indian Army has developed an indigenous end-to-end encrypted voice, text, and video calling app for Android platform over the internet, the Ministry of Defence said on Thursday.

The app named ‘Secure Application for Internet or SAI’ was developed by Col Sai Shankar and has been tested by the government’s nodal agency CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group. 

According to the ministry, the process for filing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), hosting the infrastructure on NIC and developing the application for iOS platform is under process. 

“The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like WhatsApp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end-to-end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding, which can be tweaked as per requirements,” said the ministry.

The Indian Army has been proactive against the use of commercial social media applications by its personnel to avoid any data or information leaks or theft. Soon after the ban on 59 Chinese origin apps by the Indian government, the Indian Army had also asked its soldiers to delete 89 apps from their smartphones including Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, WeChat, PUBG, Vigo, and Tinder.

In November last year, the ministry had released an advisory to its top personnel and asked them to stay away from the social networking sites such as Facebook and messenger platforms like WhatsApp, and not share official communication through these apps.

To recall, WhatsApp and Indian government were engaged in a legal battle over the issue of traceability of messages on its platform. During the incident, the government had hinted about launching its own instant messaging service for smartphones called GIMS. It has been developed by the National Informatics Centre to provide infrastructure to help support the delivery of government IT services.

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