IAF clarifies its stand on Xiaomi, says no ban on Chinese handsets

The Xiaomi and Indian Air Force (IAF) drama has a new twist to the tale. The IAF has issued a clarification to Indian Express stating that its advisory against Xiaomi devices was four to five months old and nowhere in it was there any mention of banning Xiaomi smartphones. There was no new notification issued by IAF post that.

“The advisory itself is about four months old. The strange thing is that it has now been pulled out by the media. No new notification has been issued by IAF recently regarding the use of Xiaomi smartphones. The advisory should not be misunderstood as a ban. There are no restrictions in IAF regarding the use of smartphones from any brand as it is totally for personal usage,” quoted an officer from the Western Command anonymously to the newspaper.

The officer clarified that IAF does not keep track on the smartphone market and does not recommend any particular brand to its personnel either. The advisory was just given out as a precautionary measure when reports of Xiaomi RedMi 1S sending data to Xiaomi's Beijing servers started surfacing. IAF has issued similar advisories in the past with regards use of personal computers as well, said the officer.

When asked if the IAF carried sensitive information on their smartphone, the official denied it and said that IAF isn't worried about operational information being compromised. IAF has its own network based cellphones, but the official said that even on the IAF network, sensitive information is never communicated.

Last week there was a big issue regarding the IAF advisory and Xiaomi's reaction. Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra has assured Indian users that Xiaomi's data servers will be moved out of China in a phased manner. Barra has also assured that Xiaomi will be engaging with government authorities to address concerns around the security of Xiaomi's India users.

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