(This was originally posted in India Today by Manjeet Sehgal)
Cellular network signals originating from Pakistan have been detected in the Dharamshala area of the Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh. The Kangra district administration has informed the Department of Telecommunications about the detection of Pakistani mobile phone network signals at a place called Kareri.
Police officials said that the signals were detected by the trackers who went to the Kareri lake, located 2900 metres above sea level and some 26 kilometres away from district headquarters Dharamshala.
The trackers told the officials that their mobile phones caught Pakistani mobile phone signals when none of the Indian cellular operator signals was available. Not only the signals, but the trekkers also witnessed a change in the Indian standard time on their mobile phones. The Pakistani signals were so strong that the mobile phones automatically switched to Pakistan Standard Time (PST), they said.
Interestingly, the air distance between Dharamshala and the nearest Pakistani border is nearly 140 kms and as per established international norms, mobile phone signals should not be available beyond 500 metres on each side of the border.
This is not the first time that Pakistani cellular signals were detected in Dharmshala. In 2018 as well, signals from two prominent Pakistani cellular operators, Zong and Ufone, were also detected at two places called Triund and Dharamkot.
Though the detection of Pakistani mobile phone signals is very common at the Indo-Pak border, detection of Pakistani signals in Dharamshala has alerted the administration as anti-social elements can misuse them.
While Zong is one of the world’s largest telecom companies owned by a Chinese company, Ufone is the third-largest telecom operator in Pakistan. In the past, signals from two other Pakistani cellular operators, Mobilink and Telenor, and one other Chinese company, have also been detected in the Kangra district.