India orders telcos to monitor BlackBerry

India has told mobile operators in the country that they must install equipment to monitor Blackberry services by 31 August.

India's largest mobile company, Tata Teleservices, told BBC News that it had received a letter stating that it must "ensure that Legal Intervention (LI) capability is put in place".

Other operators confirmed that they have received a similar request.

The move will crank up pressure on BlackBerry maker RIM to provide the Indian government access to encrypted e-mail and messenger services.

BlackBerry devices use secure encryption to protect messages sent over mobile networks. Indian authorities have viewed mobile communications as a potential threat to national security since Pakistani militants used mobile and satellite phones to co-ordinate terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 that killed 170 people.

India's government has demanded full, readable access to all messages sent by BlackBerry devices in India - a request that RIM has so far refused.

The company earlier offered authorities a compromise, giving them the ability to track e-mail messages, but this was rejected

RIM claimed in a statement last week that it cooperated with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

A similar dispute in Saudi Arabia was resolved when RIM provided authorities with the ability to track communications via a local server. The company is believed to be in continuing talks with Indian authorities.