Indian diplomatic mission in London turns to typewriters over snopping
India's High Commission in London turns to typewriters to avoid snooping (

The Indian diplomatic mission in London has turned to typewriters for writing sensitive documents to avoid snooping by security agencies, after it emerged that New Delhi's diplomatic missions in New York and Washington were bugged by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The High Commission of India in the UK has also urged Indian diplomatic staff to be extra careful in dealing with top-secret documents, while officials have been warned about potential bugs inside the buildings.

The new policy comes days after it was revealed - through Edward Snowden's disclosures - that the NSA planted high-tech bugs to spy on Indian diplomats in Washington and at the UN headquarters.

"No highly-classified information is discussed inside the embassy building. And it's very tedious to step out into the garden every time something sensitive has to be discussed," Indian high commissioner Jamini Bhagwati told the Times of India.

"Top secret cables are never conveyed through the internet or machines with cable connections. External hard drives with tremendous amount of data storage capacity are easy to access. Therefore, top secret cables are written on the typewriter which can't be tracked."

India is not the first country to use typewriters to battle security leaks. The Kremlin's communications watchdog, the Federal Protection Service (FSO), has ordered typewriters to produce sensitive documents.

It is unclear whether Britain's eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, allegedly involved in several other snooping activities along with the NSA, played any part in spying on Indian interests.

But Bhagwati quipped: "The British might have got bored with what they hear us talking inside the embassy. They must be saying 'this is what the Indians talk'."

The snooping disclosures have evoked strong condemnation from India following the latest leaks, carried by The Hindu newspaper.

Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, India's Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said the unauthorised interception of communication by the NSA was a "serious violation of national sovereignty and individual rights".