On World Tuberculosis (TB) Day 2006, the International Standards for Tuberculosis Care (ISTC) was officially released and widely endorsed by several agencies and organizations. The ISTC release was the culmination of a year long global effort to develop and set internationally acceptable, evidence-based standards for tuberculosis care. The ISTC describes a widely endorsed level of care that all practitioners, public and private, should seek to achieve in managing individuals who have or are suspected of having, TB and is intended to facilitate the effective engagement of all healthcare providers in delivering high quality care for patients of all ages, including those with smear-positive, smear-negative and extra-pulmonary TB, TB caused by drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis and TB/HIV coinfection. In this article, we present the ISTC, with a special focus on the diagnostic standards and describe their implications and relevance for laboratory professionals in India and worldwide. Laboratory professionals play a critical role in ensuring that all the standards are actually met by providing high quality laboratory services for smear microscopy, culture and drug susceptibility testing and other services such as testing for HIV infection. In fact, if the ISTC is widely followed, it can be expected that there will be a greater need and demand for quality assured laboratory services and this will have obvious implications for all laboratories in terms of work load, requirement for resources and trained personnel and organization of quality assurance systems.