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India, ASEAN Cooperate On Cybersecurity

The Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Riva, Ganguly Das, has emphasised the need for India and ASEAN to enhance cooperation on cybersecurity and narrow the digital gap. Speaking at the ASEAN-India Track 1.5 Dialogue on Cyber Issues earlier this month, Das pointed out that ASEAN has been proactive in the region’s efforts to tackle cybersecurity challenges and has undertaken various cyber confidence-building measures.

She affirmed that ASEAN’s emphasis on cybersecurity and cyber connectivity in accordance with international laws resonates deeply with India’s approach towards cyberspace. As per a news report, she noted that the country has been working domestically to address cybersecurity challenges by developing platforms to secure the country’s cyberspace as well as by adopting comprehensive policies like the New National Cyber Security Policy.

Cybercrime often has a transnational dimension, she stated, adding that there is a crucial need for international cooperation to exchange experiences and share best practices for the protection of information infrastructures. Equitable access to cyberspace and its benefits is another important area that India-ASEAN engagement on cyber issues needs to focus on. She emphasised the role played by digital technologies during the COVID-19 waves, in keeping supply chains open for an accelerated and sustainable economic recovery in the region, explaining that it becomes all more important that digital inequalities are addressed. India intends to share its experience with ASEAN to move towards a safer and more secure global cyberspace.

India is committed to bilateral and international cooperation on cybersecurity. The need for cooperation between India and ASEAN member countries in this field is self-evident, the Secretary said. Meanwhile, ASEAN has been proactive in the region’s efforts to tackle cybersecurity challenges and has undertaken various cyber confidence-building measures. India is dedicated to an open, secure, free, accessible, and stable cyberspace environment. This will become an engine for innovation, economic growth, and sustainable development, and will ensure the free flow of information and respect cultural and linguistic diversity.

With transformative technology initiatives such as IndiaStack, Aadhar, and the United Payments Interface (UPI), the country has successfully leveraged the tremendous potential of cyber technologies in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agenda and improving governance, Das claimed. “Our overarching objective is to harness cyberspace for the growth and empowerment of people, not just of our own country, but for all humanity,” she added.

Earlier this month, OpenGov Asia reported that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is planning to create a domestic operating system to boost the government’s capabilities to deal with potential internal and external threats as it formulates a comprehensive cybersecurity framework.

A few technology giants have their own cybersecurity infrastructure from the primary layer onwards and have software to protect stored data. The government plans to do the same. It also proposes to establish a dedicated team of professionals to evaluate how the infrastructure needs to evolve to keep with the latest developments in the technological field. With the advent of 5G, the Internet of things (IoT), and the growth in cybercrime, there is a need for a more comprehensive framework that addresses national security threats. The government has also started cybersecurity training for all officials. The country has many channels to transmit data, including undersea cables and satellites and India needs to upgrade its framework to deal with the vast amount of data being circulated.

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