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India, Japan ink MoU to cooperate on ICTs

India and Japan recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in the field of information and communications technologies (ICTs).

The MoU was signed by the Indian Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and the Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Takeda Ryota. The agreement was exchanged through a video conference on 15 January.

According to a press release, the Indian Department of Telecommunications and the Japanese Ministry of Communications will enhance mutual cooperation for 5G technologies, telecom security, spectrum management, smart cities, high-altitude platforms for broadband in unconnected areas, and disaster management and public safety.

Japan will also help develop a submarine optical fibre cable system for the islands of India. It has been agreed that apart from Ministry-level cooperation, Indian governmental organisation such as C-DOT and ITI Limited, along with industry partners from Japan, will also be a part of this cooperation.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister Prasad highlighted the timely execution of connecting the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with submarine optical fibre cable as a great example of cooperation between India and Japan. He also mentioned India’s rapid adoption of technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. These included the AarogyaSetu app, employing the Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System for the doorstep disbursement of cash by the India Post, digital hearings in Indian courts, and the development of digital payments.

He further added that during COVID-19, due to policies like Postal Life Insurance (PLI) and the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS), a large number of investments have come to India in the field of electronics manufacturing. He urged the Japanese electronics industry to invest in India and avail of the benefits of the new technologies.

He also explained the potential that India holds for Japanese investors in the field of 5G and 5G-based services, the Internet of things (IoT), and digital health technologies. Minister Ryota expressed the commitment of the government of Japan towards mutual cooperation and investments in India.

In October last year, the two sides signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) in the field of cybersecurity. As OpenGov Asia had reported, the agreement promoted cooperation in 5G network and artificial intelligence (AI).

It also included capacity building in the areas of cyberspace and the protection of critical infrastructure. It aimed to promote cooperation in capacity building, research and development, and security and resilience in the areas of critical information infrastructure and IoT, among others.

The countries committed to work together on emerging technologies and to share information on cybersecurity threats, incidents, and malicious cyber activities. The nations would develop and exchange best practices to counter cyber threats and create joint mechanisms to mitigate cyber risks for ICT systems.

Through the MoC, the sides also affirmed cooperation in the international arena including in the United Nations; discussing and sharing strategies to promote the integrity of the supply chain of ICT products; strengthening the security of ICT infrastructure through government-to-government and business-to-business cooperation, and continuing dialogue and engagement in Internet governance.

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