Foreign Policy Watch: India-Australia

Common values, shared threats in India-Australia cyber security ties

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : International Cyber Engagement Strategy

Mains level : Paper 2- India-Australia relations

Context

Western and media attention may be focused on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but countries have not taken their eye off the Indo-Pacific where there is clear evidence of the changing world order.

India and Australia faces a common threat to cyber security

  • The India-Australia ECTA is a concrete example of the bilateral faith in common values, and understanding of threats and goals.
  • A reflection of this is cooperation in cyber security.
  • China is accused of having amassed a large number of cyber weapons and has allegedly carried out sophisticated operations aimed at espionage, theft of intellectual property, and destructive attacks on internet resources of some countries.
  • Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups: Australia and India have been at the receiving end of several such campaigns by the so-called Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups, supported by or assumed to be located in China.

Steps toward cooperation in cyber security

  • At the June 2020 virtual bilateral summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • New cyber security framework: The new cyber framework includes a five-year plan to work together on the digital economy, cybersecurity and critical and emerging technologies.
  • Bilateral research: This will be supported by a $9.7 million fund for bilateral research to improve regional cyber resilience.
  • An annual Cyber Policy Dialogue, a new Joint Working Group on Cyber Security Cooperation and a joint working group on ICTs have been established.
  • An annual India-Australia Foreign Ministers Cyber Framework Dialogue will be held.
  • India to be part of International Cyber Engagement Strategy: India will now be included in a core Australian initiative called the International Cyber Engagement Strategy — it began in 2017 to actively conduct capacity-building arrangements in Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, and support similar activities in Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • A joint Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy, to be located in Bengaluru, will be set up.

Steps taken by India to improve cyber security

  • India has set up the office of the National Cybersecurity Coordinator, a national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN), a national Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Agency (NCIIPC), and made appropriate amendments to the Information Technology Act and Rules to enhance its cyber security posture.
  • This has upped India’s rank to 10th in the Global Cyber Security Index (GCI) 2020, from 47th just two years earlier.
  • India has capable cybersecurity professionals.

Conclusion

Deepening cooperation can develop avenues for mutual learning and create complementary markets in cyber tools and technologies, boosting bilateral business and strategic commitments on both continents.

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