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Strengthening Ties: The Strategic Impact of the India-Japan Cybersecurity Pact

by Samyak Krishna
1 comment 5 minutes read

India and Japan have finalised an agreement on cybersecurity to enhance cooperation on 5G technology and critical information infrastructure, alongside pledging to work towards a free and open Indo-Pacific with diversified supply chains. The communiqués issued by India and Japan following a meeting between External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, in Tokyo, did not mention China. However, many of the issues discussed appeared to address Beijing’s regional activities. The proposed agreement will foster collaboration in capacity building, research and development, and the security and resilience of critical information infrastructure, 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.

External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi smile at the start of their luncheon meeting at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 7, 2020
External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi smile at the start of their luncheon meeting at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, Japan, on Oct. 7, 2020.

Two Ministers welcomed the finalisation of the draft cyber security agreement. The agreement promotes cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and sustainability in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), among other things.

A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (MEA)

However, the statement did not specify each country’s role under this agreement. The announcement is anticipated to draw the attention of stakeholders in the Indian 5G sector as it prepares to open up to international operators, especially given the uncertainty about the involvement of Chinese technology officials in the 5G platform.

An ironclad initiative with diverse ambitions

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a cabinet meeting on Wednesday warmly received the agreement. An official statement highlighted that the two nations would exchange information on combating cybersecurity threats and jointly develop measures to counter threats to telecommunications (ICT) infrastructure. Additionally, the two sides will unite on cybersecurity within international organisations such as the United Nations.

The ministers emphasised that the Indo-Pacific free zone must consist of diverse and robust supply chains. In this context, we have embraced the provision of resources between India, Japan, Australia, and other like-minded countries.

The ministers, in a show of unity, met a day after engaging with their Australian and American counterparts at the second Quadrilateral Security Dialogue Ministerial Conference. The conference, in a strong statement, called for a rules-based order and a peaceful resolution of the ongoing Chinese conflict across the Indo-Pacific, reaffirming our commitment to security and stability in the region.

Sameer Patil, an international security partner at Gateway House, described the proposed cybersecurity agreement as crucial. It builds on existing discussions with Japan at a time when both countries face hacking challenges and other threats from nations such as China and North Korea.

The problems faced by Hitachi Payment Services in 2016, when malware created financial breaches and included 3.2 million bank card details in India, are one example of how cyber security is a co-operative and the only way we can deal with co-operation.

Sameer Patil, an international security partner at Gateway House

The proposed agreement is significant as it covers critical information infrastructure, including banking and payment systems, telecommunications and the internet, nuclear responders and power systems, transport systems such as air traffic control, and water supply systems. “All of this is important for economic performance, stability, and community,” Patil said.

During their discussions, Jaishankar and Motegi concurred that the Indo-Pacific had gained greater importance in recent times and that India and Japan should collaborate for the region’s benefit.

Ensuring the similarity of their Indo-Pacific ideals, based on the rule of law and respect for local sovereignty and integrity, the Japanese side has agreed to be a leading partner in the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) link and jointly take the views of both countries on the Indo-Pacific forward.

The Department of Foreign Affairs

The IPOI, unveiled by Modi at the East Asia Summit in November 2019, comprises seven pillars: maritime security, trade and connectivity, disaster risk reduction and management, cooperation in science and technology, marine pollution reduction, sustainable use of marine resources, and capacity building.

The two ministers affirmed that both countries will earnestly pursue their efforts to realise UN Security Council reforms as soon as possible.

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Shubham Singh October 14, 2020 - 6:39 am

Nice, informative.

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