India open to widest cyber security pact, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

The government to open for international collaboration on cyber security, and favours handling issue of cyber terrorism in cooperation with other countries, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday. “India is willing to have the widest cooperation world over in the quest of cyber security,” Prasad said at an international conference on e-governance here.”

The ministry of electronics and information technology has organised the three-day 10th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) 2017, in collaboration with United Nations University and UNESCO.  “If (the) internet has to remain powerful, it must be safe and secure. (A) few people are using digital technology for terrorism, for hatred, for extremism, and we need to work together,” Prasad said.

He said the internet shouldn’t become the monopoly of a few. “Therefore, the right of its access must be without discrimination. In order to become truly global, it must have link with the local.”

The minister said India would be the voice of moderation, reason and assimilation as far as the internet discourse was concerned. “Let me make it clear, India would be voice of assertion in favour of those who are digitally deprived, digitally discriminated because 'Digital India' is designed to bridge the gap between digital haves and digital have-nots,” Prasad said.

Besides Prasad, Maria Manuel Leitao Marques, Portugal’s minister of presidency and administrative modernisation; P Chaudhary, minister of state for IT, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha and IT Secretary Aruna Sundararajan were present at the event. Seven countries are taking part in the event.

Prasad said the government has conveyed its concerns to the US administration on the move to curb processing of H1B visas. “Concerns have been conveyed to USA. Indian IT companies have been servicing 75 per cent of Forbes companies,” the minister said, adding the whole IT movement was based on “sharing and reciprocity”.

The US had said last week it would be temporarily suspending premium processing of H1B visas from April 3, eliminating the option of a shorter waiting period for the programme that helps highly skilled foreigners work at US firms. Companies, under the current system, while submitting applications for H1B visas for potential employees can pay an additional sum for expedited service, which is known as premium processing. The temporary suspension could last up to six months according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Prasad said a programme to support PhD scholars in digital technologies would be introduced as well. India will offer PhD scholarships to 100 students from all the participating countries at Indian universities, including IITs, IISc and other universities.

Also, the National Knowledge Network (NKN) will be connected with the Knowledge Network in Portugal, called FCCN. NKN connects nearly 1,600 universities and research centres in India on a high-speed network, providing a state-of- the-art platform for collaborative research. 

NKN is already connected to TIEN 4 and GEANT of Europe and Internet2 of the US making it possible for researchers in India to work closely with their counterparts in these two regions.

To ensure the country’s digital march and a more cyber secure world, the Government of India is going to host the next meeting of CERTs from Asia-Pacific in India later this year.

He said the government has laid special emphasis to promote electronics manufacturing in the country and has received investments of nearly $25 billion in the last two years.

"I am happy to note that ICEGOV 2017 has witnessed a record number of submissions of papers - around 560 of them on topics as varied as open government, digital citizenship, digital inclusion...I hope that the learning and sharing of experiences will be both ways," Chaudhary said.

Source :

Smart Grid Bulletin February 2019

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