India likely to sign cyber security pact with Spain, Germany during PM Narendra Modi's visit

NEW DELHI: India is set to enter into cybersecurity arrangements with Germany and Spain — with a view to combat online crimes including ransomware type situations as well as terrorism — during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's back-to-back visits to Berlin and Madrid next week.

Delhi is fine-tuning cyber-security partnership documents with these European partners with an eye on entering into a similar agreement covering the whole of European Union in future, people familiar with the matter told ET. 

Key features of cyber-security agreements with both Germany and Spain include joint fight against cybercrimes and countering violent extremism (CVE), said one of the people. Cyber-security dialogues with other European nations are also in the pipeline. 

While the PM is keen to push use of digital mechanisms within the country, including use of Aadhaar and the BHIM app, what is lesser known is the fact that he is also working on expanding cyber-security cooperation with partner nations. Last year, India entered into such tie-ups with the US and Russia. 

Joint fight against terrorism is on the agenda with both Germany and Spain, officials said. During the PM's visit to Madrid on May 31, considerable focus will be devoted to counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation partnerships. 

Spain was hit by terrorism before many other European nations and has expertise and experience in dealing with the menace. 

Indians — both NRIs and People of Indian Origin — have encountered a unique form of cybercrime in Germany following which Delhi had to step in. 

Many NRIs and PIOs got extortion calls, demanding that they pay money or risk cancellation of their residency permits or citizenship. Several of them approached the Indian Embassy in Berlin following which the foreign ministry stepped in and is currently working in close coordination with German authorities to deal with the matter. 

India currently has cyber-security dialogues with 15 nations including Egypt, a key Arab state. The cooperation has not only enabled Cairo to develop its own capacity in that field, but has also allowed India to have wider knowledge of extremist activities in the West Asian region. 

One of the key challenges in joint fight against cybercrime is lack of compatibility between India's Code of Criminal Procedure and provisions in partner countries, people familiar with the application of Indian laws said. 

Under such circumstances, the Indian Information Technology Act comes handy to create joint action with like-minded countries. 

Meanwhile, India and the US last week held a new round of Track 1.5 cyber dialogue to discuss issues of Internet governance, capacity building and CVE with participation from government officials, civil society members and think tanks in the light of the Trump administration's executive order that seeks to merge multi-stakeholder and multilateral approach .

India prefers government-togovernment approach to deal with sovereign matters and cyber security-related issues and multi-stakeholder approach (that involves business enterprises and civil society) to tackle market and technology-related issues. 

Source :

Smart Grid Bulletin February 2019

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