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India, US to expand ties in new frontiers of cyber space, outer space

08 June 2016

India and the United States have pledged to pursue new opportunities in cyber space and outer space to bolster economic growth and sustainable development, promote peace and security at home and around the world, strengthen inclusive, democratic governance and respect for universal human rights, and provide global leadership on issues of shared interest.

During their third major bilateral summit, US President Barrack Osama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India that is rooted in shared values of freedom, democracy, universal human rights, tolerance and pluralism, equal opportunities for all citizens, and rule of law.

As space faring nations, India and the United States acknowledged outer space as an ever expanding frontier of human endeavour, and have decided to deepen their cooperation on earth observation, Mars exploration, space education and manned space flight.

The leaders welcomed the progress toward establishment of an Isro-Nasa Heliophysics Working Group as well as toward finalisation of a memorandum of understanding for exchange of earth observation satellite data.

The leaders emphasised that cyberspace enables economic growth and development, and reaffirmed their commitment to an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet, underpinned by the multistakeholder model of internet governance. They committed to deepen cooperation on cyber security and welcomed the understanding reached to finalise the Framework for the US-India Cyber Relationship in the near term.

They committed themselves to enhance cyber collaboration on critical infrastructure, cybercrime, and malicious cyber activity by state and non-state actors, capacity building, and cybersecurity research and development, and to continue discussions on all aspects of trade in technology and related services, including market access.

Towards this, the two countries decided to continue dialogue and engagement in internet governance fora, including in ICANN, IGF and other venues, and to support active participation by all stakeholders of the two countries in these fora. The leaders also decided to promote stability in cyberspace based on the applicability of international law, including the United Nations Charter, the promotion of voluntary norms of responsible state behavior during peacetime, and the development and implementation of practical confidence building measures between states.

Shared principles for the US-India cyber relationship include:

  • A commitment to an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable cyberspace environment;
  • A commitment to promote the internet as an engine for innovation, economic growth, and trade and commerce;
  • A commitment to promote the free flow of information;
  • A commitment to promote cooperation between and among the private sector and government authorities on cybercrime and cyber security;
  • A recognition of the importance of bilateral and international cooperation for combating cyber threats and promoting cyber security;
  • A commitment to respect cultural and linguistic diversity;
  • A commitment to promote international security and stability in cyberspace through a framework that recognizes the applicability of international law, in particular the UN Charter, to state conduct in cyberspace and the promotion of voluntary norms of responsible state behavior in cyberspace;
  • A commitment to the multistakeholder model of internet governance that is transparent and accountable to its stakeholders, including governments, civil society and the private sector, and promotes cooperation among them;
  • A recognition of the leading role for governments in cyber security matters relating to national security;
  • A recognition of the importance of and a shared commitment to cooperate in capacity building in cyber security and cyber security research and development;
  • A commitment to promote closer cooperation among law enforcement agencies to combat cybercrime between the two countries;
  • A commitment to promote, protect, and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms online;
  • A desire to cooperate in strengthening the security and resilience of critical information infrastructure; The main areas of cooperation between the two sides to advance these shared principles are expected to include:
  • Identifying, coordinating, sharing, and implementing cyber security best practices;
  • Sharing information on a real time or near real time basis, when practical and consistent with existing bilateral arrangements, about malicious cyber security threats, attacks and activities, and establishing appropriate mechanisms to improve such information sharing;
  • Developing joint mechanisms for practical cooperation to mitigate cyber threats to the security of ICT infrastructure and information contained therein consistent with their respective obligations under domestic and international law;
  • Promoting cooperation in the fields of cyber security-related research and development, cyber security standards and security testing, including accreditation process, and cyber security product development, including further consultations on such issues;
  • Elaborating and implementing practical measures that contribute to the security of ICT infrastructure on a voluntary and mutual basis;
  • Continuing to promote cooperation between law enforcement agencies to combat cybercrime including through training workshops, enhancing dialogue and processes and procedures, and setting up consultations as needed;
  • Improving the capacity of law enforcement agencies through joint training programs, including equipping them to draft appropriate requests for electronic evidence in accordance with the respective laws and regulations of the United States and India;
  • Undertaking skill development and capacity building programs jointly in the fields of cyber security, efforts to combat cybercrime, digital forensics, and legal frameworks;
  • Promoting the applicability of international law to state conduct in cyberspace and further exploring how it applies to state conduct in cyberspace; and
  • Promoting voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour in peacetime, including the norms identified by the UN Group of governmental experts in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.

The two countries pledged support to the voluntary norms - that no country should conduct or knowingly support online activity that intentionally damages critical infrastructure or otherwise impairs the use of it to provide services to the public;

No country should conduct or knowingly support activity intended to prevent national computer security incident response teams from responding to cyber incidents, or use its own teams to enable online activity that is intended to do harm;

Every country should cooperate, consistent with its domestic law and international obligations, with requests for assistance from other states in mitigating malicious cyber activity emanating from its territory; and

No country should conduct or knowingly support ICT-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to its companies or commercial sectors.

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