India, Japan to boost cooperation in 5G, cyber security, AI

India and Japan have finalised a landmark agreement providing for enhancing cooperation on 5G technology, artificial intelligence and critical information infrastructure as the two strategic partners vowed to further broadbase their joint efforts in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The union cabinet also on Wednesday also approved the signing of a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) in the field of cyber security between India and Japan. 
Under the MoC, the two countries will develop joint mechanisms for practical cooperation to mitigate cyber threats to the security of information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.
The MoC will enhance cooperation in areas of mutual interest, which inter-alia in­clude:
  • Capacity building in the area of cyberspace; protection of critical infrastructure; 
  • Cooperation in emerging technologies; 
  • Sharing information on cyber security threats/incidents and malicious cyber activities, as well as best prac­tices to counter them; and
  • Developing joint mechanisms for practical cooperation to mitigate cyber threats to the security of Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure etc.
“India and Japan commit to an open, interoperable, free, fair, secure and reli­able cyberspace environment and to promote the Internet as an engine of innova­tion, economic growth, and trade and commerce that would be consistent with their respective domestic laws and international obligations, and with their wide-ranging strategic partnership,” an official release stated.
Both sides, through the MoC, affirmed cooperation in the international arena, including in the United Nations; discussing and sharing strategies and best prac­tices to promote the integrity of the supply chain of ICT products; strengthening the security of ICT infrastructure through government-to-government and business-to-business cooperation; continuing dialogue and engagement in Internet governance fora, and to support active participation by all the stakeholders of the two countries in these fora.
The agreement was finalised after a meeting between foreign ministers of the two countries in Tokyo on Wednesday, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said.
The two sides have firmed up the pact which will promote cooperation in 5G technology, internet of things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and key areas of cyberspace among others.
The firming up of the deal comes in the midst of growing concerns in India over cyber attacks from China, particularly after India banned over 100 mobile apps with Chinese links following the bitter border standoff between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.
Following talks between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Toshimitsu Motegi, it was also announced that Japan agreed to be the lead partner in the connectivity pillar of the Indo-Pacific Oceans' Initiative (IPOI).
The IPOI is an India-backed framework aimed at making meaningful efforts to create a safe and secure maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific, a region where China has been expanding its military assertiveness triggering global concerns.
Jaishankar, in a tweet, said further expansion of India-Japan collaboration in third countries with focus on development projects also figured in the talks.
"Recognising the increasing role being played by digital technologies, the two ministers highlighted the need for robust and resilient digital and cyber systems and in this context, welcomed the finalisation of the text of the cybersecurity agreement," the MEA said.
"The agreement promotes cooperation in capacity building, research and development, security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), among others," it said.
The cooperation between India and Japan on 5G technology comes in the backdrop of growing reluctance by a significant number of countries globally to allow Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to roll out 5G services in their territories.
The US has already banned Huawei over concerns of security, and Washington has been pressuring other countries to restrict the operations of the Chinese telecom major.
The 5G is the next-generation cellular technology with download speeds stated to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G LTE networks.
It said the pact will enhance cooperation in the area of cyberspace and emerging technologies and provide for protection of critical infrastructure and sharing of information on cyber security threats and malicious cyber activities as well as on best practices to counter them.
In course of the 13th India-Japan foreign ministers' strategic dialogue, Jaishankar and Motegi deliberated on a broad range of areas including maritime security, trade and investment, manufacturing, connectivity and infrastructure and reform of the United Nations, the MEA said.
"They emphasised that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region must be premised on diversified and resilient supply chains; and in this context, welcomed the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative between India, Japan, Australia and other like-minded countries," the MEA said.
It said the two ministers also concurred that the Indo-Pacific has acquired greater salience in recent times and underscored the need for India and Japan to work together for the benefit of the region.
The Japanese foreign ministry, in a statement, said the two ministers reaffirmed the importance of implementing Japan-India cooperation in third countries such as ASEAN and Southwest Asian countries and making steady progress on the high-speed rail project.
It also referred to the signing of exchanges of notes in late August for Japan's COVID-19 measures for India, namely a 50 billion yen emergency assistance loan and a 1 billion yen grant aid for the provision of medical equipment.