India, Australia reaffirm cyberspace cooperation

New Delhi


India and Australia have reaffirmed their commitment to an "open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace" and pledged to work together on matters of common interest in the field and to combat threats.

"Australia and India reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free, secure, stable, peaceful and accessible cyberspace enabling economic growth and innovation and reiterated their support for the multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance," said the joint statement issued after the second Australia-India Cyber Policy Dialogue in Canberra on Thursday, a copy of which was shared by the External Affairs Ministry here on Friday.

"The two countries agreed that the bilateral cyber policy dialogue provided a strong foundation for existing and future cooperation."

The statement said that both countries reaffirmed their commitment to the rules-based order and to enhancing their understandings of how these rules applied to state behaviour in cyberspace.

New Delhi and Canberra also reaffirmed their commitment to act in accordance with the previous reports of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on developments in the field of information and telecommunications and, "in particular, the 11 voluntary norms of state behaviour set out in the 2015 report".

"Australia and India reaffirmed that responsible behaviour of states in cyberspace is subject to the UN Charter in its entirety and existing international law," the statement said, adding they also stressed "that such behaviour includes respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms".

According to the statement, both countries observed that the cumulative reports of the UNGGE "have gone a long way to deepening common understandings, not just about how international law and norms apply to cyberspace, but they have also provided important guidance on confidence building measures and capacity building".

"This combined framework helps reduce the risk of conflict by creating clear expectations for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace." 

Australia and India resolved to work together to deepen common understandings on these important issues, including at the upcoming Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi in November 2017.

Both sides discussed the full range of cyber issues including cyber threat perceptions, respective visions of the future of the internet and cyberspace, updates on domestic cyber governance and policy, developments in regional and international fora and growth of the digital economy.

"Further, the two sides also agreed on a plan of action, which identified points of contacts on various issues of mutual interest in the area of cyberspace," the statement said.

While Sanjay Verma, Joint Secretary for Cyber Diplomacy in the Ministry of External Affairs, led the Indian side in the dialogue, the Australian side was led by Tobias Feakin, Ambassador for Cyber Affairs.

The next round of the dialogue will be held in India in 2018. - IANS