Obama, Modi Set U.S.-India Cybersecurity Handshake

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By Joseph Wright

June 7 — The U.S. and India have agreed in principle to a new enhanced cybersecurity relationship encompassing a broad range of online activity, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced June 7 in a joint statement.

As part of the new Framework for the U.S.-India Cyber Relationship, Obama and Modi said the countries would work to preserve the Internet as an engine of commerce not managed by any one government.

The statement reaffirms India's move toward the U.S. position that the Internet should be managed through a collaborative model involving public and private interests, and away from Russia and China's advocacy of greater national government control. India is the largest and most influential country to shift toward the U.S. policy since the March 2014 announcement of an Obama administration initiative to end U.S. technical Internet oversight (19 ECLR 362, 3/19/14).

“The leaders emphasized 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,” the heads of state said.

India announced in June 2015 its support for multistakeholder Internet governance at an international conference in Buenos Aires (20 ECLR 895, 6/24/15).

Obama and Modi said the countries would cooperate on improving cybersecurity, fighting cybercrime and promoting the applicability of international law and norms of international behavior in peacetime, including avoiding attacking critical infrastructure or intellectual property theft.

The countries will share cybersecurity threat information on a real-time or near real-time basis and will identify and implement best practices, according to a fact sheet accompanying the announcement. The U.S. will also help strengthen critical Internet infrastructure in India.

The countries expect to sign a completed framework within 60 days, according to the fact sheet.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Wright in Washington at jwright@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexis Kramer at akramer@bna.com

For More Information

The joint statement is available at http://src.bna.com/fF0.