India, Japan ink security pact

India and Japan

On Wednesday, India and Japan finalized a cybersecurity deal to strengthen the digital and cyber system security. The deal aims to make the cyber operations robust and resilient against attacks. This move comes weeks after both the countries completed a logistics support pact for closer operations between their militaries.

After thirteen rounds of Indo-Japan strategic dialogue conducted in Tokyo, a joint statement by Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Motegi Toshimitsu of Japan stated that both the countries are keen to make the Indo-Pacific region free, open, inclusive, and premised on diversified and resilient supply chains.

The two countries welcomed the supply chain resilience initiative among India, Japan, Australia, and other like-minded countries. The initiative comes in the context of countries looking to diversify supply chains out of China after Beijing abruptly closed factories and units in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic erupting there, sending economic activity into a tailspin across the world. The move threw up the question of the reliability of supply chains based in China with countries looking to broaden the sources for critical procurements. In September, the trade ministers of India, Australia, and Japan had agreed to launch an initiative on supply chain resilience.

Jaishankar arrived in Tokyo on Tuesday for the second India-US-Australia-Japan – “Quad” – foreign ministers’ meeting. On Tuesday, he had bilateral meetings with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Australian foreign minister Marise Payne.

On cooperation in cybersecurity, the joint statement said that “recognizing the increasing role being played by digital technologies, the two ministers highlighted the need for robust and resilient digital and cyber systems.”

In this context, the two welcomed “welcomed the finalization of the text of the cybersecurity agreement. 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,” the statement said. In New Delhi, the pact was cleared at a Cabinet meeting headed by prime minister Narendra Modi, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

According to two people familiar with the developments, India has been in consultations with Japan and Australia on 5G technology and safety concerns regarding it. According to news reports, Australia and Japan decided to exclude Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE from their telecom networks and services in 2018.

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