Other issues debated at Foreign Secretary-level talks include nuclear energy, counter-terrorism
India and Britain decided to step up cooperation in cyber security during their Foreign Minister-level talks here on Thursday.
They also discussed the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan besides cooperation in nuclear energy, defence and counter-terrorism, said officials who gave no additional details.
At a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, British Foreign Secretary William Hague supported India’s bid for membership in four export control regimes. Britain, Mr. Hague said, also looked “forward to the time when India will have a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”
The two Foreign Ministers also discussed Syria on which India and the West do not see eye-to-eye on using armed militants to effect a regime change.
Asked about Britain’s move to curtail aid to India, Mr. Khurshid said: “Aid is past, trade is future.”
Mr. Hague defended his High Commissioner’s meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi saying it would offer the United Kingdom the chance to strengthen its ties across the breadth of India.
He said the U.K. had lifted the travel ban for its citizens to Srinagar and Jammu because of “the change in the situation on [the] ground.” The review was made after understanding the facts because “we take our travel advisory very seriously in the U.K. and we change our decision only if facts have changed. Our travel advisories are never political.”
Shared core principles
On cyber security, which officials from both sides sought to portray as the biggest takeaway from the interaction, both sides sought to define the core principles under which this cooperation would take place — “both India and the United Kingdom share the core principles of liberty, transparency, freedom of expression and the rule of law which apply in cyberspace,” said a joint statement issued at the end of the interaction. The cyber security dialogue will seek to reduce the risk of threats from cyberspace to international security and strengthen the bilateral cooperation in tackling cyber crime.