India, Australia share views on protecting critical infra, including 5G network

Minister-Counsellor, Home Affairs, Tara Cavanagh. File   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

India and Australia are sharing experiences on protecting critical infrastructure, including 5G networks, said a senior Australian High Commission official on Thursday while talking of the huge increase in cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries. However, Australia has no intention of banning Chinese apps like India has done, said Minister-Counsellor, Home Affairs, Tara Cavanagh.

At the Prime Minister’s virtual summit in June both countries had signed a cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology framework agreement along with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

India, Australia share views on protecting critical infra, including 5G network

“We have a close and ongoing dialogue, through that we exchange a range of our experiences, including what we are doing on critical infrastructure and aspects, including our 5G network,” Ms. Cavanagh said. She said another area which the two countries were exploring was of regulatory space, including Australia’s encryption legislation, and how that could be used to prevent cyber-enabled crime. “Also on how to police the dark web ... That’s a new area. That’s of particular focus for us,” she stated.

Bar on Chinese firms

In August 2018, Australia had banned Chinese companies from offering 5G services, citing national security. In January, India allowed Chinese firms to participate in 5G trials but with the current border standoff in Ladakh, there are reports that India may take a tougher stand.

On June 29, India banned 59 Chinese apps citing national security and later banned 47 more Chinese apps. On this, Ms. Cavanagh said, “We recognise that each country will make its own decision in its own national interest. We have looked at the matter and we have decided that we will not be making such a decision at this stage.”

Deputy High Commissioner Rod Hilton sad there was a lot of focus on the CSP but in his view the cyber framework was the second most important agreement signed that day (June 4). “The [cyber] agreement sets out practical actions to enhance digital trade, harness critical technology opportunities and address cybersecurity challenges,” he said. As part of this, the two countries had been increasing information sharing and stepping up cooperation, Mr. Hilton added.

Categories of threats

The two diplomats said the categories of threats that the two countries were looking at were criminal groups, financial gain, sophisticated state-based actors, terrorist groups, issues-based groups which might use the Internet to motivate, and countering terrorism including violent extremism.

On August 6, Australia launched its Cyber Security Strategy 2020 under which it pledged to invest $1.67 bn over 10 years to protect the vulnerable, combat cybercrime and protect critical infrastructure and systems of national significance.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 10:27:47 AM |

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