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Quad plans cybersecurity alliance amid China threat

NewsQuad plans cybersecurity alliance amid China threat

NEW DELHI: With various countries in the Indo-Pacific region facing cybersecurity threat from China and North Korea, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), the group comprising India, the United States, Australia and Japan, is planning to provide an effective platform for a cybersecurity alliance to deal jointly with any such challenges from the countries (China and its axis) that “do not believe in respecting international laws, written pacts, territorial integrity and sovereignty of other nations”. The Quad Cybersecurity Group, which met in New Delhi last week, discussed this plan comprehensively amid the risk of cyberwars looming large because of China’s assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, diplomatic sources aware of the matter told The Sunday Guardian.
The Quad countries discussed building cybersecurity capabilities not only for themselves but also for
friendly nations and partners in the region. “The Quad stressed on the need to emerge as an effective platform for a gigantic alliance of the nations that are facing this threat,” a source said, adding, “more and more countries that are bearing the brunt of Beijing’s belligerence in the Indo-Pacific should be on board the alliance to combat the cybersecurity threat.”
The US, Australia, Japan and India that have a large number of allies in the Indo-Pacific such as South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, have decided to discuss the plan to combat the cybersecurity threat jointly. The US is also committed to protecting Taiwan at the same time. The officials at Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) are of the view that “The joint effort to deal with this challenge will send shivers down the Chinese government’s spine”.
During the Quad meeting, participants of the four countries focused on sharing threat information, identifying and evaluating potential risks in supply chains for digitally-enabled products and services, etc., a source said. Significantly, the meeting of the Quad Cybersecurity Group coincided with NSA Ajit Doval’s US visit. NSA Doval is learnt to have discussed with his US counterpart Jake Sullivan the challenges of cybersecurity and the way ahead to deal with the same. India would also be in talks with various other nations to pave the way for broad-basing the partnership to tackle the Chinese challenges in the cybersecurity sphere. India is hosting a rare strategic dialogue with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) next month in what would be a significant development in this context. Regional security including cybersecurity would be a key focus during the discussion, sources said. The dialogue would also focus on strengthening the partnership between India and NATO amid the geopolitical challenges in the Indo-Pacific, said sources.
With China reportedly preparing for aggressive cyber-attacks in the future, India, a key Quad member, will raise this issue with NATO officials. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are expected to attend the dialogue. India will be in contact with several other countries in the Indo-Pacific to discuss ways to prevent cyber incidents and build up capabilities to protect against and counter such attacks obviously from China and its axis, sources added.
The Quad delegations during the meet in New Delhi were led by Lieutenant General Rajesh Pant (Retd) of India, Michael Pezzullo of Australia, Masataka Okano of Japan and Anne Neuberger of the United States. “Weaponisation of cyberspace by state and non-state actors continues to be the prime concern for the Quad nations,” said an Indian official. Cybersecurity is one of the key areas identified by the Quad nations in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific. There is no denying that cyber threats from China and North Korea are major challenges not only for these four countries but all their partners in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere, say diplomats. China’s Internet of Things (IoT) is capable of spying on important industries, the infrastructure of cities of any country, diplomats say. Officials say that cyber and malware attacks from China are a serious threat to India. The US, Australia and Japan are facing similar risks from China. “Therefore, the Quad countries have realised the need to galvanise other nations to work in unison in combating this challenge and maintaining cybersecurity,” a source said.

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