December 09, 2013
India’s cyber security preparedness
- In view of its growing cyber security concerns, India has decided to challenge the U.S. government’s control over the Internet and ensure that the trio of the U.S., Russia and China does not ignore India’s concerns while developing an international regime for Internet governance.
- India will also push for storing all Internet data within the country, besides ensuring control and management of servers.
According to a note prepared by the Sub-Committee on International Cooperation on Cyber Security (under the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS)), the following were the concerns and issues discussed regarding cyber security challenges:
- The control of Internet was in the hands of the U.S. government and the key levers relating to its management was dominated by its security agencies. Just mere location of root servers in India would not serve any purpose unless India was also allowed a role in their control and management. Also it should be insisted that data of all domain names originating from India should be stored in India. Similarly, all traffic originating/landing in India should be stored in India.
- Notably, the key function of domain name system (DNS) management today is in the hands of the U.S. National Telecommunication and Information Administration and the Department of Commerce. Though after persistently putting pressure on companies, India has managed to get root servers installed in the country, it wants a say in management of these servers. India is also seeking a key role in policy making on Internet governance at the international level.
- It was also important that management and control of the DNS should be supervised by a ‘Board’ consisting of technical experts nominated by governments and India should be represented on this Board. India should seek a larger determinate role for the GAC (Government Advisory Committee) in ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number) a U.S.-based non-profit organisation that coordinates global Internet systems in which India should be effectively represented.
- India is also concerned about the proximity of the U.S., Russia and China while deciding on issue of Internet governance. There was a possibility that the U.S., Russia and China may work out an arrangement that met their concerns and this arrangement was thereafter forced upon other countries. So India needs to guard against this possibility and ensure that India’s concerns were also accommodated in whatever international regime for Internet governance that ultimately emerged. Notably, today India has the third largest Internet users in the world at over 15 crore, only after China (56 crore) and the U.S. (25 crore).
- India has also decided to favour a pre-dominantly multilateral approach on issues related to Internet governance rather than multi-stakeholder approach which is mainly being advocated by the West.
- According to India, the very term multi-stakeholder was something of a ‘misnomer’. A small unrepresentative group of certain individuals, supported by vested interests, appear to have arrogated themselves the right to present certain views in discussions relating to Internet governance. It was not clear as to who they represent and whether who they claimed to represent had in fact nominated them. These persons undermine the positions of the government and were really spokespersons of certain Western interests.
Support land agreement with Bangladesh: Assam CM
- Assam CM Tarun Gogoi has appealed to all political parties to extend their cooperation to ensure ratification of the land swap agreement between India and Bangladesh.
- The land swap agreement will help solve the long-pending boundary issues with Bangladesh and will also lead to increase in volume of trade and commerce.
- It would also ensure demarcation and erection of fencing on the unfenced 2.86-km stretch in the Lathitilla-Dumabari sector in Karimganj district along the border.
- Of the total 665 acres under adverse possession of Bangladesh, Assam would regain 397.5 acres, while Bangladesh would get 267.5 acres. So there was no question of losing any land.
Courtesy- Wikipedia (image)
For more information on the India-Bangladesh Land swap deal, refer the below link-
Conclusion of the Bali meet
- World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministers in Bali finally adopted the historic five-draft decision declaration and the 10-document full Bali Package that addresses the Doha Development Agenda.
- There had been apprehensions that if Bali didn’t come through, the Doha Round and with it the WTO would become lifeless.
- Post-Bali, the negotiators in Geneva will focus on the long-stalled issues of the Doha Development Round in a work programme they committed themselves to completing within 12 months.
- It is said that, The Bali Declaration is the stepping stone for the completion of the Doha Round.
- The declaration takes care of India’s concerns on food security and trade facilitation; it was what actually India wanted.
- The declaration has been hailed across all quarters, as WTO has come alive and it has done what it should have been doing all these years – negotiating, dynamic, working hard to get an agreement and innovative solutions, willing to engage and compromise, seeking common ground and inclusiveness.
- The focus was on national interests and common good, and the right of the developing countries to give food security to billions of the world’s poorest people was upheld and through trade facilitation it has opened up the potential of injecting up $1 trillion into the global economy.
Reaction of the civil society groups:
- However, the civil society groups were extremely disappointed about India accepting a ‘peace clause’ with conditionality on its food and farm subsidies at the Bali meet with no assured mechanism for finding a permanent solution.
- India has opened up its farm and domestic food policies, programmes and mechanisms to international scrutiny with large data and reporting mechanisms to be put into place, thus losing sovereign control over decision-making on food grains stocks and procurement.
- Expressing deep disappointment with the hype over ‘India’s win’, the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture has said that “India has lost a historical opportunity” of correcting deep-seated problems with the WTO on trade and agriculture rules that were tilted against the developing countries.
- According to the Right to Food Campaign, India has wilted under pressure from the U.S. and agreed to accept conditionality to the Peace Clause that was not part of the G-33 proposal.
- Some section have criticised that, India had fell into the trap of discussing subsidy limits and minimum support price (MSP) in agriculture when it should have argued on the basis of hunger and malnutrition in India and that any attempt by the Indian government to act on it cannot possibly be placed within the purview of WTO sanctions.
- And also allowing ‘trade facilitation’ means that post-Bali, India should expect an influx of heavily subsidised agricultural produce from outside.
- According to Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, India should have insisted that an audit of free trade be done, instead of accepting further trade liberalisation, and giving in to the “peace clause”, which postpones putting food security and food sovereignty at the centre of trade in agriculture.
- Our World Is Not For Sale (OWINFS), a global network of NGOs, reacted to the developments sarcastically saying ‘avoiding a total meltdown of the WTO is being touted as a breakthrough, which just shows how de-legitimate the corporate-led model of trade liberalisation, embodied by the WTO, has become.’
Transaction costs will improve once WTO pact is operational: EEPC
- The WTO agreement on trade facilitation will make life much easier for Indian exporters since the pact will ensure uniform, transparent and efficient transactions at the customs and port operations across the world.
- The agreement that promises to dismantle barriers at the ports and customs would prove a turning point. The efficiency and transaction costs will improve by leaps and bounds, once the agreement comes into operation.
- Indian exports suffer largely at the hands of customs and ports not only within the country but in several parts of the world.
- Besides, the agreement will make it difficult for some countries which tend to slap non-tariff barriers against exports from the developing countries.
South Korea expands air defence zone
- South Korea has expanded its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) for the first time in six decades, in an apparent response to China’s decision to set up its first such zone over disputed parts of the East China Sea.
- Underlining how China’s decision has heightened regional tensions and has increased the likelihood of an incident in the contested skies over northeastern Asia, South Korea’s newly expanded ADIZ will overlap with northern areas of China’s zone.
- An ADIZ is not a territorial claim, but a defined area in international space within which countries monitor and track aircraft that are heading towards territorial airspace.
- S.Korea’s announcement was seen as an attempt to bolster its control over parts of the East China Sea surrounding the Leodo reef, which, earlier, lay beyond the southern edge of its zone. The eastern and western limits of its ADIZ have not been expanded.
(Regarding ADIZ issue, refer our previous ‘Current Events’)
Massive protest in Kiev (Ukraine)
- Several hundred thousand Ukrainians occupied a central square in the capital denouncing President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from Europe and align this former Soviet republic with Russia.
- According to critics, Ukraine is on the verge of entering a Russian-led customs union that could end its sovereignty and place it back under Moscow’s rule.
For a good article on ‘Nationalism and free press’, refer the below link-