The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had sought a set of recommendations from me for engagement on Global Cyber Issues. While I am not in a position to share the complete document as of now, here’s the introductory paragraph on the Strategic Intent:
A Non-Aligned Cyberspace: Recommendations for the MEA
1. If global diplomacy thrives on the appropriation of resources, then information will be the only true arbiter of power for nation states in the digital age. The access to information, or the lack of it, would become a qualifier for dominance in statecraft.
2. On a blatantly balkanized Internet, an asymmetric war worse than terrorism is being constantly waged. Cyber-espionage is irreparably haemorrhaging away India’s security and growth. Multilateralism via cyberspace can herald a new discourse in foreign affairs that will resonate with many developing nations.
3. Ratified, multi-lateral cybersecurity regimes are the future of strategic alliances. NATO is already racing towards picket-fencing its cyberspace, marking the ongoing militarization of the Internet. It is deeply impacting global trade and security, as the underlying technologies and companies get co-opted.
4. Congruent with the honourable Foreign Minister’s renewed vision of “Act East”, India can spearhead a new era in cyber-diplomacy by putting forth the idea of a Non-Aligned Cyberspace on an international stage. The honourable Prime Minister has already signed cybersecurity pacts with almost all the nations he has visited. However, the geopolitical potential of such arrangements remains underutilized as the modalities of the pacts never get defined. By ingeniously leveraging certain new technical developments in sharing cybersecurity data, these existing multi-lateral channels can become the facilitator for a pan-Asian cyber-regime led by India.