Germany is looking for active cooperation with India to deter threats of cyber-terrorism, visiting German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen told the Indian Prime Minister during her meeting today. Explaining the contours of her proposal, Leyen said that India has human resources with highly sophisticated skills in Information technology which Germany needs making “it a win-win situation” for both countries.
One million computers in Germany have been infected with the Botnet virus, rendering that country vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Leyen said that developing cyber resilience has thus become a high priority for the German defence ministry. India had similarly suffered a loss of four billion dollars due to cyber attacks last year, the minister added. Leyen said that she had personally requested PM Modi to send Indian IT experts to attend an international conference on cyber warfare being organized by her ministry in Germany later this year. This conference will provide inputs for Germany’s White Paper on National Defence Strategy which is due in 2016. Last such paper was released by the German government in 2006.
In response to a question by The Indian Express, Leyen said that India and Germany are looking for closer defence cooperation. Such cooperation is already being seen in production of submarines for the Indian Navy and Germany’s endeavour is to not simply sell military equipment to India but to develop and produce it in India, in line with PM Modi’s “Make in India” slogan. She also asserted that as India and Germany are both democracies dedicated to upholding universal values of freedom, liberty, free speech and liberalism, she does not expect Human Rights or other controversial issues to limit defence cooperation with India in the future.
Speaking at a public event on “India and Europe: A Shared Security”, Leyen described India and Germany as natural partners which needed to work together to uphold universal values in these times of uncertainty in Asia and Europe. She also said that as a trading economy, Germany had deep interests in keeping the Sea Lines of Communications in the Indian Ocean secure and will work with India to ensure that these routes in the Indian Ocean are never closed.
Leyen had earlier held bilateral talks with her counterpart Manohar Parrikar and paid a visit to the Army Research and Referral Hospital, the flagship medical unit of the Armed Forces Medical Services in Delhi. Leyen’s visit preceded German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to India in October this year for the next round of Intergovernmental Consultations which will be co-chaired by PM Modi.