As India weighs the pros and cons of involving Chinese telecom major Huawei in 5G trials, Australia has exchanged with New Delhi a range of “experiences” on cyber “infrastructure and assets”, an Australian diplomat said here on Thursday.
Asked whether Australia has shared its experiences with India on 5G, Tara Cavanagh, Minister-Counsellor, Home Affairs, at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi, told a group of journalists on Thursday that “Australia and India have a close and ongoing dialogue. Through that, we exchange a range of experiences, including cyber infrastructure and assets.”
Citing national security concerns, Australia had banned Huawei and ZTE from providing 5G technology for the country’s wireless networks almost two years ago.
Responding to questions on the recent mob violence in Bengaluru over a social media post, Cavanagh said that recent cybersecurity strategy does point out to “criminal groups interested in financial gain”, “sophisticated state actors”, “terrorist groups” and “issues-based groups”.
On whether there are any best practice examples to share on that, she said, “I think time will tell.”
Australian deputy high commissioner Rod Hilton said, “We also have an annual dialogue on terrorism. So in particular, some of the focus of that does go on extremism and measures that we both take now obviously that intersects with the cyber security realm. But it is something that we have to continue to expand practice on. We are very interested in learning from India.”
Australia unveiled its cyber security strategy on August 6. This ties in well with the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. On June 4, Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison signed the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). Both countries have identified the importance of a holistic approach to cyber-related issues, including cybersecurity.
In an oblique reference to China, the Australian Cyber Security Strategy 2020 said that Australia faces threats from – nation-states and state-sponsored actors and criminals exploiting Australians by accessing sensitive information and for financial gain.
The Australian Cyber Security Strategy 2020 will invest $1.67 billion — Rs 9,000 crore — over 10 years to achieve the vision of creating a more secure online world for Australians, their businesses and the essential services .
Australia and India have shared interests and common threats, and cooperation in areas of cyber and critical technology between Australia and India is growing.
This was lifted through the new agreement signed as part of the Prime Ministers’ virtual summit on June 4 – the Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Framework Agreement. The agreement sets out practical actions to enhance digital trade, harness critical technology opportunities and address cybersecurity challenges.
A research and development fund will be available for Indian and Australian businesses and researchers to cooperate on cyber and cyber-enabled technology research.