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US diplomat says the need now is to operationalise the joint policy, and a bilateral meeting in Washington in January will create a roadmap for implementation.

New Delhi: India and the US are set to operationalise a cyber security cooperation agreement in the next few weeks. The pact is likely to see response teams of the two countries joining hands, real-time sharing of threat assessments, and table-top exercises to jointly deal with offensive cyber operations.

A bilateral meeting due to be held in Washington next month will create a roadmap for cooperation, with concrete steps and timelines to be decided between the two nations at the top level on increasing cyber stability and reducing the risk of conflict emanating from the misuse of cyber space.

The roadmap will follow the guidelines laid down in a 2016 cooperation agreement. Several senior level meetings have been held in the past few months to ensure that the project takes off.

Speaking to ThePrint, Josh Johnson, coordinator for India-US cyber security cooperation at the US Embassy in New Delhi, said the key word was ‘operationalisation’.

“There has been an increase in the number of cyber attacks, which is a worrying trend. We are trying to link together our cyber attack response teams, the CERT IN, and US CERT,” Johnson said.

“The US and India are both on the same side when we talk about an open, secure, multi-stakeholder system for internet governance. There are some countries that do not follow this, but India and the US have spoken publicly on a joint commitment on this.”

More than 20 areas of cooperation

The Washington meeting will decide on concrete steps and timelines to increase cyber stability, and reducing the risk of conflict emanating from the misuse of cyber space.

“There are more than 20 areas of cooperation, joint training, table-top exercises and special training in the US. We are looking to find deliverables and set an agenda for taking the next concrete steps,” he said.

“We are looking for ways to link our networks to share information on cyber threats in a more meaningful way. This will be a major focus of the upcoming cyber dialogue.”

The dialogue in cyber and information and communications technology (ICT) will see representatives from various ministries, including home affairs, communications, trade and cyber security participating.

Besides linking networks and exercises, India and the US are looking at sharing best practices across different departments, holding workshops on policy and applicability of international law in cyber space, and joint training in the next three months.

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