US, India pledge cyber cooperation as security threats rise

US, India pledge cyber cooperation as security threats rise
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The U.S. and India this week held a round of cybersecurity discussions in Washington, part of the Obama administration’s ongoing attempt to strengthen cyber ties with its allies around the globe.

It was the fourth time the U.S. and India met to talk cyber cooperation, making the South Asian country one of the White House's closer cyber allies in the region.

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During the two-day meetings, the two sides discussed “efforts to combat cybercrime, Internet governance issues and norms of state behavior in cyberspace,” according to a White House statement on Friday.

India is a valuable cyberspace partner for a number of reasons.

By most measures, the country is a top-10 global economy and rapidly growing in the digital space. Both delegations this week met with private-sector leaders to discuss ways to boost digital economic investment between the two countries.

But India is also situated near a number of major U.S. cyberspace rivals, including China, Russia and Iran. India is also close to some of the territory controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), seen as a possible rising digital threat.

To counter these regional threats and push its international cyber norms, the White House has been trying to bolster its cybersecurity cooperation with strategically placed allies.

In 2015, the U.S. has inked cyber deals with Japan, South Korea and Persian Gulf states. The pacts all pledge to share more data on hacking threats, exchange military cyber tactics and establish international cyberspace standards.

The White House has been advancing similar arrangements with India for several years now.

According to the White House, the two countries this week “identified a variety of opportunities for increased collaboration on cybersecurity capacity-building, cybersecurity research and development, combating cybercrime, international security and Internet governance.”

Top administration cyber officials, such as White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel and State Department Coordinator for Cyber Issues Christopher Painter, led the meetings.

The two countries will hold their next round of cyber discussions next year in Delhi.