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ASEAN-India Track 1.5 Dialogue focuses on cyber security during COVID-19 pandemic

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ASEAN-India summit focuses on cyber security during COVID-19 pandemicOn October 13, 2020, The Second Edition of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India Track 1.5 Dialogue took place virtually. The summit was organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in partnership with the External Affairs Ministry (EAM). 

The summit held discussions on cooperation safety in the virtual and cyber area during the pandemic. 


i.It was attended by Dato’ Suryodipuro, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to India, Akshay Mathur, Director Observer Research Foundation, Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in EAM.

ii.It was also attended by eminent cyber experts representing governments, think-tanks, academia, and industry from the ASEAN member states and India. 

Key Points:

i.There has been an increase in ‘digitization’ and ‘cyberization’ due to the pandemic. With increasing interconnectedness, cybercrimes have also increased.

ii.The discussion highlighted that COVID-19 related frauds, phishing campaigns, online sale of fake medical supplies have increased. 

iii.Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East) in EAM highlighted Government of India’s initiatives to tackle cybercrimes. They are

  • Digital India Programme – Pradhan Mantri Grameen Digital Shaksharta Abhiyan (Prime Minister’s Rural Digital Literacy Campaign).
  • National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 for five years.    

iv.ASEAN highlighted its measures to curb cybercrimes – e-ASEAN Framework Agreement, ASEAN Economic Community 2025, and Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC 2025). 

Note: –

India is the Second Largest internet user in the world. According to India Cellular and Electronics Association Report, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach 820 million by 2022.

India launches Centres of Excellence:

i.India launched India’s Centres of Excellence in Software Development and Training (CESDTs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam to increase digital cooperation.

ii.India is funding ‘Child Online Risks Awareness Campaign’ & ‘Building Capacity on Digital Public Services Implementation and Cyber Security for Government Agencies’ as Quick Impact Projects in Cambodia in 2020. 

Recent Related News:

i.On September 12, 2020, the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting took place virtually, it was co-chaired by Union Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) along with Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.

ii.On August 29, 2020, the 17th ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Consultations took place virtually, it was co-chaired by Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways Piyush Vedprakash Goyal and Minister of Industry and Trade of Vietnam Tran Tuan Anh.

About ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations):

Members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Chair – Vietnam (2020)
Headquarters – Jakarta, Indonesia