U.S., India Hold Talks To Combat Cyber Attacks

By Agence France-Presse The United States and India have launched high-level security talks to protect their information technology systems from attacks by hostile states and computer-savvy criminals, officials said April 30. U.S. assistant secretary of state, Lincoln Bloomfield Jr., told reporters in New Delhi that he held discussions with his Indian counterparts on April 29 about the global threat of cyber attacks and possible protective measures. "These talks marked the start of what will be a regular relationship between India and United States on cyber security. Indeed, the professional level dialogue from here on will be continuous," he said. Bloomfield said it was appropriate for the United States to hold such talks with India because of its strength in information technology (IT). He said Washington wanted the cooperation of every country in the world, but was initially holding talks with a select few. Private industry in India and the United States was expected to play a significant role in IT security, he said. "The U.S. needs to enlist the cooperation of [its] private sector for their own benefit," he said, adding that nearly 80% to 85% of IT systems in the country were privately owned. Bloomfield said the talks included wider India-U.S. political-military issues, "to set the stage for a closer and even more productive bilateral security relationship. The discussions included Indian military modernization and India's perspectives on the U.S. as a potential defense supplier." "I was able to share with my hosts the progress of current defense procurement requests and explain in detail the U.S. defense trade licensing process and U.S. arms transfer policy." Earlier this month, New Delhi entered into its first arms deal with Washington in more than a decade, with an agreement to buy eight U.S.-made Firefinder counter-battery artillery radars. In the past, Russia has been India's main arms supplier. Washington lifted restrictions on military sales to India and Pakistan, imposed after their tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998, following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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