In June 2022, India and Japan held a high-level virtual cyber dialogue. The joint secretary of the Department of Cyber Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed the Indian side, which included ministries such as Interior, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Electronics and Information Technology. The Japanese delegation, headed by the ambassador responsible for cyber policy, was made up of similar government bodies.
The discussion revolved around national policies and legal frameworks for important and developing areas such as information and communication technologies. It reviewed and mapped progress in bilateral cyber cooperation and cybersecurity, and looked at 5G telecommunications technology between nations.
India was ranked 46th in the 2021 Global Innovation Index based on technological development in areas such as political environment, education, infrastructure and economy. According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), the revenue of the IT industry in India is forecast at US$227 billion in the current fiscal year, compared to US$196 billion last year.
As nations recover from the effects of the pandemic and grapple with the economic fallout from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the timing for such bilateral cooperation and the promotion of trade and commerce is laudable. India and Japan see these moves as constructive and productive. Cooperation in cybersecurity and information communication technology (ICT) will enable India to become an innovation economy.
The collaboration aims to advance smart island and smart city projects in India with clean and energy-efficient technologies. Japan’s global competitiveness in submarine optical cable infrastructure has already prompted India to partner with Japanese companies to advance the Digital India program. The Japan-India Digital Partnership unlocks opportunities in the startup ecosystem, with NASSCOM and the Japan External Trade Organization deepening collaboration and connecting startups and tech-based companies with Japanese venture capitalists and strategic partners. An infrastructure is created for testing new products and services, with an emphasis on safety and security. Fast track approvals for experimental products and services will be simplified by eliminating licenses. Affordable frequencies for research and development are provided and testbeds, incubators and innovation centers are funded in cooperation with industry and science.
ICT and Intellectual Property (IP) should intersect through collaboration as the IP system plays a significant role in helping companies gain and maintain innovation-based advantages. Overlap will help bring innovative technology to market with minimal risk. Intellectual property owners will have new opportunities including attracting investors, strategic business partners and alliances to commercialize their intellectual property. ICT is likely to play a significant role in the development of blockchain technology for efficient financial transactions, potentially removing the uncertainties currently associated with cryptocurrencies and their regulation.
The policy alignment between India and Japan benefits both economies. Law enforcement will better detect, investigate and prosecute cybercrime, particularly intellectual property piracy. Start-ups and other innovators receive assistance in filing copyright, patent, design and trademark applications. The development of standard-essential patents for digital communication technologies requires financial and legal incentives. An Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime that encourages innovation will translate key digital communications recommendations into the national IPR Directive, including a review of the legal system governing copyright, patents, designs and trademarks. Developments in the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and 5G technology will facilitate and drive digital transformation.
India-Japan dialogue furthers their mutual interests under a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) signed in March 2022. The MoC strengthens cooperation in cyberspace, sharing information on cybersecurity, developing common mechanisms to mitigate cyber threats, and developing a 5G regime. Improving digital infrastructures will lead to joint venture invention and innovation, which in turn will boost imports and exports in the cybersphere.
Daksh Kumar is a partner in the intellectual property practice at Kochhar & Co.
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