New Delhi: With Internet becoming a new tool for terrorists, India and the US on Tuesday decided to promote closer cooperation and timely exchange of information to fight cyber crimes.

According to a statement by the US Embassy here, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard.

The agreement was signed by Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary for the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and India Department of Information Technology Secretary R
Chandrashekhar.

The MoU will establish the best practices for exchange of critical cyber security information and expertise between the two governments through the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

CERT-In is the India's nodal agency for responding to cyber security incidents

US-CERT serves as the operational arm of DHS’ National Cyber Security Division.

The MoU helps fulfill the commitment of both nations to advancing the global security and countering terrorism, one of the pillars of the US-India Strategic Dialogue, launched on July 20, 2009.

The respective governments and cyber security communities I n the US and India will now have the ability to coordinate with each other on a broad range of technical and operational
cyber issues.

IT and Communication Minister Kapil Sibal later in the day met US security officials and discussed matters related to cyber security.

India, like many other countries, faces new security threats from the cyber world, especially in the aftermath of increasing convergence of technologies. There are serious concerns that terrorists might hack the department portals to and cripple the government functions.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano had travelled to India in May to launch the US-India Homeland Security Dialogue (HSD) with Home Minister P Chidambaram. This
was the first comprehensive bilateral dialogue on homeland security issues between the US and India.

During Napolitano's visit, the two countries had agreed to create the MoU, and negotiations for the non-binding arrangements.

US-CERT's mission is to improve the nation's cyber security posture, coordinate cyber information sharing and proactively manage cyber risks to the nation while protecting the constitutional rights of Americans.

Talks on terror very productive: Hillary

India and the US were 'allies in the fight against violent extremist networks', visiting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday as she pledged her government's support to New Delhi in curbing terror.

In her opening remarks at the second India-US strategic dialogue, Clinton expressed solidarity with the families of the victims killed in the July 13 Mumbai serial blasts.

“I want to express our sympathy and outrage over the terrorist attack in Mumbai last week. We send our deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” she said.

She said homeland security was 'a high priority and a source of increasing partnership' between the two nations. “We pledge our support (to) the Indian government in protecting its cities and citizens from future harm. We are allies in the fight against violent extremist networks.”

Clinton arrived here on Monday night heading a 25-member delegation. She held talks with External Affairs Minister SM Krishna at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.

She said the two nations had signed a counter-terrorism cooperative initiative to increase their cooperation on the investigation of crimes, law enforcement, border management and cyber security.

America joined India in this strategic dialogue because “we believe - as President (Barack) Obama has said - that the relationship between India and the United States will be a defining partnership in the 21st century”, she said.

“The stakes are high. So it is critical that this dialogue lead to concrete and coordinated steps that each of our governments take to produce real results that make a difference in our people's lives.  Because that's ultimately what this is all about - joining forces to protect our citizens and help every man, woman, and child live up to their god-given potential,” Hillary said.

She added that this is the most promising approach to build more confidence between them, and added that the two countries must work on steps to 'demonstrate the improved atmosphere'.

Stating that the US saw Pakistan as a key ally in the fight against terror, she said terrorism threatened both countries. In fact, she added, terrorists had killed more Pakistanis than Americans. But, Clinton stressed, Pakistan must act on its own.

She said the US could not tolerate a “safe haven for terrorists anywhere... we need to work together.”

“We do not believe that any terrorists should be given safe havens,” she said.

India, US rake over Afghan exit

India said the US should 'factor ground realities' before exiting Afghanistan and ensure that the war torn country was able to defend itself against Taliban terrorists.

“It is necessary for the US to factor ground realities so that Afghanistan would be in a position to defend itself against Taliban,” External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said in a joint press conference with his American counterpart Hillary Clinton.

Krishna was asked what assurances the US had given on the plan to pull out its troops from Afghanistan. India is investing heavily in rebuilding the country.

“It is necessary for the US to work closely with President (Hamid) Karzai and create conditions where terrorists don't make any advances,” the minister said.

He said India had been 'closely' following the happenings in Afghanistan.

“We have a special relationship with Afghanistan which is civilisational as well as transactional,” he said.

Krishna and Clinton jointly addressed the media after the two leaders met for the second India-US strategic dialogue at Hyderabad House.

 

India-US discuss climate change

Ahead of the Durban summit on climate change, India and US on Tuesday agreed to hold consultations on various aspects related to the issue with the focus on a balanced outcome at the upcoming meet.

Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan and US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern discussed ways to reduce carbon emissions in a time-bound and targeted manner as prescribed under Kyoto Protocol and Bali Road Map, a Ministry official said.

Jayanthi said it is important to "remain engaged on issues such as equity, accelerated transfer of technologies and trade measures at and beyond Durban" and the crucial role of Indo-US programmes regarding science of climate change to further strengthen the bilateral engagement.

During the meeting with the high level US delegation led by Stern, Jayanthi "brought out the Indian perspective about the balanced outcome on both the LCA (Long-term Cooperative Action) and KP (Kyoto Protocol) tracks under the Bali Road Map."

According to a Ministry statement, the two sides also discussed "scientific and technical cooperation between the two countries on issues relating to climate change, both present and future."

Both sides exchanged their views, in a cordial atmosphere on bilateral issues and the ongoing climate change negotiations in the multilateral fora under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The two countries also agreed that "operationlization of the Cancun decision in a balanced manner" should be the goal for the meeting of the Conference of Parties under UNFCCC at Durban in December this year.

US Special Envoy Stern conveyed his view on transparency arrangements like International Assessment and Review (IAR) for developed countries and International Consultations and Analysis (ICA) for developing countries, the principles and approaches for functioning of the Green Climate Fund, the Technology Mechanism, the Financial Mechanism and the legal form of the Agreed Outcome of the LCA process.

"At the end of the meeting, both sides agreed that the Indo-US dialogue on climate change issues would be continued at the scientific level, the negotiators level and the Ministerial level," the Ministry said.

India and the US have a long history of cooperation on environmental and forestry issues and the present meeting was in continuation of that engagement.

At the technical level meeting held yesterday, the US and the Indian officials discused climate change issues of mutual concern under the leadership of Todd Stern and Ministry Secretary T Chatterjee.

JPN/Agencies