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MEA pitches Co-WIN to ASEAN as customizable platform for vaccine management

India's integrated online platform to manage Covid-19 vaccination — Co-WIN — can be customised and scaled up for global health interventions, a senior Ministry of External Affairs official said.

India’s integrated online platform to manage Covid-19 vaccination — Co-WIN — can be customised and scaled up for global health interventions, a senior Ministry of External Affairs official said on Wednesday, adding that New Delhi is working to share the platform with partner countries.

Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das also stated during the ASEAN-India Track 1.5 Dialogue on Cyber Issues that some states are leveraging their expertise in cyberspace to advance their political and security objectives and engage in contemporary forms of cross-border terrorism.

“At the same time, non-state actors and terrorists around the world are leveraging cyberspace to expand their appeal, disseminate virulent propaganda, incite hatred and violence, recruit youth, and raise funds,” Das explained.

There is widespread concern that with the advent of new technologies such as 5G, vulnerabilities and harmful hidden functions will be introduced into ICT networks and products, including through backdoor channels, she stressed.

Noting that cybercrime frequently has a transnational dimension, Das stated that international cooperation is critical for exchanging experiences and best practices in protecting information infrastructures.

“Our overarching goal is to harness cyberspace for the growth and empowerment of people worldwide, not just in our own country,” she stated.

India developed Co-WIN – a scalable, inclusive, and open technological platform – as part of its COVID vaccination drive, one of the largest in the world, she said.

“The Co-WIN platform can be customised and scaled up for use in global health interventions. We are collaborating with partner countries to share this platform in the interest of health cooperation and their readiness to address global health challenges “As Das stated.

She emphasised India’s strong commitment to bilateral and international cooperation on cyber security. “Therefore, the necessity of cooperation between India and ASEAN member countries in this area is self-evident,” she stated.

ASEAN, as we all know, has been proactive in addressing cyber security challenges in the region and has taken numerous cyber confidence-building measures, she noted. Das stated that ASEAN’s emphasis on cyber security and connectivity in accordance with international law reflects India’s approach to cyberspace.

India has also been addressing cyber security challenges on a domestic level through the establishment of platforms capable of supporting and sustaining efforts to secure cyberspace, as well as the adoption of comprehensive policies such as the New National Cyber Security Policy, which provides an overview of what it takes to protect the information, information systems, and networks effectively, Das said.

Noting that equitable access to Cyberspace and its benefits is another critical area for India-ASEAN engagement on Cyber issues, Das stated, “We have seen the critical role of digital technologies in maintaining supply chains for an accelerated and sustainable economic recovery in the region during the Covid-19 waves, and it becomes all the more critical that digital inequalities are addressed.”

Digital inclusion is central to the Digital India initiative, which aims to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge through various initiatives such as BharatNet, Digital Village, Aspirational Districts, MyGov, and eKranthi, Das explained.

This gradual digital inclusion has proven to be extremely beneficial to us during these uncertain times, she explained. “We must work together to close this digital divide by strengthening our capacity to create a globally secure cyberspace,” she added.

Das stated that India is committed to an “open, secure, free, accessible, and stable cyberspace environment” that will serve as a catalyst for innovation, economic growth, and sustainable development, while also facilitating the free flow of information and respecting cultural and linguistic diversity.

“Through our transformative technology initiatives such as IndiaStack, Aadhar, and UPI in recent years, we have successfully leveraged the enormous potential of cyber technologies to advance the SDG agenda and improve governance,” Das said.

India is eager to share its experiences with ASEAN in order to create a safer and more secure global cyberspace for our peoples in the future, Das stated.

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