David Cameron to Sign India-UK Joint Cyber Security Deal

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By Vasudevan Sridharan | February 19, 2013 4:49 PM EST

Cameron arrives to pay tributes at a memorial dedicated to policemen who lost their lives in November 2008 attacks, in Mumbai - Reuters

David Cameron is expected to sign a joint cyber security deal with India when he meets his counterpart Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today.

The joint taskforce is designed to fight against the growing threat emerging from cyber crimes across the world. Personal banking information and mobile phone data of millions of Britons are stored on the server farms in India, a hub of IT outsourcing companies in recent years.

"The two leaders are expected to agree a substantial strengthening of practical co-operation between British and Indian authorities to increase the security of British and Indian computer networks and to help defend them against cyber attacks by terrorists, criminals and hostile states," said Downing Street in a statement.

Computer networks across the globe are facing stern cyber threats from various corners posing a huge challenge for the authorities. Although he did not deny the account of recent cyber attacks stemming from state agents in China, Cameron said, "Hacking bothers me wherever it comes from".

Jonathan Evans, MI5's Director General, pointed out last year the "astonishing" level of cyber attacks launched by foreign states.

The bilateral agreement between the countries is aimed at protecting sensitive business and government information including intellectual property.

This will be the first time the two leaders have held talks on the cyber security issue. It will also provide opportunities for the fast-growing British security firms to spread their wings on the sub-continent.  

By 2015, India is expected to house one of the world's biggest online populations, housing as many as 300 million internet users. The country currently has around 137 million users.

Cameron, who was speaking in India's business capital Mumbai, said, "I think why we're forging these partnerships with other countries, including trusted partners like India, is twofold. One is that other countries securing their data is effectively helping us secure our data. Secondly, I think this is an area where Britain has some real competitive and technology advantages.

Cameron went on say, "We have put money into cyber security in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010. We have invested heavily in capabilities and understanding of what the threats are and how best to counter them. It is a good competitive advantage we have to offer other countries which want them. India is a case in point".

Cameron arrived in India on Monday accompanied by the largest ever British business delegation overseas.

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