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India, Israel to discuss cyber security during Narendra Modi’s visit: Netanyahu

LiveMint logoLiveMint 03-07-2017 Harinder Mishra

Jerusalem: Cyber security is one of the key areas of cooperation to be discussed with Narendra Modi, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said ahead of his Indian counterpart’s visit to Israel.

“Once it was a disadvantage to say that you are from Israel. Today when you talk about cyber or advanced technology, it is an advantage to say we are an Israeli company. The whole world wants us. The whole world is coming here”, Netanyahu said in his remarks at the Cyber Week 2017 conference in Tel Aviv University.

Terming Modi, as “one of the most important prime ministers of the world”, Netanyahu said the Indian leader wants close cooperation with Israel in many areas including in cyber. “For example, there is going to be a visit of Prime Minister of India, one of the most important Prime minister’s of the world, with the third largest economy in the world growing very fast. He wants close cooperation with Israel in many fields -- water, agriculture, health and also in cyber. And he has a good reason to do so”, the Israeli prime minister told the gathering in Hebrew as per a video released by his office.

Modi will be on a three day visit to Israel starting 4 July to commemorate 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Netanyahu stressed that Israel’s growing acceptance across the world, especially as a “technology giant”, is going to come to full expression during the upcoming visit of “my friend Narendra Modi”.

Outlining steps taken by his government to strengthen Israel’s cyber security apparatus, Netanyahu argued the need for such an investment by saying that it was not only a “serious threat”, but also a “serious business”. “A few years ago, I decided to establish Israel as one of the five leading powers in the world and I think by all accounts, we are there but the jury on security is always out. And it’s a constant challenge. Cyber security is a serious business. It’s a serious business for two reasons - the first reason is that it’s a serious and growing threat. And it’s a growing threat everywhere because every single thing is being digitised”, he said.

The Israeli prime minister underscored the exponential rise in the need for cyber security, as all governments grapple with finding the ways to protect confidential information of security organisations, the critical infrastructure, businesses, and every single organisation “as we enter the world of internet”. Netanyahu credited himself for creating the National Cyber Defence Authority—to streamline information sharing between government, the private sector and various organizations—to combat cyber threats.

Hundreds of organisations are said to have joined this cybernet as it not only tries to facilitate secure communication between them and with others but also guides them as to how to prevent or respond to cyber attacks. The Israeli leader reached out to other countries to join this initiative by saying that “in general, again with some reservations, we are better together”.

The second reason, he said, as to why cyber security is a serious business, is because it is a fast growing market and an “endless business”. “It’s growing geometrically because there is never a permanent solution. It’s an endless business. The battle for market share in the fast growing market is open to anyone although there are certain requirements, certain barriers to entry. This produces an endless crop of companies,” Netanyahu said.

“We, in Israel, have 600-700 start-ups and they are constantly added and weeded out. This is a fast geometrically rising market,” he added. The Israeli Premier also talked at length about how Israel’s reputation as a centre of advanced technology and hub of cyber security has led to countries that once boycotted it, now embrace it. “There used to be a thing called the Arab boycott. Remember that. Well that has dissipated for many many reasons - strategic and others but the prominence of Israel in the technological field and in the cyber field has made Israeli companies very very attractive”, he said.

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If we look at the figures of 2016, we have about 20% share of total cyber security investment around the world, Netanyahu said. Beginning tomorrow, Modi’s Israel visit becomes the first ever by an Indian premier. Modi and Netanyahu, however, have already met twice on foreign soil on the sidelines of UN- related events and are said to be constantly in touch with each other over the phone. PTI

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