TALLINN (ESTONIA): Estonia is keen to help India combat cyber-attacks by engaging with the South Asian country in joint drills and offering its cutting edge technical resources in the field at a time when cyber strikes across the globe are seen as dangerous to the stability of democracies and growth economies.
Tallinn, the capital of this tiny Baltic nation, may be famous for its medieval churches and quaint, cobble-stoned streets, but it is also home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, a leading international military organisation dealing with cyber conflicts.
“Estonia is the cyber security training ground for NATO and the European Union, and we would be happy to exchange our knowhow and help set up similar training exercises in India,” Siim Sikkut, Deputy Secretary General (IT & Telecom) in Estonia’s economic affairs and communications ministry, told ET.
Estonia’s cybersecurity experts, he said, are willing to suggest ways to help India operationally defend its core systems and on forge strong collaborations with critical service providers in the private sector.
The Northern European Baltic nation has taken big strides in embracing digital technology and views cyber security as an integral part of broader security to protect its digital lifestyle.
Talks of a potential Indo-Estonian engagement on cyber-security come ahead of the upcoming EU-India summit next month and also just days after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, suggested the creation of a stronger European cyber security agency to defend against such attacks amid growing incidence of ransomware attacks across the globe.
According to Sikkut, Estonia’s former ambassador to India, Viljar Lubi was very active on the cyber security front, and more recently other Estonian experts in the field have spoken at cyber security related conclaves in India.
A deeper engagement on cyber security appears on the cards between Estonia and India at a time when the next month’s wide-ranging EU-India summit in Delhi is slated to also pave the way for active cooperation between India and the Europol’s European Cybercrime centre on counter-terrorism operations and battling cyber crime.
The Estonian government is also keen to work closely with India to help the latter leverage its biometric Aadhaar database for delivering a host of digital services to citizens.
“India has taken big strides in setting up digital identity of citizens with Aadhaar, but we believe the digital identity (mechanism) must not be limited to just authentication or identification, but must be extended all the way to digital signatures” said Sikkut.
(The journalist is in Tallinn on the invitation of the Tallinn University and the European Union)