Thank you Chair,
My delegation congratulates you on your assumption of Chairmanship of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security.
India actively participated in discussions leading to adoption of two resolutions in December 2018 by the UN First Committee of the General Assembly which established the Sixth United Nations Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) and a new Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) on developments in the field of information security. These Groups are expected to shape how international law applies to the use of information and communications technologies by States and regulate the norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour of States.
There is a need to develop better understanding of applicability of international law in cyberspace. Commitments of States under the UN charter and other international law would apply to its behaviour in cyberspace. However, the novel character of cyberspace and the vulnerability of cyber infrastructure have led to questions whether existing international law can provide sufficient answers to the emerging concerns in cyberspace.
What qualifies as the use of force or armed attack has also not been settled in cyberspace. Equally challenging are the issues of attribution and judging the legality of cyber-attack as per principles of distinction, proportionality, necessity and distinguishing between military and civilian targets.
The International Community has to agree on common definitions of cyber sovereignty, jurisdiction, weapon conflict, crime, deterrence, attacks, etc.
We need to engage bilaterally and multilaterally to discuss how the various international law for their relevance and applicability to cyberspace may be necessary. This may also help identify gaps that may need to be filled on an ongoing basis given the dynamic and fast changing character of internet.
India despite not being a member of the 4th UNGGE supported its recommendations of 2015 including calling on the UN to play a role in promoting dialogue on security of ICTs in their use by states and also to develop common understandings on the application of international laws and norms, rules and principles for responsible state behaviour.
While International Law did apply to cyberspace as mentioned in the UNGGE 2013 and 2015 reports, it is insufficient in its current form to address the issues of attribution in cyberspace, violation of sovereignty in cyberspace, and the threshold for invoking right to self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter reaction and proportionality of countermeasures when it comes to cyber-attacks not amounting to armed conflict, and hence more deliberations would be necessary to define further modalities to deal with these issues.
India endorses the view that common understanding on how international law is applicable to State’s use of ICTs is important for promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible, interoperable and peaceful ICT environment. India hopes that future discussions under UN and other multilateral fora will continue to study these issues with a view to promoting common understanding on existing and potential threats in the sphere of information security and possible cooperative measures to address them and how international law applies to the use of information and communications technologies by States, including clarity on attribution, countermeasures and their necessity and proportionality, as well as norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour of States, confidence building measures and capacity building.
Mr. Chairman, I assure you of my delegation’s full support to the working of this group.
I thank you.