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EU-India Cooperation on Cyber Issues: Towards Pragmatic Idealism?


As the two biggest democracies in the world, the European Union and India share many values and principles. Yet, their cooperation in several policy areas is undermined by suspicions resulting from questions about each other’s real intentions and discrepancies between official discourse and concrete policies. The field of cybersecurity cooperation is not immune to these dilemmas. For instance, this is the case in their respective approaches to the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance, sovereignty in cyberspace and the protection of human rights online (including the right to privacy). In an effort to overcome these differences, this paper calls for “pragmatic idealism” in EU-India relations that could be implemented through network diplomacy that reinforces trust and institutional dialogue needed for closer cooperation. The paper suggests that such network diplomacy could be particularly fruitful in fostering relationships between local authorities and cities, research communities, cyber respondents and track 1.5 diplomacy.

Paper presented at the conference “Moving Forward the EU-India Security Dialogue: Traditional and Emerging Issues” held in Rome on 21 November 2016 within the framework of the project bearing the same name and led by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in partnership with Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations (GH). The project is part of the EU-India Think Tank Twinning Initiative funded by the European Union.

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