Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued last month that there was “no rationale” for allowing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to divert “tax dollars” to Pakistan, since the IMF members’ funding, including that of the United States, would be used to bail out “China’s bondholders or China itself.” Pakistan is going through a grave financial crisis.
On Nov. 21, the U.N. General Assembly and Security Council voted to fill the last vacant seat on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), electing India’s Dalveer Bhandari to the role. As far as U.N. elections—usually unexciting affairs—are concerned, this one came right down to the wire. With India and the U.K. competing directly for the last seat, seven rounds of voting determined the victor. The deadlock ended only when the U.K. withdrew its candidate, Christopher Greenwood.
The fifth edition of the UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE)—tasked with developing a “common understanding” of how states should behave in cyberspace—failed last week, with several states not agreeing to the final draft report. Still, predictions of the death of international law at the hands of the GGE on cyberspace are greatly exaggerated.
Last Friday, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services announced that it would be suspending the expedited processing of H-1B visas beginning on April 3rd. Though this news has long been pushed off the front pages of U.S. newspapers by President Trump’s revised executive order limiting travel from six majority-Muslim countries, the H-1B decision continues to get top billing in papers across India, the visa program’s biggest beneficiary. For Washington, D.C.
Russian involvement in the US presidential election, as formally alleged by the Obama administration, represents a constitutional moment for state conduct in cyberspace. On the one hand, it could catalyze disruptive and potentially destabilizing activities on digital networks by nation-states. This scenario looks likely in the short term. On the other hand, this period could spur the creation of international instruments to regulate the behavior of states and their proxies, though a treaty, say, for the “peaceful uses of cyberspace,” is in any case many years away.
The US-India cyber relationship is as much a marker of global governance of common digital spaces as it is about core bilateral economic and security engagements. In 2015, India signaled its willingness to accept rules of the road as set forth by the United States by making an unqualified endorsement of “multi-stakeholder” internet governance.
The on-going debate on encryption and exceptional access for law enforcement agencies to encrypted communication—which recent attacks in Paris and California have only intensified—is also being closely studied in India. How India regulates encryption will be crucial for two reasons. First, India is among the fastest growing digital economies in the world, and its encryption policy could offer a template for other developing countries. What’s more, technology continues to flow from the West to the East but information is now firmly moving in the other direction.