Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told delegates at the ORF Auditorium in India this week that the UK is open for business and that a cyber-security scholarship for Indian residents has been launched at Cranfield University, so as to encourage collaboration between the two nations.
Maude’s speech follows prime minister David Cameron’s trade trip to India earlier this year, where he signed a cyber-security deal with the country.
The Cabinet Office minister this week said that the UK values its relationship with India and that it is looking to increase collaboration between the two countries, particularly focusing on digital.
“So I’m here today to tell you that where there are opportunities, the UK is open for business,” said Maude.
“Where we have expertise, we want to share it. And where we need to improve our capability, we are ready to learn.”
He added that the government wanted to make the UK one of the easiest and most secure places in the world to do business and that he is “delighted” that Indian-inward investment in the UK is increasing. Maude said that he will be using his time in the region to visit a number of companies that have operations in the UK, such as Infosys, Wipro, and Mindtree.
He went on to describe cyber security as a “global problem” and said that once the UK establishes its National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-UK), which is being implemented to improve national co-ordination of cyber incidents, it will be working with the Indian equivalent to ensure a “global response”.
“The UK was proud to be the first country to sign a joint communique on cyber with India when Foreign secretary William Hague was here last year,” said Maude.
“This outlines a basis for cooperation built around a shared vision that places at its heart fundamental freedoms, privacy and the free flow of information in a secure and reliable manner.”
He added: “We’ve been working hard to make that a reality, but I believe we can come closer still.”
Linking through education
As well as Research Councils UK and the Indian Government collaborating in areas such as cloud security and cryptography, Maude also announced the new Chevening TCS Cyber Policy Scholarship for Indian residents, which is being sponsored by the UK government and Tata Consultancy Services.
The aim of the programme is to enhance the participants’ ability to contribute to public policy on cyber security, by providing an understanding of the implications of alternative policy and legislative approaches.
The course will focus on areas that include cyber threats, the economics of online business, internet law and challenges that are particular to the UK and India.
Successful candidates will get their programme fees paid in full, receive living expenses for the duration of the scholarship, a return airfare from India to the UK and a student visa.
“This will allow Indian mid-career professionals to take an intensive course at the elite Cranfield University – part of the Defence Academy of the UK - covering cyber security and all related areas of public policy,” said Maude.
“The UK is home to four universities in the world’s top 10, six in the top 20. A UK education is an investment in long-term employability, which helps explain why 40,000 Indian students are currently studying in the UK.”
He added: “Many of our universities already have excellent links with their counterparts in India. I believe that building links through education in this way is one of the most effective ways in which our two nations can come together for mutual benefit.”
Applications for the scheme are being accepted until 31 October 2013.