Internet rules

On Internet rules, India now more willing to say ICANN.

India has reinvented its position on Internet governance, hoping to become a new voice of reason in what has so far been a deeply polarised global debate.

The change, effected after detailed inter-ministerial as well as multi-stakeholder consultation, is intended to distance India from any model propagating governments taking “charge” or “balkanising” the Internet. It was unveiled at the recent Budapest Cyber Space Conference.

According to Minister of State for Telecom Sachin Pilot, who led the Indian delegation to Budapest, instead of opposing the U.S.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its operations through an earlier proposal called the U.N. Committee on Internet-Related Policies (UN-CIRP), India will pursue enhanced cooperation through wider dialogue.

“In our meetings with Fadi Chehade, the new CEO of ICANN, I have sought far stronger representation of the developing world on the four ICANN Advisory committees”, Mr. Pilot told The Hindu.

ICANN’s committees include the “At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) and the Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

Countries such as Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have been advocating governance models that seek to place the Internet under U.N. control while the U.S. and western states have been reluctant to move away from the status quo position of ICANN-led Internet governance. India had positioned its UN-CIRP proposal as something that would lie in between these two extremes. But while the international debate continues, it is keen to step up its engagement with ICANN which remains, for the moment, the only game in town.

“The extreme views being floated by some countries on Internet governance could lead to the balkanisation of Internet and we are against any such move, including control of Internet by government or inter-governmental bodies. We seek enhanced dialogue and continuation of a working group to find ways to resolve the sharp differences that currently exist,” Mr. Pilot said.

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