China has urged Russia and India to join hands with the former in order to challenge “western hegemony” over the Internet world.

The Asian giant informed BRICS – an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – that it would move a proposal, advocating “cyber sovereignty” for every country, at the next summit of the grouping scheduled to take place in Xiamen later this year. On March 2, Beijing issued a white paper on international co-operation in the cyber space, saying that the next BRICS Summit would discuss different aspects of “cyber sovereignty”. According to the white paper, China wants each and every country to enjoy the right to govern the cyber space without facing any ‘outside’ interference.

Speaking at a media conference in Beijing, Co-ordinator (Cyber Affairs Division) of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Long Zhou said that his country was trying hard to convince India and Russia to formally accept Beijing’s concept of “cyber sovereignty”. “As BRICS host this year, China stands ready to work together with Russia and other BRICS partners,” stressed Long.

The senior Foreign Ministry official further said that China would advocate “cyber sovereignty” despite facing growing internal demands for Internet freedom. He made clear that the Asian powerhouse would never bog down under internal and western pressure for Internet freedom. However, Long refused to make any comments on Beijing’s decision to ban Internet giants, such as Goggle, Facebook and Twitter, and other foreign media sites.

Meanwhile, India is not ready to accept the Chinese proposal. Many foreign policy experts believe that the South Asian nation will reject the Chinese model, as much of the Indian Information Technology (IT) industry is linked to western markets. According to sources close to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), New Delhi is ready to discuss other related issues, like cyber attacks, cyber espionage and cyber surveillance, with BRICS member countries, but it has no plans to sign a cyber pact with China. Instead, India has decided to ask China to allow the international community to produce new international legal instruments in order to deal with the security situation in cyberspace. If it fails, then BRICS can come up with other good ideas, said a top MEA official.

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog – Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: koushik@inserbia.info