New Delhi, Apr 24: India is well-poised and willing to play an important and constructive role in evolving the global Internet governance ecosystem and to make it more credible, Vinay Kwatra, Indian representative at the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance has said.

The two day (April 23-24) meeting, also referred as NETmundial, on at Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“With over 200 million Internet users, soon going to cross half in billion in coming years, over 900 million mobile telephone subscribers and a thriving and robust Internet ecosystem, India is well poised and willing to play an important and constructive role in evolving the global Internet Governance ecosystem and in the process make it more credible,” Kwatra said in a statement.

The proposal for a decentralised Internet is significant in view of Edward Snowden’s Wikileaks revelations of mass surveillance in recent months.

Kwatra also pointed out the lack of truly representative and democratic nature of the existing systems of Internet governance, including the management of critical Internet resources.

There were ministerial representatives from 12 countries – Argentina, Brazil, France, Ghana, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States – along with 12 members of the multi-stakeholder international community – participating in the meeting with the primary focus on crafting internet governance principles and proposing a roadmap for further evolution of a governance ecosystem.

So far there have been 187 submissions expressing divergent views, some in support and others in opposition.

Kwatra pointed out several serious strategic and public policy challenges that the Internet poses. He said there is the apparent inability of the current structures of Internet governance to respond to some of the core and strategic concerns of the member states.

There is “need to broadbase and internationalize the institutions that are invested with authority to manage or regulate the Internet,” he said.

There is also “need to ensure security of cyberspace and institutionalize safeguards against its misuse for the protection of Internet users, and at the same time also ensure the free flow and access to information essential to a democratic society. In this regard, there is a need for cyber jurisprudence,” Kwatra noted.

India favours a multilateral role in net governance and management, a “transformational shift from the Internet of today to the Equinet of tomorrow”. The country also supports innovation and robust private sector investments to augment the Internet’s continuing growth and evolution.

“For it to be globally acceptable and credible, we also seek, as the Tunis agenda states clearly, the Internet governance system to be representative and democratic, rather than being managed by a few, with the full involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations.

“Given its profound importance, there is also a need for the various facets of the Internet governance, including the core Internet infrastructure, to be anchored in an appropriate international legal framework. Going forward, we remain open to holding regular dialogues on these issues with relevant international partners,” Kwatra said.

“Internet is used for transactions of core economic, civil and defence assets at national level and in the process, countries are placing their core national security interests in this medium. Now with such expansive coverage of states’ activities through the Internet, the role of the governments in the Internet governance, of course in close collaboration and consultation with other stakeholders is an imperative,” he added.