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India, US to enhance cyber security cooperation

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Washington: India and the US have committed to robust cooperation on cyber issues to increase global cyber security and promote the digital economy.

Photo Credit: http://northrupcorporation.com
Photo Credit: http://northrupcorporation.com

They have identified a variety of opportunities for increased collaboration on cyber security capacity-building, cyber security research and development, combating cyber crime, international security, and Internet governance.

The two countries also intend to pursue an array of follow-on activities to bolster their cyber security partnership and achieve concrete outcomes, according to a joint statement issued after a two-day 2015 India-United States Cyber Dialogue here.

The Aug 11-12 whole-of-government Cyber Dialogue, fourth in the series, was led by the US Cyber security Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President Michael Daniel and by India’s Deputy National Security Adviser Arvind Gupta.

The delegations discussed a range of cyber issues including cyber threats, enhanced cyber security information sharing, cyber incident management, cyber security cooperation in the context of ‘Make in India’, efforts to combat cyber crime, Internet governance issues, and norms of state behavior in cyberspace.

In addition to the formal dialogue, the delegations met with representatives from the private sector to discuss issues related to cyber security and the digital economy, according to the joint statement.

The Indian delegation also met with Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter terrorism Lisa Monaco.

The next round of the Cyber Dialogue will be held in Delhi in 2016.

US-India Business Council has applauded the resumption of cyber security dialogue after a two year hiatus saying the talks focused on enhancing cooperation between governments and building partnerships with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure.

The leading business advocacy group composed of more than 300 top-tier US and Indian companies said senior business leaders shared their views on cyber challenges with senior Indian and US government officials.

“As the digital economy continues to develop, the interdependency between governments and businesses will grow,” said USIBC president Mukesh Aghi.

“It is in the interest of all parties to continue to engage in dialogues that spur policy developments and economic growth.”

Industry leaders from the US submitted policy recommendations to the US and Indian government emphasizing the need to protect cross border data flow, facilitate remote access, provide for strong encryption standards, and reduce cyber security threats through targeted public-private partnerships.

(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)

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