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Modi visit: India, Kazakhstan ink deals on uranium supply, defence

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Astana: India and Kazakhstan on Wednesday focused on boosting trade, energy, defence and security cooperation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev here.

The two sides inked five agreements, in defence, railways and uranium supply, sports and transfer of sentenced prisoners after the talks held at the Akorda presidential palace.

In his media statement, Modi said Kazakhstan was India’s biggest economic partner in Central Asia but the economic ties have been modest. “We will work together to take economic ties to a new level.”

He said India inked a “much larger second contract” for the purchase of uranium from Kazakhstan, the world’s largest producer of the mineral.

On cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector, Modi said Nazarbayev “responded positively to my request to consider additional mature blocks for Indian investments”.

He also referred to the first exploratory drilling on Tuesday of the Satpayev oil block in the Caspian Sea by India’s OVL and KazMunaiGaz.

Modi said both sides agreed to give priority to investment in manufacturing and infrastructure and also boost cooperation in renewable energy. “India will participate on a large scale in the Expo 2017 in Astana.”

Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in space and information technology and also boost connectivity, including through the International North-South Transport Corridor, the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan rail link and Chabahar port in Iran.

He said a new youth exchange programme was launched with six Kazakh universities for the next five years.

“Our defence and security cooperation is an important dimension of our strategic partnership. We both want to make it stronger, including in defence manufacturing. We welcome the new memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation,” Modi said.

He thanked the president for Kazakhstan’s continued support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council and for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

“I reiterated India’s support for Kazakhstan’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC for 2017-18.”

The joint statement, termed Tej Kadam, said the two leaders “noted the rising challenge posed by terrorism in many parts of the world and in their immediate region and underlined the importance of a stable and secure environment for peaceful economic development. They agreed to continue their active engagement in the fight against terrorism and extremism including exchange of information”.

“In this context, they highlighted the importance of regular inter-agency consultations and meetings of the Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism” and also called for early conclusion of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Both leaders welcomed the signing of an “agreement on defence and military-technical cooperation which would further widen the scope of bilateral defence cooperation including regular exchange of visits, consultations, training of military personnel, military-technical cooperation, joint exercises, special forces exchanges and cooperation in the area of UN peacekeeping operations”, it said.

They also welcomed signing of an MoU between JSC Kazxnex Invest and JSC Invest India, which includes a “roadmap” on trade, economic and investment cooperation, which would identify concrete projects in various sectors and assist in efficient implementation of projects in both the countries to activate bilateral trade and economic relations, it said.

Both leaders welcomed the establishment of a Joint Study Group between India and the Eurasian Economic Union on the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which would boost trade.

Among measures to improve surface connectivity, the leaders welcomed ongoing bilateral discussions aimed at setting up a dedicated freight terminal in one of the western sea ports of India for trade with Kazakhstan.

They hoped that these initiatives, including the International North-South Transport Corridor, will serve as the basis for enhanced economic and commercial interaction between the two countries in the days ahead.

In this connection, the parties welcomed signing of the Memorandum on Mutual Understanding on Technical Cooperation in the sphere of railways between the NC Kazakhstan Temir Zholy JSC and India’s railways ministry, it said.

They noted that the visit “has made a positive contribution towards expansion of the strategic partnership between the two countries”.

Modi also invited Nazarbayev to visit India.

(IANS)

 

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This AI System Can Evade Censorship In India, China and Kazakhstan

Researchers develop an AI tool that evades censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan

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(AI)-based system automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based system that automatically learns to evade censorship in India, China and Kazakhstan.

The tool, called Geneva (short for Genetic Evasion), found dozens of ways to circumvent censorship by exploiting gaps in censors’ logic and finding bugs that the researchers said would have been virtually impossible for humans to find manually.

The researchers are scheduled to introduce Geneva during a peer-reviewed talk at the Association for Computing Machinery’s 26th Conference on Computer and Communications Security in London on Thursday.

“With Geneva, we are, for the first time, at a major advantage in the censorship arms race,” said Dave Levin, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Maryland in the US and senior author of the paper.

“Geneva represents the first step toward a whole new arms race in which artificial intelligence systems of censors and evaders compete with one another. Ultimately, winning this race means bringing free speech and open communication to millions of users around the world who currently don’t have them,” Levin said.\

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This AI system that evades censorship is called ‘Geneva’. Pixabay

To demonstrate that Geneva worked in the real world against undiscovered censorship strategies, the team ran Geneva on a computer in China with an unmodified Google Chrome browser installed.

By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user was able to browse free of keyword censorship.

The researchers also successfully evaded censorship in India, which blocks forbidden URLs, and Kazakhstan, which was eavesdropping on certain social media sites at the time, said a statement from the University of Maryland.

All information on the Internet is broken into data packets by the sender’s computer and reassembled by the receiving computer.

One prevalent form of Internet censorship works by monitoring the data packets sent during an Internet search.

The censor blocks requests that either contain flagged keywords (such as “Tiananmen Square” in China) or prohibited domain names (such as “Wikipedia” in many countries).

When Geneva is running on a computer that is sending out web requests through a censor, it modifies how data is broken up and sent, so that the censor does not recognise forbidden content or is unable to censor the connection.

Known as a genetic algorithm, Geneva is a biologically inspired type of AI that Levin and his team developed to work in the background as a user browses the web from a standard Internet browser.

Like biological systems, Geneva forms sets of instructions from genetic building blocks. But rather than using DNA as building blocks, Geneva uses small pieces of code.

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By deploying strategies identified by Geneva, the user is able to browse free of keyword censorship. Pixabay

Individually, the bits of code do very little, but when composed into instructions, they can perform sophisticated evasion strategies for breaking up, arranging or sending data packets.

The tool evolves its genetic code through successive attempts (or generations). With each generation, Geneva keeps the instructions that work best at evading censorship and kicks out the rest.

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Geneva mutates and cross breeds its strategies by randomly removing instructions, adding new instructions, or combining successful instructions and testing the strategy again.

Through this evolutionary process, Geneva is able to identify multiple evasion strategies very quickly, said the study. (IANS)