India could cooperate with Paraguay in specialization-based training using the forest police through a simulator to assist in the implementation of new age sensors and tools to facilitate personnel learning.
By Fleming Raul Duarte
Paraguay created its Space Agency in 2014 and, last January, established its space policy. At this early stage, international cooperation initiatives are essential to promote capacity-building and technology transfers. China has been supporting the construction and launch of competitive satellites in several South American countries and countries such as Venezuela and Bolivia have launched their first satellites with Chinese cooperation. However, Paraguay does not maintain official relations with China; this is an opportunity for India to become a strategic partner to drive its space program at low cost.
In March 2019, at the bilateral meeting between Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and his Paraguayan counterpart Vice-President, Hugo Velázquez, stated that both the Space Research Organization of India (ISRO) and the Space Agency of Paraguay could cooperate in: mapping of resources; exchange of earth observation data; the manufacture and launch of satellites on a commercial basis; establish a ground station to receive, process and disseminate Indian remote sensing satellite data for use in various remote sensing applications.
Space agencies in both countries could collaborate on training related to small satellite manufacturing, and personalized training on specific areas of space technology applications, including natural resource assessment and support for natural disaster management.
Both countries have decided to seek new areas of cooperation, such as hydropower (Paraguay is the number one global exporter of clean energy in this modality), and Paraguay also joined the International Solar Alliance led by India and France.
Other strategic areas include areas of cooperation for capacity building in the field of cyber defense and cyber security, as well as the use of information and communication technologies, which would open more opportunities for Paraguay’s youth.
In April 2017 Paraguay approved its national cybersecurity plan and integrated its National Cybersecurity Commission with representatives of different public institutions, with the aim of adopting cyber security measures that ensure and promote the safe and reliable use of ICTs, as well as progress and innovation in the country. In addition, the plan clearly defines seven axes of action (sensitization and culture, research, development and innovation, critical infrastructure protection, cyber incident response capability, cyber investigation and prosecution capability, public administration, and national cybersecurity system), and throughout they detail some very clear steps to follow.
The plan was developed as a complement to establish initiatives in the field of cybersecurity. It is also worth noting that Paraguay’s national CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team) is the Cyber Incident Response Center (CERT-PY), under the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, which is a member of the CSIRT Americas network.
With the aim of increasing Paraguay’s capacities, in 2018 the Inter-American Development Bank (BID)) approved the Digital Agenda Support Program, a loan operation comprising specific actions and components to ensure the strengthening of the national cybersecurity framework. The national cybersecurity plan defines critical infrastructure in terms of “systems and assets, physical or virtual, essential for maintaining vital social functions, health, physical integrity, security, and social and economic well-being of the population, and whose disruption or destruction would have a debilitating impact on national security, generating a cascade of negative effects that would seriously affect the country.”
This underlines the need for cooperation between the public and private sectors in the protection of the country’s critical infrastructure. While there are already some cybersecurity service providers in the private sector, the strategy seeks to raise awareness of the importance of good security practices in the private sector.
In 2017 there were not yet any private sector companies certified by ISO 27001, an international standard of information security, which was adopted identically as Paraguay Norm in November 2014 by the National Institute of Technology and Standardization, through a committee composed of representatives of public institutions, private companies, consumer associations and universities. However, the private sector was involved in the development of the national cybersecurity plan and the establishment of the Paraguayan ISO 27001 Standard, indicating its willingness to participate more and more and to raise awareness of the importance of cybersecurity.
In October 2018, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies (MITIC) was created, one of whose strategic axis are Cybersecurity and Information Protection.
In 2017, through Law No. 5.994/17, Paraguay acceded to the Budapest Convention on Cybersecurity and its Additional Protocol, the main objective of which is to pursue a common criminal policy aimed at protecting society against cybercrime, especially through the adoption of appropriate legislation and the promotion of international cooperation. Currently, as a State party to this Convention, the country is a beneficiary of the GLACY+ (Global Action against Extended Cybercrime) programme, carried out by the Council of Europe together with the EU, in order to support member countries in order to achieve the effective implementation and harmonization of the Convention to national positive legislation, through the promotion of legislative strategies against cybercrime, capacity building of justice operators and international legal cooperation. In December 2019 Paraguay received the Council of Europe Commission for the purpose of carrying out the initial mission, composed of expert consultants in the area of cybercrime, in order to assess the state of the country in the field of combating cybercrime, to establish the guidelines to follow through a work plan with the various actors involved in the area of cybercrime.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has a Specialized Unit in Computer Crimes, composed of an Deputy Prosecutor’s Office, a Delegated Prosecutor Office and three criminal units in the capital; it also has tax agents specialized in cybercrime in the main departmental headers, to intervene in allegations of punishable facts of a computer nature. In turn, it highlights the existence of a technical support office for fiscal management, which is responsible for providing technical assistance and support, for the purpose of conducting research measures that import the use of computer or electronic technology.
One example that should be highlighted in this regard, India has developed a digital platform for Virtual Courts (transforming and delivering justice through technology). This computer solution has been making it possible to conduct trials in a virtual way and has been implemented at this stage of COVID-19 in 5 states in India.
On the other hand, the National Police also has a specialized division to combat cybercrime, which works together with the Public Prosecutor’s Office. In a process of innovation and adaptation to the new times that require specialized professionals in an area that has been growing rapidly in recent times, the Ministry of Defense, through the Institute of High Strategic Studies, has been implementing since 2019 some programs in Cyber defense and Strategic Cybersecurity.
The development of a strategic alliance between the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies of Paraguay and the Ministry of Technological and Electronic Information together with the National Information Center of India would be a lead, to extensive cooperation for the benefit of our new institutions and finally to the training and capacity building of human resources in this area.
These programs would aim at the tactical formation of individuals, who once trained would be responsible for creating strategies to combat the new threats that take place in cyberspace.
, which is part of the objectives of the `Paraguay 2030 National Development Plan’.
Predictive surveillance via drones (smart aerial vehicles)
Smart aerial vehicles are the latest aerial means to collect real-time Intelligence, surveillance and ISR reconnaissance information.
An image analysis can produce valuable information on operating methodologies to cover large territories along the dry border with difficult physical coverage, it will be of great help to the national natural parks authorities for the surveillance to identification of criminal activities such as deforestation to this areas.
India could cooperate with Paraguay in specialization-based training using the forest police through a simulator to assist in the implementation of new age sensors and tools to facilitate personnel learning, so that such high-tech measures become a norm in day-to-day crime prevention activities.
There are huge opportunities for the Indian private sector to deliver such simulators, or establish their platform in the country in order to develop and distribute in the form of hardware and software, and, to the region for the sale of drones, night vision devices, body armor, as well as related equipment.
Finally, the National Information Centre of India, through the Ministry of External Affairs has kindly shared with our Diplomatic Representation the applications that India is successfully implementing in coVID-19 times and which may eventually be adapted and transferred knowledge under the forthcoming India-Paraguay Scientific and Technological Cooperation. These include:
1. One Nation One Ration Card of food delivered to vulnerable citizens, subsidized by the Indian national government.
2. PM-KISAN SYSTEM: Social security support for smallholder farmers
3. APPLICATION PARART-PCR and CENTRAL PORTAL OF COLLECTION OF SAMPLES COVID-19: Mobile application to collect samples in all states (28) of India.
4. APPLICATION AAROGYA SETU (Traceability of persons infected by COVID-19 and places of high risk): Mobile application for mass use of India, the use of which is mandatory for the movement of people throughout the Indian national territory. This application exceeded 114 million users at the end of May 2020 and thus constitutes the application of traceability of people infected by COVID-19 of greatest use in the world.
(The author is Ambassador of Paraguay in India. Views expressed are personal).