A prime minister has taken a veiled swipe at China, warning of ‘new weapons’ that Australia and other countries needed to make sure weren’t misused.
India’s Prime Minister has taken a thinly veiled swipe at China, warning technology and data were becoming “new weapons” that should not be misused by a “few vested interests”.
Speaking at an Australian summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies on Thursday, Narendra Modi said the digital age was reshaping international competition, power and leadership.
He told the inaugural Sydney Dialogue event, organised by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, that this brought new opportunities but also new risks.
“The digital age is changing everything around us – it has redefined politics, economy and society,” he said.
“It is raising new questions on sovereignty, governance, ethics, law, rights and security.
“It has ushered in a new era of opportunities for progress and prosperity.
“But we also face new risks and new forms of conflicts across diverse threats, from sea bed to cyber to space.”
Mr Modi took a veiled swipe at China, without directly mentioning the superpower, which has been accused of malicious cyber activities by Australia, the US and other countries.
“Technology and data are becoming new weapons,” Mr Modi said.
“The biggest strength of democracy is openness. At the same time, we should not allow a few vested interests to misuse this openness.”
He said it was essential for democracies to work together and invest in cyber security to prevent manipulation of public opinions.
Mr Modi said now was a critical moment of choice in the world, “whether all the wonderful powers of technology of our age will be instruments of co-operation or conflict, coercion or choice, domination or development, oppression or opportunity”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier introduced Mr Modi for the keynote address, saying Australia and India shared a “deep, deep friendship”.