On Sunday, Canada launched its much-anticipated Indo-Pacific Strategy, which is designed to advance military and cyber security efforts in the region. According to a 26-page Canadian document, the Indo-Pacific Strategy involves heavily reworking foreign investment rules. This is intended to protect intellectual property, to prevent unchecked mining of valuable mineral supplies, and to generally increase national security.
“The central tenant of the Indo-Pacific Strategy is acting in Canada’s national interests, while defending our values. It positions Canada as a reliable partner in the region, now and into the future. It is an ambitious plan, beginning with an investment of $2.3 billion over the next five years,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly.
Cyber security investments are expected to hover around $47.3 million, and are due to involve an interdepartmental initiative that will build the cyber security capabilities of select partner groups.
The new Indo-Pacific strategy emerges just weeks after Canada discovered an alleged foreign spy attempting to snap up trade secrets from a hydro-electric plant.
While Canada broadly intends to strengthen its connections with the fast-growing Indo-Pacific region of 40 nations, the strategy at-hand closely focuses on China, which was mentioned more than 50 times in related documents.
Sino-Canadian ties have seen a downward spiral in recent years, largely because Ottawa has dismissed its former foreign policy of cooperation and engagement with the country, instead starting to take on other agenda items.
Canadian cabinet ministers assert that the new strategic plan is crucial in helping Canada achieve national security, climate and economic goals.
Canada’s cyber security
The Indo-Pacific strategy makes direct mention of the nation’s cyber security objectives, noting “Like countries around the world, Canada is concerned by the rise of coercive and irresponsible use of technology. The spread of disinformation, ransomware and other cyber security threats directly affect Canadians, working to destabilize our democracy and our economy…”
The strategy promised that Canada will invest in expertise and technology to protect Canadians and that it will assume a leadership role in mitigating emerging threats. Funds will be funneled to capacity building in the region, including law enforcement expansion, which will increase the country’s abilities to detect and respond to novel cyber security challenges.
In terms of preparation for and ability to respond to cyber security threats, Canada ranks fifth among 20 nations, according to a standard developed by the MIT Technology Review Insights and a security vendor.
Global digital transformations
Around the world, nations are recognizing the need to revise policies and digitally transform in order to advance regional peace, security, public health, human rights, economic growth, and/or environmental protection. Fast-evolving technological innovation means that cyber threats are proliferating, and that improving cyber capabilities is critical. Pursuing secure and resilient digital domains through new strategies, policies and partnerships will accelerate the global digital transformation, leading to a safer world for everyone.
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