“Like all very high-speed highways, it does make sense to have some traffic lights, some rules,” Mohan said. “It makes sense for countries that are like-minded, countries that believe in democratic values, strong institutions, open societies… (to) think about creating an alliance of democracies. For me, the US, Europe, and India probably represent the three big poles of the Internet.”
India and the world are at a stage where stakeholders across the board including governments are starting to think that while they have seen explosive innovation and recognise the benefit of the Internet, can they have a framework that governs the new rules of the Internet for the next five to 20 years, he said.
“We can probably conceive of an Internet which still remains, open and connected and gives all the benefits of innovations we have seen in the last 25 years and yet has a unified global framework which gives us a new set of rules for the next five to 20 years,” said Mohan.
He said creating a global framework won’t be easy and yet the world has created global frameworks for big things, including trade.
“The very nature of the Internet… the very nature where we benefit when people and institutions are connected across the world. India has benefitted from that, which means we have to try even harder to seek that common ground, create that framework especially among societies that are democratic,” he added.
Mohan said there are “extraordinary” issues of privacy, data, framing of the new navigation rules and it makes sense to invest the time to understand the unique concerns of different countries and yet look for the common ground that maximises the opportunity for countries and societies.
“There is such extraordinary potential and value of innovation that country India too will benefit from it. It does not require a company like Facebook to tell India what to do. That’s not what we are doing but I do believe that when we look at the potential of digital to transform India, and we have seen that a lot in the last 5 years, it is an important one to call out,” Mohan said.