Terming the IDSA report
as “topical”, coming in at a time when the government is in the final
stages of preparing a ‘whole-of–government Cyber Security architecture,
Mr Menon welcomed it as a “significant contribution towards increasing
an understanding of the issue of cyber security and of what we should be
worrying about in this field.”
In his address, Mr Menon spoke about the effects of ICT on warfare,
highlighting how the ICT revolution has redistributed power and brought
into play the non-state actors, individuals and terrorists in
particular. Citing the example of West Asia, Mr Menon pointed out that
technology places increasingly lethal powers in the non state actors,
who use it in popular movements to mobilise people and influence
opinions against regimes.
What makes the Cyber Security issue even more complicated, insisted Mr
Menon, is the fact that these technologies are not just available to the
state where law and policies can control and limit their use, they are
widely available in the public domain where commercial and individual
motives can easily lead to misuse.
Drawing a comparison between states, the NSA said that information
technologies and their effects have made asymmetric strategies much more
effective and attractive. He added that the weaker states use cyber war
and anti satellite capabilities to neutralise or raise the cost and
deter the use of its military strength by a stronger sate.
The NSA concluded that India should be prepared to deal with both the
threats to cyber space and risks arising through cyber space, as a “step
towards a coherent and comprehensive cyber security policy”, adding that
the while NTRO is tasked to deal with the protection of our critical
security cyber infrastructure, institutions like CERT-IN have proved
their worth during events like Common Wealth Games in defending our open
Also present on the occasion was former Under-Secretary-General for
Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations and the chairman of
the taskforce, Mr Nitin Desai, who pointed out that cyber space is
emerging as a place of global governance and the challenge of cyber
security cannot be tacked by the government alone.
He added that preserving functionality in cyber space is a mammoth
challenge and there fore he emphasised on a need for Public Private
Earlier, in his welcome speech, Director General, IDSA, Dr Arvind Gupta
said, that the report, written in a non-technical style, is aimed at
raising awareness about the dynamic nature of cyberspace and cyber
security challenges that India is facing.
He further added, that in analyzing the various dimensions of cyber
security challenge to India, the Task Force argues that India must
foresee and plan for various challenges arising out of the growth of
internet and digitalization of governance. Failure to do so can be
catastrophic and could affect national security, Indian economy and
social stability. India is particularly vulnerable to the threats from
cyber crime, cyber terrorism, cyber espionage and cyber warfare. India’s
critical infrastructure is also vulnerable.
A panel discussion on Indian Cyber Security- Way forward was held after
the NSA’s speech. Chairing the session, deputy national Security
Advisor, Ms. Vijay Latha Reddy said that the government is putting
together an architecture involving various agencies and departments to
deal with cyber security. DG, CERT-IN, Dr Gulshan Rai, said that dealing
with daily attacks in cyber space requires a global approach.
Chief Information Security Officer, Airtel, Mr Felix Mohan gave an
example of a successful public private partnership between CERT–IN and
Airtel during the Common Wealth Games where over 8000 cyber attacks in
two weeks were foiled. Lt General Aditya Singh (Retd.) and General HJS
Sachdev spoke at length about the need to be prepared to deal with
challenges of network centric force.
Joint Secretary (IT), Ministry of External Affairs, Mr Harsh Jain gave
an account of government of India’s participation at the international
forum on cyber security. He said India has ongoing cyber security
dialogue with Japan, South Korea and the United States.
All speakers emphasised the need for proactive planning in cyber
The IDSA had set up a Task Force in 2011 to explore the diverse
dimensions of cyber security challenge that India is facing. The Task
Force was headed by Shri Nitin Desai, former Member of the NSAB, and
comprised Director General, IDSA, Dr Arvind Gupta, Lt Gen (retd.) Aditya
Singh, former Member of the NSAB; Dr. Kamlesh Bajaj, CEO, Dta Security
Council of India; Shri B J Srinath, CERT-IN; Shri Salman Waris, a Lawyer
in a Delhi based law firm; Shri Amit Sharma, DRDO; Dr. Ajey Lele, IDSA;
Dr Cherian Samuel, IDSA and Shri Kapil Patil, Indian Pugwash Society.
The report argues that Government and the private sector give cyber
security some priority in their security and risk management plans, and
do this jointly. Being a report that is addressed to the security
community in the widest sense and intended to stimulate public
discussion, it relies on publicly available information.
The Cyber Security Report is available on