CyberPower- Upcoming 4th Pillar of Indian MilitaryCan you imagine a 16-year-old kid going for a hackathon, enjoying code in learning a bit of hacking, then suddenly being recruited by the Indian army or some really lucrative organization? This is already happening!
Initially, if we look at the universal military structure; It’s traditionally the hard military, across the borders, land, water, and air force. But, in today’s mechanized world, it has gone to three levels. First is the hard power of the military (Navy, Army, and the Air Forces); second, being the Cyberwars and lastly, Space wars.
Why do we need cybersecurity as a Defence Mechanism?
Cyber-space is poised to become a key arena for defending National interest. Physical, as well as cyber borders, are meant to be secured in the era of cyber threats from nation-states. According to the New Delhi-based Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), the Indian armed forces must have modern means and capabilities for cyber exploitation, technical intelligence, cyber deception, and the launching of probing operations.
India has already encountered several cyberattacks. India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) observed more than 6.07 lakh cybersecurity incidents in the first six months of 2021, of which about 12,000 attacks were related to governmental organizations.
Steps that are Already Taken by Indian Government
On 4th August 2021, the Union Government approved the establishment of the Defence Cyber Agency, for cyber Warfare. It will be under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence. This agency is now fully functional. To mitigate cyber threats, the three Services have been established with their respective Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERT). The government of India is also formulating the National Cyber Security Strategy, which is in the final stages of approval. Adequate safeguards in cyber-safety have been instituted in the form of Cyber Audits, Physical Checks, and Policy Guidelines to ensure a robust cyber posture of armed forces.
The Scale of Cybersecurity on Global Forums
All countries are still in the early stages of coming to terms with the strategic implications of cyberspace. Despite the rapid advances in surveillance and intelligence technologies that exploit advanced computing and network capabilities, most governments have yet to establish legal and political frameworks for their use. Broadly speaking, there are eight parameters reported by International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) for a country to assess its cyber capabilities: strategy and doctrine; governance, command, and control; core cyber-intelligence capability; cyber empowerment and dependence; cybersecurity and resilience; global leadership in cyberspace affairs and offensive cyber capability.
While the USA remains the dominant cyberspace power (with all the parameters checked), China is rapidly gaining ground and could soon be a major rival in both the civil and military spheres. Countries such as India, Japan, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and North Korea are still weak in certain areas, ranked in the third tier. However, India has ambitious plans for staking out our patch of cyberspace. Countries ranked under the second tier are Australia, Canada, China, France, Israel, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
About Military and Cyber Power
The invisible nature of cyberweapons means that establishing a cyber command does not have the same deterrent effect as establishing military divisions or adding lethal weaponry or new technologies to an arsenal which could have a force multiplier effect. Military establishments themselves have had a difficult time dealing with the whole domain of cyber-warfare because this new domain does not fit comfortably with existing doctrines and strategies.
Much of what we have come to associate with warfare, including weapons, terrain, laws of war, deciding targets, quantifying damage, etc., is less relevant in a cyber environment. Adapting the military to the cyber domain raises a lot of tough questions. Are the same military officials going to handle the new pillar? Do these duties apply only in wartime or also in peacetime?
Militaries have been slow to address these issues even internally at an apex level for various reasons: this domain does not fit into the traditional conceptualizations of military activity, this new Pillar is associated with soft skills, reforms are meant to acquaint, hiring the right and technology orientated group of people. No role for the military has been articulated by the political leadership, and the intelligence community has filled up the vacuum.