India Seeks US’ Help to Counter Adversaries in Cyberspace

Indian cyberspace

In order to mitigate the scaling confrontation in the Indian cyberspace from both China and Pakistan, India is now taking help from specialised foreign organisations, like the US. Meanwhile, the country is constantly maintaining its relations with Russia to make the country cyber resilient.

Some of the experts believe that partnership with the US is not conducive in terms of strengthening the Indian cyberspace protection, since the US has continued to conduct cyber ops that have threatened India’s national security while calling itself a key partner in the past. Yet, India has been trying to make it work against principal adversaries on the cyber front.

Over time, the government too has underestimated the conflict in Indian cyberspace, considering it to be an area of less importance. When compared with the topmost powerful countries in cyberspace i.e. the US, UK, and China, India certainly lacks the capacity, capability, and cyber intellect needed to understand the deep hole of cyber warfare. Due to this, several difficulties have emerged in crafting a smart strategy for regional peace.

The situation changed completely after it was revealed that the US secret services were using cyber tactics to spy upon Indian politicians, waging cyber warfare against both India’s probable adversaries and allies, in 2013. India adopted a National Cyber Security Policy, formulated to protect the critical data and personal information of Indians against theft and cyber attacks, post this revelation.

To date, not much has been done to achieve the objective. The networks of both public and private organisations still remain extremely vulnerable. Yet, India has somehow managed to improve its offensive cyber capabilities with the help of private actors.

The authorities are now paying more attention to conducting defensive and offensive operations in Indian cyberspace with the help of private firms. The aim is to reduce the country’s dependence on tools developed abroad and giving preference to India-made products.

The US has mostly been considered India’s key adversary in cyberspace. Though the level of threat is somewhat less than Pakistan and China that waged war against Indian agencies and companies connected with the government for a long time now. Pakistan has launched several hacking and spear-phishing attacks on Indian government entities with the help of APT groups such as Mythic Leopard, Red Rabbit Team. Alongside, it even brought into public, several Pakistani hacker groups, one of which is Team Shadow Hunters, responsible for hacking Indian websites.

Similarly, China has been conducting a full-fledged cyberwar against India with the help of APT groups – Poison Carp, Avivore (the less-known groups), and APT30 group. The most recent revelation was Red Echo’s attack on the Indian power grid. India’s banning of Chinese apps in the name of security and integrity context was also considered a way of India’s bigger plan for halting Chinese interference. India’s offensive campaign against Chinese infrastructure is expected to further escalate attacks in the cyber domain and complicate the Sino-India conflict.

Clearly, cyber-infrastructure is critical to the global economy and both the US and India have been the victims of Chinese cyber espionage for a decade now. So, the bigger question is whether India and the US will be able to cooperate on a substantial level and redefine their position in the global cyberspace, whilst setting apart their differences.

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