Pakistan and China Team Up to Wage Propaganda Warfare on India
The cyberattacks from neighbouring adversaries have blurred the national boundaries. It has become necessary for India to confront these acts of propaganda warfare comprehensively. Amid the growing concept of cyberwarfare in South Asia, India is consequently seeking to balance its offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.
Over time Indian APT groups like C-35, SideWinder, Viceroy Tiger, and firms like Srivastava Group and Phronesis have played major roles in deploying India’s offensive cyber capabilities against the growing propaganda warfare. Meanwhile, firms like Lucideus, Kratikal Tech Pvt Ltd, Data Resolve Technologies, Techdefence Labs, and others are bolstering India’s cyber defences.
A recently released report from Graphika stated that Pakistan had been using misinformation campaigns to manipulate social media networks and denigrate India. Efforts were being made to praise Pakistan and its armed forces, through false media channels while promoting issues like human rights violations in India.
The leaked documents intercepted by the Indian intelligence agencies also stated that Pakistan wants to launch information warfare against India by collaborating with China. The concept paper titled ‘Building capacity to contest inimical narratives through counter on alternative narratives’ stated China’s role in providing finances and guidance to Pakistan.
China is competing with the West in technology and economy. But winning in the social media-dominated world is not easy. China has been targeted for the persecution of the Muslim Uighur population in the Xinjiang region. Moreover, its continuous strike on Indian cyberspace through misinformation campaigns and cyber offensives has evoked huge criticism for the country.
China has also assisted Pakistan in cyber warfare and cybersecurity assistance. An Information Security Lab is being set up under the National Electronics Complex of Pakistan in the cyber warfare domain.
By funding Pakistan, China intends to repair its long-tarnished image. On the other hand, Pakistan too has helped China, by playing pro-China narratives. During the Galwan Valley clash, Pakistan launched misinformation against India, outspreading that only a few Chinese soldiers were injured during the clash.
Such collaborations in cyber technology have brought a new paradigm of digital risk to India. The country has emerged as a major business and IT outsourcing hub, catering to international markets across industries. But, today it faces the threat of malicious attackers and privacy breaches.
Data from CERT-In suggested that India witnessed a 300% increase in the number of cyberattacks in 2020 over 2019. The wide-scale cyber operations against India shed light on the APT groups and campaigns that originated to strengthen the country’s cyber front and end the propaganda warfare. The Indian private actors launched offensive cyber operations – malware attacks and disinformation campaigns, to counter Pakistan and China’s cyber propaganda. They have aided the country in standing up to the global trend of cyberwarfare.