India is Formulating National Cyber Strategy While Building Cyberwarfare Capacity

National Cyber Strategy

Over time, state-led or non-state hybrid warfare has multiplied the cybercrime attack options with higher frequency throughout the globe. In India, geopolitical tensions have sped up the process of developing offensive and defensive cyber capabilities. In addition, the government is also looking to unveil a national cyber strategy that would holistically cover the entire Indian cyberspace ecosystem.

In a recent conference organised by the Public Affairs Forum of India, the Indian National Cybersecurity Coordinator Lt. Gen. Rajesh Pant explained the critical aspects of cyberspace. He stated that cyberspace is witnessing technological bipolarity in the geopolitical world and that it is split between the US and China, each advancing with the help of its allies.

Secondly, he stressed India’s need to formulate its approach towards the cyber issue by establishing a national cyber strategy. India is quickly emerging as a new cyber power and a formidable opponent all because of the cyber offensive capabilities it is building with the help of private actors. Following the threats in cyberspace that have become more pertinent, Indian APT groups like Dark Basin, CyberRoot, Phronesis, etc., have been reinforcing India’s cyber front and targeting adversaries.

Recently, China evolved a new internet protocol and even released the Global Initiative on Data Security (GIDS) for the world. It has been aiming to take the control of the data security narrative away from the US when the latter came up with the concept of a “clean network with trusted equipment.” It has built several hacking organisations, many of which have repeatedly targeted Indian cyberspace.

The Chinese threat group – RedEcho’s attack on the Indian power grid in 2020, the Chinese state-backed hackers attacked the IT infrastructure and supply chain software of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker and, Chinese state-sponsored threat actor APT41’s attack on SITA, a multinational IT company providing services to the air transport industry, and other airlines, including the Air India, were some of the major recent attack incidents by China.

China’s aggressive cyber-espionage activities have been condemned by several western countries. The US congressman Frank Pallone even urged the Biden administration to support the strategic partner – India. The aim has been to work together on cybersecurity to counter fifth-generation warfare.

The cyber cooperation in the wake of geopolitical tensions has also motivated the threat actors in India to expand the activity ground. They are now getting varying levels of state support to develop the national offensive cyber capabilities. Further, the national cyber strategy to be launched this year would ensure safe, secure, resilient, vibrant, and trusted cyberspace. This will subsequently maintain the global balance of power.

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