India’s First Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • What is Cyber Warfare?
  • Vulnerability of India to Cyber Attacks and its Cyber Security Challenges:
  • Cyber Security Measures Taken by the Indian Government
  • India’s First Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations

Why in News?

  • The Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan released India’s first joint doctrine for cyberspace operations, acknowledging that cyberspace has emerged as a crucial and challenging domain in modern warfare.

What is Cyber Warfare?

  • Meaning:
    • Cyber warfare are actions taken in cyberspace (dynamic and virtual space that connects the different computer systems) by state or non-state actors that
      • Either constitute a serious threat to a nation’s security or
      • Are conducted in response to a perceived threat against a nation’s security.
    • Unlike territorial limits in the traditional domains of warfare (such as land, sea, and air), cyberspace is a global common and hence has shared sovereignty.
    • Hostile actions in cyberspace can impact the nation’s economy, cohesion, political decision making, and the ability to defend itself.
  • Types of Cyber warfare:
    • Cyber terrorism: It can be considered the premeditated use of disruptive activities (against computers and/or networks), with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives.
    • Cyber fraud: Cyber attacks that are generally aimed at getting monetary or related gains for the perpetrators.
    • Cyber spying: Cyber attacks aimed at gaining information for the perpetrators.
    • Cyber stalking or bullying: Cyber attacks which are designed to frightened and intimidate individuals rather than business or Government.

Vulnerability of India to Cyber Attacks and its Cyber Security Challenges:

  • How vulnerable India is to cyber attacks?
    • The cyber security threats emanate from a wide variety of sources and manifest themselves in disruptive activities that target individuals, businesses, national infrastructure and Governments alike.
    • In 2023, India recorded 2,138 weekly cyber attacks per organization, a 15% increase from 2022.
    • This makes India the second most targeted nation in the Asia Pacific region, after Taiwan.
  • Cyber security challenges:
    • Lack of adequate human resource, infrastructure, R&D and budgetary allocations to tackle the cyber threats.
    • Threat emerging from servers hosted outside India.
    • Challenge posed by imported electronics/IT products.
    • Upcoming technology viz. Cloud computing, Big data, Internet of Things (IoT), etc. 
    • Balance between Cyber Security and Right to Privacy, etc.

Cyber Security Measures Taken by the Indian Government:

  • The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In): It acts as the central agency for incident response, vulnerability handling, and security management in India's cyberspace.
  • Cyber Surakshit Bharat: It was launched by the MeitY with National Electronic Governance Division (NeGD) to ensure more awareness about the latest cybercrimes and the cybersecurity challenges of India.
  • Cyber Swachhta Kendra: It provides free tools for malware analysis and helps improve the security of systems and devices.
  • National Cybersecurity Policy 2013: It provides a framework for creating a secure cyber ecosystem and aims to protect information and other critical infrastructure.
  • NCIIPC: The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) was established for the protection of critical information infrastructure in the country.
  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C): The Central Government has rolled out a scheme for establishment of I4C to handle issues related to cybercrime in the country in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.

India’s First Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations:

  • Background:
    • China has built major capabilities in the cyberwarfare domain, including cyberweapons to degrade or destroy an adversary's military assets and strategic networks.
    • India has been lagging far behind in this arena, with the government only approving the creation of only a small tri-service Defence Cyber Agency in 2019 instead of the full-fledged Cyber Command that the armed forces wanted.
  • Formulation of a new joint doctrine for cyberspace operations:
    • The doctrine comes at a time when the Army is operationalising dedicated specialised units in each of its six operational or regional commands to handle the cyberspace domain.
    • The doctrine will guide tri-services in planning and conducting cyberspace operations in the current complex military operating environment.
    • It will give impetus to the ongoing process of integration being actively pursued by the Army, IAF and Navy.
  • Significance of the doctrine: This doctrine –
    • Lays emphasis on understanding military aspects of cyberspace operations,
    • Provides conceptual guidance to commanders, staff and practitioners in the planning, and conduct of operations in cyberspace, and
    • Raise awareness of the Indian war fighters at all levels

Q.1. What are the Indian military's theatre command plans?

Theatre commands bring the separate arms of the military under a single-unified command structure. These enable the military to combine resources and optimally use them for offensive and defensive operations.

Q.2. What are the components of cyber security?

As organisations develop their cybersecurity strategies, they should consider 3 critical elements to gain maximum impact, namely, governance, technology, and operations.

Source: In a first, CDS releases its blueprint for warfare in cyberspace | ToI | PIB