Homeland Security

Indian Vision-2047 for Cyber Defence Security: Needs and Importance
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 14 Mar , 2023


In order to make the military into the “Aatmanirbhar” force that Prime Minister  Narendra Modi had envisioned, the Ministry of Defence undertook ground-breaking reforms in 2022, led by Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh. The Ministry of Defence’s inaugural “AI in Defence” symposium and exhibition in New Delhi saw the Raksha Mantri introduce 75 newly created artificial intelligence (AI) goods and technologies. The items fit into a number of categories.

Additionally, the Raksha Mantri laid the cornerstone for the India-Mongolia Friendship School, which is also being established with Indian assistance, and inaugurated the Cyber Security Training Center at the National Defence University in Ulaanbaatar, which was constructed with support from the Indian government. The Indian Army is continuing to build its capacity to deal with new threats in the cyber, space, and information domains as physical borders become less distinct, while also remaining ready for all military contingencies brought on by the converging threat of military modernization and aggressive actions by the nation’s enemies.

Unfortunately, the AIIMS, one of the nation’s most significant healthcare and research institutions, and Solar India Industries Limited, a supplier of defence-related equipment, have both reportedly been compromised in the past three months. We can reduce breaches by utilizing emerging cyber security mechanisms and addressing research gaps in the defence industry.

Role of Aatmanirbhartain Defence Sector for Making 5T Economy

India is a significant buyer of military gear, accounting for over 10% of all arms exported globally in 2017. To gain an edge over its rivals through the element of surprise, India must enhance its defence technology by making it more flexible, inventive, and unique. To increase the nation’s GDP to $5 trillion by 2025 is one of the mission’s five pillars. The Union Budget 2023–24 has helped Aatmanirbharta’s defence initiatives. The extent of India’s commitment to military independence was made clear by the budget.

In the previous few years, the government has reduced exports while promoting domestic manufacturing in India’s defence sector. From Rs 1,521 crore in 2016–17 to Rs 12,815 crore in 2021–22, the sector’s exports increased by over eight times. This growth is attributed to many government-proposed reforms intended to boost defence exports and ease the business environment. In other words, the government wants to export Rs. 36,500 crore ($4.8 billion) worth of goods by 2025. The PLI (Production linked Incentive) plan was launched by the government in September 2022 with the goal of promoting drone and drone component production in India.

Insights of Cyber Defence Security

When a nation-state uses computers and networks to attack another country for political objectives, this is known as “cyberwarfare.” Over the past 20 years, cyber warfare has remained true to its roots as an espionage tactic by avoiding participation in catastrophic attacks and armed coercion. Such attacks are often carried out by nation-states with the intention of disrupting the activities of target organisations or nations.

They may have strategic, military, or espionage objectives. Examples of this phenomenon include attacks by computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks on computers or networks in other nations. Attacks are happening more frequently in India as well. The national airline of India, Air India, revealed that a cyberattack on its data systems had an impact on 4.5 million of its customers worldwide. The company was informed of the hack in February 2021. Approximately 1.16 million cyberattacks were reported in 2020, rising more than 200% from 2016. This is based on official figures. In 2020, there were 3,137 reports per day of cyber security events. Over 4,000 bogus websites went live in less than two months, and on any given day in December of that year, Google prevented 240 million spam emails and 18 million phishing attempts.

Needs of Cyber Defence Security

According to a recent estimate, the United States (US), China, and India will be the top three countries where malware infections for Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT) devices are most likely to come in 2023. The tech giant’s Cyber Signals Report, which looked at threat data from 2022 across countries, found that 38% of all IoBT malware came from China.

The cyberthreat is not just a technological concern; it is an existential issue, according to Maj. Gen. Ravi Chaudhary (Ret.), former head of Digital Army projects. Cyberspace has replaced the physical world, and safety has become an integral aspect of modern architecture. Since he claims that we now use numerous platforms for advertising, social media, utilities, services, etc., platform security is essential. “Platforms are similar to digital real estate in that, as the platform grows in popularity, so does its value.” We need to work on these platforms because they pose a potential threat to our data security, privacy, and rights.

The possibility of its rebirth as an advanced and successful country with a USD 40 trillion economy before 2047 is provided by the fourth industrial revolution (100 years after independence). India is currently in a strong economic, technological, and industrial position with the help of its favourable demographics. India may have the chance to plan ahead and take the lead in the fourth industrial revolution for the first time at this moment. Will India seize this once-in-a-century chance to turn the country into a wealthy one? If we pay attention to India’s business leaders, entrepreneurs, and aspirational millennials, the answer is “yes.”

India has made enormous strides toward digital transformation, and during the coming ten years, it is expected to make even more. The recently launched 5G network is proof of how quickly India is undergoing a digital transition. As automation and new technology are used in more industries, ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other cyber-related risks are on the rise.

In today’s technological age, securing defence applications from cyberwarfare using tried-and-true methods could commercialise intelligence and strengthen military forces. Spying, surveillance, tracking down and recovering data from enemy bases or terrorist hideouts, and battling on the battlefield are just some of the many ways in which secure cyber applications can aid the military. Another major issue that makes it challenging for individuals to use IoBTapplications (apps) is security. Companies offering security solutions have always struggled to expand their offerings beyond their core competencies. Operators’ IoBT security services, for instance, have largely prioritised network uptime and authenticity verification of devices. All tiers of security—device, network, apps, storage, and data—are vulnerable to compromise.

Efforts are currently being made to improve communication between suppliers and service providers. Members of the IoBT Cybersecurity Alliance with AT&T include industry heavyweights like IBM, Nokia, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, and Trustonic. Most consumers will only use a secure IoBT if it has end-to-end security. There are a number of top companies in the unified threat management space, but Palo Alto Networks, Check Point Software, FireEye, Fortinet, Mimecast, and FireEye stand out. Cisco, IBM, Dell, and HPE, all leaders in the IT industry, also provide compelling choices for protecting the IoBT. When this happens, it’s crucial that the defence industry identify and highlight the most pressing issues with IoBT security.

Cyber Defence Importance for Border Security

Cooperation between China and Pakistan in cyberspace is strongly suspected. Beijing and Islamabad have increased their cooperation in the field of information technology in recent years. The “Long-Term Plan for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (2017-2030)” places a premium on digital and cyber cooperation. The strategy focuses on fostering and expanding e-commerce in Pakistan through the use of information and communication technologies. But beyond this positive partnership, China and Pakistan are now working together in a more sinister way, with Pakistan serving as a front for China’s nefarious goals. This is especially true with regards to anti-India propaganda spread through various online mediums.

India has taken strides to fix its cyber vulnerabilities in recent years through a variety of institutional and legislative measures. But Chinese and Pakistani hackers still use the fact that most Indian internet users don’t know much about cybersecurity and have bad cyber hygiene habits, like not checking the truth of “fake news” and clicking on links they didn’t ask for, to get into sensitive computer networks and spread malware.

India must therefore take two steps even as it improves its cyber defence by addressing its weaknesses. India should broaden its initiatives to promote cyber hygiene and improve its citizens’ resilience to new cyberthreats. India needs to strengthen its offensive cyber posture on a larger scale in order to make its intentions clear to its enemies and deter them. 

Gaps and Recommendations

In order to establish strong cyber security in support of the Indian government’s strategic aims, it is crucial to make sure that business and defence are cooperating closely. Defence techniques combined with machine learning may be able to gather critical battlefield insights in near real-time, giving officers an advantage in reshaping the course of war and carrying out a successful operation. The military can use IoT application security to support any mission, including combat on the battlefield, spying on and monitoring an enemy base or a terrorist hideaway, finding and rescuing hostages, conducting reconnaissance, and gathering intelligence.

    • With this information, the officers can make strategic decisions and gain battlefield knowledge. They can transmit the information to the command post.
    • The military vehicles are equipped with sensors that can identify their position, the extent of damage, fuel efficiency, engine state, the number of remaining engine hours, and many other characteristics. The use of AI in military transportation can reduce operational effort and travel costs.
    • Adversaries frequently try to persuade employees of a company to divulge sensitive information or carry out operations on a system that advance their strategic objectives. This risk can be reduced by regularly screening employees, especially those with privileged access, making it harder for users to delete important data from systems, and putting in place a thorough auditing program.
    • Additionally, AI techniques are being developed to increase target detection accuracy in difficult battle circumstances. These techniques allow the defence forces to gain a full understanding of potential operational regions by looking at reports, documents, news feeds, and other unstructured content. AI benefits target recognition systems by making it easier for them to find their targets.
    • From supply-chain management to public transportation, these are just a few areas where secure IoT solutions are enhancing organizations. By adding sensors to transportation vehicles, it is possible to make sure that goods, especially food, arrive in a safe condition.


Cyber-attacks aim to disable, disrupt, destroy, or control computer systems or to alter, block, delete, manipulate, or steal the data held within these systems. Any individual or group can launch a cyberattack from anywhere by using one or more of the various attack strategies. Recently, a cyberattack was executed by Chinese hackers on AIIMS servers through two malicious emails. Five physical servers out of 100 were infected, compromising over 3 crore patient records, including those of high-profile political figures. Chinese cybercriminals demanded an estimated Rs 200 crore in cryptocurrency.

Cyberattacks are becoming more and more sophisticated on a never-before-seen scale, both in terms of size and sophistication. By 2025, it is anticipated that cyberattacks will cost the world an astounding $10.5 trillion in damages. With a high-risk cyber environment, developing a long-term strategy for India’s national security is difficult, not only for the healthcare sector but also for the defence industry. Further, a national vision to restore India’s former greatness and status as a global superpower is especially timely now that the country is only 25 years away from celebrating its centennial of independence.

As India marks 75 years since gaining its freedom, many people are reflecting on how far the country has come since 1947. Having achieved tremendous advances in industrialization, infrastructure development, and military modernization, India is now the world’s fifth-largest economy. The country has built up a large domestic consumer demand base, and it now exports goods and services to 75 countries worldwide. As seen by our Prime Minister’s visits to 68 countries over the past eight years, it has gradually increased its global influence. Because of this, it’s important to understand what we think India’s role will be in world politics and how it will become more important over the next 30 years.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Col (Dr) AK Singh and Dr Rajeev Kumar

Col (Dr) AK Singh is a Retired Colonel from the Indian Army and former Vice Chancellor of ShriRamswaroop Memorial University, Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India. He is currently working as an Advisor at the same university. Dr Rajeev Kumar is a Cyber Security Practitioner and currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Innovation and Technology at the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

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