OPINION | India's Cyber Security : Scope of Cooperation with Israel and United States
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OPINION | India's Cyber Security : Scope of Cooperation with Israel and United States

By Amit Mukherjee
PBC-Post Doctoral Research Fellowship 2015
National Security Studies Center,University of Haifa, Israel

OPINION | India's Cyber Security : Scope of Cooperation with Israel and United States

It is usually said that the next war would be fought not on battle fields but in the electronic space where bullets will be replaced by bits of data. The increasing cases of cyber-attacks in India alone saw more than 28,481 Indian websites hacked in 2013 -2014. A home ministry report listed that US, Europe, Brazil, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria and the UAE were the nerve centres of cyber-attacks in India. India drafted a new policy for Cyber Security called National Cyber Security Policy 2013. It catered to 14 objectives that include creation of a cyber-ecosystem in the country for protection of business and physical assets through public private partnerships and collaborative engagement. It is here that India can merge it‘s requisite defense requirements against cyber-attacks by allowing Israeli and US integration of cyber defense capabilities that are considered the best in the world.

According to a report, personal information of nearly half of American adults, 110 million, has been made public by hackers. Kaspersky Lab USA has revealed in yet another report that over 1 billion USD and more had been stolen from banks in the past year. Repeated attempts by both countries in trying to engage each other in a cyber -security partnership as early as 2002, with creation of India US cyber security forum, failed to gain much grounds on various issues. These issues included past mistrust and the revelation of US surveillance during 2006 meeting. India has skilled technical manpower and US has the infrastructure and money to partner any joint cyber defense collaborative program. Keeping this in view the strategic dialogues in 2010 again re - started the discussion on cyber defense partnership. That culminated in the formation of the Strategic Cyber Policy Dialogue. This intended to form norms for responsible state behavior, internet governance and cyber crime cooperation. In 2011 CERT-IN and US–CERT made a deal for cooperation for countering cyber-attacks. Both these organizations are leading organizations for countering any cyber-attacks. In the recent visit of the US President to India a concerted effort was made to emphasize the importance of collaboration on cyber security between both nations. In a joint U.S.-India statement, both leaders expressed their apprehension of the growing problem of cyber crime and vowed their allegiance toward growing India US commitment to cooperation for battling cyber crime and its ―serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber-activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.

In September 8th 2013, a cyber-attack shut down the camera system of the Carmel Tunnels, a passageway for motor transport in Haifa city. Such an attack prompted the authorities to block the passageway of the tunnel for two days. The enormity of the attacks showed that public infrastructure can be brought to a standstill and worse can be attacked to create wide spread panic and even damage and destruction. Though Israel is considered to be one of the best locations and systems for cyber security in the world, the constant attacks by hackers makes it a veritable partner to align India‘s security interests with. The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu in his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the side lines of the United Nations meeting in 2014, extended his invitation to collaborate in development of cyber-defense.

India can provide the required manpower to create dedicated cyber security task force that may operate with individual enterprises in the public private and government sphere or they can be combined to form a united and organized body or institution. With the cyber-attacks on DRDO in 2013, and Eastern Naval command in 2012, it is in India‘s interest to align its technological prowess and manpower towards developing a more robust cyber defense capability in collaboration within the trilateral entity of India-Israel-US. With 1.25 lakh cyber experts in China and around 91,000 in the USA, India needs to build its Cyber security infrastructure as well as technological base. India‘s internet penetration is set around at 31.2 Crores or 312 million, on date. It has the fastest growth rate of 17.5% in 2014 among the top three internet user base countries in the world alongside China and USA. Its present world share of internet user is 8.33% is still third highest in terms of proportions in the world. The e-commerce and online travel booking market is set to reach the amount of 16 billion USD in 2015. Even though India is not a top e-commerce and online travel booking market yet, it has the potential to grow exponentially in less than a decade. The enormous population base and subsequent internet services sector, it is imperative that India develops mechanisms to counter the threats to protect its internet services and infrastructure. Even though India‘s share of financial losses due to cyber-crime is a relatively small amount Rs 34,110 annual compared to the world statistics of 388 billion USD over all, it only goes to show how as internet and business grows the need to secure our interests also would grow. 

About The Author:

Amit Mukherjee (E-3696-2016), PBC-Post Doctoral Research Fellowship 2015. National Security Studies Center,University of Haifa, Israel

This article is an excerpt from a research article, titled "India-Israel-US Trilateral Cooperation Security Perspective: Challenges and Scope" published at FPRC New Delhi Journal. 

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