India’s offensive cyber capabilities are “Pakistan-oriented” and “regionally effective” and not China-oriented, according to a new report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), an influential think tank that has qualitatively assessed cyber power in 15 countries.
The country’s cyber potential was assessed in seven categories: strategy and doctrine; management, command and control; basic cyber intelligence capabilities; cyber empowerment and addiction; cybersecurity and resilience; global leadership in cyberspace and offensive cyber capabilities.
The United States is the only Tier 1 country due to its world’s leading strengths across all categories.
India was placed in a third tier, intended for countries that have strengths or potential strengths in some of these categories but “significant weaknesses” in others. Also included in this category are Japan, Iran, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and North Korea.
At the second tier, with the world’s leading strengths in “some” categories are Australia, Canada, China, France, Israel, Russia and the United Kingdom.
According to a report to be released on Monday: “The military confrontation with China in the disputed border zone of Ladakh in June 2020, followed by a sharp increase in Chinese activity against Indian networks, has heightened India’s concerns about cybersecurity, not least with regard to the systems supplied. … from China ”.
The report says that despite the geostrategic instability of its region and acute awareness of the cyber threat it faces, India has made only “modest progress” in developing its cyberspace security policy and doctrine.
Need to connect to startups
In research, cyber power is measured along seven dimensions, from strategy to cyber security. Cyber governance reform in India has been slow. According to the study, it should make better use of its digital startup ecosystem.
Greg Austin, who leads the IISS’s Cyberspace and Future Conflict Program and who played a leading role in the preparation of the report, said: Indian express Sunday: “India has some cyber intelligence and offensive cyberspace capabilities, but they are focused on the regional level, mainly in Pakistan. He is currently seeking to compensate for his weaknesses by creating new opportunities with the help of key international partners, including the United States, Britain and France, and seeking concerted international action to develop standards of restraint. ”
The report says India’s approach to institutional reform of cyber governance has been “slow and gradual,” with key civilian and military cybersecurity coordinating bodies only established in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
They work closely with the main cyber intelligence agency, the National Organization for Technical Research.
“India has good regional cyber intelligence coverage, but relies on partners, including the US, for broader understanding,” the report said.
It states that the strengths of the Indian digital economy include a vibrant startup culture and a very large talent pool. “The private sector is moving faster than the government in advancing national cybersecurity.”
The report says that the country is active and visible in cyber diplomacy, but does not rank among the leaders on global norms, preferring instead to enter into productive practical agreements with key states.
“India is a Tier 3 cyberpower whose best chance to move to Tier 2 is to leverage its immense digital industrial potential and take a socially wide approach to enhancing its cybersecurity,” the report said.
The report also rates China’s cyberpower as clearly lower than that of the United States, and significantly lower than the aggregate cyberpower of the U.S. network of alliances.
The following countries are considered in this report: USA, UK, Canada and Australia (four of the Five Eyes intelligence allies); France and Israel (two of the Five Eyes states’ most cyberspace-capable partners); Japan (also an ally of the Five Eyes states, but less capable of cyberspace security, despite its enormous economic power); China, Russia, Iran and North Korea (the main states that pose a cyber threat to Western interests); as well as India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam (four early-stage cyberpower countries). This is an ongoing study that will cover 40 countries in total, including Germany, Singapore, Nigeria and more.
Asked about a roadmap for moving India up, Austin said the key is “political will” and “how India organizes its intelligence services.” He said that one of the “leapfrogging opportunities” for governments to become more effective in using cyberpower is “how they will join other governments.”