China can disrupt systems by launching cyber attacks on India and a mechanism is being readied to combat any such move, Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), General Bipin Rawat, said at an event here on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Vivekananda International Foundation on shaping the armed forces to meet the likely current and future challenges, General Rawat said, “We may not be able to fully catch up with China. So we are trying to develop some kind of a relationship with the western nations and see how better we can get some support from them, during peace time at least, which will help us overcome this deficiency.”
Rawat said that China has the first movers advantage as India was slow to adopt cyber warfare capabilities, which has led to the gaps.
“The biggest differential lies in the cyber field. We know that China is capable of launching cyber attacks on us and it can disrupt a large number of systems,” he said.
According to the official data presented in the Parliament, India witnessed a nearly 300 per cent spike in cyber attacks last year in comparison to 2019, from 3,94,499 cases in 2019 to 11,58,208 in 2020, which is alarming for the government.
“What we are trying to do is create a system which will ensure cyber defence. We have been able to create a cyber agency within the armed forces and each service also has its own cyber agency, so that even if we come under a cyber attack, the downtime of the attack doesn’t last long,” Rawat said.
The CDS said while China has a lead in this respect, India is evolving its technologies to match up.
“While we are trying to create firewalls for cyber attacks, someone may break through them. We are trying see how long your systems will be down and how will you be able to operate through the phase of cyber attack that we have been put through. That is what we are seriously looking at.”
The CDS said the key for combating such attacks is to integrate the resources of the three services. “The Navy is far ahead of the Army and the Air Force in the way it has imbibed technology,” he said.
On other security challenges, Rawat said that India faces multiple and varied security threats and challenges across the full spectrum of conflict – from proxy war to hybrid to non-contact, conventional and collusive wars under a nuclear overhang.
“There is an emergent need to develop a vision for the region. However, one must be careful to not ‘bite more than one can chew’. The vision for the region or even our global vision must be intrinsically linked to our national interests, which are directly linked to national security,” the CDS said.