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India's Cyberspace Ops Doctrine: Impact On the Armed Forces

© Photo : Social MediaCDS Gen Anil Chauhan releases doctrine for cyberspace operations during COSC meeting
CDS Gen Anil Chauhan releases doctrine for cyberspace operations during COSC meeting - Sputnik India, 1920, 19.06.2024
The Indian Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations – an important document that will act as the basis for carrying out cyberspace operations in the present environment – was unveiled on Tuesday. Sputnik India examines its implications for the Indian Armed Forces.
The Indian government's recognition of the potential impact of hostile cyber actions on the country's economic and political decision-making and defence capabilities underscores the significance of the newly released Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations, a military author and security analyst has said.
On Tuesday, India's Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan disclosed the Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations. The document is considered a comprehensive framework designed to address military concerns by establishing a unified approach to cyberspace operations across the armed forces, Aritra Banerjee, who is the co-author of the book "The Indian Navy@75: Reminiscing The Voyage", highlighted in a conversation with Sputnik India.

"The doctrine not only underlines the importance of understanding cyberspace's military aspects but also guides commanders, staff, and practitioners in planning and executing operations in this domain. By integrating cyberspace operations into the broader national security strategy, India aims to proactively defend against cyber threats, safeguard critical infrastructure, and maintain its ability to make independent political decisions," Banerjee claimed.

The principle also acknowledges the need for enhanced awareness among soldiers at all levels about cyberspace's unique challenges and opportunities, he pointed out.

Coordinated National Response to Threats

This concept will enable India to develop a more resilient and agile defence posture capable of responding effectively to evolving threats. While the doctrine emphasises education and training, specific details about this aspect are not publicly available.
Moreover, the Joint Doctrine spotlights the crucial role of collaboration between the military and other stakeholders, including government agencies, the private sector, and academia.
This collaborative approach is essential for developing a comprehensive and coordinated national response to such threats.
Banerjee observed that integrating cyberspace operations into the national security fabric is essential for creating a synergistic effect across all operational environments and instruments of power. This involves incorporating capabilities into military planning and operations and utilizing such tools to support diplomatic, economic, and informational initiatives.
"India can leverage its cyber capabilities to deter adversaries, influence events, and achieve strategic objectives by dovetailing cyberspace operations into the national security fabric. This includes using cyber operations to disrupt enemy communications, gather intelligence, and protect critical infrastructure," he added.
Furthermore, integrating these operations into the national security fabric allows India to project power and influence in the digital realm.
He reckoned that this could be achieved through offensive and defensive cyber measures, as well as information warfare campaigns.

Creating a Resilient Global Environment

Banerjee observed that the doctrine outlines the need to fuse cyberspace into traditional military domains and digitize battlefield information, enhancing situational awareness and decision-making processes.
Meanwhile, international collaboration is essential in creating a resilient global cyber environment and mitigating risks associated with the virtual world, he added.

"The Joint Doctrine for Cyberspace Operations also emphasises the importance of international cooperation in addressing cyber threats. By working with like-minded nations, India can share information, develop best practices, and build a collective defense against cyberattacks," Banerjee stressed.

Deterrence in Cyberspace

On the other hand, Lieutenant General (Retd) Rajesh Pant highlighted that India's quest to become the world's third-largest economy cannot be impacted adversely by the headwinds of cyberattacks.
Protecting India's critical information infrastructure, as well as creating a deterrence in cyberspace against adversaries, become important task for the state's stakeholders, Pant told Sputnik India.
He added that during the conduct of cyber operations, it is important to avoid attacks by hackers.
Thus, the Joint Doctrine is a welcome step in ensuring synergy amongst the three services – India's Army, Navy, and the Air Force – in protecting the national cyberspace and that is why combined efforts are also required to share threat intelligence and avoid overlaps in projects, the expert asserted.

"Cyber operations are coordinated under the overall ambit of the National Security Adviser. Additionally, close coordination is maintained between the MoD and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) for this purpose," Pant concluded.

An Indian army soldier controls a drone during a mock drill along the Line of Control or LOC between India and Pakistan during a media tour arranged by the Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector, India, Saturday, Aug.12, 2023. (AP Photo/Channi Anand) - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.06.2024
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