The nature of modern-day warfare has shifted from physical to virtual and with the increase in state-sponsored cyber-attacks India has taken concrete steps to secure its interests. Indian security forces need to be prepared for a multi-spectrum war. India cannot remain dependent on foreign-made systems. The US military sees cyberspace as the “fifth domain” of warfare

New Delhi: Future conflicts will be more violent and unpredictable with battlefields being severely contested and seamlessly connected. In future, even conventional conflicts are likely to have a large asymmetric component leading to 'hybrid war'. According to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, technology has become a key driver of future wars.

The United States military sees cyberspace as the “fifth domain” of warfare alongside land, air, sea, and space. Similarly, the Department of Defence (DoD), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) are getting increasingly dependent on technology to track terrorist organisations and destroy their enemy’s fighting capabilities through sophisticated virus strikes and malware.

The Indian security forces need to be prepared for a multi-spectrum war as with the rise of non-state actors and the rapid changes in technology the nature of warfare has witnessed a paradigm shift.

While India is slowly gearing up to face the multifaceted nature of asymmetrical warfare, it requires a strategic vision to counter threats, both internal and external.

Here are few steps India is taking to rise up to the challenge.

Private Players: Bring 'em In

It’s a matter of grave concern that despite doing a phenomenal job in areas like space, India still relies on imported information techniques which could be fatal in the future. When India required GPS data for the region during the Kargil war, the US denied it after which a need for an indigenous satellite system was felt.

When all the modern-day weapons are being managed by computers, India cannot risk itself by being dependent on foreign-made systems. The idea is to cut this dependency on foreign manufactures for which the government needs to bring private players in the game to protect India’s interests.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship program ‘Make in India’ can receive a big boost if private players along with the Defence PSUs work together to secure the country's interests.

Cyberwarfare: Countering Threats From Nation-States

In 2018, Cosmos Bank, India's oldest urban co-operative bank, became the victim of a cyber-attack losing USD 13.5 million. The attack was carried out by North-Korean hackers by executing a malware attack on the vulnerable system.

The attack was so advanced and sophisticated that it bypassed three main layers of defence. The UNSC panel in its report said that North Korean hacker group Lazarus could be behind it.

According to the report, cyber-attacks by DPRK have turned into an important tool to evade sanctions and secure funds for the cash-strapped nation.