New Delhi. 09 February, 2016.  Describing cyberspace as an ‘intricate constituent of national power, having a peaceful, as well as military dimension’, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Air Marshal PP Reddy, VM, ADC, today said that it necessitates the involvement of the Armed Forces in the cyber domain, in order to secure it as well as to develop comprehensive deterrence capabilities. Air Marshal Reddy was delivering the Keynote Address at the inaugural day of the 18th Asian Security Conference on ‘Securing Cyberspace: Asian and International Perspectives’, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

With militaries adopting net-centric warfare and migrating towards complex information and communication systems, there are elevated risks of cyber attacks, observed Air Marshal Reddy. Cyberspace is also witnessing ‘a race for development and deployment of cyber weapons’, resulting in a major security concern for nations across the world, he added.

While comparing the arrival of information age as ‘a momentous development, as revolutionary as the industrial age’, with information processing replacing manufacturing as the source of wealth and growth, he pointed out that cyber space is now an arena for competition, cooperation, as well as conflict.

Cyber information technologies have added a new dimension to various components of national power, especially knowledge resources, creating new capabilities, as well as new sources of vulnerability, noted Air Marshal Reddy. They have become key components in the formulation and execution of National Policy, he pointed out, adding that cyber technologies are intertwined across the key components of national power. They act as a force multiplier, creating new synergies, unleashing new forces, sometimes with disruptive effects.

India with over 400 million internet users, whose number is growing rapidly, has an enormous stake in a safe and secure cyberspace, he reflected. The Government of India has always supported an open global and secure cyberspace, and is fully aware of the fact that this goal can only be achieved through international cooperation and collaboration, observed, Air Marshal Reddy.

Commenting on Government of India’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, he said that the government has started a number of programmes to leverage information technology for the benefit of its citizens. The ‘Digital India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ initiatives  are flagship programmes with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Another flagship programme, ‘Make in India’, is designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development, protect intellectual property rights and build manufacturing infrastructure for products made in India.

These programmes, he pointed out, operate by leveraging the use of information technology. Therefore it goes without saying that this accelerated capacity building has enormous implications for the country’s cyber security posture.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Director General, IDSA, Shri Jayant Prasad said ‘Cyberspace is vulnerable to attacks that can be fast, silent, inexpensive to mount, and devastating in their impact’ and ‘a major goal for us is to increase public awareness of the risks that we face today.’

Around 30 speakers from 17 countries from five continents are participating in the two-and-a-half-day conference to analyse international and regional responses to cyber security and to discuss the scope for cooperation amidst varying national policy frameworks and legislations.