New Delhi, 18th September 2020: While the inter-ministerial part is over approval by the Union Cabinet is awaited vis-à-vis the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 (NCSS 2020) which caters to the entire ecosystem and strengthening the existing structure, informed the National Cyber Security Coordinator, Lt Gen Rajesh Pant in an ASSOCHAM webinar today.

“I am hoping that, the month of October which is regarded globally as the ‘National Cybersecurity Awareness Month’, we have a lot of awareness programs in that month and I am hoping that one of the programs would be release of the national strategy,” said Gen Pant addressing the ASSOCHAM CySecCon 2020 – International Cyber Security Virtual Conclave.

Noting that going ahead data would assume great importance in the country, Gen Pant said, “We are still debating the personal data protection bill by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) and there are lot of issues being discussed in that.”

He added, “I am very hopeful that it will be introduced in the Monsoon Session otherwise definitely in the Winter Session of the Parliament.”

The National Cyber Security Coordinator also informed that non-personal data related aspects are also being discussed. “Already the papers are out and comments have started coming in.”

Further talking about the data he said that it is something important in the current context whereby there are reports that a China-based company has allegedly been carrying out harvesting of personal data of 2.4 million people which includes Australians, Americans and Indians and that there are allegations of it all being used for influence operations.

“So, this is a very dangerous trend that has to be curtailed, that is why 2020 is going to be the decade of digital trust,” he said.

He said that there is now greater need for indigenous solutions in the cyber security sector. “For all my Indian friends over there, this entire market of cyber security is absolutely open be it the fireworks, IDS, IPS, APT and others, go for it, we are there to promote you, this is where digital trust will come in.”

He however also said that international collaboration is very important in terms of cyber security as that is where big players come in.

Gen Pant said, “There is a very delicate balance which needs to be undertaken while dealing with cyber security, on one side we say that there are no borders in the cyber world and on the other hand national interest of the country has to be maintained. So it is a difficult job that we are placed in as national interest is supreme and cyber requires international collaboration.”

He also said that the importance Government of India attaches with the cyber security can be gauged from the fact that it is first time in the history of the country that Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address to the nation spoke about cyber security and its impact on society and economics of the nation.

Talking about Covid-19 global pandemic, he said that the aspects related to identity and access management will become more and more important as this is something related with the distributed environment in which everyone will work. This includes things like – how am I going to approve my identity, how do I ensure that endpoint and the applications I am using are safe.

Amid others who addressed the ASSOCHAM virtual conclave included – Iddo Moed, Cyber Security Coordinator, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Israel; Dr Tobias Feakin, Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Government of Australia; Genie Sugene Gan, Head of Public Affairs, Asia-Pacific, Kaspersky; Manish Sinha, Manager Sales Engineering- Security & Enterprise Business, Netscout; Mrs Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Ambassador at Large for Cyber Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Estonia; Vineet Agarwal, Sr. Vice President, ASSOCHAM and Managing Director, Transport Corporation of India Limited and Deepak Talwar, National Security Officer, Microsoft & co-chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on Cyber Security.