Over the last two decades, internet and networking has opened new vistas for the world with incredible powers. Today, any nation’s critical infrastructure depends not only on the physical assets that the nation possesses but also the Cyber Assets of the government, public and private institutions. Cyberspace is the nervous system of all important sectors in our country viz commerce, education, energy, transportation, banking and finance, information and telecommunications and the defence industrial base. As more and more facets of national security get digitised, political and military conflicts also get a cyber dimension.
As part of modernisation of PLA, China has evaluated strengths and vulnerabilities of its likely adversaries and tailored its approach. China has concentrated on the strategic areas of space, nuclear and information warfare capabilities with ‘mechanisation’ and ‘informationisation’ at the core. PLA has intensified its efforts in the field of Information Warfare (IW) since it officially pronounced its military doctrine of ‘Local war under informationisation’ in its White Paper on Defence of 2004. China has the most extensive and most practiced cyber warfare capabilities in Asia in this ‘fifth dimension of warfare’.
There is a definite political will in China towards developing capabilities for fighting a war in the 21st Century and claiming the top slot among the comity of nations. The threat of a state sponsored cyber-attack on India by China is a reality we need to sit-up and take cognisance of. There is a need to understand the nuances of both defensive and offensive cyber operations and work towards ensuring sovereignty of cyber space against Chinese overtures and effective conduct of own CNO. India would need to do a lot more to match and catch up with China’s Cyber Warfare Capabilities.
Col Rohit Mehrotra was commissioned in the Corps of Signals in 1986. An ex NDA officer, he has done his B Tech in Electronics and Telecommunications from Military College of Telecommunication Engineering and M Tech in Communication Engineering from IIT Kharagpur.
He has a wide experience in the field of Telecommunications and Information Technology and has been associated with modernization of communication infrastructure for the Indian Army in Strategic and Tactical domains. Col Rohit Mehrotra has been an instructor at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Col GS (Information Systems) at a Corps and Deputy Director (Tactical Communication) at the IHQ of MoD (Army). Col Rohit Mehrotra was Director Induction/ Operations and looking after Communication Projects at the IHQ of MoD (Army) prior to joining as a Senior Research Fellow at the USI, New Delhi.