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Sunday, 25 April 2010

From Today's Papers - 25 Apr 2010

Asian Age
Telegraph India
Telegraph India
Asian Age
Indian Express
Telegraph India
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
DNA India

Drifting downhill on internal security
We need to seriously introspect and get professional, says Dinesh Kumar  At the end of a high-level inter-agency meeting organised to discuss the country’s internal security situation soon after the July 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai which left over 500 dead and injured, a question was asked by a senior official: “What urgent remedial and precautionary measures should we take to prevent recurrence of such incidents?” After a pregnant silence, the sole suggestion forthcoming was: “We must give the Station House Officers in the police stations more and quality walkie-talkie sets to ensure faster communication.”  This suggestion by a top officer despite the monotonous regularity with which terrorist attacks have been occurring in the country reflects both the mediocrity and poverty of thinking by some at the highest levels in our country with whom the security of the nation has been entrusted. The question that follows from this reply, as pointed out by former Navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash, who was present at the meeting, is: “Is buying more walkie-talkie sets the panacea for the tremendous hazards posed to our nation’s security today?”  It took the US just 46 days to overhaul its internal security system post 9/11. That country has since then not witnessed a single terrorist attack on its soil. In contrast, two years after the high-level meeting in Delhi, India witnessed its arguably most daring and horrific carnage comprising over 10 brutal co-ordinated attacks by Pakistani terrorists that lasted about 60 hours (November 26-29, 2008), which left 173 killed and 308 wounded.  Such is the fragility of a country that boasts of having the world’s third largest military force and is among the world’s fasted growing economies with ambition to be a global power that the absence of any major incident in the last 17 months is to be ‘credited’ to not mainly its internal security apparatus but rather to the temporary restraint applied by Islamabad following ‘pressures’ from the US.  This is hardly comforting for a nation. Indeed there is enough evidence to prove that India’s internal security situation continues to drift downhill. There is little in sight to indicate a reversal. Brave words and occasional action by successive governments at the Centre and in the states offer little consolation.  Consider India’s ‘red corridor’. In 2001, the Naxalite presence was confined to fewer than 50 of India’s 639 districts. By 2009, its geographical scope had expanded to 223 districts across 20 of India’s 28 states. In all, about 40,000 sq km of our territory is currently under the Naxalites’ sway. The coordination required between the Centre and the states along with the varying levels of efficiency at the government and police level presents a nightmare for any Union government and the country at large.  In conforming to our ‘strategic culture’, the response has been piecemeal and slow, reflecting on the sloth with which decision making takes place. For example, it was only as recent as 2008-9 that the Union government began raising the fancy-named ‘Commando Battalions for Resolute Action’ with the acronym CoBRA. In all, only 10 such battalions are to be raised by 2011. In addition, it has sanctioned Rs 1,300 crore for police modernisation to improve mobility, firepower, communication systems, infrastructure and forensics. But then, there is no way to rigorously account for the money being spent by states and to ensure uniformity in standards.  The flaws in India’s internal apparatus are considerable and the task is increasingly becoming daunting. India’s internal security problems arise from a combination of factors that include political and administrative mismanagement for which military or police solutions are seen as the way out. The army and the police can at best suppress and even eliminate terrorists.  However, common sense dictates that tackling terrorism, insurgency and political grievances is far more complicated and requires a wider and deeper strategy which entails “the employment of all means for the end”. The key word here is ‘means’ which goes beyond employing policing or military methods alone. A deeper question that requires introspection is whether we, as a people, make good managers, leaders and governors of a country that is among the world’s most multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-ethnic.  What are we doing meantime with the very instruments tasked to combat terrorism? Do we have effective instruments to fight the different types of violence whether in the form of terrorism or insurgency in the country?  India’s post-Independence history has shown that state police forces have rarely been effective in quelling externally-sponsored terrorism and insurgency. The north-eastern states and Kashmir are prime examples. The only exception has been the Punjab Police, which with some generous assistance from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Army along with some ‘measures’ taken by both the Research and Analysis Wing and Intelligence Bureau, managed to fight terrorism in Punjab.  But everywhere in the country, standards of policing are on the decline. The concept of the ‘beat constable’, a crucial source of ground-level information, is near extinct. The quality and methodology of recruiting policemen is, to put it mildly, highly questionable. To top it all, politicians are known to have wantonly politicised the force in many states.  Over half-a-century since we first began fighting insurgency in the country starting with Nagaland, India still does not have a dedicated professional force to combat insurgency and terrorism.  Ironically, though India has among the world’s largest Central Police Organisations (CPOs), none of them is trained to fight insurgency and terrorism. The primary aim of the Border Security Force (159 battalions), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (45 battalions) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (41 battalions) is to guard the international border. Yet, the BSF is often deployed on counter-insurgency operations.  The CRPF (206 battalions) again is not specifically trained in the specialised art of fighting terrorism or insurgency. Yet again, it gets assigned to duties that range from guarding historical places of worship, crowd management and quelling riots to fighting insurgency in Kashmir and violence by the Naxalites.  A direct entry into the officer cadre of any of the country’s CPOs can never hope to command the force in which he has given his working life. That privilege is reserved for officers of the Indian Police Service (IPS), almost all of whom join the police by default after falling short (in marks) to qualify for the IAS. In other words, officers are not selected to the IPS on the basis of their aptitude for what is otherwise a very difficult and exacting profession that contributes to the security of the country.  Such is India’s generalist approach that even the National Security Guards, a quick reaction Special Force to counter hostage situations on board aircraft or fight close quarter battles in built-up areas, is headed by an IPS officer, who until recently could have been Commissioner of a metropolis with no prior knowledge about special forces.  It is rare, if ever, for an IPS officer to serve as a Commandant of a CPO battalion. Like officers from the IAS, who prefer to seek deputation to Union ministries at the pivotal division head level of Joint Secretary and above, IPS officers too seek deputation to CPOs at the rank of Deputy Inspector General and above since it does not involve commanding troops on ground. This ad hoc and generalist system leaves it on IPS officers at the individual level to show interest and display initiative.  The Army, which has been spearheading counter-insurgency operations for over half-a-century, is over-stretched and fatigued. The Army’s ‘internal health’ is not just about growing incidents of corruption. It suffers from a serious crisis that ranges from officer shortfalls of about 12,000 which works out to slightly over 25 per cent of the sanctioned officer strength, a rising number in pre-mature retirements, suicides and service problems-related cases filed by about 9,000 officers who account for about 30 per cent of the Army’s existing officer strength.  Besides, prolonged deployment in counter-insurgency operations has a disorienting effect on the Army, which according to an internal Army report, was evident at the start of the limited war fought between India and Pakistan in the high altitude Kargil region from May to July 1999.  Our strategic culture, which can be summed up in two oft-repeated words – chalta hai and jugaad – is reflected in the way we treat internal security. India’s internal security is too serious a matter to be left to such ad hocism. Our pontifications on “our rightful place in the world” will never get taken seriously unless we start taking ourselves seriously and change both our mindset and the way we think.  Our approach that “we have a thing or two to teach the world” is better left to the flourishing cottage industry of our god men. As a nation and people we need to seriously introspect and get professional. Let us always remember: History is replete with examples of nations perishing all because their leaders were unfit to govern.

   Wanted: A specially trained force to combat Naxalites
by Lt-Gen Harbhajan Singh (retd)  Union Home Minister P. Chidambram’s statement that the Naxalites are active in 20 out of 28 states is alarming. Clearly, it has become a huge inter- and not intra-state problem. It has to be tackled at both the Central and state levels, requiring close coordination and perhaps, under a centralised operational command.  If each affected state goes its own way with little coordination, it will be playing into the hands of the Maoists. Perhaps a new legislation has to be brought out for Central intervention to ensure unity of command and effective coordination between the states.  An armed struggle has to be met with the armed might of the nation and it just cannot be left to individual states with different political parties in power. A state of emergency may have to be declared in affected areas. However, the real battleground of this ‘war’ is not in the forests of Jharkhand’s Dantewada but in the national and state capitals. The political challenge the Naxalites pose seems greater than the military one. Consider what happened in Nepal. Therefore, we should not lose time anymore.  The Naxalite movement is neither a classic war nor a law and order problem but in between. The jungle/semi hilly terrain in and around Central India, the kind of arms and weapons being used and the reasonable high level of tactics employed by them necessitate use of specially trained paramilitary forces. They should be well armed with mortars and machine guns on the lines of the Army and be highly trained and motivated.  These forces should be able to live and fight in inhospitable areas and be tough physically and mentally. Above all, they should be trained by those who will live, fight and lead from the front as Army officers do, leading to high morale and operational domination over the rebels.  It would be worthwhile to raise a new force on the lines of the Rashtriya Rifles/ commandos. Volunteers can be requisitioned from paramilitary forces. A mix of paramilitary personnel and the Army should help as this can lead to two groups being formed in units. However, advisers/ instructors can be seconded from the Army for a year or two or retired Army personnel having experience in anti-insurgency operations recruited.  It is critical for the anti-Naxalites forces to have much greater mobility than the insurgents. Only helicopters can provide such tactical mobility in jungle and semi-hilly terrain. The armed troops should be able to slither down from hovering helicopters; the latter will have to be armed to deter the Maoists from firing at them as also to provide close support to troops being inducted by helicopters.  Speed will be the crucial factor, implying that the helicopters will have to be dedicated for anti-Naxalite operations with the Force commanders having operational control over the helicopter assets. The normal procedure of every time requisitioning helicopters from the Air Force will not work. Special helicopter units may, therefore, have to be raised for anti-Maoist operations.  These forces should have modern intelligence gathering gadgetry like UAVs. However, human intelligence will remain the key. Excellent communications including satellite phones should be provided to the troops. The need for integral medical resources for on-the-spot medical aid and speedy casualty evacuation including helicopters cannot be overemphasised.  Generous special allowances and promotion prospects for the paramilitary personnel engaged in such operations should be thought of to attract volunteers and keep their morale high.  When insurgency loomed large in the North-East after Independence, a specialised cadre of administrators for the North East was started. Since, Maoists problem is a manifestation of bad governance, a new set of administrators should be formed to administer Naxalite affected areas. Military officers may be laterally inducted in such a cadre as was done for the North-East cadre. The local population needs to repose faith and confidence in the administration through pro-active and bold administrators, if they are to be weaned away from supporting the Naxalites. This is also how the security forces will get more sources for human intelligence.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rightly stated that the Naxalites are the greatest challenge to India’s internal security and this cancer has spread to too many states. He should now cut the red tape to raise a new force post haste, equip it, train it and not allow a turf war to prevail. The police and civil servants who are responsible for the Maoist cult having reached such an enormous proportion must be kept away.  In fine, isn’t it time the Indian polity seriously looked at the abysmal functioning of the two main arms of administration — the IAS and the IPS — which have left India bleeding internally for decades and urgently undertake administrative reforms? The Prime Minster in his second term owes it to the nation. Otherwise, just GDP growth will leave India highly vulnerable and with a hollow foundation.

Indo-Pak peace: Need for a paradigm shift  
Dhananjay Tripathi   Sat, Apr 24, 2010 11:25:47 IST   DIVIDED IN 1947, the two countries are yet to learn as how to live together. They fought thrice, developed nuclear bombs, curtailed people-to-people relations but failed to resolve any of the pending issues between them. Amity between India and Pakistan is a distant dream. A few seasons of thaw are celebrated by peace activists as achievements.   Government mandarins, war mongers and people with vested interests, always succeed in getting visas while peaceniks struggle. A brainstorm is imperative to understand our weakness and to estimate the strength of adversaries. The quest for friendly relations between two neighbours can’t succeed without a serious introspection on our part.  Today, more than 50 per cent of the population both in India and Pakistan are young and born in divided countries. From their childhood, they were taught that the other is the diehard enemy. The glorification of war and complete ignorance of partition’s agony makes this generation usually indifferent towards peace initiatives.   Though this is a disadvantage, at the same time peace activism depends on them. Thus, peace activists should consciously undertake efforts to pass the torch into the hands of young people before it becomes too late. The pre-partition born activists have their relevance but they can’t motivate youth with repetitive stories of bloodbath, torture and destruction. For the younger generation, the language of peace needs rectification—perhaps a new inspiring vocabulary. This is a time when veteran activists and scholars such as Kuldip Nayar, Kamla Bhasin, I A Rehman, Karamat Ali and others should concentrate on young people and motivate them towards initiatives to engage with their counterparts across the border. As a first step, peace delegations from both sides must comprise more youngsters.  Yet another important dimension is communication. Contemporary media plays a vital role nowadays. Unfortunately, English is the preferred language of peace activists of India and Pakistan. It is not the language of the masses and limits the reach of peaceful messages to a few. On other hand, vernacular press generally spreads venom and communicates with the larger section of people. Our appeal for peace is thus directed to the already converted while the majority is beyond reach. Interestingly, even the venue for peace parleys are mostly cosmopolitan cities of India and Pakistan; we hardly make attempts to reach common people living in a small cities and districts.  A Pakistani scholar in one of the recent Indo-Pak conferences rightly said that we have money to fight but we need foreign sponsors for peace.   Interestingly, both India and Pakistan are amongst the biggest buyers of arms from Western countries and the United States of America. It is now established beyond doubt that the cold-war policy of Uncle Sam has plagued the region while we are still struggling to get rid of jihadist (once Mujahadeen for America) elements. It is appalling when prominent leaders from India and Pakistan go to Washington to lodge complaints against the other. It is true that track II diplomatic initiatives are mostly sponsored by the richest nations in the world and in this we have to take some hard decisions. A resolution to sponsor our peace makes every programme more representative, democratic and in the favour of masses.  We should change the existing paradigm of peace activism by changing age composition, by altering the language and venues of peace and by sponsoring ourselves. There is no guarantee of coordinal relations between India and Pakistan but we have to make our own efforts to increase the constituency of peace. We should claim, “I am not a wall that divides. I am a crack in that wall and the cracks are widening day by day”.

South Korea warship sunk by 'strong impact'
Agence France-Presse, Sunday April 25, 2010, Seoul First inspections of the bow of a South Korean warship show it was hit by an outside impact of considerable force, a military official has said, as suspicion increasingly falls on North Korea. The Cheonan sank and was split in half after a mystery blast on March 26 close to the disputed border of the two Koreas, leaving 40 sailors confirmed dead and six still unaccounted for.  Seoul has been careful not to point the finger directly at the North over the incident in the Yellow Sea, which has aggravated already tense ties, and Pyongyang has denied it was to blame. Amid the tensions, China - North Korea's closest partner - announced the despatch of a first ever tourist train to North Korea carrying 400 passengers including several Finns - a move contrary to the growing pessimism surrounding the Cheonan incident.  The South's Yonhap news agency Thursday quoted a senior military source in Seoul as saying it was suspected that North Korean submarines attacked the ship with a heavy torpedo. Yesterday salvage teams took their first look at the bow section after it was hauled to the surface, finding another body and more evidence a strong external blast was the cause.  Quoting an unidentified military official, Yonhap said initial inspections confirmed a large iron gate had come off its hinges and a chimney was missing. "This means there was a strong impact from the outside," the official said. A Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman said that more bodies were likely to be found in the bow, which was to be towed ashore for detailed inspections to find more clues to the vessel's fate.  The stern was salvaged on April 15 but offered few ideas as to what had caused the sinking, from which 58 sailors were rescued. South Korean Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young said a mine or torpedo may have sunk the corvette, but his ministry said it would keep an open mind until the investigation was complete.  Pyongyang has accused the South's "war maniacs" of trying to deflect blame for the tragedy onto the North. The communist North on Friday seized South Korean-owned assets at a mountain resort, warning that the two countries were on the brink of war over the sinking. And yesterday the North warned it was prepared to use nuclear weapons if it was invaded by the US and South Korea.

Piracy in high seas common concern for US, Indian navy
Rupesh Samant/PTI / Vasco (goa) April 24, 2010, 16:51 IST  As the world's two of the biggest Naval forces -- India and US -- ready for mock war games off Goa coast, their concern about the increasing piracy in high seas is clearly evident.  "Anti-pirates operations are one of the best examples where two navies can coordinate with each other. We are conducting similar kind of exercises which are usually held during anti-pirates operations," Flag officer Commanding Goa Area (FOGA), Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai told reporters here.  The chiefs of both navies were talking to the press before commencing actual war-games off coast this afternoon. The Indo-US bilateral Naval Exercises, Malabar-10, began from April 23 and will conclude on May 2 after gruelling schedule in which American and Indian navies will understand, cooperate and work on inter-operability off shore.  During the current exercise, the US Navy will be represented by ships from CTF 70 of US Navy's 7th fleet which is based at Yokosuka, Japan. The CTF will include cruiser USS Shiloh, destroyers USS Chaffee, USS Lassen and frigate USS Curts.  In addition, one Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered submarine, USS Annapolis, two P3C Orion aircraft and a 28-member of US Navy Special Forces team will also participate in the exercise. The Indian Navy will be represented by INS Mysore, an indigenous Delhi-class guided missile destroyer and three guided missile frigates, INS Godavari, INS Brahmaputra and INS Tabar.  In addition, one Shishumar-class submarine INS Shankush, Sea Harrier fighters, other fixed and rotary wing aircrafts are also scheduled to participate in the bilateral exercise. Around 3,000 personnel will be engaged in exercises from both the sides.  Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan, representing the US Navy, said anti-pirates operations is a perfect example to the fact that no single nation can ensure security of the whole world. "Many nations are involved in such kind of process," he stated.  The US Naval officer said that these kind of joint exercises help understand each others' procedures and share information. "We have to acknowledge that there are not enough forces in the sea," he conceded.  "In Malabar, we will exercise bits and pieces of what we are going to do during anti pirates operations," Pillai said. Capt Atul Jain, commanding officer of INS Mysore, said that Indian Navy is yet to do anti-pirates operations with the US Navy.  "We have not done anti-pirates operations with US Navy but their support and assets are required during the operations ship like fuel replenishment," Capt Jain said. Rear Admiral Donegan said that the complexity of Malabar exercises has increased over a period of time.  "Such kind of exercise benefit American Navy a lot. Even though these are high-end exercises, we make friendship even with sailors. We both respect each others training," Donegan said.  "Indian and American navy are compatible having similar instruments and we are at great ease working with each other," the officer said. "We could do it better because we could operate together," Donegan quipped.

Army kills father of 9
OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT  Srinagar, April 24: The army today shot dead a father of nine children in Shopian district, triggering massive protests in which half-a-dozen people were injured in firing by security forces and two army vehicles were torched.  The police have registered a murder case against the army, which claimed the victim and his companions had strayed into an ambush laid for militants and tried to flee when challenged.  The Shopian killing comes days after the army gunned down a 70-year-old man, who was branded the Valley’s oldest militant but turned out to be a beggar.  Shopian police chief Shahid Meraj said a murder case had been lodged against the troopers of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles for today’s killing “but the issue needs further investigation”.  The police said Ghulam Mohammad Kalas was killed and one of his two companions injured around 4.30am in Chawan village. “They were ferrying timber on their horses when the army opened fire at them. One of them died and another was injured. Two horses too died,” a police officer said.  Defence spokesman Lt Col J.S. Brar said the army had cordoned the area after receiving intelligence that “suspected terrorists were likely to pass through”. “When three people entered the cordon they were challenged but they started running away, prompting the troops to open fire. One person was killed, another injured and the third was apprehended and handed over to the police,” Brar said.  Hundreds came out on the streets to protest the killing, shouting pro-independence and anti-India slogans. “The people marched through the village with the body and threw stones at the security forces, leading to clashes,” an official said.  “Although the troops on the ground exercised the utmost restraint, an act of destroying government property will not be tolerated. The army has ordered an inquiry,” Brar said.

Cyber battlefields   
SPECIAL REPORT  Future wars will be waged not on the beaches but on the internet  By Syed Nazakat  The email addressed to an Army officer at the ministry of defence was mundane—a list of weapons India wanted to buy. The missive, as it was realised later, was a brilliant fake. Lurking beneath the descriptions of a long list of equipment was an insidious piece of computer code designed to suck sensitive data out of the ministry. Had the officer clicked on the attachment, his every keystroke would have been reported back to an unknown master. It is another matter that top secret documents at the defence ministry are not kept on computers connected to the internet.  Imagine cyber attacks that could launch a country’s missiles against its own people, or that could shut down its power plants and communication systems. Imagine hospitals and banks paralysed by malware installed by an enemy. War in this information age is not just about tanks and aircraft carriers; war will also be waged in the cyberspace.  “India has to get ready to deal with this unconventional warfare challenge,” says Kapil Kak, former air vice-marshal, Indian Air Force.  According to him, the nature of the cyber threat is large and diverse. “It includes recreational hackers, terrorists, various groups with nationalistic or ideological agendas and nation-states,” he says. A senior officer at the Integrated Headquarters of the defence ministry calls the devious methods of hackers “weapons of mass disruption”. Though he refuses to comment on specific code-word programs, citing their classified nature, he confirms that the computers at the IH has been under constant attack. Canadian and US computer security researchers have recently revealed that they have monitored a spying operation for eight months, allegedly by the Chinese, in which the hackers pilfered classified documents from the Indian defence ministry.  India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), which was set up by the ministry of communication and IT to handle cyber threats, confirms that suspicious cyber activities are on the rise. More than 4,475 Indian web sites—government and non-government—were targeted and defaced in 2008 alone. The hackers targeted information on the networks of the defence ministry, Mumbai air cargo customs, ministry of railways, National Institute of Social Defence, BSNL, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Defence Research and Development Organisation, says a cyber security expert. Banking, according to CERT-In, was the most targeted sector with 85 per cent phishing incidents in this sector in 2008.  Hackers who peek into government networks can shut them down, at least temporarily. But is it possible for a country to deliver a crippling blow to another through cyberspace? “The answer is a definite yes. An unexpected attack on a nation’s infrastructure can be launched via the internet, in which air-traffic control is sabotaged, banking and telecom networks are disabled,” says Ajay Lele, a defence expert on non-traditional threats to national security at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Delhi. “It can completely bring down a national service.”  Everybody, in fact, is getting ready for a cyber war. The US, China and Russia are rapidly building up their cyber forces. In 2008, Russian hackers mounted a massive DDOS (distributed denial of service) cyber attack on Georgia when the Russian military was advancing against the former Soviet republic. The Georgian parliament, banks, telecom infrastructure and media were targeted.  The Chinese military offers prizes to its best computer hackers. According to a white paper by the Chinese army, it has a three-stage strategy, from now onwards to 2050, to win an ‘informationised war’, one that is fast-paced and mostly digital. The desire to possess ‘electronic dominance’ over India made Chinese hackers attack many important Indian web sites in the past two years.  In April 2008, Indian intelligence agencies detected Chinese hackers breaking into the computer network of the ministry of external affairs, forcing the government to think about devising a strategy to fortify the system. Though the agencies failed to identify the hackers, the internet protocol addresses suggested Chinese hands. “For the Chinese, info war is the next realm. They are never going to go tank to tank with India,” says Lele. “China has long regarded cyber warfare as a critical component of asymmetrical warfare in any future conflict with any country.”  The big countries are not alone in the race. The league of electronically prodding and posturing nations has around 120 members, says the internet security company McAfee. According to Sanjay Chandra, president and CEO of Saitel Inc., “a couple of years ago, we were hardly talking about electronic warfare in India. But today, the need to protect its own systems from cyber attacks of hostile forces is increasingly being felt within the government and armed forces. In order to build a better defence against such attacks a new generation of on-line weapons are needed.”  At the heart of computer hacking is the basic technology that millions of people use—the internet. Every machine connected to the net has a unique address to which the hacker can send messages. Attackers scour the web studying public documents, chat-rooms and blogs to build digital dossiers about the jobs, responsibilities, and personal networks of the targets. The hacker will then start the process of breaking in and gaining the control by sending emails to the target. When the host computer opens the attachment or clicks on the web link, malicious codes hidden inside document files steal passwords and send the data to a ‘command and control’ server.  Hardcore hackers write their own programs to exploit new weaknesses they have found, known as ‘zero-day’ flaws, which is used to gain control of thousands, or even millions, of home computers before turning them all towards the target system simultaneously. The sudden surge in traffic overwhelms the victim computer and brings it down, in what is known as a ‘denial of service’ attack.  Keeping hackers out of important government computers and servers is very important in defending the nation against cyber warfare. The government has taken a couple of promising initiatives, like the establishment of CERT-In, to strengthen cyber security. CERT-In has asked different ministries and government departments to perform a security audit on priority basis. The directorate general of signals, which provides communication and information warfare support to the armed forces, has put in place a computer emergency response team to deal with hackers. Cryptographic controls have also been incorporated within the ambit of cyber security. “We have put in place a very secure network and I can confidently say that it cannot be tampered with,” says Lt General P. Mohapatra, signal officer-in-chief.  The defence ministry is in the process of implementing next-generation networks to enhance its network-centric warfare and operational capabilities. The Army has strengthened the security of its information networks right down to the division level to guard against cyber warfare and data thefts. The Army top brass has underlined the urgent need for ‘periodic cyber security audits’ by the Army Cyber Security Establishment (ACSE).  On April 16, Defence Minister A.K. Antony had a meeting with military commanders and asked them to prepare crisis management action for countering cyber attacks. “A few recent cases are reminders of our own vulnerabilities,” he said.  The tri-service integrated defence staff has also come out with a new war-fighting doctrine, which calls for substantial military modernisation to prepare for a cyber-based war. “The data warehousing and data centres have drawn attention of the armed forces as the data that it capture and store has burgeoned with increasing IT penetration,” says a member of the Navy’s electronic warfare team.  There are no clear rules of engagement in a cyber warfare. If a military asset is attacked or stolen, what would be a proportional and legitimate response? “There is no consensus among the military about how to deal with such state and non-state cyber attackers. That is a little bit dangerous,” says an officer at the Integrated Headquarters.  When it comes to cyber warfare, India has a powerful weapon—its tech-savvy manpower. Dr Rajendar Bahl, head of Centre for Applied Research in Electronics at IIT-Delhi, however,  says that India’s IT manpower it is not being properly utilised. “Given the new security threats of technology warfare, it is imperative for us to use the services of technology oriented researchers and scientists,” he says. “Those are our real assets [in an asymmetrical warfare].”

Indian Army to Conduct Desert Exercise this Month 
New Delhi, April 5 – Barely a month after the Indian Air Force displayed its awesome combat capabilities, the Indian Army is gearing up for its month-long ‘Yudh Shakti’ exercise in Rajasthan from mid-April involving 5,000 troops from the the mechanised forces, the armoured corps and the artillery.  The war games will be conducted by the Mathura-based 1 Corps, one of the army’s key ’strike’ formations. The mobilisation of troops for the exercise has already begun.  ‘Around 5,000 troops are participating in the exercise, which will begin in mid-April. It is a month-long exercise and its key element will be the mechanised forces,’ army sources told IANS.  ‘The exercise is aimed at validating the acquisitions of modern equipment, enhancing night vision capabilities and achieving battlefield dominance,’ the sources added.  Apart from the mechanised forces, T-90 and T-72 main battle tanks and an array of artillery guns, as also infantry battalions, will feature in the exercise.  ‘The air force element could be involved in the last part of the exercise,’ said an official.  The exercise is in accordance with the Indian Army’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine that involves rapid mobilisation in case hostilites seem imminent.  The Pakistan Army is also conducting a field exercise, Azm-e-Nau-3, on its side of the border April 10-May 13. The exercise involves troops belonging to all arms and services and will also be participated in by the Pakistan Air Force.

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