Home / News / India /  Rajnath Singh calls for joint global efforts to counter cyber attacks

New Delhi: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday called for concerted efforts of the international community to counter grave emerging security threats such as cyber attacks and information warfare.

Addressing the 60th National Defence College (NDC) course convocation ceremony, the minister said that national security is the prime focus of the government. “The full potential of the country can be tapped only when its interests are protected. Security is sine-qua non for civilization to flourish and prosper."

Singh added that the new dimensions of threats are being added with changing times, that are difficult to classify. “Terrorism, which generally falls into internal security, is now classified in the category of external security, as training, funding and arms support of such organizations is being carried out from outside the country."

He said that the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyber-attacks is a big concern. “Sectors such as energy, transport, public sector services, telecommunications, critical manufacturing industries and interconnected financial systems are prone to such threats. Information war has the potential to threaten the political stability of a country. The organized use of social media and other online content generation platforms is engineering the opinion and perspective of the masses."

“The deployment of information war was most evident in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Throughout the conflict, social media has served as a battleground for both sides to spread competing narratives about the war and portray the conflict on their own terms. The propaganda campaigns as a means of strategy to shape narratives are by no means new during warfare, but its reach has increased by leaps and bounds due to the shift toward social media as the primary distribution channel," the minister said.

Singh further said that when peace and security of any region is threatened, the entire world feels its impact in multiple ways. “The recent Ukrainian conflict showed how its ripple effects could adversely impact the whole world. Together, Russia and Ukraine export nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley, but this conflict had prevented grain from leaving the ‘breadbasket of the world’ and led to food crisis in various African and Asian countries. The conflict has also fuelled an energy crisis in the world. In Europe, oil and gas supply has been dwindling. India has also been affected as the Russia-Ukraine war led to a disruption in international energy supply, making the energy import much more expensive."

He added that national security should not be considered a zero-sum game. “We should strive to create a win-win situation for all. We should not be guided by narrow self-interest which is not beneficial in the long-run. We should be guided by enlightened self-interest which is sustainable and resilient to shocks."

The minister said that India’s belief is a multi-aligned policy, realized through7diverse engagements with multiple stakeholders so that the concerns of all can be addressed for a prosperous future.

“Strong and prosperous India would not be built at the cost of others, rather, we believe in helping other nations to realize their full potential. India does not believe in a world order where few are considered superior to others. Our actions are guided by the very essence of human equality and dignity, which is a part of its ancient ethos and strong moral foundations. Realpolitik cannot be the fig leaf for being immoral or amoral. Rather, enlightened self-interest of nations can be promoted within the framework of strategic morality, which is predicated on the understanding and respect for the legitimate strategic imperative of all the civilized nations. It is for this reason that when we partner any nation, it is on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect. Forging relations comes naturally to India, as we work towards mutual economic development," Singh said.

He further said that NDC has been instrumental in fostering indigenous strategic thought and grooming generations of strategic leaders, thinkers and practitioners not only from India but also from abroad.

During the convocation ceremony, eighty officers from the 60th NDC Course (2020 batch) were awarded the prestigious MPhil degree from the University of Madras. Singh awarded the parchments to the graduating officers.

The NDC’s flagship ‘National Security and Strategy’ course, using a comprehensive pedagogical model, is conducted over a 47-week duration.

Swati Luthra
Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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