Manohar Parrikar IDSA Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ICCOE)

Cyberspace has emerged as a strategic domain, with deep relevance for governance, foreign policy making, internal security, defence and economy. Recognizing the strategic importance of cyberspace, and to secure India's interests in the 21st century, the National Cyber Security Policy - 2013 called for the establishment of a think-tank for policy research and to facilitate deliberations on the pertinent issues like cyber diplomacy, cyber power, evolving doctrines and strategies of the armed forces, norms building for responsible state behaviour. Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses has been established to provide research based inputs on key security issues related to cyberspace.

The research outcomes are in the form of policy briefs, issue briefs and web commentaries, research papers, monographs and books on the strategically important themes. Deliberations and dialogues through round tables, workshops, seminars and international conferences with multiple stakeholders and interactions with global policy experts in this domain also feed into the multi-disciplinary research endeavour.

Research Areas

  • Concepts, Strategies and Assessment of Cyber Power: 

    The traditional bases of national power have included the economy, military capabilities, the science and technology base, and national resources including physical resources, human resources, infrastructure, and knowledge resources.  The arrival of the Information Age was widely seen as a momentous development, as revolutionary as the Industrial Age, with information processing regimes replacing manufacturing as the source of wealth and economic growth. While that prediction has not yet come to pass, cyber and information technologies have added a new dimension, creating both new dynamics as well as new sources of vulnerabilities. Cyberspace and cyber technologies have become key components in the formulation and execution of national policy. It also connects across all the key bases of national power and acts as a force multiplier, creating new synergies and unleashing new forces.

    As mentioned above, cyber and information technologies have impacted national security by both creating new dynamics as well as being new sources of vulnerabilities. However, the concept of Cyber power itself has proved to be quite tenuous when compared with the traditional bases of national power such as the economy, military capabilities, science and technology base, etc. which are easier to quantify. This theme could further be analysed as follows:

    a. Concepts and definitions of Cyber Power. 

    b. Perspectives from Major Powers on Cyber Power.

    c. Strategies of Major and Middle Powers for developing and exercising Cyber Power.

    d. Cyber element in the national power calculus: Present-2030.

  • Imperatives of Cyberspace: Evolving Doctrines and Strategies: 

    Cyberspace has strategic implications, given its integration with the governmental apparatus and its extensive application in the security architecture. It has also altered the existing doctrines and strategies.  Therefore, this objective deliberates on the evolving doctrines and strategies, both from the civilian and military perspectives. The objective could further be divided into:

    a. Evolving Doctrines and Strategies amongst the major and middle powers.

    b. The Impact of concepts such as Global Strikes (from the US) and Distributed Warfare (from China) on the stability of cyberspace and security of other countries.

    c. Potential of cyberspace in Asymmetric Warfare.

    d. Cyber Operations as strategic tool (both Offensive and Defensive aspects/capabilities).

    e. Strategic and Battlefield Imperatives.

    i. Synergising India's cyber security apparatus.

    ii. Analysing correlation with military, law enforcement and counter-terrorism aspects.

    iii. Raising a Cyber Command.

  • Accelerating Cyber Security R&D

    Cyberspace finds its origin in the military led research and development endeavours for digital communication. Since its genesis, further development and resolution of cybersecurity issues are also driven by R&D, which has been the key focus on the Government of India as well. This objectives addresses the need of a cyber security R&D ecosystem in the country, encompassing the expertise in the government, private sector and the armed forces, drawing in key lessons from the practices and endeavours of major powers.

  • Fostering Cooperation in Cyberspace: Building a roadmap

    As South and East Asian undergo economic growth and expansion, intra-regional trade in goods and services is deemed to increase, leading to a more integrated economic structure. Cyber-crime is already a known and proven threat to the economic growth, where developing and developed countries are at equal risk. A secure Cyberspace would give impetus for the growth and rise of economic activity, securing the interests of citizens, industries and investors.

  • Platforms and Norms for Responsible State Behaviour: 

    Moving forward from the vantage point of applicability of International law on Cyberspace, the future of cyberspace as the fifth domain of warfare has implications for international law and norms for responsible state behaviour. In response to its potential as a means and tools of warfare, international legal regimes have been deliberating on the needs of the platforms and norms for responsible state behaviour. One objective, therefore, is to develop an understanding of the domain of international law as it pertains to cybersecurity in order to develop an Indian perspective on this pertinent theme.

    A second objective is to develop a perspective on the various platforms that are being suggested for norms development in cyberspace. Among the various platforms undertaking the task of establishing norms in cyberspace, the UNGGE under the auspices of the 1st Committee seemed to be making the most progress with successive reports setting out norms to secure cyberspace. However, the failure of the UNGGE to come out with a consensus report at the end of its deliberations highlights the fault lines that exist in both perceptions of cybersecurity as well as the difficulties in charting a way forward amongst the various stakeholders. Various alternate models being considered include the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) model, Red Cross model, the IAEA model and even the Amnesty International model.



BIMSTEC Conference on Regional Cyber Security Cooperation
December 05-07, 2018


  • Lecture at 1500 hrs on January 29, 2021 on “India's Cyber Preparedness” by Dr. Gulshan Rai, former National Cybersecurity Co-ordinator (NCSC) in the Prime Minister's Office


  • Webinar on ‘Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cyber Security: Challenges and Opportunities’ On Monday, 28 February 2022 at 1100 hours by Dr. Prabhat Kumar (Advocate, IRS (Retd.)