Assessing India’s Cyber Resilience: Institutional Stability Matters

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  • January 2016

    In this commentary, I will use strategic cyberwar theory1 to explain why India has a higher level of cyber resilience than several of its potential adversaries. Even if India has challenges in its government-led cyber defence,2 there are cyber resilience benefits to be drawn from the way Indian society operates, functions and is constitutionally designed and accepted by its constituents, independently of any cyber defence efforts. First, the concept of strategic cyberwar. A strategic cyberwar is a major conflict relying on heavy utilisation of digital means, a form of conflict that we have not yet seen but that is likely to be a potential threat a few decades into the future. Even if technological breakthroughs, adaptations and software development are accelerating at an increasingly high rate, the delay is not a technical issue. Technical evolutions in the software and services sphere are single lines of development. The complexity of cyber war increases with the time factor when cyber conflicts are likely thought at computational speeds. This require an acceptance of cyber as a form of war by itself because it operates in a battle space untangled from other forms of war fighting. Therefore, cyber cannot be seen as only an enabler in traditional defence.