DAILY MAINS NEWSLETTER FOR UPSC|14 JUN 2021|RaghukulCS

Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

14 June 2021 - Monday

Index

Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name

Source

1

The world is hardly wired for cyber resilience

The Hindu

2

There’s room for both Sun Tzu and Kautilya in Indian military doctrine

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Censorship by noise

Syllabus–GS 4: Ethics.

Analysis: –

  • If the Pulitzer Prize has gone to a defunct publication that was dedicated to long-form journalism, the Reuters Memorial Lecture brought out the multiple pressures faced by journalists in pursuing their vocation in a free and independent manner.
  • On June 8, Brazilian journalist Patrícia Campos Mello delivered the annual lecture drawing from her series of investigative pieces on the rise of disinformation in Brazil.
  • While the focus of her talk was Brazil, it is impossible not to draw parallels with what we are witnessing in India.
  • The act of delegitimising professional journalism undermines news media’s status as the fourth estate.
  • This is true in India too. We have seen gross under-reporting of the rate of COVID-19 infections and mortality. We have seen numbers, including on the availability of vaccines, being fudged.
  • We are in an unenviable position where the Union government has issued a directive asking the States not to divulge the details about the vaccine stock in hand as these details are “sensitive information”.

Union Home Ministry order inviting citizenship applications faces Supreme Court challenge

Syllabus–GS 2: Government policy

Analysis: –

  • A May 28 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs inviting non-Muslim refugees such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists belonging to Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan residing in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Punjab to apply for Indian citizenship is increasingly becoming the focus of challenge before the Supreme Court.
  • A recent petition filed in the Supreme Court by Anis Ahmed, through advocate Selvin Raja, said the government order “utterly discriminates and deprives a class of persons namely, the Muslims”.
  • Ahmed argued that the May 28 order does not withstand the test of Article 14 in as much as it treats people within a particular class, i.e, persons entitled to apply for citizenship by registration and naturalisation unequally by virtue of their religion.
  • Identical arguments have been made in two earlier petitions filed by Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) and Popular Front of India in the Supreme Court against the Executive Order issued by the ministry.
  • Ahmed has urged the court to declare the MHA order “unconstitutional, discriminatory and ultravires” as it seeks to “utterly deprive the Muslims to seek for citizenship by registration and naturalisation unequally by virtue of their religion under sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act,1955”.

Mains Analysis

The world is hardly wired for cyber resilience

Why in News?

A string of high-profile cyberattacks in recent months has exposed vulnerabilities in the critical infrastructure of even advanced nations.

Syllabus—GS 3- Cybersecurity

Cyber-attacks in India: –

  • Cyber-attacks amid the Covid-19 pandemic rose by almost 300% last year in the country to reach 1,158,208 compared to 394,499 in 2019, the Union home ministry told Parliament citing the data from Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
  • India’s national airline Air India has said a cyber-attack on its data servers affected about 4.5 million customers around the world.

America under attack

  • Several high-profile cyberattacks were reported from the United States during the past several months.
  • Major cyberattack headlined ‘SolarWinds’ — and believed to have been sponsored from Russia — had rocked the U.S.
  • It involved data breaches across several wings of the U.S. government, including defence, energy and state.
  • In early 2021 in an cyberattack, by a Chinese group Hafnium, which had exploited serious flaws in Microsoft’s software, thus gaining remote control over affected systems.
  • The U.S. has witnessed three more major attacks: an audacious ransomware attack by Russia/East Europe-based cybercriminals, styled DarkSide, on Colonial Pipeline (which is the main supplier of oil to the U.S. East Coast).
  • Another Russia-backed group, Nobellium, next launched a phishing attack on 3,000 e-mail accounts, targeting USAID and several other organisations.

Now, civilian targets

  • These attacks were all primarily on civilian targets, though each one was of critical importance.
  • Cyber, which is often referred to as the fifth domain/dimension of warfare, is now largely being employed against civilian targets, bringing the war into our homes.
  • Most nations have been concentrating till date mainly on erecting cyber defences to protect military and strategic targets, but this will now need to change.
  • A whole new market currently exists for Zero day software outside the military domain, and the world must prepare for this eventuality.
  • Defending civilian targets, and more so critical infrastructure, against cyberattacks such as ransomware and phishing, including spear phishing, apart from unknown Zero day software, is almost certain to stretch the capability and resources of governments across the globe.
  • One related problem is that the distinction between military and civilian targets is increasingly getting erased and the consequences of this could be indeterminate.
  • 2012 cyberattack on Aramco, employing the Shamoon virus, which wiped out the memories of 30,000 computers of the Saudi Aramco Oil Corporation.
  • Cyber warfare is replete with several damaging methodologies. In the civilian domain, two key manifestations of the ‘cat and mouse game’ of cyber warfare today, are ransomware and phishing, including spear phishing.
  • Ransomware attacks have skyrocketed, with demands and payments going into multi-millions of dollars. India figures prominently in this list, being one of the most affected.
  • India, today face a catastrophic situation, if attacked, and may even have to cease operations.
  • Need to be aware of the nature of the cyber threat to their businesses and take adequate precautionary measures, has become extremely vital.
  • Banking and financial services were most prone to ransomware attacks till date, but oil, electricity grids, and lately, health care, have begun to figure prominently.

 Zeroing in on health care

  • What is specially worrisome at this time, when a pandemic is raging, is the number of cyberattacks on health-care systems. With data becoming a vital element in today’s world, personal information has become a vital commodity.
  • Compromised ‘health information’ is proving to be a vital commodity for use by cybercriminals.
  • All indications are that cybercriminals are increasingly targeting a nation’s health-care system and trying to gain access to patients’ data. The available data aggravates the risk not only to the individual but also to entire communities.
  • Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and are now engaged in stealing sensitive data in targeted computers before launching a ransomware attack.
  • This is resulting in a kind of ‘double jeopardy’ for the targeted victim.
  • Many cybercriminals are known to practise ‘reverse engineering’ and employ ‘penetration testers’ to probe high secure networks.
  • Motivation for cyberattacks vary: for (some) nation states, the motivation is geopolitical transformation; for cybercriminals, it is increased profits; for terror groups, the motivation remains much the same, but the risk factor may be lower.

 Need for data protection

  • Cybersecurity essentially hinges on data protection. As data becomes the world’s most precious commodity, attacks on data and data systems are bound to intensify.
  • Ensuring data protection could, hence, prove to be a rather thankless task, complicating the lives of Information and other security professionals.
  • The data life cycle can broadly be classified into data at rest (when it is being created and stored), data in motion (when it is being transmitted across insecure and uncontrolled networks), and data in use (when it is being consumed).
  • Cybersecurity professionals are now engaged in building a ‘Zero Trust Based Environment’, viz., zero trust on end point devices, zero trust on identity, and zero trust on the network to protect all sensitive data.
  • Few companies are using, Zero Trust Based environment employing: software defined solutions for agile perimeter security, secure gateways, cloud access security, privileged access management, threat intelligence platforms, static and dynamic data masking.

Preparation is needed

  • Building deep technology in cyber is essential. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, Machine learning and quantum computing, also present new opportunities.
  • Nations that are adequately prepared — conceptually and technologically — and have made rapid progress in artificial intelligence and quantum computing and the like will have a clear advantage over states that lag behind in these fields.
  • Pressure also needs to be put on officials in the public domain, as also company boards, to carry out regular vulnerability assessments and create necessary awareness of the growing cyber threat.
  • According to, IBM Chairman, Arvind Krishna, that cybersecurity will be “the pressing issue of this decade” and that “value lies in the data and people are going to come after that data”.

Question: –

India witnessed a surge in cyberattacks amid a rapid adoption of digital services across the country following the lockdown imposed in the wake of covid.This has reinforced the need for improved defences against actual, and potential, cyberattacks by all countries across continents. Discuss

There’s room for both Sun Tzu and Kautilya in Indian military doctrine

Why in News?

The PM rightly called for indigenisation, but that should not mean exclusion of learnings from foreign strategists.

Syllabus—GS3: Security of India, Military Doctrine

Background: –

  • The Indian armed forces have evolved from the British military and certain legacies and traditions emanate from there.
  • War fighting doctrines and strategies have drawn heavily from the colonial era but, as technology has advanced, the Indian military has imbibed expertise from the forces of other countries with whom they have regularly interacted.
  • Our training academies, too, have reformed, with professional military education (PME) getting a look-over every few years.
  • This may not be happening, though, with the regularity and rigour necessary vis-à-vis the rapid advances in technology, especially those related to cyberspace.

Significance of military doctrine

  • In simple words, a doctrine is the best way of doing a task.
  • It is the source from which objectives, strategy, training and tactics flow; the results are fed back as inputs for it to be modified if required.
  • Doctrine will ossify, with unfavourable results on the battlefield, if not put through a review process. In light of this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address at the Commanders’ Conference on March 6 gains significance.
  • The PM, as per the official press release, “stressed the importance of enhancing indigenisation in the national security system, not just in sourcing equipment and weapons but also in the doctrines, procedures and customs practised in the armed forces.”
  • This, quite rightly, would have triggered a spate of activities in diverse areas, including in PME.
  • The danger is that while encouraging indigenous strategic thought, inputs from “foreign” writings could get short shrift due the “more-loyal-than-the-king” syndrome.

Military doctrines of Sun Tzu and Kautilya

  • The 2014 UK Joint Doctrine 0-01 starts with a Sun Tzu quote: “Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory is won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and then looks for victory”. This is timeless and not country-specific.
  • Similarly, the US Army ADP1-01 Doctrine Primer commences with a quote of J F C Fuller, the British military historian.
  • Red flags must go up if a “feeling” starts swirling that Indian strategic thought, born out of a centuries-old civilisation, is superior to the teachings of other wise men. 
  • Knowledge is not the preserve of a person, a group, or a nation. It is also not bound by a period, a civilisational expanse, or religious or social ideology.
  • If the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu or the German thinker Clausewitz said something timeless, then it needs to be imbibed as much as what Kautilya wrote in the Arthshastra and Thiruvalluvar in his Kurals.
  • It is true that indigenous teachings have not got their due in the Indian military thought. But it would be illogical if doctrines are re-written, to the exclusion of learnings from foreign strategists.
  • One is sure that was not what the PM meant when he referred to indigenisation. There needs to be a conscious effort to ensure that the fundamental thought process is not affected by triumphalism with regard to history.

Way Forward

  • Let’s learn from the Chinese who have assimilated the best practices from other countries in all fields, including in the realm of military strategy, to reach the developmental stage they are in.
  • Let’s continue to learn from American, UK and other war colleges where the works of Clausewitz, Sun Tzu and others are discussed, debated and assimilated in their doctrinal thought.
  • For sure, Kautilya et al must also be brought into the mainstream. However, let us not forget that of the four wars we have fought since Independence, we were victorious in three – surely, there are some good fundamentals on which Indian military and strategic thought have evolved.

Question: –

With the latest development of creation of the new Department of Military Affairs, the post of CDS, and forthcoming upheavals in the fundamentals of how India would be fighting its wars there is a need to primarily focus on “indigenous” thought, along with the cocktail of all-around changes we could be sailing into choppy waters. Illustrate in the context of the evolution of military doctrine in India.

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