Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday expressd his “big concern” on cyber-attack threats looming over sectors such as energy, transport, public sector services, telecommunications, critical manufacturing industries and inter-connected financial systems and sought concerted counter efforts by global community.

Addressing officers of the Indian Armed Forces, Civil Services as well as from friendly foreign countries during the 60th National Defence College (NDC) course convocation ceremony, the Defence Minister also stated the information war has the potential to threaten the political stability of a country. He drew the attention of the gathering towards how organised use of social media and other online content generation platforms are engineering the opinion and perspective of the masses.

Information war

“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,” said Rajnath Singh.

The changing times, the Minister felt, has also narrowed the gap between internal and external security. He said terrorism which generally fell into internal security domain, is now classified in the category of external security as well, given that training, funding and arms support of such organisations is being carried out from outside the country.

Global insecurity

Singh was of the view that the world cannot remain aloof if peace and security of any region is compromised and quoted Martin Luther King Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” to suggest the fallout of the global insecurity on people. “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 grains 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 disruption in international energy supply, making the energy import much more expensive,” he said.

Trans-disciplinary approach

Commandant NDC, Lt Gen MK Mago, in his address stated the officers of the 60th NDC course would be able to apply a trans-disciplinary and out-of-the-box approach to national issues at a strategic level, both in policy formulation and execution. According to him, the NDC’s vibrant academic environment, in addition to fulfilling its mandate, has inspired many course participants to pursue PhDs or original research in defence studies.

Defence Secretary Shri Giridhar Aramane, Vice Chancellor, University of Madras Professor S Gowri and other distinguished guests were present on the occasion.