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Why Israel needs to help India build a cyber army

Indo-Israel cyber camaraderie need of the hour Photograph: (Others)

Delhi, India Jul 05, 2017, 05.39 AM (IST) Jayadev Parida

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel is historic in many ways. The fact that PM Modi is the first Indian  prime minister to visit Israel in the last 70 years, foreign policy experts interpret this as a signal that both the national governments are willing to write a new chapter by overriding any ‘historical baggage’. Evidently, the dynamics of the bilateral relationship will be premised on further deepening the existing ties in matters related to defence, agriculture, trade, diplomacy and water management. At outset, it was made clear by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel that Indian talents and Israel technologies should write the future of growth. India not only needs Israel technologies for its "Make in India" campaign but also to promote Digital India and reinventing Agri(culture-digital) India.

Israel's technological prowess is so crucial to India because both countries have geopolitical and domestic imperatives, a reluctant digital power (India) needs a strong support from a cyber power (Israel) to edge out any cyber geopolitics in South Asia.    

India not only needs Israel technologies in Make in India but also in Digital India and reinventing Agri(culture-digital) India.
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Cyber Camaraderie 

While addressing the Cyber Week 2017, the seventh edition of an annual cybersecurity conference held at Tel Aviv University in Israel on June, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that cyber security is one of the key areas of cooperation to be discussed with PM Narendra Modi. 

Indo-Israel cyber camaraderie is need of the hour, particularly because Israel has world’s largest cyber security industry after the US. Many Israeli companies having a growing role in cyber defence technology, research and development, encryption and data protection. After China, India has the world’s largest number of Internet users, but the digital ecosystem available to Indian users is prone to attack, and that makes Digital India initiative vulnerable. 

Israel has world’s largest cyber security industry and many Israeli companies having a protuberant role in cyber defence technology, research and development, encryption and data protection.
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Bishop to Bishop 1- India has ranked 4th in cyber security breaches and 5th in ransomware attacks. Statistically speaking, the costs of cyber threats are spurring up very quickly. For instance, the insane cyber attack on Bangladesh Bank costs $ 81 million and in 2014, the cyber attack on Sony studio was $100 million. More recently, the outbreak of WannaCry ransomware attack cost the world $4 billion. Cyber frauds carried out in India was worth $4 billion in 2013 alone, and there is nothing to root it out yet.

An estimation shows that cybercrime costs the global economy $450 billion in 2016. Another estimation by the Microsoft underlines that economic loss of cyber crime would reach $3 trillion by 2020, which is just a tip of the larger iceberg. In foreseeable future, it might hold a significant risk to businesses, governments and societies. How should India and Israel address this issue? 

As per a report, the Israel Defense Forces has 8200, elite cyber offensive and defensive army to address potential cyber threats.
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Bishop to Bishop 2 -So far, Israel has been able to subdue its external threats by expanding it’s both territorial and cyber capabilities. As per a report, the Israel Defense Forces has 8200 members strong elite cyber offensive and defensive army to address potential cyber threats. On the contrary, due to thin interests in building cyber offensive and defensive mechanisms, India has become a target of cyber attacks mostly generated from China and Pakistan. How Israel could help India in making so?

Bishop to Bishop 3 – India needs to move out from the present reluctant position to become a truly digital power. Both India and Israel need to expand their cyber diplomacy and digital economy with likeminded countries to address cyber issues in global level. 

Lack of cyber attack attribution is a key factor to the hasty rise of cyber threats and both nations need to consider this while addressing the cyber security issues in a bigger picture.

Indo-Israel cyber agreements would promulgate upon win-win theory and it can always be substantiated by the existing sheer trust and strong commitments.
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To counter China and Pakistan both online and offline, PM Modi and his Israeli counterpart should underline strong commitment during this trip. Major areas to look into are: border surveillance preferably by UAVs to avoid human fatalities and cooperation in developing India's cyber army to protect India’s internet ecosystem from external penetrations. There is also a need for bilateral commitments to counter cyber terrorism globally. 

In the post demonetisation period, India has eased towards building a digital economy but to become a sustainable cyber player, it needs to bring in an infrastructure ecosystem, capacity building, digital funding, and technology transfer to substantiate domestic projects. Indo-Israel cyber agreements will be promulgated upon a win-win theory, and it can always be substantiated by the existing  trust and strong commitments.

Jayadev Parida

Jayadev Parida is a researcher with ORF?s Cyber Security and Internet Governance Initiative

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