Why Indigenization of IT infrastructure of military is vital? Where does India stand in terms of indigenization of military IT infrastructure?

Published: October 26, 2018

India is facing a daunting task in indigenisation and self reliance in defence production. Lack of technology, R&D etc have become impediments in self reliance in defence production. But the same cannot be implied to the IT infrastructure in military. Lack of concerted effort to use indigenous solutions has resulted in lackluster attitude towards indigenisation of IT infrastructure.

Why Indigenisation of IT infra of military is vital?

  • The revelations by Edward Snowden in 2013 have showed that United States National Security Agency (NSA) collected data from internet communications. The NSA was collecting data directly from the servers of US service providers.
  • US technology companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Apple had close involvement in this regard.
  • Revelations showed that Microsoft had actively helped the NSA to circumvent its own encryption of web chats on Outlook.com.

America is not the only country to have done so. Hence there is urgency for India to indigenize its IT infrastructure of military so that there can be better regulation against any attempts of surveillance and monitoring.

Where India stands?

  • Huawei is being probed for hacking a BSNL network in 2014. Even then, more than 60 per cent of software and hardware being used by BSNL is sourced from either Huawei or ZTE.
  • Australia has banned Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G mobile network citing national security risks but BSNL signed a memorandum of understanding with ZTE for research and commercialisation of future 5G technology.
  • Air Force Network (AFNET) and militaries Network for Spectrum (NFS) uses Cisco equipment.
  • Indian Army mostly uses the Microsoft Windows operating system on its official computers. Microsoft is bound by US laws and historically tied to the American intelligence community. This may result in India army becoming an easy prey for spying.

It’s time for India to devolve a policy initiative to indigenize our cyber space. This will have greater and more far reaching national security implications.

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