Question For Experts
Q. Pegasus: Security concerns to India & What are steps taken to tackle such Cyber Security threats?

Replied by Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF
Thank you for your question. Cyberspace is a dynamic and complex environment of users, networks, information systems, and services. Due to its characteristics of anonymity and borderless, cyberspace is vulnerable to various security concerns worldwide. In October 2019, Indian news media reported global breach of WhatsApp data, including around 121 Indians, with the use of ‘Pegasus’ programme developed by Israel-based organisations—NSO Group. The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) raised concerns, and on 02nd November 2019, the MeitY had received response from WhatsApp on the matter. The Indian Com..

Q. With Pakistan on one side and China on the other, how do you see the Border Security situation along LOC & LAC, in addition to Taliban, which came up as a new threat?

Replied by Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee, Editor, VIF
Geography, vitiated by two powerful – one dictatorially autocratic and the other dictated by religious fanaticism – and instinctively expansionist neighbours, both with propensity to seek their goals through military power, places India under a state of perpetual threat. That the two are close collaborators and are more or less in league with the Taliban ideology make the matter worse. LoC and LAC are but manifestations of that burden. Independent India on the other hand, is focused on socio-economic uplift of the poverty ridden masses, as it should be. However, the Indian state has been distracted by banal notions to link th..

Q. What are the measure taken by the authorities in regard to contain the cyber-attacks in the country?

Replied by Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF
The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) is a federal agency to respond to cyber security related incidents in the country. The CERT-In gathers the information and issue advisories about malware infections in networks across various sectors. To strengthen the cyber security, the government of India has taken following measures: - CERT-In issues advisories as countermeasures to protect computer systems and networks. - Government of India has issued guidelines for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) regarding their key responsibilities for securing the cyber milieu of respective infrastructures. - Prior to ..

Q. What is Information Technology Rules 2021?

Replied by Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 or the Information Technology (IT) Rules 2021, is a legislation stemmed out of Section 87 of the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000, and in suppression of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. In 2018, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) proposed to strengthen the legal framework and held social media platforms accountable for disseminating fake news, under the law. Among other rules, the IT Rules 2021 defines social media intermediary in two categories: i) “Significant soci..

Q. What is Pegasus program and its connection with surveillance on WhatsApp?

Replied by Anurag Sharma, Research Associate, VIF
In May 2019, WhatsApp submitted an incident report to the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), mentioning that it has “identified and fixed a vulnerability which could have enabled an attacker to insert and execute a code on cellular devices.” The Government of India acknowledged the issue of digital privacy infringements of its citizens. In November 2019, WhatsApp informed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) about an exploitation of their platform by a spyware program—Pegasus, developed by the NSO Group. On 26 November 2019, CERT-In had sent a notice to the NSO Group and sought detai..

Q. Given the current situation, how do we establishing our presence in Afghanistan by having talks with Taliban?

Replied by Prerna Gandhi, Associate Fellow, VIF
Owing to the organic cultural connect and civilizational continuity, India has never had to 'establish' its presence in Afghanistan to earn legitimacy from its masses, much like the other regional players are compelled to do in the past few years to create the 'pockets of goodwill' in Afghanistan. Yet if we were to look at it from the prism of 'establishing Indian presence in Afghanistan', India is actively involved in developmental work in Afghanistan with over 430 projects in operation. Though India's developmental model is smaller compared to Chinese, American or European funding, the impact of the Indian aid in terms of per unit..

Q. How can India shift more towards R&D investment to become a technologically independent country? Now the investment is always looks for more and more returns in order to please the shareholders. How can we make a policy shift towards more and more R&D investment?

Replied by Lt Gen Gautam Banerjee, Editor, VIF
R&D is the foundation of technological development, and by implication, industrialisation. R&D is organised at two levels; One by undertaking translation of scientific principles into practical application; and two, product improvements undertaken at the user’s or manufacturer’s end. While the latter is more easily organised, financed and introduced in the interest of the users, original R&D requires high scientific knowledge, hugh investments and long gestation period. Even then, no more than 10 percent of the attempts find fruition, the rest do not work out. Long periods of slavery has put us into scientific and indust..

Q. What is Cartographic Aggression?

Replied by Anushka Saraswat, Young Professional, VIF
Cartography is the study that may be defined as the science or the art of drawing or making and using maps. Since the formation of the modern state, the administrators have used maps to shape the collective perception and belief of the population residing in a geographical area. As an academic discipline, Cartography facilitates understanding political elements in International Relations (IR) studies—territory, boundary, and sovereignty of any nation. Maps are used to understand cartographic information and define modern territoriality and sovereignty with acceptable and neat boundaries. Cartographic aggression translates..

Q. What are India's Energy Security Concerns and it's impact on Armed forces in the current era?

Replied by Col Shashank Sharma
Most of the combat platforms, forward deployed units (with the exception of nuclear submarines) and all means of transport of the armed forces run on petroleum based fuels. Any disruption in the supply of fuel supply would adversely effect the combat capability of the armed forces. The armed forces are completely dependent on public sector and state-owned companies for supplyof oil and electricity respectively. The national energy security strategy and actions to mitigate the energy security concerns of the country would subsume the military requirements including through the national strategic petroleum reserves. The crude and petroleum products st..

Q. Is China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) facing a backlash in Pakistan?

Aakriti Vinayak, Research Associate, VIF
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship component of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, was billed as a game changer by the Pakistani elites. Officially launched in April 2015, the economic corridor that would link Kashgar in Xinjiang to Gwadar in Balochistan five years later has entered its second phase. While the first phase was essentially about electricity projects and railway lines the second phase has special emphasis on development of special economic zones, agriculture,industry, trade and science and technology. However the plan’s details- the term of the investments and loans, the full extent of the pr..

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