Prepare to counter cyber attacks: Antony to armed forces

Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday asked the armed forces to coordinate closely with other cyber security agencies to prepare a crisis management action plan against cyber terrorism.

Updated: Apr 16, 2010, 23:13 PM IST

New Delhi: In the wake of reports of Chinese hackers stealing vital data from Indian defence and diplomatic computer networks, Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday asked the armed forces to coordinate closely with other cyber security agencies to prepare a crisis management action plan against cyber terrorism.

The minister noted that cyber-space had emerged as an important medium for information sharing, but at the same time the existing technology was susceptible to misuse by anti-social and anti-national elements.

"Of late, extraordinary and unprecedented cyber crimes have taken place across the globe, exposing gap holes in cyber security systems," Antony told the armed forces Unified Commanders` Conference here.

"Although Defence Services at all levels have taken steps to counter cyber threat through stringent implementation of cyber security policy, there is still a requirement to ensure
that all loopholes are suitably plugged. A few recent cases are reminders of our own vulnerabilities," he said.

Close interaction with national agencies like Computer and Emergency Response Team (CERT), NTRO, Home and IT Ministries to prepare a crisis management action plan for
countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism is essential, he said inaugurating the conference.

Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju, Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Army Chief General VK Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Chief of Integrated Staff Committee Air Marshal SC Mukul were also present on the occasion.

Expressing happiness over the progress made to improve jointness among armed forces in various spheres, Antony said increasing involvement of Integrated Defence Service
headquarters in defence issues, the functioning of Andaman and Nicobar Command and the progress of Strategic Forces Command were a few examples of the success of the inter-operability concept.

He said the future of optimal military power lay in joint operations.

"Towards this end, the first-ever Long Term Integrated
Perspective Plan for 2012?27 is nearing completion under the
aegis of IDS headquarters. Once finalised, it would be yet
another milestone in our progress towards jointness," he said.

Referring to the use of large-scale energy resources in
the armed forces and availability of alternative sources of
energy, Antony called upon the top brass to bring about strict
energy conservation discipline.

Regarding the armed forces modernisation, Antony assured the commanders that there would never be a paucity of funds.

However, he asked them to control the revenue expenditure by adopting various mechanisms such as increased use of technology, integration of the three Services, adopting joint training and procedures, and uniform inventories.

The Defence Minister said there also existed considerable scope for improving the quality and efficacy of defence expenditure through increased private sector engagement,
import substitution and indigenisation, improvement in
procedures and practices and better project management within
the parameters of the government`s policies.

Military to decide on war on Maoists

New Delhi: The involvement of armed forces in the war against Maoist guerrillas will be taken "after considering all aspects", Defence Minister AK Antony said Friday.

"The government will take an appropriate decision after considering all aspects," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Unified Commanders conference here.

The minister was asked about the possibility of involving the armed forces to fight the increasingly aggressive Maoists.

Antony`s comments follow those of Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, who said this week that using the air force to target Maoists was risky because innocent civilians could get hit.

PTI & IANS inputs