In an era of technological advancements, integration and interconnectedness, cyber threats are a growing cause for concern for State as well as non-State actors. It is considered to be among the amongst the greatest cause of concern in the current period. It is in this context that the book Cyber Technological Paradigms and Threat Landscape in India provides and partakes in understanding the emergence of cyber technologies and related paradigms, with a specific focus on the Digital India. The book deals with technological governance of cyberspace and threat landscape, with a special focus on the Indian context. It provides a historical and chronological understanding of cyber threats across the world, and their impact on the nation-states. It places the cyber technological paradigms and platforms in various theoretical frameworks. The core section of the book deals with the cyber technological paradigms, i.e., governance, policing, and diplomacy in Digital India.

 

The scenario of artificial intelligence (AI) in India is also dealt with by the book, comparing AI in India with those of international actors. The book analyses in detail, the overall structural and institutional frameworks, entailing the need to leap towards what is considered as Reimagining India. It provides policy recommendations and suggestions on improving various actions, initiatives and resilience related taken in order to deal with the chaotic features of cyber technological threat landscape in India. The book delves into the activities in cyberspace, which often transcend the traditional narrative about ‘Westphalian’ sovereign nature (of physical borders and divisions) that entail on the narratives of state sovereignty and borders. This has been causing significant harm as well as posing concrete but multiplier threats to victims anywhere in the world. The author observes that:

 

Unlike the traditional threat perceptions, related securitizations, the existing security architecture often becomes inept at dealing with the increasing threats from cyber attacks to critical national infrastructure, particularly the inability of legal systems as well as the response mechanisms. States need to formulate strategies, particularly for the development of frameworks capable of enabling support for policies, activities and implementation of measures to deal with the impact of cyber attacks as a prerequisite. The legal and institutional support, particularly in regard to capacity building and increased coordination and information sharing of multiple agencies, actually requires greater collaboration and cooperation between different actors. In this regard, the role of government remains important, as it enables the development of proactive but relatively effective legislative mechanisms, procedures and processes to deal with the threat of cyber attacks. This has to be supplemented by ensuing information sharing and cooperation between institutional actors (pp. 45-46).

 

The emerging risks, complexities and complications in cyberspace are attaining extraordinary stratum, particularly potential threats, vulnerabilities and conflicts. There are an increasing unpredictability and targeted approach like the threats and attacks in the cyberspace. The cyberspace is being used to become a more latent threat to both political and physical world, with inherent dangers. Cyber threats have emerged as a major dimension of threats in (and from) the cyberspace. It has created a greater impact on the common netizens, institutional and state actors. Understanding cyber-related vulnerabilities is a prerequisite in dealing with the challenges it poses to the society and is dealt with in greater detail by the book. The increasing standardization of interconnectedness through networks and communication has developed cyberspace as a common good; and an individual right. Human civilization is on the cusp of ‘cybering’ or digitizing societal relations, interactions, and conflicts. This century saw the cyberspace being developed as a global arena for interaction. This was evident in numerous activities that shared and exchanged data, information, ideas and/or knowledge by the population worldwide.

 

According to the book, cyberspace often offers more profit and less risk for various actors (stakeholders) in ensuring the sustenance of their criminal activities, and at many times without even a trace of evidence for prosecuting the criminals. Undoubtedly, it often shatters the normative ideas of crime and justice, social values as well as ethics. This has increased the challenges in dealing with crime, terrorism, espionage and warfare-related activities. Furthermore, the process of globalization was accelerated through it, particularly enabling businesses to operate internationally. It reduced the delay (at least virtually) and provided previously unavailable opportunities to the population of many regions, like provision for health care, education, learning, access to knowledge and even greater interaction between people. In an actual sense, the cyberspace has, ‘globalized the globalization process’, accelerating the integration of all into the ‘Global Village’ but with threats and challenges. The book looks at the emerging technological paradigms, related ramifications, risks and vulnerabilities in India. The need to provide an extensive survey and analysis of the Digital India programme entails the importance of the book. The author observes that:

 

India can be part of the international institutionalization taking place at various parts of the world, and integrate it at the domestic level, providing a huge platform in transforming the conventional mainstream understanding of governance, governability and access to public goods. Thus, it can help achieve what Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes to be ‘minimum government and maximum governance’... [Further, in] the era of (post-)COVID-19 pandemic, the boundless latitude… across the nation have provided seamless as well as connectivity, at a scale seen hitherto earlier (pp. 61-62).

 

Besides, an in-depth analysis of various cyber-related threats to India, the priority for artificial intelligence (AI) in India has been entailed and elucidated in detail, enunciating its rise in the country. Further, the book delves deep into the aspects of cyber policing and cyber diplomacy, both domains that have been largely under-researched in the Indian context. Finally, the author also provides the concept of “Reimagining India”, which delves into the policy landscape as well as directions in strengthening, improving and elevating the systematization of the Digital India programme.

 

The book undertakes a study of the existing framework on the overall scenario of cyberthreats, the organizational structure, policing and diplomacy. An overview of cyberthreats and implications of cyberthreats in Digital India is dealt with. Several institutional visits were undertaken, and extensive interactions were made with experts and scholars in the field. A content analysis of various reports and literature from the international and national actors, agencies and organizations was also undertaken to provide analysis intended to bring out the inherent cyberthreats in India. Chapter scheme is as follows:

 

  • Chapter 1 provides an overall technological, societal and international politics of cyberspace, besides providing a brief overview of the dimensions of cyberspace.

 

  • Chapter 2 deals with the global scenario of the threat landscape in cyberspace. This is an analysis based on the study of the historical overview of cyberthreats, well into the twenty-first century, and the impact on nation-states and their relations and actions. It also analyses the theoretical dimensions and international debates of cybersecurity, international relations and international political economy.

 

  • Chapter 3 deals with the analysis of Digital India and the emerging threat landscape in cyberspace. In this chapter, an analysis of the nine pillars of Digital India is undertaken, further with an analysis of policy, organizational structure and governance are being critically analysed.

 

  • Chapter 4 summarizes all the previous chapters while entailing on the overall structural and institutional framework, and provides policy recommendations and suggestions on improving cyber technological threat landscape in India.

 

About the Book:

 

Reghunadhan, Ramnath. (2022). Cyber Technological Paradigms and Threat Landscape in India, First Edition., Palgrave Macmillan (Springer), February 2022, ISBN: 978-981-1691-27-0, available at: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-16-9128-7

 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are personal.