Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Parliamentary Committee on Defense Not Satisfied With Indian Security

Pakistan is building 69 new bunkers on our Western borders, Chinese Army transgressing our Eastern Boundary in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh almost every second day as if on picnic and both these countries now openly joining hands against India, should have been sufficient enough reasons for Ministry of Defence (MOD) in India to wake up and take immediate corrective measures. Not so if the current report on functioning of MOD, tabled by the Parliamentary Committee on Defense in Parliament on 16 Dec 09 is taken into account.

Kudos to this body of Indian legislatures, who cutting across party lines have taken serious note of this lackadaisical attitude of people in power concerning India’s security. The report points out that while the three wings of Indian Armed Forces are working on the ‘Long Term Perspective Plan 2012-2027’ taking the ‘11th Five Year Defence Plan 2007-2012’ as their base, it is shocking that the Indian political masters and the bureaucrats straddling the MOD, have not yet approved this five year plan, even though it is three years over date.

Based on Kargil Committee recommendations the Indian Government in 2003 had approved the plan of setting up a federal Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) under MOD whose job was to oversee the functioning of the Intelligence Agencies of the three services, at the same time it was required to coordinate between the other central and state intelligence agencies. Even after six years have gone by, no effort has been made to make this operational.

Another decision aimed at better functioning of the MOD and timely decision making was that the three service headquarters will be fully integrated with the MOD and Armed Forces officers will also be posted on joint secretary and additional secretary posts which currently remains the exclusive domain of the bureaucrats. This proposal is also gathering dust.

We in India never tier off in telling all and sundry that we are a regional power in Asia on the way to become a global power. Nevertheless all the three wings of the Armed Forces are still functional on the organizations evolved prior to Second World War days. It is pathetic that our MOD has not thought it prudent till date to appoint an expert committee to recommend the reorganization of the three services keeping in view the modern technology and passage of time. This has been brought out by this Parliamentary Committee. Similarly when Chinese Navy is making stupendous accretions and China is busy ringing India with its operational bases in Pakistan, Myanmar, and SriLanka we in India continue to have critical shortages of manpower and equipment in our only Tri Service Andaman and Nicobar Command.

What is most shocking is that in 2003, based on the recommendations of the GOM, then NDA Government had decided to implement the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) System in India also. This system is being followed in America, Britain, France and 67 other countries. The only rider was that before implementation, a political consensus will be obtained. The CDS system is required to coordinate the functioning of the three services which tend to pull in different directions and bring in synergy in them. What is most important is a common doctrinal platform.

Case in point is that currently Army is harping on the concept of Cold Start so that the surprise is not lost to Pakistan as it happened in Operation PARAKRAM in 2002.For this They want Air Force to provide them with close air support. Air Force is telling Army that they should use their own means like helicopter gunship’s and not burden Air Force initially with this role as they want to degrade the overall capability of Enemy Air Force. Both schools of thoughts have merit but who decides which one to adopt? This is where CDS comes in.

Another most important function of the CDS system is that it provides a single window military advice opportunity to the Government. CDS also resolves the procurement planning requirement of the three services thereby ensuring optimal usage of the Defense Budget. The Parliamentary Committee has also taken note of large scale shortage of officers in all the three Services. Need for establishing National Defense University has also been highlighted. This Committee has done a yeoman’s job, now it is for the people of India and Political class in power at the helm, who must pressurize the power that be to implement these recommendations at the earliest.


Weak Cyber Law Of India Is Resulting In Increased Cyber Crimes In India

Cyber crimes in India are increasing in the absence of a strong and stringent cyber law i.e. Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000). The ICT Trends of India 2009 have proved that India has failed to enact a strong and stringent Cyber Law in India. On the contrary, the Information Technology Act 2008 (IT Act 2008) has made India a “safe heaven” for cyber criminals, say cyber law experts of India. Even cyber law enforcement is a big challenge in India.

Although, the IT Act 2000 was not deterrent enough to prevent cyber crimes in India, yet with the IT Act 2008 the things have become worst. The IT Act 2008 made almost all the offences and cyber crimes “bailable” It means that even after committing hacking or practically any other and all cyber crimes in India, there is no deterrent effect to prevent them.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law and the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India, by making the offences and cyber crimes “bailable” India has made its cyberspace a “free zone” and “safe heaven” for cyber criminals and cyber offenders.

He says that now even after committing hacking in India a person would be entitled to “bail” as a matter of right. There is nothing that prevents such cyber criminals from committing cyber crimes in India in the absence of a deterrent law.

It is clear that by succumbing to “industrial lobbying” the government of India has done great damage to the national security of India and cyber security of India.

There is nothing that would prevent India from becoming the cyber crime heaven of the World in these circumstances unless a suitable amendment in the IT Act 2000 is made as soon as possible, says Praveen Dalal.

The worst part is that India has also enhanced e-surveillance to further aggravate the problem. The netizens are not safe from cyber crimes and now even the State would infringe their Human Rights and Fundamental Rights. The increased e-surveillance along with unregulated censorship powers has made India cyber law an instrumentality of cyberspace exploitation of netizens rights in India.