On August 6 2022, Red Lantern Analytica hosted a webinar titled “India’s Need to bolster Cyber Security Against China”. The expert speaker for the session was Dr. J. Jeganaathan, Assistant Professor, Department of National Security Studies, Central University of Jammu.
Dr. Jeganaathan opened his address by emphasising the gravity of China’s increasing cyber-attacks against India and the rest of the world. He elaborated on how China is a serious threat and engages in cyber-attacks for data collection and to aid the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Military efforts. He claimed that the Chinese had engaged in cyber espionage for a number of years, with India being in its crosshairs for a long time. The Chinese espionage activities against India were expedited after the Galwan Valley event.
He also said that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, China was busily spying on Indian political leaders and other notable figures, including national and regional political figures in India, going all the way down to the Zila Parishad level. He listed a number of Chinese corporations involved in cyber espionage, including a major one called Shenzen Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co., Ltd., which was founded in 2018.
Cyberwarfare, according to Dr. Jeganaathan, is a means by which the Chinese intervene more in a robust democratic nation like India that has effective institutions in place. He elaborated on the rationale behind doing so. He stated that China’s PLA is not battle-hardened since numerous video footage shows Chinese soldiers crying in fear when deployed to forward positions. The PLA is aware of its vulnerability and employs cyber warfare tactics to avoid direct conflict.
According to Dr. Jeganaathan, the Chinese are vary of mounting a direct military strike against India which has a strong political leader at the helm of affairs. The current level of nationalism in India is unprecedented in the last seventy-five years. Indians are extremely patriotic and willing to make sacrifices for their country. China is also aware that India is now powerful, particularly in terms of decision-making, and that its populace might be easily mobilised in the event of a direct military clash. This is contrary to China’s position, where youth are completely detached from the current leadership due to an authoritarian administration coupled with rampant corruption in the CCP.
He noted that the Chinese PLA has enhanced its cyber warfare capabilities over the past decade by implementing modifications to its Command, Control, and Communication divisions. He urged India’s administration to develop adequate cyber intelligence collection capabilities that can aid Indian forces in defending against the Chinese menace.
China’s cyberwarfare of cyber-attacks and possible espionage is unleashed on anyone showing anti-CCP sentiments. A recent example could be Chinese hackers attacking Red Lantern Analytica’s website for exposing China’s nefarious global activities. Such attacks render the website unavailable for some time. Similar attacks were also noticed in Taiwan recently after Nancy Pelosi’s visit.
He also emphasised that China ranks second in the cyber power index and makes substantial investments in cyberinfrastructure. Dr. Jeganaathan advised that India should become self-sufficient in the production and manufacture of CCTV cameras and semiconductor chips.
According to a US report, China’s growing cyber espionage poses a global threat. India and the United States can collaborate to address the issue. He stated that China has always considered India a threat due to India’s vast landmass, developing economy, stable government and democratic process, and tremendous economic potential. China’s expansionist ambitions can only be countered by India. Dr. Jeganaathan also emphasised the need for new tools, technologies, and plans in dealing with the cyber espionage threat from China.
After the guest speaker’s speech, there was a short Q&A session. The event was moderated by Ms. Shalini, Research Associate at Red Lantern Analytica, while Ms. Kotha L. Kusuma, Intern at Red Lantern Analytica, gave the vote of thanks, which brought the session to an end.