India on Tuesday without naming China asserted that some states are leveraging their expertise in cyberspace to achieve their political and security-related objectives and indulge in contemporary forms of cross-border terrorism.
“The world is already witnessing the use of cyber tools to compromise State security through, inter alia, attacking critical national infrastructure, including health and energy facilities; sometime disrupt social harmony through radicalisation. Open societies have been particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and disinformation campaigns,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla noted in a Statement at the UN Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Cyber Security”
He further pointed out that the world is witnessing a sophisticated use of cyberspace by terrorists around the world to broaden their appeal, spread virulent propaganda, incite hatred and violence, recruit youth and raise funds. “Terrorists have also used social media for planning and executing their terror attacks and wreaking havoc. As a victim of terrorism, India has always underlined the need for Member States to address and tackle the implications of terrorist exploitation of the cyber domain more strategically.”
Shringla cautioned that the integrity and security of ICT products, which form the building blocks of cyber space, are being compromised. “There are widespread concerns that State and Non-State Actors are introducing vulnerabilities and harmful hidden functions, including through backdoor channels, into ICT networks and products. Such nefarious acts undermine trust and confidence in global ICT supply chains, compromise security and create potential flashpoints between States. It is in the interest of the international community to ensure that all actors abide by their international obligations and commitments and not indulge in practices that could have potentially disruptive effects on global supply chains and trade in ICT products,” he suggested.
India is committed to an open, secure, free, accessible and stable cyberspace environment, which will become an engine for innovation, economic growth, sustainable development, ensure free flow of information and respect cultural and linguistic diversity, the Foreign Secretary pointed out.
He further elaborated that the increasing use of cyber and information-communication technologies has accelerated economic development, improved service delivery to citizens, generated greater social awareness and placed information and knowledge in the hands of individuals. Most activities in this cyber-age – political, social, economic, humanitarian and developmental – (including this UNSC high level meeting) – are now conducted in or connected to cyberspace. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated and expanded the digitalization of these activities, he added.