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List of Contents
Article – The Indian Express
Syllabus – GS3 – Security
Synopsis – In a recent address PM has called for indigenization of the national security system including that of doctrines, procedures, and customs. This shift towards indigenization shouldn’t lead to the complete ignorance of foreign strategic thoughts.
- A recent, PM address at the Commanders’ Conference stressed the importance of indigenization of the national security system, not just in sourcing equipment and weapons but also in the military doctrines, procedures, and customs practiced in the armed forces i.e. the Indian armed forces doctrine.
- But, this doesn’t mean that India should reject the ideas of any foreign military strategist. A balanced approach is the need of the hour.
Evolution of Indian armed forces
- Indian armed forces have evolved from the British military. Hence, they have absorbed certain legacies and war-fighting strategies from it.
- Moreover, in modern times Indian armed forces have learned equally from their large-scale interactions with armies of other countries.
- Training academies too have reformed with time. Professional military education (PME) is also upgraded after few years.
What is PME?
PME is the bedrock of military doctrine.
Issue with PME
Challenges and concerns
- Indigenization is good, but there is a concern that while encouraging indigenous strategic thought, inputs from “foreign” writings could be ignored.
- Producing a new indigenous doctrine at this stage would be challenging. Many developments have taken place very recently, such as: –
|Also Read: Ultimate Military Strength Index|
Global best practices
Military strategy doctrines of major developed countries in the world include lessons from diverse foreign resources, irrespective of their nationality.
- UK Joint doctrine: The 2014 UK Joint Doctrine 0-01 starts with a Sun Tzu quote:
- “Thus, it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory is won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and then looks for victory”. This is timeless and not country-specific.
- US Doctrine: Similarly, the US Army ADP1-01 Doctrine Primer commences with a quote of J F C Fuller, the British military historian,
- The central idea of an army is known as its doctrine, which to be sound must be based on the principles of war, and which to be effective must be elastic enough to admit of mutation in accordance with change in circumstances. In its ultimate relationship to the human understanding this central idea or doctrine is nothing else than common sense—that is, action adapted to circumstances.
Thus, India should also not emphasise for a military doctrine that is solely based on indigenous ideas.
When it comes to learning, it should not matter whether the source of that learning is national or foreign. Hence, PM’s address definitely didn’t mean a complete rejection of foreign strategic thought. It simply meant to also include the teachings of our own strategic thinkers in India’s military doctrine. It is true that indigenous teachings have not received proper attention in Indian military thoughts, but it would be equally illogical to exclude the teachings of foreign strategists.
- Timeless wisdom, be it from Chinese strategist Sun Tzu or the German thinker Clausewitz, are equally valuable as Kautilya’s Arthshastra or Thiruvalluvar’s Kurals
- Kural: a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1,330 short couplets of seven words each, or kurals.
There needs to be a conscious effort to ensure that the Indian military doctrine is not affected by triumphalism (delighting too much regarding over one’s success or achievements especially in a political context) with regard to history.
Source: The Indian Express
Syllabus: GS: 3 – Biodiversity and Conservation
Synopsis: The recent NTCA Circular on tiger reserves shut down the tourism activities in tiger reserves. But the circular needs course correction.
India’s Project Tiger program is a globally successful initiative to conserve tigers. At present, India has 51 tiger reserves now boasts of at least 3,000 tigers.
The entire country is gearing up to relax the lockdown norms. However, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) closed the tourism activities in tiger reserves till further announcement. This deserves a wider public discussion.
The reason behind the NTCA Circular on tiger reserves:
- A lion at Chennai’s Vandalur Zoo has died of suspected coronavirus infection. Similarly, a tiger died at Jharkhand’s Bhagwan Birsa Biological Park after suffering from fever. This raised the suspicion regarding Covid-19 disease transmission from human beings to captive wild animals.
- This is why the NTCA issued a circular to chief wildlife wardens of all the tiger range states.
Issues with the NTCA Circular on tiger reserves:
- Encroachment into the power of States: Forests and wildlife reserves fall under the concurrent list. The state chief wildlife wardens are the ultimate deciding authority for most issues concerning state forests. Thus, the recent NTCA Circular violates decentralized decision-making. For example, the Madhya Pradesh government has challenged the decision of NTCA.
- Against Vaccination Policy of locals: Tiger reserves were closed for almost two months during the second wave. Government and civil society organizations used this lockdown time to propagate the uses of vaccines, educate the nearby community towards testing, treating the Covid-19 diseases. All this done with one incentive, that is, faster reopening of forest reserves to the public to boost their economic activity. If this is reversed by the recent NTCA Circular, then the vaccination policies might delay in and around the tiger reserves.
- Research on the vulnerability of animals to Covid-19: The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to zoo animals and domestic pets has been documented earlier. But these studies mention that the fatality rate in the animal is a rare case.
- Further, these studies also point out that, direct contact with infected humans is the primary cause for infection in wild animals. That is not feasible in the majority of the wildlife reserves in the world. As Jeeps and people are required to keep a distance from park animals. Not only that, In India the masks are mandatory for visiting the tiger reserves. So, the NTCA circular failed to look into the scientific aspects of disease transmission.
- Loss of revenue and biodiversity: The wildlife tourism economy brings in substantial revenue to the state governments. When the governments are opening up their economy, the revenues from wildlife tourism is very essential for their economic recovery.
- The role of tribal people to live close to or inside the protected areas is very important. As they collect minor forest produce and help to conserve the forests.
- The cost-benefit analysis shows the entire biodiversity also faces losses during the lockdown. This is due to reasons such as uncontrolled fires, poaching, etc.
- The arbitrary reason to exclude other protected areas: The NTCA circular only protects the 51 tiger reserves in India. In India, there is an enormous presence of wildlife outside the tiger reserves.
|Read more: “Srivilliputhur-Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is the 51st tiger reserve in India”|
Suggestions to improve the recent NTCA Circular on tiger reserves:
- Training the local forest officials: Instead of a blanket ban, the government can train the local officials to decide whether to allow safaris for people based on local conditions.
- Utilizing the opportunity: Forest departments should prepare the protected areas against future pandemics by implementing steps such as
- Setting up Non-invasive, bio-safe protocols for Covid-19 vulnerable species under wildlife surveillance.
- Creating Early warning systems for preventing the Covid-19 spread if any wild animal died from Covid-19.
- Encouraging the role of environmental research organizations in conserving species during the pandemic.
- Launching scientific research and prevention measures: State government should launch these measures to decide whether to open the protected area or not.
The NTCA circular on tiger reserves is a centralized, non-scientific-based decision. This decision has to be replaced with decentralized, science-based decision-making to protect the bio-diversity of India.
Source: The Hindu
Gs3: Awareness in the fields of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology
Synopsis: Synthetic biology is a double-edged sword. It is highly prone to misuse, thus there is an urgent need for international measures for monitoring and verification.
- Synthetic biology is a revolutionary technology. It can help us manipulate biological organisms and processes for human betterment, especially in treating diseases, by re-engineering cells.
- Till now there is no clarity over the origin of Coronavirus, but it is clear that bio-weapons can be made in labs.
However, the preparedness of nation-states and weak global security arrangements are not sufficient in dealing with the misuse of synthetic biology.
What are the concerns associated with the misuse of synthetic biology?
- Firstly, its misuse has national and global security implications.
- In 2014, for instance, the U.S. Department of Defense categorised synthetic biology as one of the six disruptive basic research areas.
- Secondly, there is always a chance of accidental leaks of experimental pathogens.
- Various factors such as insufficiently trained staff, inadequately safeguarded facilities, and lack of proper protocols followed during experiments might trigger the leak in the future.
- Thirdly, poor regulation of bio-weapons even after growing military interest in synthetic biology.
- Bio-weapons are recognised as the ‘weapon of mass destruction’ (WMD) but nothing is done by the international community.
- Nuclear weapons have received maximum safety and security due to attention given by the institutional arrangements.
- Fourthly, the attack through bioweapons takes time to show its impact. In that case, it is difficult to ensure accountability.
- For example, in case of attacks carried out by state actors against the enemy, it would be difficult to pin responsibility as the incubation period is high, and the pathogen can be modified to hide its origin.
Why Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention is not effective in dealing with the misuse of synthetic biology?
- Firstly, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) of 1972 has no implementing body and does not have a verification clause.
- Also, it has not clearly laid down rules and procedures to guide research.
- Secondly, the dilemma in Article 1 of the BTWC.
- Bio-weapons are banned, but research for medical and bio-defence purposes is allowed for peaceful purposes.
- But the issue is that there is a thin line between bio-defense research and bio-weapons research.
- Thirdly, the report of an ad-hoc group to negotiate a protocol to ensure transparency was not accepted by the member states of BTWC. The Ad Hoc Group was set up in 1994 at the Fifth BTWC Review Conference in 2001.
- Lastly, the traditional distinction at the international institutional level between biological weapons (BTWC) and diseases (domain under the World Health Organization) is not useful anymore.
Why India is more vulnerable to bio-weapon attack?
- Firstly, lack of preparation and poor infrastructure.
- India is not having a strong disease surveillance system.
- The poor state of the healthcare system was visible during a pandemic.
- Secondly, there is a multiplicity of bodies and the absence of an empowered coordinating body, which makes coordination difficult.
- For instance, the implementation of biosafety guidelines is the responsibility of the Science and Technology Ministry and the Environment Ministry.
- However, labs dealing with biological research are set up under the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, which are under the Ministries of Health and Agriculture, respectively.
- Thirdly, the traditional ministry-wise separation is not useful in the case of zoonotic diseases as it requires “one health approach”.
- Lastly, India has porous borders with ill-trained border control institutions, and they are not prepared for defending against pathogens.
- There is a need for cooperation between health specialists and bio-weapons/defence specialists.
- The November 2021 BTWC review conference must review advances in the field and address the thinning line between biotechnology research and bio-weapons research.
Source: The Hindu
Gs3: Challenges to Internal Security through Communication Networks
Synopsis: Cyber-attacks are increasing on civilian targets and infrastructure around the globe. Thus, there is a critical need to strengthen the Cyber resilience of civilian infrastructure.
- Cyber, which is regarded as the fifth dimension of warfare, is now largely being employed against civilian targets.
- For instance, several high-profile cyberattacks were reported from the United States during the past several months.
- These attacks were all primarily on civilian targets that were of critical importance.
- Hence, there is a need to defending civilian targets, and more so critical infrastructure, against cyberattacks such as ransomware, phishing, spear phishing, Zero-day software, etc.,
Recent cyberattacks on Civilian infrastructure reported from the United States
- SolarWinds: It was believed to be sponsored by Russia. It involved data breaches across several wings of the U.S. government, including defence, energy, and state.
- Hafnium: Aggressive cyberattack, by a Chinese group. It exploited serious flaws in Microsoft’s software.
- DarkSide: Ransomware attack by Russia/East Europe-based cybercriminals. Attacked the Colonial Pipeline, the main supplier of oil to the U.S. East Coast, compelling the company to temporarily shut down operations.
- Nobellium: Russia-backed group. A phishing attack on 3,000 e-mail accounts, targeting USAID and several other organisations.
Possible motives behind Cyberattacks
Data has become the world’s most precious commodity and reportedly, we create more than three quintillion bytes of data every day. With the growth in the digital world, attacks on data and data systems are bound to intensify for various following reasons,
- One, for nation-states involved in Cyber-attacks, their primary aim is to transform the existing Geopolitical situation in their favor.
- Two, for cybercriminals and for terror groups, the motive is to earn increased profits.
- Three, some companies encounter ‘insider threats’ due to discontent with the management or for personal reasons.
Why the cyber resilience of Civilian infrastructure needs to be strengthened?
Nations around the globe are concentrating on cyber defences to protect military and strategic targets, whereas the priority to protect civilian infrastructure is being overlooked. This needs to be changed for the following reasons.
- One, the use of ‘Zero-day software’ that earlier existed only for the military domain now exists outside the military domain too.
- A zero-day attack (also referred to as Day Zero) is an attack that exploits a potentially serious software security weakness that the vendor or developer may be unaware of.
- It has the capability to cripple a system and could lie undetected for a long time. The most infamous Zero-day software is Stuxnet. It almost crippled Iran’s uranium enrichment Programme.
- Two, the distinction between military and civilian targets is increasingly getting erased. For instance, the 2012 cyberattack on Aramco, employing the Shamoon virus, had wiped out the memories of 30,000 computers of the Saudi Aramco Oil Corporation.
- Three, cyberattacks on unconventional sectors have increased. For instance, Banking and financial services were most prone to ransomware attacks, but oil, electricity grids, and lately, health care, have begun to figure prominently.
- Four, the number of cyberattacks on healthcare systems is increasing. Compromised ‘health information’ is proving to be a vital commodity for use by cybercriminals. The available data aggravates the risk not only to the individual but also to entire communities.
What needs to be done?
Already, Cyber professionals are now engaged in building a ‘Zero Trust-Based Environment’ by employing software-defined solutions. However, much needed to be done
- One needs to build deep technology in cyberspace. New technologies such as artificial intelligence, Machine learning, and quantum computing, presents new opportunities in this regard.
- Two, officials in the public domain and company boards should carry out regular vulnerability assessments and create necessary awareness of the growing cyber threat.