PM: Harm imminent from space, cyber zone

Space and cyber-space are the source of new security threats on which the three defence services should remain alert and develop capabilities to counter these threats, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday.

“There is a need to increase our capabilities in emerging areas like cyber and space, which can be source of new threats. We must define a long-term integrated perspective that aligns these capabilities with envisaged outcomes,” Singh said here, at the combined commander's conference attended by the top brass of all three armed services, the Army, Navy and the Air Force.

“Our security challenges remain diverse and serious. Add to these the new challenges in ... space and cyber-space,” Singh said.

His assessment on emerging threats comes after the three services jointly pitched for setting up of new integrated commands in space and cyber-security, which would draw assets and manpower from the three defence services.

A high-level task force on security headed by former Cabinet Secretary Naresh Chandra recommended the establishment of these integrated commands. The task force, in fact, suggested a third such integrated command on special operations. “It would be in our national interest to evolve an early consensus on the recommendations,” Singh said, referring to Chandra panel's recommendations.

The People’s Liberation Army in China has full-fledged hacker-brigades, which targets computer networks all around the world including Indian security establishment. Beijing has also developed the capability to destroy satellites in space raising fears of space being used as a war front in future.

High-seas turned out to be another new security challenge. “India's strategic calculus has long encompassed the waters from the Gulf of Aden to the Straits of Malacca. Very recently, we have seen precisely these areas turn once again into fresh threats of consternation,” the prime minister said.

Though Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony spoke about security threats from China at the conference – held on the eve of 50th anniversary of 1962 Indo-China war – the excerpts of the Prime Minister's speech was edited to remove references to China.

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