India-Israel Cyber Cooperation and its impact

by Nimra Javed

Cyber security is the protection of networks from external threats and helps in protecting critical information from any breach. Cyber refers to the interconnectedness of networks, and security is how we securitize the necessary information from outside threats.

So, cyber cooperation is essential for states as a protective measure to reduce the challenges at all levels. Israel and India decided to focus on developing technologies.

Both countries increased their exchanges in various areas, including extensive people-to-people contact and defense, because hostile neighbors surrounded both. India started relying heavily on Israeli technology for border security and counterterrorism. In addition, India is the largest buyer of Israeli weapons most significant ones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), missiles, radars, drones, and guns.

Such technologies gave India an edge in surveillance and reconnaissance, specifically on the borders. Furthermore, Israel has strengthened its ties with Indian private sectors for commercial collaborations.

Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems have formed joint ventures with Tech Mahindra, Bharat Forge, Adani Group, and Tata Advanced Systems to develop specialized subsystems and home security systems.

ELTA Systems, for example, is a joint venture between IAI and Tata Advanced Systems that manufactures communications, electronic warfare, and homeland security systems.

The Indian military receives artillery guns, guided munitions, and mortar systems from BF Elbit Advanced Systems, a joint venture of Elbit Systems and Bharat Forge. Israeli businesses have quickly adopted the specialized technical solutions provided by Indian companies.

For example, Israel’s precision-guided bombs have long been propelled by electro-optics technology developed by Tonbo Imaging, a Bengaluru-based company.

An agreement was signed in 2021 between India and Israel for technological cooperation to promote the research and development of dual-use technologies. Under this agreement, both countries will work together to develop new technologies such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Technology, etc.

Such developments will be made following the emerging requirements. As the world has globalized and the dynamics of wars are moving from traditional to non-traditional warfare, the concept of security is also facing severe challenges.

Pakistan, a less developed state, is more vulnerable to emerging technologies and ranked 7th in the list of countries vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Data theft, website defacing, and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are common cyber-attacks against Pakistan. It has been attacked many times since 2008.

Moreover, some senior officials’ mobile data were also hacked via WhatsApp using a malware named Pegasus, developed by an Israeli spyware company, i.e., Neighborhood Service Organization.

It is still unknown who was responsible for such an attempt, but it is still a concern as Indian Intelligence Agencies use the same malware. There is a dire need for the government to ensure the country’s security and safety.

Pakistan has recently established Pakistan Computer Emergency Response Team and Pakistan Information Security Association. These bodies are responsible for capacity building in the cyber-security domain. Pakistan Research Centre for Cybersecurity has also been established under the Cybersecurity Task Force.

Prevention of Electronic Crime Act is the primary law for cybersecurity in the country, aimed at preventing aggressive acts related to the cyber world. Non-state actors also threaten national security risks in the cyber domain. There is a lack of proper infrastructure to tackle this challenge. The cyber security policy should be designed by involving the audience as well.

Pakistan is a highly vulnerable country in terms of data and data is the most important for different emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. Furthermore, data is important for making economic decision making.

If India is going to access Pakistani data, then it impacts the comprehensive security of Pakistan. In addition, cooperation in the military domain is also going to impact Pakistan because Israel has the latest technology and also has unabated access to US military technology.

Furthermore, this cooperation can enhance insecurity in the region because India is already cooperating with many countries in defense technologies.

About Author

Nimrah is a researcher at the Center for International Strategic Studies, AJK.

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Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir