Countries have prioritised cybersecurity and developed skills to safeguard their vital infrastructure, digital assets, and private data as a result of the growing significance of cyberspace in the contemporary world. No exemption applies to India and Pakistan, two nuclear-armed neighbours that have a turbulent past. This study compares their cyber capabilities in great depth and evaluates Pakistan’s difficulties and concerning circumstances.
Over the last several years, India has significantly increased its cyber capabilities. The Indian government has made significant investments in research, education, and infrastructure related to cybersecurity. India’s dedication to protecting its cyberspace is shown by the creation of the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), and the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC).
The development of India’s cyber capabilities has also been greatly helped by the private sector. Through research, development, and consulting services, organisations like Infosys, Wipro, and Tata Consultancy Services have significantly improved the cybersecurity environment. Furthermore, with over 100,000 people working in the industry, India boasts a sizable talent pool of cybersecurity specialists.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s cyber capabilities are still in the early phases of development. The National Centre for Cyber Security (NCCS) and the Computer Emergency Response Team (PK-CERT) are only two recent achievements for the nation. However, India’s spending in cyber defence dwarf these efforts.
With few businesses actively engaged in cybersecurity research and development, Pakistan’s private sector has likewise fallen behind its Indian counterpart. The nation’s pool of cybersecurity experts is fewer than it should be, and the absence of strong cyber defences has made its digital assets susceptible to intrusions.
India has been investing in creating offensive cyber tools and methods, which has led to a steady improvement in its cyber warfare capabilities. The nation has allegedly engaged in cyber espionage operations against its rivals, particularly Pakistan. The Indian government’s emphasis on enhancing its cyberwarfare and information collecting capabilities has alarmed Pakistan and other nearby nations.
Although Pakistan has also been accused of carrying out cyberattacks on India, experts feel that Pakistan’s skills in this area are less advanced than India’s. Pakistan’s cyberattacks have mostly targeted vital infrastructure, military networks, and government websites in India. However, Pakistan’s cyber attack has had a very modest effect owing to a lack of highly developed cyber capabilities.
Pakistan has a huge issue as a result of the expanding cyber capability gap between India and Pakistan. Pakistan will have a difficult time protecting its digital assets and launching an effective cyberoffensive against its neighbour as India’s cyber defences become more advanced.
The poor cybersecurity framework in Pakistan has economic repercussions as well. Cyberattacks continue to represent a risk to the nation’s digital economy, which is essential to its growth and development. Cyberattacks have the potential to cause financial losses, vital infrastructure damage, and a loss of faith in digital services, all of which might impede Pakistan’s economic development.
Due to Pakistan’s lacking cyber capabilities, national security is at stake as cyber warfare plays a bigger role in contemporary conflict. Pakistan’s stability and security might suffer greatly if a cyberattack on its vital infrastructure, military systems, or government systems is successful.
Slow and dispersed action has been taken in response to the rising cyber threat. The government must give cybersecurity top priority and create a thorough national plan to meet its difficulties. Pakistan may take the following actions to close the gap and improve its cyber capabilities:
In order to successfully handle the cyber issues it confronts, Pakistan has to enhance its current cyber institutions and create new ones. It should be a primary priority to increase the NCCS and PK-CERT’s capacity and capabilities as well as to create a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy.
Pakistan must make investments to create a secure infrastructure that can fend against cyberattacks. This involves distributing funds for research and development, enabling public-private collaborations, and encouraging innovation in the field of cybersecurity.
For Pakistan’s cyber defence, it is essential to address the scarcity of qualified cybersecurity personnel. To develop a workforce capable of combating new cyber dangers, the nation must invest in cybersecurity education and training programmes.
To improve its cyber capabilities, Pakistan should aggressively seek out foreign partnership and cooperation. By cooperating with international partners, the nation may get access to cutting-edge technology, exchange best practises, and create efficient cyberstrategies.
In the context of the rivalry between India and Pakistan, it is crucial for both nations to take confidence-boosting actions and set standards of conduct online. This can include commitments to refrain from attacking vital infrastructure and cooperate to combat online threats. Such actions may increase confidence between the two countries while lowering the likelihood of cyber escalation.
A concerning scenario for Pakistan is shown by comparing the cyber capabilities of India and Pakistan. Pakistan must take immediate measures to address its cyber vulnerabilities in light of the widening cyber capability gap as well as the ramifications for the economy and national security. Pakistan can negotiate the complex cyber environment and defend its interests in cyberspace by strengthening institutions, investing in infrastructure and research, expanding cybersecurity education, seeking international collaboration, and taking confidence-boosting steps with India.