The Platform


States are learning that if you don’t have hardened cyber defenses you risk being left behind.

Technological advancements have altered how we connect and communicate with one another. Today’s technology extends beyond simply phoning a friend, and Internet access. States all over the world are actively pursuing and investing in emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, 5G, artificial intelligence, and so on.

Even future tech like 6G has gained traction recently, with several countries starting to work on it. 6G technology is expected to bring a cyber-physical continuum of connected intelligence with limitless connectivity, and a completely synchronised physical-digital universe.

Technology has always played an important role in economics and social development. The adoption of newer and better technology has been a critical part of power transfer among nation-states and has significantly influenced the shaping of international relations.

Nations all over the world are constantly looking for innovative and effective technologies to help them achieve significant military and economic superiority and take command of global geopolitics. In recent years, many national critical sectors, such as defence, finance, health, education, and telecommunications have become increasingly reliant on technology and this will further increase in the future.

In the current context, a state’s capacity in cyber is regarded as a critical component of national power. States around the world are vying for control of these critical technologies and have transformed cyberspace into a new battleground. Our over-reliance on technology has exposed our soft underbellies. State-sponsored, highly sophisticated cyber-attacks have increased recently as nations view them as powerful tools to impose costs and send a message to adversaries.

The world is in geopolitical turmoil, with growing mistrust, rivalry, and insecurity. This has been exacerbated by the pandemic, which has demonstrated how fragile our global supply chains are. It has become clear that the susceptibility to global supply chain disruption is mainly because of the issue of supply chain concentration.

The global semiconductor supply chain crisis highlights the critical relationship between trusted sources of technology and the security challenges that come with them. Nations are coming to understand that those who don’t learn how to make their own semiconductors or have control over them run the risk of having their quality and security design compromised. We know why Taiwan is so important to the world and why its national integrity and sovereignty are a global concern.

Take India for example. It is a fast-rising technological superpower. At the same time, India is also more susceptible to cyber or technology-related risks. The country has increasingly been the target of countless cyber-attacks. According to a study conducted by the cybersecurity firm Norton, India experienced over 18 million cyber-attacks and threats in the first three months of 2022, with an average of roughly 200,000 per day. Cybersecurity firm Recorded Future has reported recent attacks involving Chinese hackers on critical infrastructure in the Ladakh region over the past several months. India has been making considerable efforts to improve its digital resilience.

Under its “Atmanirbhar Bharat,” the Modi government has launched many policy initiatives like the Make in India campaign, and a multi-billion-dollar scheme to boost its semiconductor sector.

India is also actively collaborating with other countries in the region to improve the region’s technological capacity and resilience. In 2021, the Indo-Pacific region was heavily targeted by cyberattacks, accounting for one out of every four incidents worldwide. Japan, Australia, and India were the top three most targeted countries.

India is actively engaged in the region through several multilateral agreements such as the Quad, the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative, and others. India has also increased its engagement with Australia, agreeing to collaborate on developing cyber and critical technology capacities. India and Australia are both key players in the Indo-Pacific, with complementary technological strengths to boost their national capabilities and thus advance regional stability.

Technological sovereignty has emerged as a critical concern for states seeking national autonomy. States that are unable to keep pace with technological advancement risk becoming economically dependent on other countries for key technologies, making them vulnerable to direct foreign intervention in their domestic affairs. The world’s leading digital democracies are increasingly investing in and cooperating regionally on cyber security. As a major world power in the Indo-Pacific, India is taking national measures and forming alliances to strengthen its cyber capabilities and contribute to the creation of a technologically open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific.

Arshiya Chaturvedi is a law graduate from Symbiosis Law School, currently working as a Research Associate at CUTS International. Arshiya is working on a project called 'Ethical 6G,' which is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.