Information Technology and Security: An Update

Akshay Joshi, Research Officer, IDSA


India is on the threshold of the information revolution. It is well poised to be an economic superpower in the 21st century due to the availability of top notch talent in Information Technology (IT), a thriving democracy with minimum censorship on the use of information and communication technologies and the widespread use of the English language. There is a view that, 'Information Technology is to India, what oil is to the Gulf'.1 However, India has a long way to go before it can claim its rightful place in the world. On its part the government has taken many good 'first steps' in setting up the IT Task Force, the Group on Telecom (GoT) and various committees to look into different IT related issues. A draft New Telecom Policy 1999 (NTP-99) had been put up on the Internet for discussion in January 1999.2 This was subsequently approved by the Union Cabinet on March 26, 1999.3 There is also a lot of interaction with the Indian diaspora in the West, to find 'India specific' solutions in merging and exploiting information and its related technologies into the mainstream of life in India.

Many important steps need to be taken if India is to make full use of the opportunities thrown up by the information revolution. Information infrastructure needs to be put in place, cyber laws which will legalise the transaction of money over the Internet need to be enacted and information security needs to be ensured to guard against the negative effects of the information revolution. To ensure the optimum utilisation of information technologies and to encourage financial institutions, multinational corporations (MNCs) and entrepreneurs to put their money in building this information infrastructure all pending disputes like the sharing of the frequency spectrum and the licence fee tangle need to be resolved. This article looks at some of the technologies that drive the information revolution, issues relating to information security, the bottlenecks in the optimum utilisation of these technologies, challenges and opportunities for India and finally a few recommendations for the "road ahead."

Information Security and Data Encryption

Today's warfare has changed due to the advent of the Information Revolution. With the use of computers and modern communications in information-based warfare it has become extremely important to ensure security of information. Encryption and coding of information has been in use since times immemorial. The breaking of the encrypted message —the so-called Zimmerman Note, triggered the USA into declaring war on Germany in 1917 (Germany had offered US territories to Mexico in exchange for siding with Germany in World War I).4 The breaking of the Japanese code by the USA led to the downfall of the Japanese fleet in the Battle of Midway during World War II. In today's warfare there is an additional challenge, that is, the influence of the media on public opinion. The pictures shown by the Cable News Network (CNN) all over the world during the Charar-e-Sharif operations were actually pictures of Bosnia. This is an example of the misuse of the media to influence public opinion. It is also being referred to as the 'CNN-factor'. Besides being aware of this new dimension to warfare there is an urgent need to guard information. A systemic approach needs to be taken towards information security because security depends on the weakest link. Even if one link in the chain is weak, it might compromise security.5

National security goes beyond the military. As Clausewitz has emphasised, "Economics is war by other means." In today's world, information represents what factories represented in the Industrial Revolution. This is especially so when India is poised to take off through IT enabled economies. The proliferation of the Internet, introduction of electronic commerce (e-commerce), exchange of crores of rupees every day at the click of a mouse, necessitate a national policy on cyber laws. Cyber laws legalise digital signatures, the use of cyber currency and make cyber crimes punishable under law. Cyber laws are already in place in the USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Ghana and Singapore. India and Malaysia are in the process of enacting cyber laws.6 In India, the draft Information Technology Act (IT Act) has been put up by the Department of Electronics to the legal department of the Government of India. This Act will lay down the guidelines for electronic commerce in India and establish the much needed cyber laws.

Data encryption is done using encryption algorithms. These are complex mathematical cryptographic systems which use Finite Field Arithmetic, Number Theory and Factorisation.7 In data encryption the plain text is mixed with the algorithms at the senders premises. Thereafter it travels on the communication channel as cipher text (which is a garbled unintelligible message) and is decrypted at the receivers premise using a decryption algorithm. The sender and the receiver also share a set of keys which help in deciphering the message. The algorithm and the key form part of the cryptographic software. The simplified representation of the data encryption process is shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1. Data Encryption Process

Common Key


In the USA, cryptographic software exports are treated on par with arms exports. According to US law, US software vendors can export only those encryption software products whose code can by broken by the US National Security Agency. The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) have sounded a "red alert" on the import or purchase of security related software from the USA.8 Keeping the above danger in mind there is an urgent need to develop our own security software in India. The armed forces have recommended to the government (IT Task Force Recommendation No 104) that defence cryptographic systems can be made available to the civil to enable electronic fund transfers (EFT) and digital signatures. It is estimated that if we make cryptographic algorithms using Vedic Mathematics it will take many light years to crack the code. There is absolutely no need for us to be desperate to import 56 bit algorithms from the USA. India, whose scientists gave the world the digit "Zero",9 has enough talent to make a library of cryptographic algorithms. The talent in our Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and other similar centres of excellence need to be encouraged to churn out a number of such algorithms which should then be stored in a central repository.10 This will insulate our defence, civil and national security apparatus from the dangers of using imported cryptographic software.

Computer hacking is on the rise all over the world.11 The recent stealing of e-mails from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) computer network and the hacking of the army website have exposed us to this phenomenon. Hacking is defined as the unauthorised access into a computer system in order to play around with information. A group of American and Australian hackers who called themselves Milworm entered the BARC network and stole e-mail messages soon after the Pokhran II nuclear blasts. The BARC's internal network was connected to the Internet and the network administrator had used a simple password which was easily cracked by the hackers. The social engineering of the army website was possible because the server controlling the website was not located in India. A group of Pakistani hackers posing as Indians rang up the controllers of the army website and asked them to change the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the website to another address. Then these hackers changed the contents of the website. In order to guard against such incidents, an organisations internal network should not be connected to the Internet. The server on which the website is located should be within the country, preferably designed and managed by a reliable organisation which can be held responsible for avoidable lapses.

The profile of a typical hacker is male, 16-25 years old, one who has plenty of spare time, is an opportunist and persistent with his attacks, has access to modern computing and networking tools and one who starts hacking as a hobby but slowly turns it into a habit. Almost 85 per cent of the cyber crimes are instigated by insiders or disgruntled employees. The hackers operate on two domain viz., the Internet and telephone networks of organisations. In networked organisations they generally enter the system through e-mail or web servers.12 Hackers gain entry into a computer system by various means, like sending malicious software as attachments to e-mail messages. On gaining entry into the system, hackers launch various scanning software like SATAN, ADMhack, mscan, Internet Security Scanner(ISS), -ident TCPscan, Jakal, etc, in order to crack passwords.13 Computers can easily scan a dictionary to search for possible passwords. Alphanumeric passwords are more difficult to crack, but computers can compare all possible combinations of numbers and letters.14

There are various state-of-the-art security systems available today to make the systems impregnable against hackers. Any organisation which intends to network its computers must first install a fool-proof security system. There are various technologies to ensure security like firewalls, bastions, tunneling, data encryption, URL filtering, proxy screens, intrusion detectors, audit trails and e-mail relays. The Israeli armed forces officers have to remember the meaning of almost 500 terms relating to information security.15 In India, we should give similar importance to information security, both in the armed forces and in the civilian sector. We should also pay special attention to Research and Development (R&D) in the field of information security.

Need for a National Information Infrastructure (NII)

There are two technologies that have led to the information revolution, communication and computer technologies. Communication technologies enable us to move large volumes of information inexpensively and computer technologies make the useful information available to the people. The information revolution has led to a revolution in computing power, an increase in the bandwidth due to the use of fibre optic cables, invention of new wireless communication technologies and modern software. There is also a trend towards convergence of various technologies. Examples of these convergence of technologies include telephones on computers, cable TV programmes on computers, internet and computer programmes on TV etc. Recently, in Bangalore the technology to get cable TV programmes and the Internet on the same wire has been proved.16 Another futuristic technology is Internet telephony, also called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). At present, Internet telephony is being offered on the sly by 'smart operators' who charge just around Rs 6 per minute for a call to the USA as against Rs 84 per minute being charged by India's state owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL)!17 Though Internet telephony has not been legalised in India, it is a matter of time before this is introduced. There is a need for a national backbone network capable of supporting modern information and communication technologies.

Another trend today is that the services industry is replacing the manufacturing industry the world over as the fastest growing part of the economy. Services like medical transcriptions, tele-medicine, bill collections over the Internet, universal libraries, etc which use modern information technologies cost almost 10 times less in India than in advanced countries. In India, almost 40 per cent of our national wealth comes from the service industry. If India can build a good information infrastructure capable of supporting sophisticated, fast and cheap communication technologies, it has the potential to become the Asian hub for all services related activities in the region. There is a potential Rs 55,000 crore market which will provide employment to 1.1 million "superbabus" by 2008.18 We should not give away this market to China and South-East Asia due to the lack of a proper information infrastructure.

Information overload is fast becoming a major problem due to the extensive use of information technology. One of the reasons being assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) failure to predict the Pokhran II nuclear blasts is information overload. The new technologies to make the NII should have mechanisms to deal with information overload; use better methods of filtering, storing and archiving information; have a larger bandwidth by making use of modern fibre optic cabling and packet switching technologies; provide mobility using satellite communication and ensure optimum frequency spectrum exploitation.

Satellite Communication and Fibre-Optic Networking

There has been a lot of debate on whether land based fibre optic cables will replace wireless satellite based communication. Many international experts argue that fibre optics will replace Satellite Communication (Satcom), but seeing the proliferation of Satcom, it is evident that it is here to stay. In India, Satcom is already a billion dollar industry. In Asia, the growth of Satcom has been 36 per cent compared to 22 per cent in terrestrial based communication in 1998; the market size is likely to go up to US $4.5 billion by 2002; there will be almost 100 satellites over Asia by 2010 with investments worth US $9.5 billion.19 Satellite communication is probably the only way we can reach remote villages and ensure a tele-density of 15 per cent by 2010 envisaged in the New Telecom Policy 1999. There is also tremendous scope for using Satcom for networking the army in inaccessible terrain and the naval ships at sea.

Due to the large size of our country and the fact that our defence forces operate in remote and often inaccessible terrain, it will be expensive and cumbersome to lay fibre-optic cables for communication purposes. Defence communication using commercial satellites like Iridium or Hughes have security problems. Therefore, defence organisations need to get transponders on the Indian National Satellite (INSAT) 2 and INSAT 3 series of satellites allocated for themselves. The INSAT 2C has 3 Ku band transponders for VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) Communication. The INSAT 2E scheduled for launch on April 3, 1999, is the last of the second generation satellites built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). This satellite will be used for communication purposes. With 17 C-band transponders, the INSAT 2E has tremendous scope to fulfil defence communication and networking requirements. The third generation INSAT 3 series due for launch from the third quarter of 1999 onwards, will have five satellites. These will provide C-band, extended C-band and Ku band transponders for Satcom.20 These could also be used for defence purposes.

There is a general consensus in the corporate sector that in order to promote Satcom the following steps should be taken : the ISRO and the Department of Space (DOS) should be allowed to play a commercial role; there should be an open sky policy which can be regulated, though this should be done only with an understanding and knowledge about Satcom; there should be a reasonable revenue sharing approach instead of adhoc licensing; security should not become an alibi to block technology, rather security systems will grow out of the use of technology.21 The Satellite Communication industry is poised for tremendous growth and has the potential to ensure secure defence communications. This technology should not be blocked due to primitive thinking and archaic regulatory mechanisms.

Fibre-optics is a revolution in communication technology and has many advantages. It is cheaper than Satcom and transmission rates are faster. The time delay in transmission using fibre-optic cables is only 1/10th of a second compared to ½ second in Satcom. Due to this reason, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) prefer land based fibre-optic cables for commercial purposes. China has gone in for fibre-optic cabling in a big way and have laid 35000 km of 2.5 Gigabit(Gb) cables. India, till lately, had only 3.5 km of 2.5 Gb fibre-optic cables from Flora Fountain to Dhobi Talao in Mumbai. However, we have now woken up to the enormous potential of this technology. We should have 10000 km of fibre-optic cables in a years time and 35000 km of 2.5 Gb cables in three years time. There is a proposal to network all the universities in India with a cutting-edge fibre-optic high speed network christened the "Sankhya Vahini Vision."22 The final solution to the commercial, rural and defence communication requirements of India is a mixture of fibre-optic cables and Satcom. Fibre-optic cables should be laid wherever it is possible and Satcom should be used in remote and inaccessible areas. However, it will be necessary to ensure that at the point of change over from land based fibre-optic communication to Satcom or vice-versa the transition is smooth and seamless.

Frequency Spectrum Exploitation in India

The frequency spectrum is being used by various agencies viz., sound and TV broadcasting agencies, civil aviation industry, railways, defence, security agencies, cellular operators, etc. Organisations are changing over from land based wired communication to wireless communication to ensure mobility and to be able to reach remote areas where infrastructure does not exist. Earlier, most communication was land based and there was not much demand for wireless frequencies. Therefore, the Wireless Planning Committee (WPC), which is the coordinating agency for frequency allocation at the national level used to allocate frequencies to anyone who asked for it. With the opening up of the economy and the entry of cellular operators and private TV channels, the frequency spectrum has got crowded. This led to a stand-off between the corporate sector and the military on the issue of frequencies. The corporate sector blames the defence establishment of the country for "hogging" all the frequencies in the 800-900 Mhz and the 1700-1800 Mhz bandwidth. These are the frequencies being used internationally for wireless communication, as a result of which most of the commercial communication equipment available in the world is designed to operate in these frequency ranges. Unfortunately, when the spectrum for the mobile communications was decided during the World Radio Conference 1992, there was no defence representative included in the Indian delegation. The frequency allocations at this international conference fell in the band allotted to the defence forces. Therefore, the acceptance of the spectrum allocated for commercial cellular operations became a fait accompli for the defence forces.23 After 1995, the armed forces have released 20 per cent of their frequencies for use by the other agencies.

The setting up of the Spectrum Management Committee by the government is a welcome step which has helped ease the tensions in the "battle for frequencies." The National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) was last established in 1981, and has been modified from time to time since. According to the draft New Telecom Policy 1999, "With the proliferation of new technologies it is essential to revise the NFAP in its entirety so that it could become the basis for development, manufacturing and spectrum utilisation activities in the country amongst all users". The NFAP is presently under review. The revised NFAP-2000 would be made public by the end of 1999, detailing information regarding allocation of frequency bands for various services.24 Till the time the NFAP-2000 is finalised and implemented, innovative frequency sharing methods need to be adopted by the various agencies using the frequency spectrum. The National Telecom Policy-99 (NTP-99) announced on March 26, 1999 envisages setting up of an empowered inter-ministerial group to be called, Wireless Planning Coordination Committee (WPCC) as part of the spectrum allocation policy.25

The Internet and E-Commerce

The Internet is growing at a rapid pace. According to a survey conducted recently the worldwide estimate is 100 million Internet users. In non-Japan Asia, there are about 10.5 million Internet accounts, increasing at 39 per cent a year. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in non-Japan Asia expect sales worth $8.2 billion by 2002. The region is also warming to electronic commerce over the Internet. Online sales will top $15 billion by 2002. If we add the amount on transactions between manufacturers and their suppliers the amount would be $150 billion in Asia alone. Most of the companies want to manage their relations with suppliers over the Net.26 The Internet has become a tool for staying ahead. With the introduction of Internet telephony, Internet café's will become the mass communication centres of the future like the telephone booths are today.

In India there are currently almost two lakh Internet users and this figure is expected to reach two million by the year 2000. The government has finally ended state-owned VSNL's monopoly on Internet service. There is negligible censorship on the Internet and an abundance of top-notch talent in India. The fact that the English language is used extensively in India is an added advantage. The VSNL has commissioned a larger bandwidth for Internet services in India and is commissioning optical fibre cables to enable good communication.27 It has started leasing lines to private ISPs. In order to allow electronic commerce transactions over the Net it is necessary to have a legislation enabling verification of credit cards online. This necessitates a legal framework to allow encryption and digital signatures. Without these safeguards, credit card transactions over the Net are not secure. It is heartening to note that the Indian parliament is working on passing these cyber laws. Once cyber laws are in place and business over the Net takes off, India will be in an excellent position to be an Asian Internet superpower.

Asia's growing Internet, presents the continent's authoritarian regimes with a conflict. For years, these regimes thought they could contain the Net's freewheeling exchange of ideas and images. In Singapore and China, government controlled ISPs blocked access to websites. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad targetted billions for a multimedia super corridor to put Malaysia ahead in the Internet—but thought he could build it without sacrificing his government's control over opposition voices. Now that vision is being put to test: Mahathir has started clamping down on critics who use the Net, by requiring cybercafe's to register the name of their users. Beijing remains deeply suspicious of information flows. In Shanghai, a detained computer entrepreneur was given a two-year sentence for providing e-mail addresses to Internet publications critical of China abroad. They fear that a worldly wise population may gain access to politically destabilising ideas. There are other obstacles to the Net in China. The state monopoly telecom provider, China Telecom's domination of telecom services has kept the cost of Internet connections very high— almost $1 an hour which is very stiff by international standards. At the same time, Internet users in China are expected to grow from two million today to four million in 2000. E-commerce is projected to grow to more than $660 million by 2001. There are already more than 4,000 Chinese-language websites plus tens of thousands of home pages on the Net. Departmental stores are going on line: Shanghai Book City, one of Shanghai's largest booksellers wants to replace US bookseller . The Chinese have launched a search engine modelled on the lines of Yahoo!, with backing from investors including Intel Corporation, Dow Jones and Negroponte.28 How China and other authoritarian regimes are going to manage these contradictory attitudes towards the Internet is a million dollar question.

Need for a National Information Policy

A National Telecom Policy was formulated in 1994 to attract the private sector to augment the state owned Department of Telecommunication's (DoT) efforts in providing a telecommunication network throughout the country. However, there were various shortcomings in the NTP-94. The DoT was performing the functions of policy maker, licensor and service provider, a strong regulator was not in position, financing issues were not addressed, and the emergence of new technologies had made the NTP-94 relatively obsolete.

The government had placed a draft NTP-99 on the Internet to elicit valuable comments from the Indian public and telecom specialists around the world.29 The NTP-99 has since been finalised and announced on March 26, 1999. It talks about providing a 15 per cent tele-density in 10 years, it sets the deadline of 2001 for the corporatisation of the DoT and it strengthens the regulator (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India). NTP-99 emphasises the need to replace the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, which governs the telecommunications system in India. Recognising the convergence of technologies, the new policy allows cable networks to provide two-way data, voice and information services. Direct inter-connectivity between a cable service provider and any other type of service provider in their area will be permitted.30 Allowing cable operators to become fixed service provides should help the spread of telephony because of the widespread reach of cable TV.31 The NTP-99 does not talk of incentives for domestic manufacturing (China has focussed on the domestic telecom manufacturing industry while in India manufacturers feel the taxes are high), it continues the ban on Internet telephony, and it does not deal with financing issues.

A National Information Policy in the days of the information revolution is a very important document and ideally it should be India's roadmap to superpower status. The NTP is an important ingredient of the National Information Policy. In its present form, the NTP-99 leaves out some important issues like financing, encouragement to domestic manufacturers, and resolution of the license fees imbroglio for existing operators. The New Telecom Policy provides for a revenue-sharing arrangement under which the licensee company will pay a certain percentage of its revenues to the government. However this applies only to the new entrants and not to the existing operators. The Cabinet has decided to seek the opinion of the attorney-general on whether or how the existing operators in basic and cellular services can switch over to the licencing framework of the new policy.32

Challenges for India

India has the potential to be an economic power to reckon with if it exploits the information revolution properly. However, there are various challenges facing India which need to be overcome before we can exploit the revolution to the fullest. In our country we need to look at 'India specific' solutions. The Internet has to coexist with the bullock cart. We are also facing a conflict in the transition from a socialist economy to a free market economy. A recent example is the stand-off between the cellular operators and the government on the payment of licence fees. In order to open up the telecom sector in coherence with free market reforms the government invited bids in 1994, the cellular industry over quoted the licence fees, the government readily accepted this and now the cellular operators are asking for central intervention to bail them out.

Telecommunications by its nature is an interdependent system and it should spread so as to ensure equality, eradication of poverty, bring people together and bridge the gap between the have's and the have nots. The future resource is going to be information, knowledge, wisdom and not materials. The media will play an active role in the future. We need to learn how to exploit information to our advantage. There is also a need to put information monitoring and management systems on media, Internet and satellite systems which jeopardise our national security. At the same time, we must ensure that we don't curb initiative.

There are also various financial challenges which need to be tackled. In order to create a NII of world class standard to support various information and communication technologies, finances are crucial. The NTP-99 envisages a tele-density of 15 per cent by 2010 which means installing 130 million lines. This is almost 7.5 times the total number of telephone lines installed in India since Independence and involves a cost of almost Rs 400,000 crore (the current costs for installation of one line is approximately Rs 30,000). The challenge will be to try and reduce the installation cost per line to about Rs 10,000 per line and to attract foreign investment into building this information infrastructure.33

There are internal and external challenges faced by India in raising the finances to fund this infrastructure. The transition from asset-based financing to project-based financing is a learning for us. Financial Institutions (FIs) are not putting their money in the telecom sector due to many reasons like inadequacy of returns on investment, lack of a forward looking National Information Policy, licensing stand-off between the government and the private sector, etc. External factors like the Asian economic meltdown and downgrading of India's financial rating by international financial rating agencies are some of the other factors leading to lack of capital inflows in this sector.

Some of the steps that need to be taken to remove the bottlenecks in creating the right infrastructure are: the implementation of the Indian Infrastructure Report 1996, establishment of a funding agency for the telecom sector (like the funding agencies for the power and railways sectors), restructuring of the debt market (at present most of the finances are raised from equity and very less from debt), rationalising tariff structures to encourage the small players (in the USA a large proportion of the business is handled by the smaller companies), introduction of non-voting shares as incentives for the employees of telecom and IT companies, starting venture capital funds to encourage new software companies to start their operations, modification of external commercial borrowing (ECB) guidelines, etc. Fiscal incentives like a 10 year tax holiday for companies investing in information related infrastructure and replacing the current licence fee structure with a revenue sharing arrangement need to be debated and finally implemented for a win-win solution to be found.34


The information revolution and its related technologies are bringing the world closer. The concept of a global village powered by information technologies has demolished time and distance. It is changing the rules of the game in international relations. It is affecting all the three pillars of national power i.e. political, military and economic. India is still at an embryonic stage as far as integration of these technologies is concerned. If we can tame the microchip and use it to our advantage, India can make an impact on the international scene. However, to exploit this revolution, we need to establish the right infrastructure with special emphasis on information security and training of human resources. The recommendations suggested in this paper are summarised below:

l Cyber laws need to be enacted at the earliest.

l R & D in the field of information security needs to be given utmost importance. Students should be encouraged to make cryptographic algorithms in universities.

l A National Cryptography Institute which will monitor cryptography in the country and act as a repository of algorithms needs to be formed. This will insulate our defence, civil and national security apparatus from the dangers of using imported cryptographic software.

l Information security should be instituted as a full fledged subject in universities and institutes of science and technology.

l All software and hardware entering our national boundries must be subjected to thorough checking for any malacious contents.

l Awareness on information security must be spread on a war-footing in the country. Special emphasis needs to be given to the importance of physical security, e-mail security, network security and Internet security.

l Internet telephony should be legalised.

l Software and innovative methods to manage information overload and filtering information should be developed.

l The NFAP-2000 should ensure equitable distribution of the frequency spectrum after considering all factors like methods of sharing frequency, optimum utilisation of new technologies, etc.

l The representatives from the defence forces must be included in any Indian delegation on information and communication issues.

l A mix of Satcom and fire-optic networking should be used to meet the defence, commercial and rural networking requirements.

l The opportunities and challenges of e-commerce should be understood. It will be an important medium for business transactions in the near future.

l The use of cyber currency and digital signatures should be legalised at the earliest to enable the use and verification of credit cards on-line.

l Financial incentives to raise the finances for a national information infrastructure include the establishment of a funding agency (like the agencies for power and railways), encouragement to small players, venture capital funds, modification of external commercial borrowing (ECB) guidelines, special incentives to employees of IT related companies and resolving the licence fee tangle.

l A National Information Policy which includes time frames for implementation needs to be formulated. The NTP-99 falls short of expectations in some respects. These shortfalls and other bottlenecks should be removed in a National Information Policy, which should ideally be finalised before the onset of the next millenium.

India neds a tool to achieve superpower status. We missed the industrial revolution which changed the power structure in the world, we were unable to convince the MNCs to make India into their manufacturing hub (because of which SE Asian economies progressed at an alarming pace in the 70's and 80's) and our approach till today to the information revolution has not been proactive, we have just reacted to the developments. However, despite our inaction we have once again been given an opportunity to achieve superpower status, an opportunity very rarely given to nations the second time! If we can build the infrastructure and train the human resource in the knowledge based information industry then the triad of software, services and the Internet will ensure that India becomes an economic superpower in the 21st century.



1. Ashok Soota, "Information Technology: The Knowledge Industry", in Hiranmay Karlekar ed., Independent India, The First Fifty Years, (Delhi: Oxford University Press,1998), p. 220.

2. GoT draft discussion paper is available on the Internet at

3. Business Times Bureau, "New Policy to end DoT Monopoly on STD", Times of India, March 27, 1999.

4. Collyn Rivers, "DES Encryption—Exports Eased", in T Narayanmoorthy ed., Information Security, (New Delhi: Vimot Publishers; 1999) pp. 35-36.

5. Tutorial on Information Security at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.

6. Haridas Raigaga, "Cyber Laws in the Making—A Guided Tour", in T. Narayanmoorthy ed., Information Security, (New Delhi: Vimot Publishers; 1999), p 55.

7. V. Ch. Venkaiah, "A Brief Encounter with Encryption Algorithms", paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.

8. Mayur Shetty, "CVC Tells Banks and FIs to use Only Local Software", Economic Times, January 12, 1999.

9. Charles Van Doren, The History of Knowledge, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1992), p.28.

10. Maj Gen Devinder Kumar, "Data Encryption and Secure E-commerce," paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.

11. For an interesting account of how a German hacker entered the US defence networks through the University of Berkley's computer network, see Dr. Cliff Stoll, The Cuckoo's Egg, (New York: Doubleday, 1989).

12. B.N. Pal, "Common Techniques adopted by System Crackers to break into Sensitive Private Networks", paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.

13. Ibid.

14. Dan Caldwell, "Power, Information and War", The Emirates Occasional Papers, (Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, 1998), p. 11.

15. C. Paulraj, "Information Technology and the Navy", talk at the United Services Institution (USI), New Delhi, September 1998.

16. Seminar on "Emerging Communication Technologies and Society", organised by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi, March 15-16, 1999.

17. Sanjay Anand, "The Call is Held up Again", Times of India, March 14, 1999.

18. Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, "The Coming Super-Babu Revolution", Times of India, February 28, 1999.

19. Abu Shafquat, "Satcom—Issues and Implications", paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.

20. See, "INSAT-2E Launch on April 3", The Hindu, March 5, 1999.

21. n. 17.

22. V.S. Arunachalam, "Communications: The Endless Frontier", paper presented at the seminar on "Emerging Communication Technologies and Society", organised by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi, March 15-16, 1999.

23. Interview of the Chairman Frequency Spectrum Management Committee of the National IT Task Force in Telematics India, February 1999, pp. 78-80.

24. See, GoT draft discussion paper on the Internet at

25. Business Times Bureau, "Telecom Policy Endorses Revenue-Sharing Regime," Times of India, March 27, 1999.

26. Bruce Einhorn, Manjeet Kripalani and Michael Shari, "Asia Logs On", Business Week, February 1, 1999, pp. 22-23.

27. Amitabh Kumar (CMD VSNL), "Internet—Opportunities and Challenges", paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.

28. n. 23.

29. n. 22.

30. n. 3.

31. Editorial, "A Cheer and a Half," Economic Times, March 29, 1999.

32. n. 3.

33. M.G.K. Menon, at the seminar on "Emerging Communication Technologies and Society", organised by the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi, March 15-16, 1999.

34. Percival Billimoria, "Social and Financial Challenges in the Information Era", paper presented at the 10th Annual Conference "INFOTEK 99", organised by Telematics India on, "National Information Infrastructure—A Blueprint to Prosperity", New Delhi, February 24-26, 1999.