Pakistan’s anti-India propaganda exposed
TOPIC: General Studies 2
- India and its neighbourhood
- Government policies – cyber-warfare
In News: Recent media reports claim that Pakistan has launched a cyber warfare against India by spreading fake propaganda on alleged Islamophobia in India. The Hindustan Times reported that authorities in India have linked several social media posts that targeted India and Prime Minister Modi to Pakistan.
Social media witnessed a sudden increase in the number of Pakistani accounts changing their profile names to fake Arab, Christian and Hindu identities to spread misinformation and anti-India propaganda. Security agencies and independent social media users, after investigation, found that the recent hashtags like “Islamophobia in India” on Twitter, were mostly sourced to bots, trolls and people in Pakistan.
Pakistan-based groups have purchased hundreds of domains with “.in” suffix. These newly bought domains will be converted to media outlets and will be used to spread fake news. Since these media outlets will have an Indian domain name, they will carry more trust value among the Indian and international readers who will visit them.
The Reason: Fuel anti-India sentiments in the Gulf countries to put a strain on the ties of India with the west Asian countries
- India has increased its engagement with the Gulf countries since PM Modi came into power in 2014. The invitation extended to India by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to participate in the foreign ministers’ meet in 2019 was a major blow to Pakistan that has consistently opposed India’s entry into the grouping despite having the third-largest Muslim population in the world.
- To hurt India’s economic interests in the Gulf countries from where India received roughly $35 billion as remittance annually in 2017 from the millions of workers deployed in these countries.
- Earlier, Pakistan used similar tactics when certain sections of Article 370 were revoked in 2019, but failed miserably.
Pakistan’s fake anti-India social media propaganda
The hate mongering is at its peak since the day PM Modi-led government announced its decision to scrap J&K’s special status and divided it into the two union territories.
- Knocked the doors of every nation, including the Gulf countries, against the India’s decision but it got a very cold response. None of the countries endorsed Pakistan’s stand and refused to intervene.
- Used the stage of United Nations to spew venom against India and its leadership and launched personal attacks on PM Modi and the RSS
- Threat of nuclear war that could break out between the two countries – failed to get any support
A full-fledged war against India on social media
Hundreds of fake accounts were activated in the neighbouring country with fake names to create hatred against the Indian leadership and to create a wedge between Hindus and Muslims in India by projecting ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as anti-Muslim.
- Attempts were made to project Citizenship Amendment Act as a move to eliminate Muslims from India. Govt. had to keep reiterating that CAA won’t snatch anyone’s citizenship and it has got nothing to do with the Indian Muslims.
- Riots in New Delhi were the eventual fall out of the provocation and the misinformation which was spread by the people with vested interests.
- Many social media accounts having Hindu names spread venom against Muslims and make every possible attempt to instigate Muslims against Hindus. This entire hate machinery is being run from the neighbouring country to make us fall into this false propaganda which is aimed at creating rift and dividing our country on the basis of religion.
The Miss from India’s end
India’s cyber warfare is handled by the National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC), that comes under the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). It is the NCCC which coordinates cyber security intelligence and handles national cyber security, and started functioning from April 2015. However, as the last two weeks’ developments show, the NCCC is failing to handle the heat that is coming from Pakistan-based cyber groups.
One of the main problems that makes India vulnerable to organised cyber-attacks is the presence of too many organisations to tackle the cyber threat. In sum, there are six apex bodies, five ministries, almost 30 agencies and five coordinating agencies that make up the cyber organisation in India. India’s very own PMO was hacked in 2011. And all of them work on a ‘defensive’ mode and because of this, no one takes a proactive approach like the Pakistanis have done in the last two weeks
The Way Forward
- Building capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber threats
- A new cyber security policy, to replace the existing one
- Action-packed and not full of words policy is required
- Draw lessons from Operation Glowing Symphony which was a response that was created by US Cyber Command to take on the cyber capabilities of the ISIS. It is regarded as one of the most secret, largest and longest offensive cyber operations in US military history.
Connecting the Dots:
- Operation Glowing Symphony
- The religious fault lines in India were first used by Britishers and now by Pakistan. Comment.
- Discuss India’s lack of capabilities in executing similar “fake-news” warfare to counter these attacks.
- What are the main problems that make India vulnerable to organised cyber-attacks? Discuss solutions.