‘Cybercrimes cut GDP by 2.5 per cent'

‘Cybercrimes cut GDP by 2.5 per cent'

PUNE: Setting the alarm bells ringing over the rising cybercrimes, Lt Gen Rajesh Pant (retd), who is the National Cyber Security Coordinator in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on Monday, said that cybercrimes may take the Indian economy backwards.

“Are we waiting for a cyber earthquake to strike before we get our act together? We are aiming for a 5 trillion dollar economy, which requires a certain rate of growth. However, we are already facing headwinds in the economy. Globally, 2.5 per cent of the GDP is lost to cybercrimes. This is a concern, as the nation, which is facing major headwinds, will find it difficult to achieve the ambition if cybercrimes take the economy backwards,” said Lt Gen Pant while speaking during the inauguration ceremony of International Symposium on Quantum Information Technology (ISQIT 2019).

The event is jointly organised by Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT), Pune, Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and Joint Advanced Technology Centre (JATC), IIT Delhi.

“Quantum technologies are the new technology frontier,” said Dr CP Ramanarayanan, Vice-Chancellor, DIAT, Pune.

“It harnesses the quantum-mechanical properties at the atomic and sub-atomic level. The physics at this level is drastically different from classical physics and very difficult to comprehend. Quantum technologies can have profound advantages over classical technologies. The classical cryptography, which is based on computational complexity, will be extremely vulnerable with the advent of Quantum computer. This demands a move ahead with quantum cryptography to attain unconditional security. Quantum key distribution can provide unconditionally secure online key exchange for a secure communication, which is of prime importance for security applications and meet the requirements of secure communications. Quantum gravity sensors and inertial navigation system promise much higher resolution, accuracy and stability as compared to its classical counterpart. Quantum imaging has major advantages for defence, medical and fundamental science applications. The stealth technologies will not hold good once the Quantum Radars evolve. In this symposium, the challenges to achieving these endeavours will de be deliberated,” said Dr Ramanarayanan.

Lt Gen Pant further remarked, “My concern is of China leading the race. Why am I saying this? Because it has established the first quantum satellite network and distributed entangled photons between three terrestrial base stations separated by 1,200 km. Quantum is at the heart of China’s 13th five-year plan. Chinese dominate in quantum computing patents in the last four years. They are presently building a multi-satellite quantum network national lab.”

The officer also pointed out that global investments in quantum computing are also growing. “US National Quantum Initiative Act has assured USD 1.2 billion, the European Union has assured one billion euros. Canada and Australia are also investing hugely,” he added.

“I find many gaps in the Indian scenario. There is an absence of a quantum roadmap. There is no visibility in quantum efforts and successes. And there is a lack of required skill power. As the National Cyber Security Coordinator, this a cause of concern for me. We have some private companies working on Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) aspect, post-quantum cryptography and Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform on quantum. The DRDO is also doing very significant work as also the Department of Science and Technology, which has launched a quantum enabled science and technology project,” said Lt Gen Pant.

DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy, who was the chief guest, said, “A committee comprising of top officials from IITs, NITs, Central universities and the DRDO has been formed to look into various futuristic areas of research and also identify corresponding institutions where the work is currently on.” Dr Sudhir Kamath, Director General (MED, COS and CS), MH Rahaman, Director JATC-IIT Delhi, representatives from National Security Advisory (NSA) Council and defence services were also present during the event. The organising committee has experts from various DRDO laboratories viz. ANURAG, SAG, CAIR and DYSL-QT, experts from DIAT, TIFR Mumbai, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and IIIT Pune. 

Dr Santu Sardar, Director of DRDO Lab for Quantum Technology, DYSL-QT, and Co-convenor of this event Dr Manisha J Nene, DIAT, Pune, believes that the event will contribute towards the formulation for future collaborations to progress. There are 11 experts from abroad participating in the symposium.

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