The Ukrainian conflict has shown how its ripple effects could adversely impact the whole world, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday referring to the global energy and food crisis caused as a result.
“The conflict has also fuelled an energy crisis in the world. In Europe, the oil and gas supply has been dwindling. India has also been affected as the Russia-Ukraine war led to a disruption in international energy supply, making the energy import much more expensive,” Mr. Singh said speaking at the 60th National Defence College (NDC) course convocation. “Together, Russia and Ukraine export nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley, but this conflict had prevented grain from leaving the ‘breadbasket of the world and led to a food crisis in various African and Asian countries,” he stated.
During the convocation ceremony, 80 officers from the 60th NDC Course, 2020 batch, were awarded the MPhil degree from the University of Madras. Mr. Singh awarded parchments to the graduating officers. The NDC’s flagship ‘National Security and Strategy course, using a comprehensive pedagogical model, is conducted over a 47-week duration. The award of the MPhil degree from Madras University is a concurrently running program for volunteer officers during the course.
Mr. Singh flagged information war and cyber-attacks as major concerns. Stating that information war has the potential to threaten our political stability, he said there is no account of how much fake news and hate material is likely to be brought into society through social media platforms. “The deployment of information war was most evident in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Throughout the conflict, social media has served as a battleground for both sides to spread competing narratives about the war and portray the conflict on their own terms,” he remarked.
The propaganda campaigns as a means of strategy to shape narratives are by no means new during warfare, but its reach has increased by leaps and bounds due to the shift toward social media as the primary distribution channel, he elaborated.
The energy sector is one of the main targets of cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure, but it is not the only one, the Minister also marks transport, public sector services, telecommunications, and critical manufacturing industries as vulnerable. “The vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyber-attacks has become a big concern.” On this, he further stated that we are facing such security threats, which fall into the category of non-kinetic and non-contact warfare with cyber warfare and information warfare being such threats. “The gap between internal and external security is getting narrower. New dimensions of security threats are emerging, that are becoming increasingly difficult to classify,” Mr. Singh added.