Event Proceedings

Keynote presenter:

Farah Pandith
Head of Strategy Institute of Strategic Dialogue, UK

Andrew Balmaks
Chairman Institute for Regional Security, Australia


Maj Gen Alok Deb, SM, VSM (Retd.)
Deputy Director General, IDSA


Benjamin Ang
Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore

Cyber Security Trust Officer CISCO India


Maj Gen Alok Deb stated that the use of technology for this purpose that has amplified the threat of radicalisation. He pointed out that India emerged as the third most vulnerable risk of cyber threat as per Semantic Analysis of the previous. He highlighted the use of Force 47 in Vietnam to monitor the internet, and bring down videos and data which are disruptive for country’s unity. Further, he emphasised that the nature of cyber space is in itself very secretive and anonymous, and countries getting into cyber space are not likely to share the data. Thus, governments both individually and collectively need to incorporate measures such that cyber threats are curbed.

Pandith, in her Keynote Presentation identified trends such as the increasing pressure on private sector companies by the government to tackle radicalization, the existence of multiple identities of extremists and the absence of ‘other ideas’. To deal with these trends, she suggested to build and design infrastructures and neutral platform to facilitate information sharing, to build resilience in a way that is authentic to the community and to build resilience among children by imparting education of cultural understanding of being a good internet citizen. She concluded by stating that a strategy of integrating governments, private sectors and countries all over the world is needed to counter the threat of internet and extremist groups.

Balmaks said that radicals have online existence and technology gives them ease of connection and communication thereby expanding the reach and scale of their operations. He further stated that everyone irrespective of social and economic status, and age have ready access to technology, and social media allows them interaction and participation, and removes technological edge which was once enjoyed by national states. The strategy to counter this must not be confined to military, police or security forces approach but should include the private sector and communities as well. He suggested that the problem requires an anthropological approach which needs to target the cause by identifying the desire inside the problem.


On Balmaks’ Keynote presentation Ang commented that the world needs more global cooperation, and more decentralization in looking at the solutions of this problem. As there is easy access to technology, governments should be able to use technology better. He further stated that more of social and psychological understanding of the issue is needed along with the technical understanding. On Pandith’s Keynote presentation Ang commented that offline part of building resilience among children is as important as online part. He also added that the online must have more accountability and governance and that in creating counter narrative strategies, governments are not the only influential factors.

Das focused on intelligence apparatus to deal with the issue of cyber security and observed that while there is no dearth of ideas for capacity building in the intelligence community at the strategic level, there is a major lack of resources in terms of scale and number of people needed on ground. There is a need for new disciplines in the apparatus, particularly from liberal arts who understand how human beings behave. Intelligence community needs to look inward, being more diverse and inclusive, and should develop rich interfaces with the public. He also said that to manage the encryption of data, there has to be a shift from data to Meta-data where we would require people not only from technical background but rather from other disciplines as well.


During the panel discussion Maj Gen Alok Deb (Retd.) emphasised the basic dilemma of responsibility amongst the stakeholders -government, society, private companies or the individuals; and put the question of taking responsibility at the international level. As a response to this, Ms. Pandith stated that all the four entities need to jointly come together and take responsibility of countering this problem. To that Balmaks added that since radicalisation is also an anthropological issue and not necessarily a geographical or national issue, industry is one of the ways through which this issue needs to be looked it. Das highlighted the fact that cyber defense and cyber offence are two facets of the same structure. Industry, being the primary market force should permeate this learning to the government. Ang further added to it by stating that each sector is to perform well in their own sector, for instance, while the government has the resources, the private sector has the speed flexibility and understanding of the market.