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Lt Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant on India’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US cooperation, end-to-end encryption and more

Photo of Rajesh Pant at the event
Lt Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant at the event. Credit: Aditi Agrawal for MediaNama

By Aditi Agrawal and Nikhil Pahwa On May 29, we interviewed Lt Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant, India's National Cyber Security Coordinator, over the phone. We discussed the role of the Coordinator, what to expect from the National Cyber Security Strategy, the impact of COVID-19 on cybersecurity, India's submission to the UN Open-ended Working Group, the Personal Data Protection Bill and much more. (Note that the interview has been lightly edited for clarity.) On the role of the National Cyber Security Coordinator MediaNama: What are the functions and powers of the office of the National Cyber Security Coordinator? Does it only cover national security, or does it also cover cybercrime? Lt General Pant: In 2013, the cabinet had approved the National Cyber Security Policy. In that, there were a number of new institutions that were proposed. For example, there is an institution called the NCIIPC — National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre — for the CII [critical information infrastructure]; then, for threat analysis, there was the NCCC — National Cyber Coordination Centre; for cybercrime, there was the I4C — Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the MHA; and as a coordinator of all these aspects, there was an appointment created called the National Cyber Security Coordinator [NCSC]. This was part of the Policy. As you are aware, the National Security Council is chaired by the Prime Minister and it comprises four major ministries, two in North Block and two in South Block — External Affairs, Finance, Defence and Home. Two external, two…

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