GS Paper III

News Excerpt: 

Army initiates Project SAMBHAV under which 5G enabled mobile phones will use dual-use infrastructure but completely devoid of operating systems like Android or IOS.

About the Project Sambhav:

The Indian Army has achieved a significant milestone in bolstering its defense capabilities with the development of the SAMBHAV (Secure Army Mobile Bharat Version) – an end-to-end encrypted mobile ecosystem. 

  • Atma Nirbhar bharat: Aligned with the ethos of 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India), SAMBHAV serves as a secure 5G-based mobile platform, representing a major leap forward in India's defense capabilities. 
  • Development: Developed in collaboration with national centers of excellence from academia and industry, this initiative is part of the larger vision of achieving self-sufficiency in critical technologies. 
  • The initiative involves configuring 35,000 SAMBHAV sets in two phases, with the first phase targeting 2,500 sets to be completed by January 15, 2024, and the second phase scheduled for completion by May 31, 2024.

Features of SAMBHAV:

  • End-to-End Encryption: SAMBHAV is designed to provide end-to-end encryption for secure communication. This means that the data transmitted between devices within the SAMBHAV ecosystem is encrypted, and only authorized parties with the corresponding decryption keys can access the information.
  • 5G Technology: SAMBHAV operates on contemporary 5G technology, allowing for high-speed and reliable communication. The use of 5G technology ensures faster data transfer, low latency, and improved connectivity, making it suitable for dynamic and mobile military operations.
  • Multi-Tier Encryption: The mobile ecosystem employs multi-tier encryption, indicating that there are multiple layers of security measures in place to protect sensitive information. This approach enhances the overall security posture, making it more resilient against various cyber threats.
  • Network Agnosticism: SAMBHAV is described as a network-agnostic system. This means that it can seamlessly operate across different types of networks, including various cellular networks. This adaptability ensures that secure communication is maintained regardless of the specific network infrastructure available.
  • Indigenous Operating System: SAMBHAV likely features an indigenous operating system developed specifically for military use. This operating system is designed to meet the security and operational requirements of the Indian Army, reducing reliance on commercial or foreign systems.
  • Dual-Use Infrastructure: SAMBHAV aligns with the concept of "dual-use infrastructure," suggesting that it may leverage both civilian and military infrastructure for enhanced functionality. This approach could contribute to interoperability and resource optimization.
  • Integration with National Centers of Excellence: SAMBHAV has been developed in collaboration with national centers of excellence from academia and industry. This collaborative effort ensures that the system benefits from expertise in various relevant fields, including technology, security, and communications.
  • Scalability: SAMBHAV is designed to be scalable, aiming to configure a significant number of sets. This scalability is essential for widespread adoption within the Indian Army, providing secure communication capabilities across a large user base.

Indian Army’s Cyber Warfare Capabilities: Recognizing cyberspace as a principal domain of hybrid warfare, the Indian Army focuses on leveraging opportunities and addressing threats across the continuum of operations. 

Following measures are taken by Indian Army to polish it's cyberwarfare capabilities: 

  • Cyber Defense Triad: The Indian Army has established a robust cyber defense triad that encompasses skilled personnel, institutionalized procedures, and cutting-edge technology. This triad forms the foundation for a comprehensive approach to cyber defense.
  • Addressing Cyber Threats: Cyberspace is acknowledged as a key domain for hybrid warfare. The Indian Army focuses on countering cyber threats and security risks arising from the proliferation of networks and IT infrastructure. Measures are implemented to safeguard digital assets and maintain operational integrity.
  • Augmenting Cyber Capability: Specialized units known as Command Cyber Operations Support Wings (CCOSWs) are being set up across commands. These units, referred to as "special sub-units," aim to enhance the Army's cyber warfare capabilities at operational and tactical levels.
  • Multi-Layered Approach: The Indian Army adopts a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity, integrating cyber capabilities at strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Collaboration with national cyber agencies, establishment of CCOSWs, and specialized training contribute to bolstering overall cyber prowess.
  • Strategic Cyber Defense Infrastructure: Efforts are directed towards setting up robust cybersecurity infrastructure at strategic levels. This infrastructure is designed to defend against sophisticated cyber threats and ensure the resilience of critical military systems.
  • Integration with Defense Cyber Agencies: Cyber capabilities are integrated at multiple levels, including collaboration with defense cyber agencies at the strategic level. This integration ensures a cohesive and synchronized approach to cybersecurity across the military spectrum.
  • Training and Validation: Personnel within the Indian Army undergo specialized training in cyber defense. Validation exercises are conducted to ensure that cyber capabilities are well-prepared to handle evolving threats. This proactive approach emphasizes the importance of skilled human resources in the cyber domain.
  • Focus on Hybrid Warfare: The recognition of cyberspace as a principal domain of hybrid warfare reflects a strategic understanding of the changing nature of conflicts. The Indian Army adapts its capabilities to address not only conventional threats but also those emerging in the digital domain.
  • Proliferation of Networks: The proliferation of networks and IT infrastructure within the Indian Army has increased manifold. This necessitates a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity to mitigate potential risks and vulnerabilities associated with network expansion.


By addressing information security challenges, SAMBHAV contributes to the overall enhancement of the Indian Army's information security posture. This is crucial for protecting sensitive military data and ensuring the integrity of communication channels. While SAMBHAV is expected to bring substantial benefits, it's essential to recognize that ongoing cybersecurity efforts, continuous updates, and training are crucial to address evolving threats and maintain the effectiveness of the secure mobile ecosystem.


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