It would not be perhaps wrong to say that like most parts of the country, Modi wave was also witnessed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, wherein stakeholders of diverse communities reposed faith in the politics of BJP candidate Narendra Modi. And the winning of three important Lok Sabha seats by BJP candidates from the J&K state made it evident that people wanted NaMo “mantra” to resonate in the state. Some similar wave was swelled up in Kashmir, but had altogether different meaning and definition. In Kashmir, a Muslim majority region, people did not wish to see Hindu wing to rule, but at the same time the people wanted relief from monopolistic NC and Congress. The options before people were very few and specific. Taking advantage of the peoples’ dilemma at the moment of choosing either from tyrant and arrogant-NC-Congress or ‘inimical of Muslims’-BJP, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) managed to secure rest of the Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Then arises a million dollar question what was so predicament among Kashmiris’ about BJP? What kind of feelings they had for Narendra Modi? The people in Kashmir were certain that they will prefer to vote for BJP but will not allow NC-Congress to exploit them anymore. People justify their stand of defying NC-Congress, maintaining that it is certain that people in Kashmir will die and suffer as long as these two political parties remain in power, but if BJP came into power, there would be probabilities. BJP’s biased inclination towards Hindu groups like RSS and VHP will either create havoc in the state to make J&K as an integral part of India or will perhaps let the aspirations of the people of the state to live.
Then, came Narendra Modi at the center heading BJP to garner record 380+ seats, surprisingly three from J&K. With this escalated the unspecified fear among the Kashmiris, because among his (Modi) various objectives, making J&K an integral part of India was on priority.
Although, NaMo at various instances during pre-polling campaigns spoke about the length and breadth of the susceptible technicalities of Jammu and Kashmir. Among his predetermined objectives, abrogation of Article 370 attracted a huge criticism as well as praise from all corners. He (Modi) knew that People in Kashmir Valley will not accept lotus, therefore he maneuvered to salve the so-called victim of step motherly treated Jammu by raising the issue of abrogating article 370. He (Modi) apprised the people of Jammu (mostly Hindus) that the abrogation of 370 will help Jammu to stand at par with Kashmir, which was taken as a politically motivated ploy by common people in the Kashmir. This blind shot of NaMo succeeded and BJP managed to secure three important seats.
What is Article 370?
Article 370 of the Indian constitution is a law that grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. The article is drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution, which relates to Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions notwithstanding anything in this constitution:
(a) The provisions of Article 238 shall not apply in relation to the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
(b) The power of Parliament to make laws for the said state shall be limited to
(i) those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which in consultation with the Government of the State, are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of State to the Dominion of India as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make laws for that State and
(ii) Such other matters in the Said Lists as, with the concurrence of the Govt of the State, the President may, by order specify.
1. Explanation. For the purposes of this Article, the Govt of the State means the person for the time being recognized by the President as Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir acting on the advice of the council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s Proclamation dated the fifty day of March 1948.
(c) The provisions of Article (1) and of this Article shall apply in relation to this State;
(d) Such of the other provisions of this Constitution shall apply in relation to that State Subject to such exceptions and modifications as the President may by order specify;
Provided that no such order which related to the matters specified in the Instrument of Accession of the State referred to in paragraph (i) of sub clause (1) shall be issued except in consultation with the govt of the State.
Provided further that no such order which relates to matters other than those referred to in the last proceeding proviso shall be issued except with the concurrence of the Govt of the State.
(2) If the concurrence of the Govt of the State referred to in para (ii) of Sub Clause (b) of Clause (1) be given before the Constituent Assembly for the purpose of framing the Constitution of the State is concerned. It shall be placed before such Assembly for such decision as it may take thereon.
(3) Notwithstanding the anything in the foregoing provisions of the article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this Article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may notify.
Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in Clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.
Post-victory, BJP in general and NaMo in particular again raised the issue of 370, which till now was ok for common people of Kashmir, as most of the people in Kashmir are well versed with the Indian Constitution as well as its amendment procedure, which in Article 368 says that parliament can amend all, but basic structure of the constitution and abrogating 370 was equivalent to violation of the basic structure of the constitution. People in Kashmir also knew that to amend Article 370 parliament needs to constitute an original constituent assembly, which is next to impossible. So, there was nothing with NaMo to create panic about among the people of the Valley.
Sooner, the Member Parliament from Jammu, Dr Jitender Singh during his first ever press meet in Jammu after swearing-in raised controversial issue of the abrogation of article 370. The statement of MP received huge criticism from all corners of the state with daily newspapers swamping with intellectual opinions on the issue. Sensing gravity of the controversy, Dr Singh resists to continual denial mode, which showed that Lotus is not yet ready to confront people in Kashmir. Though, BJP’s promise to abrogate article 370 caused great inconvenience to the people in Kashmir, which started believing that Modi is inimical to Muslims and to some extent this fear cannot be over ruled. Reacting to the criticism over the abrogation of the Article 370, Modi government put it into back-burner and went into damage control mode by justifying their stand on special status of J&K.
However, I feel that instead of touching controversial article 370, if BJP in general and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in particular would have talked about the deaths of more than 370 Kashmiris in past five years during unrest, it would have greatly influenced Kashmiris to introspect that BJP is not inimical to Muslims. If Narendra Modi would have asked state government about the deaths of the Kashmiri youth and had pressurized state government for independent inquiry for every individual death, the people of Kashmir have embraced BJP with folded fists. If Prime Minister would have delved the inhuman treatment Kashmiris met-with outside state and had chalked out plans for their security, it would have won the confidence of the Kashmiris. But unfortunately, like most of the political parties in India, BJP also eyed vote bank. They consider abrogation of special status of J&K more important that the death of the innocent people and usual human right violations, which is prevalent in Kashmir for the past more than three decades. BJP would have attempted to know the condition of half windows, reason for disappearances of youth and sporadic killing of youth in Kashmir either by military forces or by other armed forces.
The day when any political party, cutting across the religious, regional and political motives lend empathic, instead of sympathetic hand to Kashmiris, the people in Kashmir will present memorandum for abrogation of this special status in platter, because Kashmiriyat is famous for his hospitability and those who are hospitable are also generous and god fearing. Thus instead of creating confusion and controversy, BJP should try to get into the hearts of the people, only than Lotus would be accepted by the people in conflict torn state of Jammu and Kashmir.
(Pardeep Singh Research Scholar Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Punjabi University Patiala, Punjab, India. Author has done Masters of Philosophy on ‘Media Coverage of Kashmir Conflict’ and has worked as a sub-editor with JK NewsPoint newspaper of J&K state.)
The History Question: Is It Better to Remember or to Forget?
Years ago, a philosopher by the name of George Santayana said a phrase that fuels many debates to this day. His original saying is “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, although, many sources now present it as variations of “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. The latter definitely has more substance to it in the light of the ongoing debate about how much history we should be learning and how.
Is It Better to Remember or Forget About the Past?
On one hand, Santayana was right. Learning about the past is essential in order for people to progress. One also shouldn’t overlook the importance of remembrance and paying respects to the dead, both those who pushed the progress forward and those who have fallen victims to major tragedies that could and should have been averted.
The main argument in favor of learning about the past is that its knowledge is necessary for preventing the same thing happening in the future. Having it one can see the signs and stop the tragedy before it gains momentum.
That’s sound in theory, but the reality is always different. For example, today people are surely forgetting, and the much-critiqued education system is only partially at fault here. Even the greatest of tragedies weren’t spared this fate. It’s a proven fact that about two-thirds of millennials today don’t know about the Holocaust, and this number is surely greater for generations that follow them. In the school history course, the subject of one of the greatest disasters in history is barely touched, if touched at all. And outside of a history classroom, one can only see small, but terrifying, glimpses of it at the Holocaust Museum and other museums that rarely attract many visitors. And now we are witnessing a rise of antisemitic crime.
Are these two facts related? Does the lack of awareness about the horrors done in the name of Aryan supremacy contribute to the fact that right-winged extremists seem to be gaining popularity again?
It does, but by how much? That is the question that no one can truly answer.
And what about other genocides? The Holocaust had the highest death toll, but it was far from the only genocide in history. And quite a few of those happened after World War 2 and before the memory of the atrocities against the Jews began to fade. This means that while forgetting history is a factor, it’s not the deciding factor in its repeats.
But what is that thing responsible for the reenactment of past mistakes and tragedies?
Learning. This is the important thing that is most often overlooked when citing Santayana’s famous saying. It’s not enough to learn about the past and know the facts of things that happened. It’s important to learn from those facts and put in place protections that will prevent them from happening again. And this is something that humanity, as a whole, has yet to succeed in doing.
Dwelling in the Past Can Be Just As Bad
One also shouldn’t forget that there is such a thing as “too much history”. The Bosnian War and genocide that happened there in the 1990s is a vivid example of how the past can be exploited by political powers. Used as a part of propaganda, which fueled the war, history can become a weapon in the hands of those who want to use it for their own goals.
And this is what humans have been doing since the dawn of time. There is always someone who will use any means necessary to achieve whatever it is they wish. This results in wars and genocides, and hundreds of smaller but no less devastating tragedies.
Therefore, the problem isn’t whether people should be learning history but human nature itself. Perhaps, teaching this can help fix this fundamental flaw and truly stop the worst of the past from repeating.
Is there such thing as cyberwar?
Two decades have passed after Arquilla and Ronfeldt in 1993 warned the public about an upcoming. They were also the first to introduce a concept of cyberwar and give an elaborated opinion. They referred to a conduct and preparation of military operations using information-related principles and also invoked a link between intelligence (the collection of information for political or military purpose) and cyber operations. Now, the scale of intelligence has significantly expanded.
Interestingly, before cyber appeared, there was a radio which was used for intelligence purposes and was weaponized later in the World War II. From that time on, electronic warfare became standard characteristics of a modern conflict. Despite this, there is a key difference between electronic warfare and a cyber one. Traditional electronic warfare aimed to guide, target, or protect weapons systems (Ibid., p. 24). In contrast, cyber makes today’s weapons and military systems smarter but also more vulnerable for an attack.
At the moment everyone still wonders what the whole idea of cyberwar means. There is no accepted interpretation or definition. Furthermore, many experts even say that such war does not even exist (or cannot be referred to the notion of “war”). Perhaps, it is due to the fact that a war in cyberspace has not yet happened. To make it clear, cyber capability has not actually killed anyone and a code has not been used as the use of force.
Similarly, the dangers of a nuclear bomb were recognized only after its use, the same goes to the notion of “nuclear war”. Although there have been many cyberattacks, none of them have been raised to the level of war because none of them, in fact, caused the level of damage which could be adhered to the level of a large-scale conflict.
Cyber warfare has derived from different aspects of conventional warfare and traditional definitions of war. It usually involves organized units within nation-state in offensive or defensive operations which are part of a war or a conflict.
In general, since cyber study is relatively new, there are many competing terms and definitions to explain cyber phenomenon. The following concepts – the revolution in military affairs, electronic warfare, information warfare, and cyber war – have been all offered to describe the new emerging area of conflict. Experts do not agree on any particular term, more often using different notions when talking about cyber issues. Nonetheless, it is vital to understand the facts of the 21st century similarly to the need that rose along with the invention of atomic reaction. A major concern now is no longer weapons of mass destruction, but weapons of mass disruption. (2009, p. 47).
One of the central elements to define a cyberwar, is that it has to meet the same criteria, applied to any other type of war. Vandalism or spying is an act of crime, but they do not start wars. So, assumingly, there has to be physical destruction and casualties in order to declare a war.
Therefore, a cyberwar should have real world damage similar to a conventional war. For this matter, it should probably take place in a digital world. What is not clear, however, is whether it should be fought exclusively in cyberspace or it can accompany a conventional attack too. This aspect is quite interesting, because cyberattacks can easily be used in combination with a kinetic attack and can multiply the force and power of the attacker.
In this case, it does not make sense to create a new term “cyberwar” as it falls down under the same definition of war. It is the same example when aerial bombings supported the attacks on the ground during the World War I, but in the end we called it a war, not a particular type of war. Consequently, cyber introduction resembles more a revolution in military affairs, rather that a new emerging type of warfare.
What is clear, though, is that the difference in definitions complicates the matters of regulating cyberspace and prevents achieving a common ground on cyber issues and/or developing new treaties and agreements between the states. So far there is no international agreement on the cyber principles, despite some attempts of the states to engage into negotiations (Budapest Conference on Cyberspace, the World Conference on International Telecommunications). There is, however, the Convention on Cybercrime, the first international agreement that addresses compute crime, adopted by the Council of Europe. Interestingly enough, Russia (as a part of the Council) neither signed nor ratified the agreement, whereas US (not part of the Council) recognized it and ratified it.
Apart from these difficulties in defining cyberwar, there has been a hyperbolic use of the word itself, mostly by media and tabloids (e.g. The Washington Post, “We are at cyberwar and we are our own enemy”; The New York Times, “How to prevent Cyberwar”; Zdnet, “Cyberwar: a guide to the frightening future of online conflict”; Komsomolskaya Pravda, “Are we expecting the First World Cyberwar?” etc.). They do not usually give any concrete information but are eager to use this term and apply it randomly to different cases just because it sounds good. All in all, uninformed public use of the word has enormously contributed into the heat surrounding cyber implications.
Futher, cyberattacks are too often discussed equivalently, regardless of its impact. In this sense, minor cases like ransomware or phishing might be raised to the level of an armed attack (especially if they affect multiple computers worldwide). Yet, these cases are good examples of cybercrime, and crime is not a war. When individuals engage into this type of activity, they do not engage in a war. The same goes for espionage in cyberspace. Catching a spy on one’s territory will certainly put pressure on bilateral relations, but it would not start a war.
This exaggeration of cyberattacks can be explained through securitization theory. The notion offered by the Copenhagen Security School describes how a certain concept can be politicized and securitized to the extent that it becomes a threat to national security (See Buzan, 2006).
To conclude, it should be mentioned that there is no guidance for the conduct of “cyberwar”. There are no internationally agreed definitions and, to that extent, the whole idea of cyberwar so far seems unrealistic. At this moment technology is not sophisticated enough to ensure a military conduct entirely in cyberspace. Besides, any cyberattack of such scale would presumably result in a physical destruction, which consequently might provoke a conventional retaliation attack. This, in result, would cause a war we know for years, so there is no need to introduce a particular type of war. On another note, using cyber operations to support a conventional war and/or conflict is the way to go, but in this case it is just a revolution and modernization in military affairs.
I would be interested to hear your opinion about that in the comments below.
For further information see:
1) A movie “War Games” (1983)
2) Arquilla, J. and Ronfeldt, D. (1993). The Cyberwar is Coming! RAND Corporation, [online] Available at: https://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/RP223.html
3) Cetron, M. J. and Davies, O. (2009). Ten critical trends for cyber security. The Futurist, 43(5), pp. 40–49.
4) Stiennon, R. (2015). There Will Be Cyberwar: How The Move To Network-Centric War Fighting Has Set The Stage For Cyberwar. Michigan: IT-Harvest Press.
On the issue of cyber security of critical infrastructures
There is a lot of talk in regards to cyberattacks nowadays. A regular user worries about its data and tries to secure by all means necessary. Yet, no one really thinks whether the power plants or nuclear facilities are well secured. Everyone assumes that they should be secured.
The reality, however, differs. According to many reports of cyber security companies, there is an increased risk of cyberattacks, targeting SCADA and ICS. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is used for the systems that control physical equipment – power plants, oil and gas pipelines, they can also control or monitor processes such as heating or energy consumption. Along with Industrial Control Systems (ICS) they control critical elements of industrial automation processes. Exploiting vulnerabilities of critical infrastructures can lead to the consequences of unimaginable scale. (These types of attacks are actually used in a cyberwar scenarios and hypothetical military settings).
There are many reasons why these systems are vulnerable for attacks. First of all, the main problem is that these systems have an old design; they were built before they were connected to any networks. They were later configured to connect via Ethernet, and that’s when they became a part of a larger infrastructure. The more advanced SCADA system is becoming, the more vulnerabilities are these to exploit. The updates should be regular and on time. Secondly, there is a lack of monitoring. New devices that are connected allow remote monitoring, but not all devices have the same reporting capabilities. There are also authentication issues (weak passwords, authentication process), however, this is supposed to restrict unauthorized access (See Common SCADA Threats and Vulnerabilities at Patriot Technologies, Inc. Online).
In these scenarios, there is no certainty to know what is going to backfire because of the complexity of communications and power networks. This is also called a cascading effect of attacks. Not knowing who is connected to who may cause major disruptions. The example of the US East Coast power blackout in 2003 proves this point (a failure in one element of the grid spreads across other electrical networks). However, given this, it is also complicated for an attacker to predict consequences, if an attack executed. This kind of attack can easily escalate into more serious conflict, so it might not be the best option for states to employ such methods.
Moreover, there is a risk to damage a critical infrastructure unintentionally. That is if a virus or worm did not intend to target SCADA but happen to spread there as well. The uncontrollability of the code may seriously impair the desire to use it, especially when it comes to nation-states. For instance, in 2003 a worm penetrated a private network of the US Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station and disabled a safety monitoring system for 5 hours. In 2009, French fighter jets could not take off because they were infected with a virus.
Indeed, a scenario where an attacker gains access to a SCADA system and manipulates with the system, causing disruptions on a large-scale, might be hypothetical but it does not make it less possible in the future. However, the only known case so far, which affected an industrial control centre, is Stuxnet. It did not result in many deaths, yet it drew attention of the experts on the plausibility of future more sophisticated attacks. These potential upcoming attacks might cause the level of destruction, comparable to that of a conventional attack, therefore resulting in war.
Bradbury, D. (2012). SCADA: a Critical Vulnerability. Computer Fraud & Security, 4, p. 11-14.
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