India criticised the current international law and said it was not well positioned to support responses to cyber attacks even as the interconnected world faces threats on a scale never seen before.
Citing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, India said that financial hubs like Mumbai, New York and London are largely targeted by terrorists to impact a country’s economy and so it called for a collaborative preventive approach to address terrorist cyber attacks against critical infrastructures.
The investigations into the heinous terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008 revealed the impact its perpetrators wanted to have on the psyche and economy of the whole of India.
“Current international law is not well positioned to support responses to cyber attacks,” said, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin, adding that protection of critical infrastructure is primarily a national responsibility.
“These attacks, including on a hospital, railway station and hotels were carefully planned and crafted from beyond our borders to have crippling effects not only on daily life in a bustling metropolis but targeted a country of a billion people,” said Akbaruddin on Monday (February 13) in the Security Council.
Speaking at a Council debate on protecting critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks, Akbaruddin said that attacks on “international stock exchange, a major dam, a nuclear power plant, possible sabotaging of oil/gas pipelines, air safety systems of airports, or potential blocking of an international canal or straits have much wider implications and pursuant complications far beyond national frontiers.”
Akbaruddin added that the world body was not ready to act on an anti-terrorism treaty dealing with cyber terrorism and even the Security Council’s decisions that impose binding duties on member countries to combat terrorism do not mention cyber attacks.
“The possibility of terrorist cyber attacks has not catalysed negotiations even after 20 years,” he said.
Challenging the international community, the Indian representative asked: “Since we can discern the threat and there is an understandable global angst, can we look at options for strengthening the international law against terrorist cyber attacks?” Adding that if it cannot happen, we can at least start by clarification of the applicability of certain anti-terrorism treaties.