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Eighth Panel: Cyber Security

  • Multipurpose Hall (Ground Floor, Kamaladevi Complex, IIC Main building) 40, Max Mueller Marg New Delhi, DL, 110003 India (map)

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Digital technologies are now an indispensable component of virtually all activities of a modern economy. They significantly increase economic efficiency but are also vulnerable to cyber attacks. Critical infrastructure, such as smart power guides, air traffic control and sensitive data stored in computer systems can be compromised or even disabled through a variety of cyber attacks. Cyber security, therefore, has become an urgent and compelling concern. This session will assess the nature and scale of the challenges to cyber security, the tools that are available to us to deal with these challenges and what the future trends might be in this domain. The panelists, who are all domain experts, will, in particular, evaluate the state of cyber security in India.

Chair: V Latha Reddy, former Deputy National Security Advisor, Government of India

Opening Remarks by Ambassador Shyam Saran, Life Trustee, IIC


Dr Gulshan Rai, National Cyber Security Coordinator, Government of India

Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary (Electronics & Information Technology), Government of India

Tobby Simon, Founder President, Synergia Foundation

The talk will be livestreamed on the IIC website; streamed through Facebook-live on the Metamorphoses Facebook page; and video recordings will be available on YouTube, as well as disseminated through social media channels hosted on the Metamorphoses website. The promotional video for Metamorphoses can be accessed here.

Questions will be taken on a special number through SMS, provided at the venue, and selected ones will be answered given time constraints.

V Latha Reddy is the former Deputy National Security Adviser of India. In addition to assisting National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, Ms. Reddy was responsible for cybersecurity and other critical internal and external security issues.

Reddy served in the Indian Foreign Service from 1975-2011. During her diplomatic career she served in Lisbon, Washington D.C., Kathmandu, Brasilia, Durban, Vienna and Bangkok. She served as Ambassador of India to Portugal (2004-2006) and to Thailand (2007-2009). She was Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi (2010-2011) with overall charge of India’s bilateral and regional relations with Asia. She was then appointed as India’s Deputy National Security Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2011-2013.

Reddy has extensive experience in foreign policy, and in bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations. In addition, she has expertise on security and strategic issues and has worked on strategic technology policies, particularly on cyber issues relating to cyber security policy, international cyber cooperation and Internet governance.

Reddy is currently involved with several organisations and think tanks, both globally and in India and holds the following positions among others:

- Commissioner, Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG)

- Distinguished Fellow, East West Institute, New York

- Member, International Advisory Board, Kaspersky Labs, Moscow

- Member, India-Pakistan Water Dialogue, South Asia Centre, Atlantic Council, Washington D.C.

- Director, Deccan Heritage Foundation, London

- Director, Board of Janalakshmi Financial Services, Bangalore

- Member, Bangalore Political Action Committee (B-PAC)

- Trustee, Bangalore Little Theatre (BLT) Foundation, Bangalore

- Distinguished Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi

Reddy’s other interests include travel, literature and the performing arts. She speaks English, Portuguese, French and several Indian languages including Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada.

Dr Gulshan Rai is the National Cyber Security Coordinator for the Government of India. He has over 25 years of experience in different areas of Information Technology which include Cyber Security, e-Governance, Legal Framework and the Information Technology Act for e-commerce, and several related fields. Previously, he was the Director General, CERT-In (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) and Group Coordinator of E-Security and Cyber Law Division in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. Prior to this he was Executive Director, ERNET India for over 7 years and he was instrumental in setting up of the first large scale education and research network in close collaboration with the leading educational and research institutions in the country.

Dr Rai has been working since 1998 in the area of evolving legal framework to address issues arising out of cyberspace. His sustained efforts in the area has resulted in second Technology Legislation in the History of India i.e. Information Technology Act and recent amendments in the Act.

Dr Rai is particularly focused on developing security capabilities in the country through increased security education programs. He has initiated several programs in this area with industry and educational institutions. He has enhanced the security of government infrastructure through an effective security framework that prescribes standards, and audits by a panel of independent auditors.

Dr Rai holds a doctoral degree and M.Tech., and has published several papers, and reports on e-commerce, cyber security, cyber laws, education and networking and has presented the same in several national and international conferences.

Ajay Prakash Sawhney is the Secretary to the Government of India - Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. His work on National Policy on electronics was a starting stone for Electronics reforms in this sector. He has been vocal about right usage of social media channels in India. He is a 1984 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre.

Tobby Simon is a Founder and President of Synergia, a strategic think tank that works with corporate executive boards and government to provide insights and solutions on challenges that affect both businesses and society.

Simon is the founder and president of Synergia Tobby has over thirty years of multi-disciplinary expertise in health care, pandemics, cyber security, aerospace, energy, supply chain risk management and strategic consulting. He has been an advisor to a number of international organizations including Medicines Sans Frontier (Nobel Prize 2000), The World Health Organization, AEDES – The European union and The World Congress on Information and Communication Technology.

Simon was the President, Asian Operations of CSP, a Euro multibillion French Pharmaceuticals conglomerate from 1996 - 2002. Prior to that he was the Vice President, Global Operations of the LYKA Group (1991-1996), one of the largest Pharmaceutical groups in the country.

Simon was a recipient of the National Merit for Exports from the Government of India in 1992. He has developed a new drug for Malaria for the Ministries of Health in Francophone Africa and successfully co invested & served on the board of Wintac Ltd., an Indian pharmaceutical company. He was responsible for global operations and helped the company secure both the US FDA & EU approval for ophthalmic and parenteral facility. Over the last three decades he has helped some of the largest global companies in telecommunication, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, energy, retail, cyber security, agro-commodities and critical infrastructure establish their business in India.

Simon was chosen as one of the 20 commissioners to the Global Commission on Internet Governance headed by the former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt. He is one of the first Indian members to the Trilateral Commission, a policy-oriented forum that brings together leaders in their individual capacity from the worlds of business, government, academia, press and media, as well as civil society. He served for a number of years on the advisory board of the Centre of New American Security, the international Council of the Belfer Centre for Science & International Affairs at the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

His report on the Deep and the Dark web, co-authored with Hon Sec Michael Chertoff, the former US Home Land Security Commissioner was awarded as the 12th best policy brief to governments by a think tank in 2016. He was instrumental in creating several research collaborations with the Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, National Law School, Bangalore, National Chemical Lab, Pune, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard Business School, Kennedy School of Government, University of Chicago, Cambridge University, The China European International Business School and the Weizman institute, Telavi.

Metamorphoses is a modest effort to try and bridge the gap between digital technologies, which are transforming our lives, and our understanding of their multiple dimensions. It will unfold in a series of nine interactions covering different aspects of the digital revolution.

This series will examine the impacts of digital technologies on the human psyche and on societies – exploring ways in which some of the negative elements may be mitigated. There will be a peep into the future – of what machine learning and artificial intelligence may bring to human experience – and the moral and ethical dilemma associated with these. It will also delve into issues relating to data privacy and cyber security as well as the emerging legal regime to regulate this critical domain.