Amidst tensions with China, cyber security has gained a renewed importance and interest. India’s ban on several Chinese apps was primarily driven by security reasons. This threat perception becomes more serious when it comes to the military. From time to time you might have come across new items in which the government has asked soldiers or officers to stay away from certain apps.
In July 2020, Indian army asked soldiers and officers to delete apps like Dailyhunt, Facebook, and Instagram, since it was found that Pakistan and China are systematically targeting military personnel to leak the crucial data through these means. Back in November 2019 too, an advisory was sent asking officers to log out from WhatsApp and Facebook.
But in this highly connected world it is difficult to deprive anyone the means of internet communication. Logging out from social media may be essential for soldiers and officers because of security concerns, but it demands alternative means of communication among them to socialise and keep the camaraderie intact.
Now, the Indian Army has found an Aatmanirbhar way out of this problem. The Ministry of Defence in its statement has said that Indian Army has developed a simple and secure messaging application named the “Secure Application for Internet (SAI)”. The application supports end to end secure voice, text and video calling services for Android platform over internet. The model is similar to commercially available messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, SAMVAD and GIMS and utilises end to end encryption messaging protocol. SAI scores over on security features with local in-house servers and coding which can be tweaked as per requirements.
The application has been vetted by CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group. The process for filing Intellectual Property Rights, hosting the infrastructure on NIC and working on iOS platform is currently in progress. SAI will be utilised pan Army to facilitate secure messaging within the service.
The Raksha Mantri after reviewing the functionalities of the App complimented Col Sai Shankar for his skill and ingenuity for developing the application.