The Indian Army has announced that it has created its messaging application to safeguard critical internal communication. Secure Application for Internet or SAI as it is called will come with end to end encryption, will offer voice and video calls apart from allowing the security personnel to exchange text messages.
According to the official statement, this app is like WhatsApp or Telegram and is currently available for Android with the iOS application still under development. Looking at the critical data this app could carry, it has been certified by the Army Cyber Group and CERT-in empanelled auditor.
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Unlike most commonly used messaging platforms that have their servers located outside the country, SAI servers will be hosted by NIC to ensure that all the data remains within the country. It also means that custom features can be designed based on the requirement of the Armed forces.
What is the need of SAI (Secure Application for Internet)
The creation of the SAI app is strategically important for the armed forces. The Army had on multiple times asked its personnel to not to use apps of foreign origin since their servers were not hosted within the country. Recently, the Army had asked all the personnel to delete apps like Facebook, Instagram, TrueCaller etc. apart from the 59 Chinese apps that included social media apps, e-commerce, camera apps, browsers etc.
The Army also asked the officers to limit the use of WhatsApp for official communications citing various reasons like honey trapping, snooping etc which has led to sensitive information being shared with unauthorized people. The Army had announced that it will take strict action against the people who are still found using these applications.
The ongoing Indo-China tension has also meant that the usage of a lot of applications had to be curtailed. At the same time, the Indian Prime minister had called for the creation of homegrown infrastructure and application thus wanting to utilize resources internally. The call for becoming Atmanirbhar (self-reliant) saw a rise of various homegrown applications and social media platforms.
While data is the new fuel and most wars will be fought without firing many bullets, securing sensitive data has become the utmost priority. However, other projects like Aarogya Setu and Aadhar have been under severe scrutiny because of various loopholes. Hopefully, with SAI, authorities have ensured that all the protocols are followed or else it could be an extremely embarrassing situation for the country.