India developing own OS to boost cybersecurity

India developing own OS to boost cybersecurity

Summary: Defense Research and Development Organization is creating country's own operating system to reduce its dependence on foreign operating systems, which it says may contain security risks.


The Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is developing the country's own operating system (OS) in a bid to establish a more robust cybersecurity environment. 

India currently is dependent on many imported OSes based on Windows and Linux, which are likely to have malicious worms and security issues, DRDO's Director-General VK Saraswat said at the Navigation and Communication (NAVCOM) conference, The Times of India reported Thursday. Hence, it is essential India builds its own operating system, he said.

Saraswat added the DRDO is 18 months into a programme in which 150 engineers across the country had been working on creating an Indian OS. It will take another three years before this platform will be ready, he said.

The made-in-India OS does not involve any foreign investments and is exclusively "India's effort", Saraswat noted. He also advised defence researchers and scientists to start working together with the industry, DRDO, and other scientific departments to drive the development of the OS, so "[India is] independent from what is coming from [the] outside world".

This initiative is part of India's latest efforts to beef up its cybersecurity. Earlier this week, the government unveiled a five-year plan to revamp the country's cybersecurity posture, whereby, operations will be coordinated and connected to major critical infrastructure agencies across India, to monitor real-time information and react faster to cyberattacks.


Topics: Security, Government Asia, Operating Systems, India

Ellyne Phneah

About Ellyne Phneah

Elly grew up on the adrenaline of crime fiction and it spurred her interest in cybercrime, privacy and the terror on the dark side of IT. At ZDNet Asia, she has made it her mission to warn readers of upcoming security threats, while also covering other tech issues.

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  • It will be hacked by pakistani and chinese hackers before its release

    Inefficient OS developed by incompetent people will be hacked by chinese and pakistani hackers before its release.
    • Why so pessimistic?

      @UranusIzMine,Why so pessimistic?We should accolade them for this effort.
      • because

        it is the goverment who will oversee and finance the development.
  • I have been waiting

    I have been waiting on India or China to develop an OS. There is a huge opportunity for a company or country that can develop, deploy, and market a home grown OS. Both countries are growing technological powers with strong engineering base. Hardware manufacturing has already moved heavily into Asia. It is unrealistic to think that software development won't soon follow.
  • Indian OS

    Indian tech efforts are successful when they are highly focused and there is no interference from the non-tech administrative and political establishment of the country. This can be seen with the ability of India competing, albeit at a lower level in the defense and space arena's.
    If the Indian OS is mostly meant for the defense and security establishment of India and heavily restricted in its use it probably would succeed because of the secret nature of their functioning. But as a general purpose OS it may not be able to stand up to the competition due the entrenched nature of one particular OS. Most users are either unaware that there are alternatives and even if they are they measure the others against the entrenched OS. Therefore I would not make much of this effort. It can only succeed if we revert to a closed economy with very heavy restrictions on what can be used and not used. It did not work for nearly 50 yrs and the reason why India chose to tread the economic liberalisation route to bring the Indian economy in line with the rest of the world. I for one have never been happy with this wholesale emulation of the west's economic model since it is not suited for India. But that is a whole new story.
  • My Money is on the NSA to Crack It

    The NSA will probably have someone on the development team in their pocket too. That should give us more leverage with Pakistan.
  • Huh?

    >India currently is dependent on many imported OSes based on Windows and Linux, which
    >are likely to have malicious worms and security issues, DRDO's Director-General VK
    >Saraswat said

    1. Linux has developers around the world, including India, so it's not "imported".
    2. You have all of the source code for Linux. There CAN'T be worms or back doors in it; they'd have to hide in plain sight!

    This fellow has no idea what he's talking about.
  • Driver support?

    I am assuming this team will need to echange key elements of the OS so hardware manufacturers will be able to write drivers for this bespoke OS. Once that is in the wild it will be only a matter of time before a hack is worked out. If they want to stay bug free then have the system closed and have stringent protocols in place to vet any importation of 'alien' data. You could achieve this with the current crop of OS's. Do I also hear the word 'interoperability' being mentioned. Want to open a text document, spreadsheet, video file?
    There is the door to be pushed open.
  • Hey, what's the problem?

    Tech support is a local call.
  • I Don't Think They've Grasped The Peer-Review Concept Yet

    If they won't trust an open-source OS like Linux, then I wonder what their definition of "security" is. Do they think they'll do better reinventing their own wheel, that hasn't been subjected to the same level of hammering that Linux has? Or, worse still, do they believe that, by keeping the source code closed, they will achieve better security?

    Somehow I don't think this is going to end well...
  • Politico maneuvering?

    Is this just Politico maneuvering?
    A little reminder -

    Oct 2010
    Reported in Economic Times in India, the DRDO chief V K Saraswat DRDO is already has most of the infrastructure to build the OS in place. It has 50 scientists and IT specialists located in New Delhi and Bangalore spearheading a national effort to create the OS. DRDO has put in place a "complete framework" on the proposed commercial arm, which is currently in the process of securing necessary government approvals and is expected to be operational next year.

    Dec 2012
    DRDO chief V K Saraswat -
    150 engineers were working across the country on creating Indian OS, and added it will take at least three more years for getting the Indian OS ready.
    Defence researchers and scientists should start working together with industry and DRDO and other scientific departments and bring country's own operating system soon, so that "we are independent from what is coming from outside world,"

    Is the DRDO fighting an internal battle for funding? (IMO) That's what it looks like.