The past week saw two right wing leaders hugging not once, not twice, but three times at the lawns of the White House. While the warm bonhomie exuded by the two world leaders gave rise to many memes and the twitterati took digs at Trump and Modi, what went largely unnoticed by the world press, was the list of invites to a Roundtable of U.S business leaders with the visiting Indian Prime Minister. The list saw the likes of CEO of Adobe, Google and Microsoft gushing about the visit by the Indian Prime Minister. Many companies are already eyeing a share in the booming Indian industry buoyed by a corporate-friendly leader who has talked about making India a factory for large firms. India has an advantage vis-a-vis other countries due to its large skilled workforce and a steadily increasing middle class that outnumbers the population of many European nations.
While the past few months have seen the ‘Ransomware attack’ that brought the health industry in England to a standstill, this week operations at one of India’s largest container port Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) was also disrupted by a ransomware attack. The cyber-attack was a part of global computer attack that also affected the functioning of the port in Mumbai. Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk that runs the affected terminal confirmed that the attack had caused disruption in its services across the world. They also notified their patrons that vessel operations at the terminal will not be operating and did not make it clear as to when normal services would resume.
Meanwhile, the chairman at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) informed the press that they were trying their best to resume services even if that meant clearing containers manually, but operational capacity had already dropped to a third of their usual volume. In the meantime, the sight around the port looked abnormal, as large number of containers upon containers were piling up, due to the cyber-attack which had delayed the usual procedures of loading and unloading at the gateway terminals to India’s financial capital.
The Indian Government to attract maximum Foreign investment and make sure that no hindrances are faced by foreign companies, was quick in its response. It dispatched India’s national cyber security coordinator to handle the situation and take steps to restore normalcy.
While the next largest port, Gujarat Pipavav Port did not specify the extent of the attack in its site, many reports has trickled in that the Port was also partially impacted.
This cyber-attack has many similarities to the previous ‘ransomware attack’ that infected computers across the world and held information to ransom in exchange for money to be paid in Bitcoin. The spokesperson for Maersk told reporters that they were attempting to resolve their systems to attain normalcy.
It will be imperative on the part of the Indian Government to help resolve the issue, as the past week also saw the biggest tax reform pushed forth by the Modi government. The Goods and Services tax (GST), which took force from 1st of July, will see a uniform tax system throughout India in place of various ‘service tax’ levels imposed by the different States of India. The GST is being seen as a major game changer by the Modi Government as it will greatly bring down red-tapism and ease the procedures for starting new businesses. The Twitterati may laugh but the causes behind the warm bonhomie may be the sound of jingling of profits.