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Security of nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on largesse of others: Indian Army Chief

PUNE (PTI): Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande has said that no country is willing to share the latest “state-of-the-art” technologies and it implies that the security of the nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on the largesse of others, highlighting the impact of asymmetric warfare and digital resilience.

He was speaking at the foundation day of the Army Institute of Technology in Maharashtra's Pune city on Wednesday.

“The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has brought to fore certain key facts such as the impact of asymmetric warfare, the potential of information warfare, digital resilience, weaponisation of economic mechanisms, communication redundancy, space-based system and many more, all are driven by possession of technology prowess,” he said.

Today’s security, therefore, is founded on the technological edge over the adversary, General Pande said.

“No country is willing to share the latest, state-of-the-art technologies. It hence implies that the security of the nation can neither be outsourced nor be dependent on the largesse of others. Self-sufficiency in critical technologies and investment in research & development is a strategic imperative that can no longer be ignored,” he said.

The Indian Army is cognizant of these realities, said General Pande, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy in the city.

“We have resolved to ensure that the development of our capabilities is based on the principles of self-reliance and leveraging niche technologies and the Indian Army is taking concrete steps on both these aspects,” he said.

Capacity development efforts are progressing on the edifice of the commitment to the vision of “Atmanirbharta” (self-reliance), he said. “The Indian industry has responded to the need of the hour, powered by young, creative professionals within a short period, an entire ecosystem of start-ups, supporting the defence industry, has come up in the country. This is a very reassuring development, through which the vision of ‘Atmanirbharta’ is being realised,” he said.

Elaborating on niche technologies, the General said that they have created a centre of excellence to harness the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, 5G and automation.
He also said that in-house development of software with an AI engine has begun to feature in “our battlefield sensors”.

“AI-based tool for satellite imagery is part of our key pursuits. We are building gigabit networks by way of network for spectrum and pushing high throughput systems to the forward areas through high capacity and software-defined radios.

Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) projects are being pursued to leverage the competencies of start-ups, individual innovators, MSMEs, R&D Institutes and academia,” he said.

He added that key projects under iDEX entail quantum key distribution, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), drones, counter-drones, and AI systems. Blockchain technology is being explored for efficient supply chain management, he said.

“These are a few ways in our roadmap to shape the Indian Army into a future-ready, technologically driven, lethal, and agile force, capable of meeting future challenges in an effective manner,” he said.

Pande said that technology infusion and modernisation of the country’s warfare systems will remain an enduring pursuit.

“Therefore, avenues in a large number of technological domains are open to young bright minds like you to step in and be a stakeholder in the capability development architecture of the Indian Army,” Pande said while addressing the students at the engineering college.

The slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan” given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi captures the contemporary reality aptly and underscores the importance of research and innovation, the Army Chief added.

In his address at the event, industrialist Baba Kalyani expressed his admiration for the Indian Armed Forces and said that Indian defence industries have transitioned from being importers to exporters of advanced weapon systems.

Kalyani asserted that India would lead on the global platform by the next decade “because of its five key strengths – economy, structural reforms, technology-enabling manufacturing evolution, ‘India First’ diplomacy, and ‘Being Young’”.

The industrialist said he is confident India will be a $33-trillion economy by 2047.

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