As the world is moving towards artificial intelligence-driven warfare, India does not want to miss the bus. It is all set to give concrete shape to an ambitious plan soon.
In an effort to prepare for next-generation warfare, India is all set to explore, invest and induct artificial intelligence (AI) to boost the operational preparedness of its armed forces.
In this regard, a high-powered task force headed by Tata Sons chairman, N. Chandrasekaran, is finalising the specifics and framework of the project. It is exploring possibilities of a ‘partnership model’ between the armed forces and the private sector.
“It is India’s preparation for next-generation warfare. This (AI) is where the future is going to be. We need to prepare ourselves for next-generation warfare, which will be more and more technology driven, more and more automated and robotised,” defence secretary Ajay Kumar told reporters.
“We need to work on a partnership model between industries and defence forces, which should be different from a buyer–seller proposition,” he added.
The government would take the project forward after the task force submits the recommendations in June.
Besides Chandarsekaran, the 17-member task force comprises National Cyber Security Coordinator Gulshan Rai, representatives from the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Airforce, chairman and managing director of Bharat Electronics Ltd, other representatives from Indian Space Research Organisation, Atomic Energy Commission and the Defence Ministry. Apart from these, the taskforce will also include representatives from academic institutes, such as Indian Institute of Science-Bengaluru, and Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai and Chennai.
“India has a fairly strong IT industry base and that is going to be our biggest strength in terms of developing AI capabilities,” said Kumar, who has been playing a key role in pushing forward the project.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the DefExpo in Chennai had emphasised the critical importance of the need to revolutionise the security systems with modern technology. “New and emerging technologies, such as AI and robotics will perhaps be the most important determinants of defensive and offensive capabilities for any defence force in the future. India, with its leadership in the information technology domain, would strive to use this technology tilt to its advantage,” he said.
The application of AI in the surveillance of India’s borders with China and Pakistan could significantly ease the pressure on armed forces personnel guarding the sensitive frontiers.
Currently, Indian AI research in defence is housed under the Defence Research and Development Organisation, specifically within the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR). CAIR lists artificial neural networks, computer vision, and situational awareness as its areas of primary focus, mentioning two other products that are under development for network-centric operations and decision making, using a vast knowledge base of battlefield tactics data.
Logging on to artificial intelligence to boost defence capabilities in India will be a win-win for all the stakeholders.