Artificial intelligence-based platforms are the future of any battlefield. They can be easily deployed without being detected easily and cause havoc through enemy fire. They are stealthy and very effective. As has been reported earlier in Financial Express Online, to become a fully network-centric force, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the military is expected to begin in the near future. It will take around 3-4 years before the AI tool is used in the Indian Military. The process of this has already started, and the plan is that every army personnel will be having the tools in which Artificial Intelligence will be integrated. A Defence Artificial Intelligence Council is already set up in the Ministry of Defence and the defense minister is the chairman, and the three service chiefs, the defense secretary, and the secretary of defense production are members.
Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has a specialized laboratory, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) with about 150 scientists who focus on AI Robotics, Control Systems, Command Control Communications, and Intelligence (C3I), Networking and Communications Secrecy. They have produced a family of robots for surveillance and reconnaissance applications. The robot has been named RoboSen a mobile robot for reconnaissance and surveillance. Further, a miniaturized man-portable UGV for low-intensity conflicts, a wall climbing flapping-wing robot, and a walking robot with four and six legs for logistics support. They have also developed robots with cognitive capabilities which can play Chess and inspect the serviceability of components. Further, intelligent wheelchairs have been developed for physically challenged persons. CAIR has also developed a NetWork Traffic Analysis (NETRA) which can monitor internet traffic. This device can intercept keywords such as bomb blast, kill, and other designated words in real-time.
AI has also been focused upon by the Union Government and in this context, a report was submitted by N Chandrasekaran, Chairman Tata Sons, in 2018 to the Ministry of Defence. Defense AI Council (DAIC) was constituted with Defence Minister as Chairman. It included the three Service Chiefs, the Secretary of Defence; Defence Production; DRDO, Financial Adviser Defence Services, National Cyber Security Coordinator, and eminent representatives from industry and academia. The council would meet twice a year to provide strategic direction towards AI-driven transformation in defense, provide guidance in addressing issues related to data sharing; enable strategic partnership with industry, decide acquisitions of technology; review ethical, safe, and privacy assured usage of AI in defense. Further, evolve policies in partnership with government institutions and industries.
A Defence AI Project Agency (DAIPA) will also be established with the secretary of defense production as the Chairman. The other members will be from the service headquarters, headquarters integrated defense staff, defense public sector units, DRDO, industry, and academia. Each service headquarters has been directed to earmark Rs 100 crores for AI-specific application development for the next five years. The Indian Navy has taken the lead and has divided AI usage into short, medium, and long-term goals for implementation. The Indian Army during Army Day in 2021 demonstrated a Swarm Attack by drones on multiple targets. Further efforts are being made to directly translate spoken Mandarin to English. In a recent webinar held at Vivekananda International Foundation, the Chief of Defence Staff spoke of the usage of AI for predictive maintenance of equipment in the Indian Army.
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