Thursday, April 29, 2021

Future Warfare & Modernization: India

     When considering future warfare, first thoughts may rush to the strides made by the U.S. in Artificial Intelligence (AI), drone warfare and autonomous weapons. For the states that can afford such developments, investing in the future with next generation military technology enables them to keep up with the rest of the world. One such state that is pushing for innovation and future warfare, is India. 

    In an effort to modernize their arsenal, India’s defense public sector in coalition with the private sector are investing in a new project between Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hyderabad’s Grene Robotics. The project between the electronics company and AI/robotics firm is an advanced, man-portable land to air missile, brought onto an Autonomous Man-portable Air Defense Data Link System (AMDL). Essentially, the technology is a way for a man-portable air defense system (MANPAD), sometimes thought of as shoulder launched weapons, to be launched with guided assistance from AI technology. The technology would be built using a state of the art data link system which would improve real-time targeting and reduce risk of friendly fire. The MANPADS incorporated into the new AI assisted system would address operational issues and limitations that have faced India’s armed forces. The augmented reality and virtual reality components of the weapons’ sensor-sight systems would enable the Command Centre to give real-time instructions to troops on the ground. 

    This new technological development affords India a helpful new tool for their arsenal, although it is unclear when it will be ready for use. Regardless, India is pushing to invest more in the technology and internal production in general. It was announced this year that India was seeking to invest much more in domestic products to enhance their military capabilities. The goal is to rely less upon imports and more on domestic research and development, and bridge the gap between any technological gaps which could be replaced with locally made products. To enable further investment in home-grown technology, India’s Ministry of Defense has afforded more opportunities for private enterprise in India by increasing the foreign direct investment percentage from 49% to 74%. The focus on domestic tech improvements is interesting, as India is known to be a major arms importer, with foreign arms purchases going up after a border incident with China. The shift in focusing on domestic investment likely signals a desire for self-reliance. With the assistance of BEL and Hyderabad’s Grene Robotics, their new tech investments may give India the assurance it needs in its quest for military modernization. 

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