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By Lt Gen PR Shankar (Retd)
Xi Jinping talks of ‘rejuvenation of the Chinese language nation’ to ‘set up a neighborhood of frequent future’. Merely put, he seeks superpower standing.To attain it, China is present process an unparalleled army enlargement and gearing to struggle unrestricted ‘multi area wars’. These wars shall be past the ‘tangible’ domains of air, land and sea and broaden into ‘intangible’ domains of economic system, diplomacy, vitality, house, nuclear and the electromagnetic spectrum. China is betting massive on disruptive applied sciences like AI, superior robotics, quantum computing, hypersonic techniques, new supplies and renewable vitality to ascertain army dominance via ‘informatisation’ and ‘intelligentisation’. Comparatively, India’s advances in army science & expertise appear to lag in scale, tempo, consistency and content material. Does India have the wherewithal to contest and deter China within the evolving multi area surroundings and be a regional energy in its personal proper ? If that may be carried out , the Pakistani angle is mechanically catered for.
On the outset army science and expertise will not be a unitary topic. Any weapon system is an amalgamation of a number of sciences and applied sciences. As an illustration, a contemporary missile, plane or spacecraft has excessive finish applied sciences associated to supplies, electronics, sensors, buildings, design, propulsion, management, steerage, navigation, communication, warheads and extra. Every of those in flip, is an integration of utilized core sciences. Additional, no nation is self-sufficient in all applied sciences. All purpose to combine disparate applied sciences right into a weapon system. Additionally it is essential to grasp that the perfect expertise is one which is efficient in battle and never essentially the leading edge or subtle selection.Additional, the battlefield in our context consists of the Himalayan excessive altitudes and the Indian Ocean Area dotted by the Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. General, the Indian army geography is a expertise dampener however locations its personal peculiar calls for. Considerably, Indian Armed Forces are skilled and properly versed with the battlefield calls for on army expertise. They’ll mix each to make a formidable and efficient power. The query is whether or not the Indian Armed Forces have the expertise and wherewithal to uphold the integrity and sovereignty of the nation. The reply is sure. It has been confirmed repeatedly. Nonetheless if the query is whether or not they have sufficient expertise within the evolving multi area surroundings as befitting a rising energy, the reply will not be but. This facet wants dilation.
India has full spectrum indigenous knowhow in house and nuclear domains. India’s strong applications have been developed since independence regardless of quite a few sanctions. India has additionally indigenously developed complimentary rocket and missile applied sciences, via the Built-in Missile Improvement Program initiated within the 80’s. For lengthy, these capacities have been in several silos however are actually being linked synergistically. The current ASAT functionality demonstration, the maritime area consciousness initiative of the Indian Navy and testing of Agni 5, with its large attain, are some examples of India’s strategic army science and expertise prowess working in concord.
Power is a key battlefield enabler. Additionally it is a serious nationwide requirement in vitality poor India. Till lately, analysis in alternate vitality applied sciences was lagging. Nonetheless, that’s altering. The Air Unbiased Propulsion system developed indigenously for the submarine program relies on gasoline cell expertise. Its adaptation to excessive altitudes together with funding in renewables will make a major and constructive contribution to our battlefield sustenance and stamina. Moreover , ISRO has made strides within the seek for house based mostly vitality specifically via fusion expertise. India generally is a powerhouse within the vitality area via an built-in strategy.
India has the ‘finish to finish’ knowhow and functionality to design, develop and produce/construct most typical techniques. This capability is because of sustained effort of the previous decade. The Indian Navy leads the best way with the potential to design and construct warships. We have now already constructed stealth frigates (INS Kolkata collection) and are within the technique of constructing submarines (regular and nuclear) and plane carriers indigenously. The Artillery modernisation program has been successful which incorporates, design and improvement/refurbishment of weapons, missiles , rockets and ammunition. We have now now began producing fighter plane (Tejas) and helicopters (Dhruv) indigenously. Army bridging gear is sort of utterly indigenised. Nonetheless there are a lot of extra applied sciences to grasp to achieve strategic autonomy.
The Brahmos Missile system with a 3 Mach functionality is a step quick from being hypersonic. IIT Madras has lately developed the indigenous Shakti processor which is able to revolutionise and securitise all army grade computing techniques and networks. A current report indicated that the Chinese language are protesting about Indian cyber exercise. Our large telecom networks present the sheet anchor for army networking. All these examples are pointers that India has sufficient scientific and technological wherewithal in disruptive applied sciences. This information must be maximised. India has the human useful resource capability to develop high-end applied sciences. India should begin mission mode twin use applications on AI, Cyber, Quantum expertise, Superior supplies, Superior computing, Semiconductor expertise and Hypersonic expertise for deployable techniques. That’s the problem forward
India’s course of oriented,politico-military – bureaucratic – scientific defence institution has not been in a position to sew our strengths collectively. We have now lacked imaginative and prescient and funding. This legacy concern has plagued India to rely closely on arms import. Discount of arms import, export orientation and self-sufficiency has simply began taking root underneath the Atmanirbharta program. Capability constructing and investing in expertise is an incrementally gradual course of in democratic India.Our scientific potential isn’t unsure. The way in which India developed efficient vaccines, at scale, within the midst of a pandemic, from scratch, ought to put aside all doubts. We have now to switch this profitable work ethos and mannequin into the defence institution to make sure that our forces have the requisite expertise and weapon techniques to do their job successfully. On this effort, our premier technical establishments, scientific institutions and personal trade needs to be roped in to develop expertise required for the forces. Final however not the least, a 5 trillion-dollar economic system will want extra safety/ safety than now. That can want a better diploma of funding and dedication. There are onerous yards within the highway.
(Lt Gen P R Shankar, PVSM, AVSM, VSM is a retired Director Basic of Artillery. He’s presently a Professor within the Aerospace Division of IIT Madras. He writes extensively on defence and strategic affairs @ www.gunnersshot.com. Views expressed are private and don’t mirror the official place or coverage of Monetary Specific On-line. Reproducing this content material with out permission is prohibited).