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C4l2 summit 2011: Joint warfare

With modern battlefield becoming more complex due to advancement in IT and migration towards C4I2 structures/ net-centric warfare, interoperability among the three armed forces – Army, Navy and Air Force, has become the most crucial thing. This was the spirit that was evident at the recently held C4I2 Summit-2011 in New Delhi. The event was organised by Network18 in conjunction with Ministry of Defence. Some of the points raised during the seminar were:

Joint operations/ Interoperability: “All our future operations are going to be joint operations where desired level of synergy with flow of correlated and intelligent information among the three services is essential. To translate any joint doctrine into action, interoperability among the Army, Navy and the Air Force is crucial,” said Dr MM Pallam Raju, Minister of State for Defence, Government of India.

Geospatial tech in warfare: Talking about the importance of geospatial technology in today’s warfare, Col Sanjay Kishore, Principal Group Manager, Defence, Rolta India Ltd., said, “The importance of GIS to C2 system can be likened to the importance of terrain to the soldier.” He also explained how the technology can answer the basic questions of soldiers. “The soldier basically has three requirements – the need to know where I am? Where are my mates? And what do I need to do?” he said. Similar views were also expressed by Air Marshal L K Malhotra, DCIDS Ops, HQ IDS. “What is required is a Common Operational Picture (COP) on a geospatial platform,” he said, adding, “There is a need to develop our own GIS software. I don’t think this need has been addressed so far.”

Public-Private Partnership: Talking about India’s dependence on imports, Dr Pallam Raju, said, “This imbalance can only be corrected by expansion of the indigenous defence industrial base, increasing investment in R&D, identification of core technologies where India is already a lead country, and by promoting private-public partnership.” Partha Sarathi Guha Patra, Vice President, Wipro Limited, too advocated greater opportunities for Indian companies, “Private players should be invited to play a greater role in defence industry rather than making them mere gatekeepers.”

Indigenisation: Indian defence industry should be capable of developing its own technology. This was the message that was conveyed by many at the conference. Captain MP Anil Kumar, Director, DNCO, Indian Navy, said, “If we want to be selfsuffi cient in this sector, then indigenisation is the only way.”

Challenges: There are many challenges that Indian forces need to overcome before becoming a network-centric force. Speaking about them, Col Kalyan Singh, Director, F-INSAS, Infantry, Indian Army, said, “We now have limited radio spectrum as the frequencies that were originally with militaries are slowly being given to the civilian domain. Then there is this question of how access rights should be handled in the net-centric environment? Also, there has to be mechanism to prevent system from getting collapsed due to overflow of information. But the most import concern of ours is to keep in mind that a soldier should not be overburdened with technology.”