Indian Army’s tech push opens opportunities

IDD Update

In what is an opportunity for the military equipment and technology industry, the Indian Army has decided to transform itself from a manpower intensive force,  to one that uses high-end technology.

The Chief of the Indian Army General MM Naravane, has laid out the transformation process which will be done as the force continues to re-structure itself as per the needs of modern war fighting.

The training command of the Army has sponsored a study to look into what type of niche technologies are needed to transform the 1.4 million strong force a into a technology-enabled force.

“The study has been carried out and it includes all such technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Quantum Computing, Block Chain, Big Data Analytics and the like”, General Naravane said at a press conference in New Delhi on January 12. We are on our way to transforming and restructuring ourselves to meet the challenges of the future, said the Indian Army chief.

“We are transforming ourselves from manpower intensive to technology enabled force, which is the way forward for the future”.

Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane

An amount of $ 7.8 million is being used for these projects. The  Army Design Bureau has done a number of projects through the Army Technology Board and through Technology Development Fund.

Why restructure

It was British who set up the Indian Army as per a regimental system. Those have carried forward with a focus on manpower. It has led to a situation that pensions and salaries, two major expenses, are more than the funds allocated for buying new weapons and equipment.

General MM Narvane at the press conference

The salaries of the three services and the civilians concerned for the financial year ( April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021) work out to be Rs 1,34,989 crore ( approx $ 17.99 billion), which now form 39.99 per cent of the budget. Pensions for the 3.2 million retirees is now pegged at Rs 1,33,819 crore ($ 17.84 billion). 

Each of these expenses is more than the moderntisation budget The capital allocation used for purchase of new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware like guns and new UAVs pegged at 1,13,626 crore ( $ 15.15 billion). Indian military budget is Rs 4, 71, 372 Crore ($ 62.84 billion) 

This restructuring also includes restructuring at tri-service level  to work with the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy. The Army is fully committed to tri-service joint-ness and the evolution of various integrated command.  The Army will make sure that this happens in a very calibrated and smooth manner.

Capability from local sources

Capability development includes signing of a number of contracts last year and these range from weapons and protective gear for the Infantry, Mechanized Forces, firepower elements, Long Range Vectors, Engineers stores equipment,  Communication equipment.  

“More than 80% to 85% of the contracts which are signed are made by Indian companies as part of our efforts to indigenize”

Indian Army Chief

He said the government has provided the necessary budgetary support to keep pace with modernization plan. There was necessary budgetary support for the contracts for acquisition plan.

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