Category Archives: Policy

 The Challenge of Military Artificial Intelligence

 (Abridged version published in SP’s Military Year Book 2017)

Intelligent machines were the focus of research work at many institutes after the WWII. In 1950, Alan Turing argued that if the machine could successfully pretend to be human to a knowledgeable observer then one certainly should consider it intelligent[i]. The credit of coining the phrase ‘Artificial Intelligence’ goes to John McCarthy in 1955. A number of scientists have defined Artificial Intelligence, (AI) in a varying manner; however, there appears to be no single definition, which has been universally accepted. All the definitions of AI are connected with human intelligence in some way, some of them are:

– “The study of mental faculties through the use of computational models”[ii].

-“The art of creating machines that perform functions requiring intelligence when performed by people”[iii].

-“A field of study that seeks to explain and emulate intelligent behavior in terms of computational processes”[iv].

– “The study of how to make computers do things at which, at the moment, people are better”[v].

– “The study of the computations that make it possible to perceive, reason, and act”[vi].

– “The branch of computer science that is concerned with the automation of intelligent behavior”[vii].

Strong AI has been defined as that moment when “humankind is in the presence of an intelligence greater than its own”[viii], and as “strong AI is reached once the computer regarded as such is conscious of its abilities”[ix].

AI imbibes knowledge from different fields like Computer Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Cognitive Science, Philosophy, and Psychology. AI embodies a wide range of intelligent search methods, techniques for obtaining clarity where uncertainties exist in data and knowledge, and various types of machine learning & representation schemes of knowledge. Its various applications include, speech recognition, natural language processing, expert systems, neural networks, intelligent robotics, gaming and 3D vision. There is a need to define machine learning and deep learning before moving on to the military applications of AI.

Machine learning. It has evolved from the study of computational learning theory, pattern recognition, and artificial intelligence. It is a subfield of computer science.[x] It has been defined in 1959 by Arthur Samuel as a “Field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed”. Machine learning relies upon utilizing algorithm constructions to perform predictive analysis on data[xi]. Machine learning tasks fall into three basic categories namely[xii]; Supervised learning is one in which the computer is presented with example inputs and their desired outputs, and the goal is to learn a general rule that maps inputs to outputs; Unsupervised learning is one where no labels are given to the learning algorithm, leaving it on its own to find structure in its input; and Reinforcement learning is one where a computer program interacts with a dynamic environment in which it must perform a certain goal.

 Deep Learning. Le Deng and Dong Yu of Microsoft have provided the following definitions for Deep Learning[xiii]:

-A class of machine learning techniques that exploit many layers of non-linear information processing for supervised or unsupervised feature extraction and transformation, and for pattern analysis and classification.

-A sub-field within machine learning that is based on algorithms for learning multiple levels of representation in order to model complex relationships among data.

-A sub-field of machine learning that is based on learning several levels of representations, corresponding to a hierarchy of features or factors or concepts, where higher-level concepts are defined from lower-level ones, and the same lower level concepts can help to define many higher-level concepts.

Some of the deep learning architectures built around neural networks are deep belief networks, deep neural networks and recurrent neural networks. The use of deep learning architectures in automatic speech recognition, bioinformatics, natural language processing, and 3D vision etc has resulted in remarkable successes.

As per Jeff Hawkins and Donna Dubinsky of Numenta, building of smart machines has involved three basic approaches. These are the Classic AI, Simple Neural Networks, and Biological Neural Networks.[xiv]

The classic AI approach involved computer programs that were based upon abilities of the human brain to solve simple problems. However, the computers required large amounts of inputs from knowledge experts to lay down the rules based upon their expertise and experience in problem solving. Thus, the classic AI systems were created specific to a problem, while they were very useful in case of problems which had been defined in detail they could not learn on their own and provide solutions to problems. They failed in comparison with general human intelligence.

When the limitations of Classic AI were encountered, scientists looked at the functioning of the human brain at the level of neurons and this resulted in Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs). The ANNs lay emphasis upon unsupervised learning from data provided to them. Thus, the Simple Neural Networks learn from data and do not require experts to lay down the rules. The Simple Neural Network is a mathematical technique that locates patterns in large, static data sets[xv]. The ANNs are a subset of machine learning techniques that processes large amount of data using statistical and mathematical techniques in addition to ANNs to provide results. ANNs have transformed into Deep Learning networks with the advent of humongous data and fast computers. Thus, Simple Neural Networks could provide solutions where Classic AI could not. However, the Simple Neural Networks too have limitations when data is dynamic or when data is limited for training.

In the Biological Neural Approach, emphasis is laid upon studying how a human brain works to cull out the properties that are required for intelligent systems. It is established that, information is represented in the brain using sparse distributed representations or SDRs. Further, it is known that memory is a sequence of patterns, behavior is essential part of learning, and that learning has to be continuous. Therefore, the building blocks of intelligent machines should be SDRs[xvi]. The biological neuron is also not as simple as conceived during the Simple Neural Network approach.

Military applications of AI can be found in almost all aspects of military from decision-making, equipment operations, sensors, weapons systems to unmanned vehicles. The military is adopting AI mainly because it results in much fewer casualties, higher efficiency, and lower costs. Intelligent robotics and unmanned vehicles for army, navy, and air force are bringing in a new revolution in standoff warfare. The war against terrorism is practically being fought with unmanned weaponized aerial vehicles in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. Be it air traffic control in a combat zone, which would allow manned and unmanned aircraft, weapons etc. to operate without conflict by automated routing and planning; or military decision making in fog of war; or a radar’s target identification algorithms which look at the shape of possible targets and their Doppler signatures; AI is integral to all these systems. In this article two major categories of military applications are discussed which pertain to cyber defence and military logistics.

Applications of AI in Cyber Defence

In 2009, Conficker[xvii] worm infected civil and defence establishments of many nations, for example, the UK DOD reported large-scale infection of its major computer systems including ships, submarines, and establishments of Royal Navy. The French Naval computer network ‘Intramar’ was infected, the network had to be quarantined, and air operations suspended. The German Army also reported infection of over a hundred of its computers. Conficker sought out flaws in Windows OS software and propagated by forming a botnet, it was very difficult to weed it out because it used a combination of many advanced malware techniques. It became the largest known computer worm infection by afflicting millions of computers in over 190 countries.

It s evident that the amount of data and the speeds at which processing is required in case of cyber defence is not feasible for human beings to carry it out. Conventional algorithms also cannot tackle dynamically changing data during a cyber attack. It appears that cyber defence can only be provided by real time flexible AI systems with learning capability.

The US Defence Science Board report of 2013[xviii] states that “in a perfect world, DOD operational systems would be able to tell a commander when and if they were compromised, whether the system is still usable in full or degraded mode, identify alternatives to aid the commander in completing the mission, and finally provide the ability to restore the system to a known, trusted state. Today’s technology does not allow that level of fidelity and understanding of systems.” The report brings out that, systems such as automated intrusion detection, automated patch management, status data from each network, and regular network audits are currently unavailable. As far as cyber defence is concerned in the US, it is the responsibility of the Cyber Command to “protect, monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to unauthorized activity within DOD information systems and computer networks”[xix]. The offensive cyber operations could involve both military and intelligence agencies since both computer network exploitation and computer network attacks are involved. The commander of Cyber Command is also the Director of National Security Agency, thus enabling the Cyber Command to execute computer exploitations that may result in physical destruction of military or civilian infrastructure of the adversary. Some advance research work in respect of active cyber defence has been demonstrated under various fields of AI, some successfully tested examples are:

Artificial Neural Networks- In 2012, Barman, and Khataniar studied the development of intrusion detection systems, IDSs based on neural network systems. Their experiments showed that the system they proposed has intrusion detection rates similar to other available IDSs, but it was at least ~20 times faster in detection of denial of service, DoS attacks[xx].

Intelligent Agent Applications-In 2013, Ionita et al. proposed a multi intelligent agent based approach for network intrusion detection using data mining[xxi].

Artificial Immune System (AIS) Applications- In 2014, Kumar, and Reddy developed a unique agent based intrusion detection system for wireless networks that collects information from various nodes and uses this information with evolutionary AIS to detect and prevent the intrusion via bypassing or delaying the transmission over the intrusive paths[xxii].

Genetic Algorithm and Fuzzy Sets Applications- In 2014, Padmadas et al. presented a layered genetic algorithm-based intrusion detection system for monitoring activities in a given environment to determine whether they are legitimate or malicious based on the available information resources, system integrity, and confidentiality[xxiii].

Miscellaneous AI Applications- In 2014, Barani proposed genetic algorithm (GA) and artificial immune system (AIS), GAAIS – a dynamic intrusion detection method for Mobile ad hoc Networks based on genetic algorithm and AIS. GAAIS is self-adaptable to network changes[xxiv].

From the above it can be seen that there is rapid progress in design and development of cyber defence systems utilizing AI that have direct military applications.

Applications of AI in Military Logistics

Some of the challenges being faced by militaries in both peace and war include ensuring the adequacy of maintenance and repair of sophisticated  equipment, weapons, armament and ammunition; ensuring the supportability of missions with due planning; and guaranteeing  the availability of qualified personnel to carry out the assigned tasks. AI and associated technologies have made impressive inroads in civil and military logistics to ease the cumbersome operations and procedures involved. It has now been established that AI has significantly improved the systems and processes in the logistic chain and has led to considerable savings for the military establishments. AI encompasses many innovative technologies that are being used in military; some of these are discussed in succeeding paragraphs.

-Expert systems are software programs that usually serve as intelligent advisors in specific areas of expertise. Expert system technology has percolated to all functional areas of production and logistics of the military. Logistics expert systems in areas of inventory management, transportation, warehousing, acquisition, maintenance, and production are common. Examples include, the Inventory Manager’s Assistant of US Air Force, Dues Management Advisor (DMA) of the US Navy and Logistics Planning and Requirements Simplification (LOGPARS) system of the US Army.

-Natural language systems convert languages into computer language, thus making it feasible to communicate with computers in language of choice obviating the need to master computer languages. Natural language applications are being used to provide user-friendly query capability for large databases pertaining to logistics.

-Speech recognition systems allow user to interact directly with computers thus eliminating the use of keyboards. The voice signal is digitized and compared with stored voice patterns and grammatical rules for computer to understand the voice message. For example, US Air Force Logistics Command (AFLC) is using a speech recognition system in its depot warehouses to interface with the warehouse’s automated storage module (ASM); the US Army is using speech recognition system in association with a diagnostic system for carrying out maintenance of its motor vehicles as well as in its transportation planning[xxv].

-3D vision technology allows a computer to “sense” its environment and classify the various objects in its vicinity. The US Navy is using this in its Rapid Acquisition of Manufactured Parts (RAMP) program and the US Air Force for reverse engineering parts in its maintenance facilities. 3D vision applications are of significant importance in using robotics for logistics.

-Intelligent robots incorporate a host of AI technologies to mimic specific work undertaken by human beings. Mobile robots are being increasingly utilized in activities from patrolling to investigating and neutralizing explosives[xxvi]. Mobile robotic systems are used for carrying out routine inspections of nuclear missiles. They have eliminated the need of human element from going into containment systems. The robot is remotely operated from outside the containment zone. As far as arming of robots (Lethal Autonomous Weapons) is concerned, thousands of scientists and technologists, including, Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Steve Wozniak signed an open letter in 2015 asking for a ban on lethal weapons controlled by artificially intelligent machines[xxvii]. The letter states “Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is—practically if not legally—feasible within years not decades, and the stakes are high: autonomous weapons have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms.”

-Neural networks are designed based upon models of the way a human brain functions. They are capable of associative recall and adaptive learning. Because of the massive processing power associated with such networks, they are being increasingly utilized in logistic applications. Eyeriss is a new microchip fabricated at MIT and funded by DARPA that has the potential to bring deep learning to a smart phone that can be carried by a soldier[xxviii].


Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), Bengaluru and Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) R&DE(E), Pune are the main laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India working in the area of artificial intelligence and robotics. A family of robots that have been developed for various surveillance / reconnaissance applications include[xxix]; RoboSen mobile robot system for patrolling, reconnaissance, and surveillance. It is capable of autonomous navigation with obstacle avoidance capability and continuous video feedback; Miniature Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) is a ruggedized man-portable robotic system for low-intensity conflicts; Walking robots with six and four legs for logistics support; and Wall climbing & flapping wing robots for potential usage in Low Intensity Combat (LIC) operations.

Some projects under development include[xxx]:

-AI Techniques for Net Centric Operations (AINCO) – A suite of technologies for creation of knowledge base, semantic information reception and handling, inference reasoning, and event correlation.

-Knowledge Resources And Intelligent Decision Analysis (KRIDA) – A system that aims to achieve the management of large-scale military moves using extensive knowledge base and data handling.

-INDIGIS 2D/3D – An indigenous Geographic Information System (GIS) kernel that provides platform for development of display, analysis, and decision support involving spatio-temporal data.

-S57 Viewer – for viewing more than one lakh tracks.

-IVP_NCO and IP Lib – A comprehensive suite of image and video processing applications to provide a unified solution to image and video processing in the net-centric operations.

-Indigenous Network Management System (INMS) – An indigenous NMS with resource planning, network planning, and network monitoring tools for IP network management.

Future of Military Artificial Intelligence

The global defence sector has seen unprecedented adoption of unmanned systems and robotics. This has been mainly due to various factors like; reduction in own casualties and feasibility of riskier missions using robots; high precision, minimal collateral damage, longer endurance and range; quicker reaction times with greater flexibility; and finally cost benefits accruing due to reduction in cost of technology with increased percolation. Unmanned aerial systems comprise as much as over 80% of all military robots, in past six years US spending on military UAVs has increased by ten times[xxxi]. Today over 90 countries are operating drones with over 30 armed drone programs. Many programs including, Drone mother ships in air and water; swarm warfare on land, sea and air; high definition real time ISR; wearable electronic packages for soldiers with exoskeletons; and exotic weapon systems are likely to be inducted within the coming decade. The threat of cyber attacks on the AI systems is very real. AI Machines are connected to the human controllers for taking and executing critical commands, the linkages can be hacked both through electronic warfare as well as cyber attacks. Since AI runs entirely on software, there is a finite probability of it being manipulated and used against the owner. DARPA had run a three year ‘Cyber Grand Challenge’[xxxii] to accelerate the development of advanced, autonomous systems that can detect, evaluate, and patch software vulnerabilities before adversaries have a chance to exploit them. The competition which ended on 4th of Aug 2016, achieved its aim to prove the principle that machine-speed, scalable cyber defense is possible. This would mark the beginning of a new era in much needed cyber defence of AI systems.

 As far as AI is concerned it suffices to quote US deputy secretary of defense, Robert Work  “…the 2017 fiscal budget request will likely ask for $12-$15bn for war gaming, experimentation and demonstrations to test out the military’s theories on AI and robotics ‘in human-machine collaboration combat teaming’…”[xxxiii]


[ii] Charniak, E., & McDermott, D. Introduction to artificial intelligence. Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc. Boston, MA, USA ©1985,ISBN:0-201-11945-5

[iii] Kurzweil, R. (The Age of Intelligent Machines. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

[iv] Schalkoff, R. I. Artificial Intelligence: An Engineering Approach .McGraw-Hill, New York.

[v] Rich, E., and Knight, K. Artificial Intelligence. McGraw-Hill, New York, second edition.

[vi] Winston, P.H. Artificial Intelligence. Addison-Wesley, Reading, Massachusetts, third edition.

[vii] Luger, G.F. and Stubblefield, W.A. Artificial Intelligence: Structures and Strategies for Complex

Problem Solving. Benjamin/Cummings. Redwood City, California, second edition.

[viii] Barrat, James. Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

[ix] Russell, Stuart, and Peter Norvig. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. Montreal, QC: Prentice Hall.


[xi] Ron Kohavi; Foster Provost (1998). “Glossary of terms”Machine Learning30: 271–274.

[xii] Russell, StuartNorvig, Peter  . Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (2nd ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0137903955.

[xiii] Li Deng and Dong Yu, Deep Learning: Methods and Applications.

[xiv]Jeff Hawkins & Donna Dubinsky, What Is Machine Intelligence Vs. Machine Learning Vs. Deep Learning Vs. Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Ibid.


[xviii] Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Resilient Military Systems and the Advanced Cyber Threat, United States Department of Defense, Defense Science Board, January 2013

[xix] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Defense Department Cyber Efforts,” May 2011, 2–3,

[xx] D. K. Barman, G. Khataniar, “Design Of Intrusion Detection System Based On Artificial Neural Network And Application Of Rough Set”, International Journal of Computer Science and Communication Networks, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 548-552

[xxi] I. Ionita, L. Ionita, “An agent-based approach for building an intrusion detection system,” 12th International Conference on Networking in Education and Research (RoEduNet), pp.1-6.

[xxii] G.V.P. Kumar, D.K. Reddy, “An Agent Based Intrusion Detection System for Wireless Network with Artificial Immune System (AIS) and Negative Clone Selection,” International Conference on Electronic Systems, Signal Processing and Computing Technologies (ICESC), pp. 429-433.

[xxiii] M. Padmadas, N. Krishnan, J. Kanchana, M. Karthikeyan, “Layered approach for intrusion detection systems based genetic algorithm,” IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Computing Research (ICCIC), pp.1-4.

[xxiv] F. Barani, “A hybrid approach for dynamic intrusion detection in ad hoc networks using genetic algorithm and artificial immune system,” Iranian Conference on Intelligent Systems (ICIS), pp.1 6.

[xxv] Bates, Madeleine; Ellard, Dan; Peterson, Pat; Shaked, Varda.









Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories A Conceptual Case Study of Lakshadweep (Minicoy and Suheli Par Islands)

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

ANALYSIS | Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories

IndraStra Global  4/05/2016 03:28:00 PM  Featured , India , Indian Navy , Maritime ,Sea Lanes of Communications , South Asia

Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories

A Conceptual Case Study of Lakshadweep (Minicoy and Suheli Par Islands)

By Rear Admiral Dr S. Kulshrestha (Retd.), Indian Navy  and Rahul Guhathakurta, IndraStra Global


The strategy for coastal and offshore security has been articulated in the document “Ensuring Secure Seas: Indian Maritime Security Strategy” of the Indian Navy. The strategy envisages ‘to reduce, counter and eliminate the threat of armed attack by sub-conventional groups, and also influx of arms and infiltration by armed attackers from the sea, against coastal and offshore assets’.

The chapter “Strategy for Conflict’ covers the actions for coastal and offshore defense. Essentially the operations will be carried out by the Indian Navy in synergy with the Indian Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and other security agencies.

Defending India’s Coast, Offshore Assets, EEZ and Island Territories.

India has a formidable naval force with both blue water and littoral capabilities; it also has a credible Coast guard, which would work in unison with the Indian Navy in times of war. Further India has put in place a powerful template for marine domain awareness, intelligence and protection of the coastal and offshore areas, in the aftermath of the terrorist attack of 26 Nov 2008. Some of the measures include; setting up of Multi Agency Centres (MAC) for intelligence inputs and reports; registration of fishing vessels by states; placing in orbit Indian Regional Navigation Seven Satellite System and satellite GSAT 7 ; setting up of a coast wide radar chain; raising Marine Police force, Marine Commandos Rapid Reaction Force and a Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB);setting up layered patrolling; putting in place The National Command Control Communication and Intelligence network (NC3IN) etc.

Prominent Gaps in Coastal and Offshore Defence

Thus, the layered defence of Indian coast and its offshore areas consists of Indian Navy, the coast guard, the marine commando & Sagar Prahari Bal (SPB) and the marine police. All these are info-linked for maximum advance knowledge and in a way form a net worked coalition. However, there apparently is a gap as far as setting up the coastal and offshore area defences per se is concerned. It lacks the delay, denial, disruption, and demoralizing (D4) capability, which is essential in today’s environment. This capability should be acquired by leveraging the perceived threats presented by the submarine, mines, small craft and cruise missiles.

The defence plan should be an asymmetric and proactive approach to defence with defining it as a zone that comprises two segments of the defence environment:-

·                     Seaward- the area from the shore to the open ocean, which must be defended to thwart expeditionary forces at sea.

·                      Landward- from the shore to the area inland that can be supported and defended directly from the shore.

The existing gap in Indian defences can be obviated with very potent defence elements by including:-

·                     Comprehensive assessment of threats from expeditionary forces to ports/ harbors.

·                     Procurement of midget/ miniature submarines with torpedoes and mine laying capability along with arrays of underwater sensors for environment, intrusion information, navigation and communication.

·                     Procurement of UAVs/USVs with intelligent software for remote operations as swarms.

·                     Procurement of Unmanned Underwater Sensor and Weapon Carriers capable of transmitting integrated underwater picture to fixed or mobile stations, firing torpedoes and laying mines.

·                     Procurement and laying of cable controlled mine fields, other mine fields across various depths zones.

·                     Coastal extended reach anti ship cruise missile batteries.

·                     Coastal gun batteries with ability to carry out precision attack on surface ships at ranges greater than 50 km.

·                     All systems networked for an ironclad protection of the Indian Coast and offshore assets and territories.

·                     Development of weapons specific for use in coastal areas and

·                     Development of systems for collection of oceanographic information.

A robust Indian coastal and offshore defense plan and its implementation is an essential element of economic wellbeing of India, as it would ensure security of sea trade, shipping, fishing, marine resources, and offshore assets as well as security of the EEZ.

Rights of a Coastal State w.r.t. EEZ

Within its EEZ, a coastal state has sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing natural living and non-living resources of the waters superjacent to the seabed and its sub soil. Further, it can exploit and explore production of energy from water, winds, and currents. The EEZ remains an open zone with freedom of innocent passage for all. The EEZ legal regime is different from that governing territorial waters and high seas, and contains certain characteristics of both.

However, in a recent judgment regarding the Enrica Lexie (Italian marines) case, the Supreme Court of India has declared the region between the contiguous zone and the 200 nautical miles in to the sea as ‘High Seas’. The Supreme court has said that Article 97 of the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is not applicable as shooting was a criminal action and not a navigation accident.

China has been maintaining its right to regulate foreign military activities in its EEZ, as it feels that it has the right to prevent any activity that threatens its economic interests or security. It also asserts that its domestic laws have jurisdiction in its EEZ. The Chinese law requires foreign entities to obtain prior approval to carryout resource exploitation, fishing, and marine research. As far as military activities are concerned, it holds them as prejudicial to ‘peaceful purposes’ provision of the Laws of the Seas Convention. This interpretation has led to a number of minor standoffs between it and the United States of America.

India is also one of the countries, which mandate prior permission before any maintenance, or repairs are carried out to the submarine cables running on the floor of its EEZ.

With respect to military activities by foreign militaries in the EEZ, India along with Bangladesh, Brazil, Cape Verde, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Uruguay require obtaining of prior permission. North Korea has prohibited any such activity within 50 nm of its territory and Iran has completely prohibited the same.

As far as oceanographic surveying is considered, again some countries require prior permission, in fact, China registered protests against the activities of USNS Bowditch and India against HMS Scott and USNS Bowditch, which were gathering military data by undertaking oceanographic survey. Coupling the above with increased proliferation of submarines in the region, the instances of clandestine underwater and ASW surveys would only increase. There are bound to be incidents involving intruder submarines in future and states would therefore be monitoring activities in their EEZs diligently.

EEZ Security Components

Two essential components of effective EEZ security management comprise of surveillance and deterrence. Some of the drawbacks of EEZ surveillance systems in use today include; inability of patrol boats to carry out surveillance, since their missions are area denial, SAR or interdiction; UAV’s have much better sensor packages but need a large infrastructure for 24/7 surveillance; HF radars are affordable but need very large areas for installation; Microwave radars suffer from limited horizon; and patrol aircraft incur huge costs. Since radars have difficulty in automatically identifying unknown and devious small vessels and the electro optic systems are heavily weather dependent, there is requirement for add on sensors to carry out effective monitoring of EEZ. In fact, a complete EEZ surveillance system should be able to cater to all the facets of EEZ activity be it , terrorism, drug and human trafficking, piracy, smuggling, coastal security, Search and rescue, sea traffic control, pollution control, illegal fishing, illegal arms supply and exploitation of natural resources of solar, air, wave, minerals, oil and gas. For such an extensive requirement a cooperative, synergetic and system of systems approach between various agencies involved would be paramount.

The surveillance platforms would include the following:-

·                     Unmanned undersea vehicles, sonar arrays, patrol submarines, and other under water sensors.

·                     Remotely operated vehicles, unmanned surface vehicles, offshore platforms, sensors for activity monitoring, and patrol boats.

·                     Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), communication networks, control centers, pollution monitoring centers, surface and navigation radars, and electro-optic systems.

·                     Unmanned Ariel Vehicles, patrol aircraft, helicopters, aerostats, and sensors.

·                     Observation and communication satellites.

Coming to the deterrence capability in the EEZ, it has to be a non-military option during peacetime, which brings the discussion to deployment of Non Lethal Weapons (NLW) and the need to develop them for the EEZ environment. Conflicts in the EEZ are definitely going to be unconventional and it would be difficult to distinguish the adversary from the neutrals or friendly vessels. This may lead to conflicts where use of lethal weapons may not be permissible. Non-lethal weapons would provide tactical as well as strategic benefits to the EEZ protection force in the global commons. NLW would enable options for de-escalation of conflicts, avoid irretrievable consequences of using lethal options, and result in deterring activity without loss of lives and damage to material. NLWs have to be cost effective and easy to operate, as different varieties in varying numbers would be required. However to ensure a calibrated approach, across the spectrum of conflict, there is also a need for NLWs to be doctrinally integrated with the regular naval forces to enable them to tackle a developing situation in the EEZ.

Defense of Island Territories

The defence of the Island territories has to be structured as a mix of the Coastal and EEZ defence plans. The defence plan in case of the Islands should be an asymmetric and proactive approach to defence with defining it as a zone that comprises three segments of the defence environment:-

·                     Seaward- the area from the shore to the open ocean, which must be defended to thwart expeditionary forces at sea.

·                     Landward- from the shore to the area inland that can be supported and defended directly from the shore.

·                     From the Sea-  from the sea by warships and submarines in case, an incursion has already been made on an unprotected/ inadequately protected island. As well as drawing from offensive infrastructure at the islands in the vicinity.

The surveillance and defense components have to be drawn from the coastal and EEZ defense plans and augmented by use of warships and submarines at sea.

“Even if Chinese naval ships and submarines appear regularly in the Indian Ocean, so what?” he asked. “As the largest trading nation in the world, maritime security in the Indo-Pacific cannot be more important for China. The Chinese navy has to protect its overseas interests such as the safety of personnel and security of property and investment. Much of these are along the rim of the Indian Ocean.” – Zhou Bo, honorary fellow, Academy of Military Science, Beijing, Jul 2015

An Academic Case Study of Proactive Defense Infrastructure at Two Lakshadweep Islands (Minicoy and Suheli Par)

The Lakshadweep islands lie between 8° – 12 °3′ N latitude and 71°E – 74°E longitude about 225 to 450 km from the Coast of Kerala. There are 12 atolls, 3 reefs, and five submerged banks. In all, there are 36 Islands, with a total land area of 32 sq km; Lakshadweep islands have a lagoon area of 4200 sq km and 20,000 sq km of territorial waters. It provides a large swath of 4, 00,000 sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone.

Map 1: Proximity Analysis of Minicoy Island and Suheli Par with respect to SLOCs (Interactive map available at


Minicoy is the southernmost island in the Lakshadweep. It lies between 8° 15’ to 8° 20’ N and 73° 01’ to 73° 05 E with an area of 4.4 sq km including the Viringli islet. Minicoy is separated from the rest of Lakshadweep by the nine-degree channel and from the Maldives by the 8° channel. It is an independent oceanic island that does not belong to either the Maldives or the Lakshadweep bank.

Map 2: Minicoy Island Naval Air Station: The Concept (Interactive map available at

Suheli Par

It is located at 10°05′N 72°17′E / 10.083°N 72.283°E / 10.083; 72.283, 52 km to the SW of Kavaratti, 76 km to the south of Agatti, 139 km to the west of Kalpeni and 205 km to the NNW of Minicoy, with the broad Nine Degree Channel between them. There are two uninhabited islands, Valiyakara at the northern end with a lighthouse ARLHS LAK-015, and Cheriyakara on the southeastern side. These two islands have a long sandbank Suheli Pitti between them.

Map 3: Suheli Par Naval Air Station: The Concept (Interactive map available at

As a purely academic exercise, a proactive defense infrastructure has been studied for placement on Minicoy and Suheli Par using GIS and other architectural tools available as open source. The primary study is based upon the following documents:

·                     Draft Approach Paper For The 12th Five Year Plan (2012‐2017), Earth System Science Organization Ministry of Earth Sciences

·                     Notification under section 3(1) and section 3(2)(v) of the environment (protection) act, 1986 and rule 5(3)(d) of the environment (protection) rules, 1986 declaring coastal stretches as coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and regulating activities in the CRZ. New Delhi, the 19th February 1991(as amended up to 3rd October 2001)

·                     Report of the Working Group on Improvement of Banking Services in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep by RBI, 12 May 2008

·                     Socioeconomic Dimensions And Action Plan For Conservation Of Coastal Resources Based On An Understanding Of Anthropogenic Threats. Minicoy Island – UT Of Lakshadweep Project Supervisor: Vineeta Hoon. Centre for Action Research on Environment Science & Society, Chennai. 2003.

·                     Report on Visit to Lakshadweep – a coral reef wetland included under National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme of the Ministry of Environment & Forests. 30th October – 1st November 2008

·                     Report on BSLLD (Urban) Pilot in Lakshdweep, 2014. Directorate of Planning and Statistics, Lakshadweep.

·                     CZMAs and Coastal Environments- Two Decades of Regulating Land Use Change on India’s Coastline. Center for Policy Research, 2015.

·                     Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP) for Minicoy island.

·                     Lakshadweep Development Report

Criterion for selection of the island of Minicoy and Suheli par

Some of the criterion for selection of the islands of Minicoy and Suheli par are:

Minicoy and Suheli Par would synergistic-ally straddle the 9-degree channel, one of the most important SLOC not only for India, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and also for China. The security of the SLOC would be ensured pro-actively by developing the defense structure at both islands.

·                     Minicoy is inhabited and Suheli Par is not, thus providing two distinct classes of islands.

·                     Minicoy is geologically different from other islands in the Lakshadweep.

·                     Both have large lagoons.

·                     Both need to be developed for prosperity and connectivity of the region with main land.

·                     Both have poor connectivity with mainland.

·                     Both can provide security structures for EEZ and its regulation

·                     Main Features of Proactive Defense of Islands.

The main features of the conceptual structures include:

·                     Airstrips for use by tourists as well as defense.

·                     Small harbor facilities

·                     Submarine piers

·                     Mini/midget pens

·                     Staging facilities

·                     Coastal gun and missile batteries

·                     Mooring Buoys

·                     Off Shore ammunition storage

·                     Air defense capability

·                     Radar and underwater sensors

·                     Strategic Oil Storage Facility

·                     Command, Communications, and Control Center for Indian Navy

·                     Strategic Communication facility

·                     Storm Warning and Fisheries information center

·                     Ocean Surveillance stations and cabled Oceanic Information Observatories

·                     Floating sun power panels

·                     Offshore Desalination plants

·                     Facilities for Tourists

Linkages with MDA, ODA, and OICZ

It is important that any academic exercise for development of a proactive defense infrastructure of island territories consider concepts of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), Oceanic Domain Awareness (ODA), and Ocean Information Consciousness Zones (OICZ). MDA focuses upon the maritime security environment specific to naval operations; the ODA focuses upon the overarching oceanic environment. Both are technology intensive and require sophisticated sensors and computational capabilities.MDA has tactical, regional, and strategic components whereas the ODA is strategic knowledge based architecture. Both require elaborate data and information fusing interface with myriad of interconnected agencies. The MDA primarily needing vast inputs from commercial, intelligence and security agencies and the ODA from advanced research, academic and scientific communities. The ODA is conceptualized as a comprehensive 3D+ knowledge zone up to India’s EEZ, the OICZ on the other hand is a collaborative approach at sharing oceanic information, processing it as required and archiving it for use at a later date. ODA can be established by a country individually, but OICZ requires transfer / sharing of scientific knowledge and technology between nations. Benefits of ODA accrue to the nation whereas OICZ would empower the region. Both are strategic in nature.

The usage of “geo-spatial tools” behind the “Conceptual Proactive Defense Infrastructure Plan” for Minicoy and Suheli Par

In the field of geopolitical studies, spatial analysis driven by various geographic information system (GIS) technologies helps strategic experts in computing required and desired solutions. In this analysis of Minicoy Island and Suheli Par, Google My Map API is used to perform a variety of geo-spatial calculations by using a set of easy to use function calls in the data step. In layman’s term, a layer-by-layer computational analysis of geographic patterns to finding optimum routes, site selection, and advanced predictive modeling to substantiate this analysis has been carried out. These concepts are formulated by considering the land reclamation factors and available details of Integrated Island Management Plan of Government of India (GoI) for Lakshadweep Islands. However, there are certain limitations associated with this analysis with respect to bathymetric data, which has not been considered for evaluation purpose due to lack of availability of such data in open/public domain. Further, these interactive custom maps can be easily exported into KMZ format and can also be embedded seamlessly with other websites for further distribution.

Considering all the factors discussed hitherto the maps are embedded in this article, depicting the proactive defense infrastructure plan for Minicoy and Suheli Par have been developed.


India’s EEZ and island territories face threats of disruption of energy supplies, piracy, and acts of terrorism, in addition to the fact that other nations are keen to poach in to the fisheries and seabed wealth. The security of the EEZ and island territories is therefore a matter of India’s national interest and need exists for boosting the surveillance and augmenting security arrangements of EEZ’s and island territories. Even though, an ambitious plan for coastal security and maritime domain awareness has been put in place, it needs to be further strengthened and stitched together so that the security of EEZ and Island territories functions as a comprehensive entity with synergies across the various agencies involved.

The academic exercise undertaken above in respect of Minicoy and Suheli Par islands demonstrates that it is feasible to provide effective SLOC protection, achieve maritime dominance in a limited area of interest, provide support to second strike capability and utilize space and oceans for surveillance, intelligence, science, and communications purposes.

Time for a proactive approach to plan the defense of EEZ and island territories is now!


About The Authors:


Rear Admiral Dr S. Kulshrestha: The author RADM Dr. S. Kulshrestha (Retd.), INDIAN NAVY, holds expertise in quality assurance of naval armament and ammunition. He is an alumnus of the NDC and a PhD from JNU. He superannuated from the post of Dir General Naval Armament Inspection in 2011. He is unaffiliated and writes in defence journals on issues related to Armament technology and indigenisation.


Rahul Guhathakurta: He is the founder of IndraStra Global and a seasoned supply chain management professional with 8+ years experience in trade route optimization and planning through various GIS applications.

Cite this Article:

Kulshrestha, S, Guhathakurta, R “ANALYSIS | Proactive Defense Infrastructure Planning of Indian Island Territories – A Conceptual Case Study of Lakshadweep (Minicoy and Suheri Pal Islands)” IndraStra Global 002, no. 04 (2015): 0015. |ISSN 2381-3652|


Tonga and the Third Island Chain

( Published in IndraStra Global on 25 Feb 2016, ISSN 2381-3652 )

“The ongoing disputes in the East China Sea and the South China Sea mean that Japan’s top foreign policy priority must be to expand the country’s strategic horizons. Japan is a mature maritime democracy and choice of close partners should reflect that fact. I envisage a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US State of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons starting from the Indian Ocean Region to the Western Pacific. I am prepared to invest the greatest possible extent, Japan’s capabilities in the security diamond”

Shinzo Abe, 2013

Interestingly, John Foster Dulles of the US of A propounded the Island Chain Concept, comprising of three island chains, in 1951 for strategic containment of USSR and China. The key component of the First Island Chain was Taiwan (it was thereafter christened as one of the Unsinkable Aircraft Carriers); it extended from northern Philippines & Borneo, up to Kuril islands. The second line of defense was from Mariana Island to Islands of Japan. The Third Chain’s key component was Hawaii; it began at Aleutians and ended in Oceania. Now that the breakdown of USSR has taken place, the Chinese believe that this concept would be used to contain China.

General Liu Huaqing had articulated a three-tier program for modernizing the PLAN (commonly referred to as Chinese Navy),according to which the Chinese Navy is proceeding to fast pace its modernization efforts. The program essentially comprises of three time lines, namely:

Year 2020- Acquire capability to exert sea control up to the First Island Chain i.e. bracketing the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Year 2020- The sea control capability would be extended to the Second Island Chain, which amounts to bracketing the Philippines Sea.

Year 2050- The capabilities would extend to operating Carrier battle groups globally.

The phenomenal economic growth followed by upgrading of military capabilities of PLA and the subsequent claims on islands in the South China Sea, probably led Mr. Shizo Abe, the prime minister of Japan, to articulate the “Asian Security Diamond” in 2013. It called upon India, Australia, and Hawaii (US) to form a strategic coalition for safeguarding the maritime commons comprising the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. The Japanese Prime minister has also approached France and United Kingdom to join this Asian Security Diamond keeping in view the significant strategic presence of these two countries in the IOR and the Western Pacific.

The Polynesian Link in the Third Island Chain

The third Island Chain as espoused by Dulles; from the Aleutians to Oceania with Hawaii as a key component; has started to assume relevance with an assertive China militarizing disputed islands. New Zealand –Tonga – Hawaii link within this chain; could play a significant role at least as far as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is concerned. Whereas, New Zealand and Hawaii may not need any benign assistance, Tonga, with its 177 islands spread over an area of ~700,000 sq km in southern Pacific Ocean, is a different story.

Currently, in the maritime arena, Tonga is grappling with security of its extensive coastline as well as policing of its EEZ of 676,401 sq km. Its remote location, over 2,330 km from New Zealand and over 5000 km from Hawaii make it a fertile region for transnational crime. Tonga has insufficient physical and electronic monitoring resources to remain updated about real time situation in its vast area and is severely constrained as far as MDA is concerned. Tonga with its outlying islands is susceptible to gun running, narcotics, human trafficking and other criminal activities. In addition, unauthorized exploitation of its fisheries and marine wealth in its coastal waters as well as in its EEZ has direct impact on its national economy and security. As regards applicability of MDA to Tonga it would be prudent to take a cue from the definition and scope of MDA, as has been articulated by the US government vide their document National Security Presidential Directive 41, 2004:-

Maritime Domain Awareness is “the effective understanding of anything associated with the global maritime environment that could impact the security, safety, economy or environment of U.S. This is accomplished through the integration of intelligence, surveillance, observation, and navigation systems into one common operating picture (COP) that is accessible throughout the U.S. Government.

Unlike traditional naval operations, it is apparent that the goal of MDA is far more than simply looking for potential maritime enemies poised to attack Tonga. The implications of “Anything associated” with the maritime environment that can affect the security, safety, economy, or environment go far beyond a classic maritime threat. As per the US interpretation, these include smuggling of people or dangerous cargoes, piracy, proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), identification and protection of critical maritime infrastructure, oil spills, weather, and environmental concerns among other events. What Tonga needs today is a robust MDA along with a rapid air & sea transportation capability.

An important factor that has to be considered while discussing the Third Island Chain is that Tonga is being aggressively wooed by China, even though there are only about 300 Chinese residents as per some estimates. 

India has been participating in bilateral and multilateral strategic dialogues in the region including those involving Japan, Australia, and the US and the Indian Navy has participated in various naval exercises. However, India has not joined any group, which directly aims at containment of China.

India maintains cordial relations with nations in the Pacific; however, Tonga and other smaller nations in the South Pacific Ocean aspire for more attention from India. India could assist Tonga, benignly, in setting up of its MDA infrastructure. This would not only enhance the potency of the Polynesian Island link in the Third Island Chain, but also strengthen Tonga’s maritime security.


52.India’s Bridges of Friendship in the Indian Ocean Region

(Published in World news report and Tazakhabarnews, 21 May 2015)

Two incidents in the recent past reflect the benevolent relationships India shares with countries in the Indian Ocean Region. First was supply of fresh water to Maldives through INS Deepak and INS Sukanya when the Maldivian desalination plant caught fire and the Maldives faced an unprecedented fresh water crisis. The second was evacuation of Indian and foreign citizens form Yemen involving Indian Navy, Indian Air Force, Air India, and passenger liners.

India has placed considerable emphasis on developing a security presence in the northeast Indian Ocean. There are several dimensions to this: first, India’s direct security presence in the Andaman Sea, second, its bilateral security relationships in the region and third, its aspirations to gain a security role in the Malacca Strait. While India aspires to play a significant security role in Southeast Asia it has given particular focus to the Malacca Strait, the key maritime choke point between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. India’s Andaman  and Nicobar islands, which run north-south through the Andaman Sea form a natural base for projecting power into the Strait and beyond into the South China Sea.

India has deep links with Singapore, which now acts as India’s primary economic, political and security partner in Southeast Asia. Singapore sees India as having an important security role in the region, acting as a balance to other extra-regional powers, including China, the United States, and Japan. India and Singapore conduct extensive security cooperation, including broad-based security dialogues, joint exercises, intelligence sharing, and cooperation in defense technology. At the invitation of the United States, India took a security role inside the Malacca Strait through the provision of naval escorts for high value commercial traffic, as part of the U.S. led Operation Enduring Freedom.

India has also been developing its security relationship with Indonesia; a Defence Cooperation Agreement was signed in 2001. There are biannual “coordinated” naval patrols; between the Indian and Indonesian navies in the Six-Degree Channel at the northern entrance to the Malacca Strait; to keep extremist groups from using these routes. These patrols comprise Indian and Indonesian vessels and aircraft, coordinated out of India’s Joint Operations Command in the Andaman Islands.

In November 2009, Australia and India concluded a joint security declaration, providing a framework for increased cooperation, security issues such as maritime policing (piracy and maritime terrorism, illegal fishing, people trafficking etc), disaster management, and anti-terrorism and there seem good prospects for closer security relations in coming years.

India-Malaysia defense relations have steadily grown over the years. A MOU on Defence Cooperation was signed in 1993. Malaysia-Indian Defence Cooperation meetings at the level of Defence Secretary from Indian side and Secretary General from Malaysian side are held regularly; Malaysia participates in the biennial MILAN event regularly. Indian navy and coast guard vessels make regular friendly port calls each year at Malaysian ports.

Thailand, and India have agreed to continue strengthening defence relations including exercises and joint patrolling.

Vietnam has also welcomed Indian Navy ships in their region, which would enhance India and Vietnam military relations. Vietnam has also sought Indian support for a peaceful resolution of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

India and Japan also have close military ties. They have shared interests in maintaining the security of sea-lanes in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean, and in co-operation for fighting international crime, terrorism, piracy, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The two nations have frequently held joint military exercises and co-operate on technology. India and Japan concluded a security pact on 22 October 2008.

In June 2012, India, a major importer of arms and military hardware purchased eight warships from South Korea.

The first Republic of the Philippines–India Security Dialogue was held in Manila on 12 March 2004. The Philippines and India agreed to establish a security dialogue that would serve as a policy forum for sharing security assessments and for reviewing and giving direction to co-operation in bilateral/regional security and defence matters.

In August 2009, a security agreement was formalised with Maldives that will significantly enhance India’s capabilities in the central Indian Ocean. India has been granted use of the former British naval and air base on Gan Island, part of the southernmost group of islands in the Maldives. (Lying around 1,000 km south of India and around 700 km north of Diego Garcia). As part of the agreement, India is also building a system of 26 electronic monitoring facilities across the Maldives archipelago.

India has cordial relations with Iran due to India being a major importer of Iranian oil and the fact that  it is now actively engaged in developing container terminals at Chahbahar port. Since 2003, India has entered into several defence agreements with Oman dealing with training, maritime security cooperation and joint exercises. The Indian Air Force uses the Thumrait air base for transit purposes and Oman has offered the Indian Navy berthing facilities in support of anti-piracy patrols. In 2008 India also entered into a security agreement with Qatar which, according to some reports, includes Indian security guarantees. The agreement, deals among other things with maritime security and intelligence sharing. India has a cordial relationship with Yemen since diplomatic ties were established in 1967.

The south western Indian Ocean forms the gateway between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. India’s security relationships in the region are anchored by its close relationship with Mauritius, the island territory that lies around 900km to the east of Madagascar. India has long-standing and close political, economic and security associations with Mauritius. Since 2003, the Indian Navy has also provided maritime security through periodic patrols of Mauritian waters including anti-piracy patrols in 2010.

The Indian Navy has assisted Seychelles with maritime security in the EEZ under a 2003 defence cooperation agreement under which it provided anti-piracy patrols in early 2010. In July 2007 the Indian Navy opened an electronic monitoring facility in northern Madagascar at the head of the Mozambique Channel and reportedly has also been granted “limited” berthing rights in Madagascar for Indian naval vessels. The Indian Navy has also acted as a maritime security provider for Mozambique, in 2006, India and Mozambique entered a defence cooperation agreement that envisages joint maritime patrols, supply of military equipment, training, and technology transfer in repairing and assembling military vehicles, aircraft and ships.

India’s maritime security relationships in the southwestern Indian Ocean are also buttressed by growing maritime security relations with France and South Africa. Since 2001, the Indian Navy has conducted annual exercises with the French navy, which operates out of Reunion and Djibouti. India also has a growing presence in Antarctica, with three active research stations.

From the above it can be visualized that India has built a reasonable number of bridges of friendship in the Indian Ocean Region which have helped in enhancing its image as a benign friend in need.

50.Policy Level Intervention Imperative for Accelerating Indigenous Manufacture of Weapon Systems for Indian Navy

(Published in  IndraStra Global – Strategic Information & Intelligence Forecasting on 16 May 2015)

Weapon systems on a warship depend upon the assigned role and mission of the warship in war. Generally, warships carry weapons to cater for threats emanating from the air, surface and underwater. For air threats like sea skimming missiles and air attacks, ships have surface to air missiles, guns in dual role, and close in weapon systems/point defense systems (multi barrel guns, short-range missiles). For surface threats, ships have surface-to-surface missiles and guns. For anti submarine warfare (ASW) ships have torpedoes and ASW rockets. Warships carry decoys for deception of enemy torpedoes and oncoming missiles, these comprise of chaff dispensers, infrared (IR) decoys, acoustic decoys etc. The warships also have an extended weapon capability on the helicopters they house on board; this could be a lightweight torpedo, rockets, or small caliber guns. The advent of weaponised unmanned vehicles is introducing another facet of weaponisation.

Naval weapons are complex in design due to the corrosive sea environment in which they have to operate, severe space and weight restrictions, and problems of stabilization as the ship rolls, pitches and yaws. Further, as with all weapons, they cannot be procured just by paying the currency required by the manufacturers. The pricing of weapons is based upon the need of the country, its relations with the producing country, its position in the world at large and other considerations like, foreign policy issues, type of technology, availability of similar systems for sale in other countries etc.

 In case of India, it has been the experience that the weapon systems it desires are not available for purchase, alternates offered are exorbitantly priced, and those affordable are invariably not required by India. The ideal solution is local availability of weapon systems, which will ensure maintainability, timely upgrades, and modularity for warship design. The indigenous effort has still not matured to provide viable weapon system or even subsystem solution within the time frame and the budgeted costs. Economic viability, arms export policy and non-availability of technological prowess, appear to be the main reasons. India is left with no alternative but to import and also prolong use of existing armament by process of life extension, constrained with improper/insufficient spares, inadequate documentation and testing methods. Weapons thus continue to be deployed well beyond their useful life without ascertaining if or at all, or to what extent they meet the designed parameters.

The defense procurement procedure (DPP) has been promulgated to enable the Armed forces to timely procure the desired equipment with least drain on national resources. The DPP is being regularly revised to cater for changing Indian conditions. It has been structured so that the Indian defense industrial base is progressively strengthened by offsets, transfer of technology, and joint venture regimes. ‘The Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan’, LTIPP, of the armed forces, is an indicative acquisition plan for the next 15 years but without any commitment of funds or frozen requirements.

The weapon procurement procedure commences with drawing the staff requirements, which the Defence Research and Development Organisation and industry claim are unrealistic, the armed forces justify it since weapons are used over decades and therefore once procured they should remain current and amenable to technological upgrades as long as possible.

Perhaps the only way the Government of India can resolve this issue is through policy level intervention. One of the suggested ways is by categorizing external threats at two levels depending upon their severity & extent and thereafter specifying two types of procurement, one (say P1) to the staff requirements of the Armed Forces and the other to a level (say P2 through local sources only) which meets at least 75% of the staff requirements. Killability studies may be carried out to assess the numbers (with sufficient redundancies) of P1 and P2 types required to meet the threats in their entirety. Further, it can incentivize the P2 procurement by increasing the defense budget proportionately and set up an accountability mechanism for timely delivery, maintainability, and functionability of the same.

It suffices to state that weaponistaion of warships is undergoing a change today forced by factors like economic slowdown, emergence of littoral threats, reduction in blue water engagements, development of powerful sensors and weapons as well as advent of unmanned vehicles on the horizon. It is imperative that policy level intervention be initiated in procurement of weapons to ensure that the Defense Industrial Base in India is strengthened to levels where it can sustain the requirements of the Armed forces.