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November 21, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The discourse surrounding emerging technologies in the military landscape has gained prominence, necessitating a paradigm shift in organizational approaches. Characterized by cyber technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), unmanned systems, and advanced computing, these technologies are pivotal in shaping modern military capabilities. India, too, has embarked on this technological journey, with each branch of the military incorporating various initiatives under the umbrella of emerging technologies.

Initiatives by Indian Military in Emerging Technologies:

Army: Identified 45 niche technologies for military applications.

Air Force (IAF): Leveraging AI, cyber, and virtual reality through the ‘UDAAN’ initiative for operational, logistical, and training needs.

Navy: Pursuing emerging technologies with an Integrated Unmanned Roadmap and emphasizing indigenization under project ‘Swavlamban.’

Defence Ministry: Showcasing initiatives via ‘AIDef,’ including the Defence AI Council and the Defence AI Project Agency, aimed at integrating AI into allied organizations.

Challenges and the Conceptual Dilemma:

Roadblocks in Technology Adoption: Existing approaches lack the required organizational and doctrinal changes for effective technology adoption.

Perceived Old-fashioned Dominance: Some consider emerging technologies as a mere trend, citing the traditional dominance of artillery, manoeuvre warfare, and infantry tactics in recent conflicts.

Need for Collaborative Defence: Collaborative efforts with civilians, including scientists, academics, technologists, and entrepreneurs, are crucial for effective integration of emerging capabilities.

Shortcomings and Reform Imperatives:

Interoperability Challenges: Jointness and interoperability among the three services need improvement, especially concerning emerging technologies.

Human Resource Practices: The emphasis on generalization over specialization in human resource practices hinders the incorporation of specialized technologies, requiring a revisit.

Data Sharing Barriers: Secrecy concerns traditionally impede data sharing; however, a structured approach with safeguards can facilitate civilian-military collaboration.

Reforms for Realizing Potential:

Incorporating Technocrats: The Defence Ministry should consider involving technocrats and qualified personnel from the private sector to lead initiatives.

Pathways for Civilian Engagement: Facilitate civilians working alongside the military as technology professionals, possibly through the creation of separate cadres.

Enhanced Engagement with External Talent: Greater willingness to engage with external talent is crucial, particularly for tapping into the promise of emerging technologies.


Fully harnessing the potential of emerging technologies in the military domain demands not just technological integration but a comprehensive overhaul of organizational structures. The Defence Ministry’s openness to technocrats, pathways for civilian-military collaboration, and enhanced engagement with external talent are pivotal steps toward realizing the transformative vision of the Indian military. The ongoing defence reforms in India set the stage for a profound transformation, necessitating creative and adaptive strategies to leverage the wealth of talent beyond traditional def


November 21, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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