Commentary: How the emergence of “disruptive technologies” is changing modern warfare

The indigenization-to-empowerment effort is ongoing, the army chief said.

New Delhi:

The emergence of disruptive technologies is transforming modern warfare and blunting the traditional combat ratios that have been a marker of military power and superiority between nations, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said at the inaugural NDTV Defense Summit. and highlighted some challenges in modern warfare.

Whether it was the use of tanks in World War I or the development of supersonic fighter aircraft after World War II, “disruptive technologies” have changed the status quo between factions.

At the summit, General Pande highlighted the access to these technologies by non-state actors as a challenge to national security, saying information warfare, cyber warfare and space warfare have entered the realm of conflict. The Army chief said if an adversary had access to such technology, it could launch a low-barrier conflict.

Nadia Shadlow, former US National Security Adviser, said: “The space between war and peace is not an empty space, but a political, economic, and security competition that requires constant attention.'' It's a landscape that shakes violently.”

– 'Disruptive technology' –

The democratization of technology has made AI readily available that can be used to direct targeted attacks. The use of semi-autonomous and autonomous drones equipped with AI in the Russia-Ukraine war and attacks in the Red Sea has forced countries to change their strategies. The U.S.-led coalition in the Gulf region is tracking the attack but has not yet nipped it in the bud.

Drones could perform missions at low cost and blunted asymmetry. The US and UK are equipping Ukraine with AI-equipped drones to carry out precision strikes. Ukraine's domestic drone production has increased significantly since the war began in 2022, with a huge war research institute set up out of necessity and the country producing more drones than it can buy. The UK will increase funding by £125 million and supply Ukraine with more than 10,000 drones. Yemeni-backed Houthi rebels are using autonomous platforms to target ships in the Gulf.

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Defense expert Sameer Joshi said at the summit: “The use of drones marks a shift in doctrine, and robots are here to play an important role. The military of the future will have 10 to 15 robots. % will be deployed.”

Off-the-shelf disruptive technologies have helped traditionally weaker nations stay on the battlefield longer with cost-effective and sustainable methods of fighting. Israel's Iron Dome air defense system uses AI to intercept incoming rockets. Israel's attacks on Palestinians in 2021 marked the first “AI war” as Israel used AI tools such as “Gospel,” “Alchemist,” and “Depth of Wisdom” to conduct precision attacks on targets in the Gaza Strip. It is called.

Cyber ​​attacks on national infrastructure through malware have been a challenge for several years. The malware attack on AIIMS Delhi's servers is one example. The attack was carried out by Chinese nationals and the FIR detailed that the attack originated from China. Out of 100 servers (40 physical servers and 60 virtual servers), 5 physical servers were successfully penetrated by hackers.

Recently, U.S. healthcare providers have struggled to pay their bills following ransomware attacks that allegedly originated from Russia. The colonial-era pipeline attack on U.S. oil infrastructure was the largest in history. According to reports, a Russian group named DarkSide is involved.

One of the key elements of India's new criminal law is the inclusion of “threat to economic security'' in the definition of “terrorism''.

Concerns about deepfakes have even been raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Use in information warfare to generate fake news, especially in times of crisis. In a battle to psychologically control the warring factions, information warfare is as essential as firepower.

Last November, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order outlining AI security measures. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Bruce Reid said Biden's interest in AI grew in part after watching a TV show. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1.

At the summit, the army chief said, “This is happening while the old challenges of unsettled borders continue,'' an indirect reference to the issue with China and Pakistan.

~“China’s three-war strategy”~

In 2003, the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Central Military Commission approved the “Three War Strategy” to guide the People's Liberation Army's political and information warfare. His three elements of this strategy are public opinion, information, and legal warfare.

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Drawing on the border conflict in Ladakh, China used traditional claims such as the 1962 baseline and the 1959 claim in Ladakh to justify its aggressive military posture. The spread of videos on social media related to the Galwan clashes and standoffs at other flashpoints was used to fight information warfare. Some of the tactics used were to induce public opinion that it was our “lost land” and that we had “sovereignty over it.” During President Donald Trump's term in office, the United States has expressed concern about China's “civil-military fusion,” in which China develops dual-use technologies.

Such tactics, use of destructive technology, and subterfuge are blurring the lines between peace and war and creating gray zone conflicts between adversaries, an issue General Pande highlighted in his speech. .

– “From indigenization to empowerment” –

The Army chief emphasized the need to develop critical technologies indigenously to build a domestic ecosystem and reduce dependence on foreign companies. “A tri-service project is being implemented and a roadmap has been created to develop a high-performance computing AI cloud,” General Pande said, adding that he has identified 45 niche technologies and 120 technologies that will impact the military. He added that he is working on a unique project.

“Swadeshikaran (indigenization) and sashakstikaran (empowerment) are works in progress to prepare for the future,” he said.

At Innovation for Defense Excellence (IDEX), Defense Minister Rajnath Singh launched the ADITI initiative to accelerate innovation in critical and strategic deep technology technologies for future warfare. Provide financial subsidies to private companies and create public-private partnership models to develop future technologies.

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