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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

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Army for separate info network in border areas

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MAY 25. Acknowledging the importance of communication technologies in warfare, the Army is in favour of a separate organisation to establish a state-of-the-art communication network in the border areas. The Army can use part of the infrastructure while the civilian population can avail of the rest. The arrangement would be on the lines of the roads developed and maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, manned by Army officials.

"Due to lack of corporate willingness to go to the border areas, there is a need to raise an agency similar to the BRO for the construction of the info structure in these areas. This will lead to development of a sound info structure and narrowing of the digital divide," said the Army's Signal Officer-in-Chief, Davinder Kumar, at a seminar on `Info structure for network centric warfare (NCW)', organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today.

The next priority would be setting up an organisation that monitors aspects such as standards, interfaces, implementation and training in the use of this infrastructure. The use of network-centric capability would involve new ways of thinking, change in organisational role and responsibilities and a better understanding of how to create, share and exploit awareness, he said. "We need an institutionalised method for the sharing of info structure during peace, no war-no peace and during the time of hostilities."

Speaking earlier, the Chief of the Army Staff, N.C. Vij, and the Defence Secretary, Ajay Prasad, stressed indigenising network centric warfare technologies even if the domestically produced variants were "80 to 90 per cent as good as those compared to products of developed countries." Despite a strong IT base, the road ahead in this direction was not easy, felt Gen. Vij. Mr. Prasad stressed the need to develop indigenous security algorithms, data protocol and digitisation.

Lt. Gen. Kumar outlined the areas where the Indian private sector could make a significant contribution in developing NCW technologies and correspondingly reduce the dependence on foreign vendors. The areas where the industry must partner the armed forces in building indigenous capabilities are cryptology, chip technology, Indian operating systems, global positioning system, cyber warfare and technologies in info assurance to protect networks and data bases.

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