Army to have Dedicated Cyber-Operations Wing, Adopt Niche Technologies

Indian Army

New Delhi: With technology playing a key role in the defence sector, the Indian Army  announced that it would adopt niche technologies and also have dedicated a cyber-operations cell to secure its own networks.

This was among the various decisions taken at the Army Commanders Conference (April 17-21), Army spokesperson Colonel Sudhir Chamoli said.

With rapid migration towards network-based operations, which entails an increased reliance on modern communication systems, the Army Commanders reviewed the requirement to safeguard the networks and decided to operationalise what is called the ‘Command Cyber Operations and Support Wings’ in the immediate future.

Sources said the expansion of cyber warfare capabilities by adversaries has made the cyber domain more competitive and contested than ever before. These organisations will assist the field formations to undertake cyber security measures. Also, in order to augment the capabilities by absorption of niche technologies and equipment, the commanders’ conference decided to ‘Test Bed’ the equipment at identified formations. These will evolve optimal employment philosophies for the new technologies.

A variety of niche tech-enabled equipment are being inducted into the Indian Army. These include multiple types of drones, loitering weapon systems, electronic warfare, anti-drone equipment. The Army commanders – that is Army chief General Manoj Pande, the commanders of various commands and senior officers at the headquarters – also okayed a new technical entry scheme (TES) for officers.  This will be enforced from January 2024.

The existing TES to the Army as B Tech graduates, is five-year education model introduced in 1999.  In this model, one year military training is imparted at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Gaya. Thereafter, three years B Tech degree is taught followed by one year at the three engineering colleges of Indian Army. It has now been decided to have a four-year model, with three years of training focused on technical training followed by one year of military training at IMA, Dehradun.

In a much-needed human resource measure, for the children of those soldiers who die in harness, it was decided to double the sustenance allowance to such children through Army Group Insurance Fund (AGIF).

The Army Commanders took stock of the current and emerging security scenarios and reviewed the operational preparedness and readiness of the Indian Army. They reviewed the progress on the ongoing transformational initiatives in the key domains of force structuring, force optimisation, modernisation and technology infusion and jointness and integration as part of “Year of Transformation” announced in January 2023.

The commanders also identified specific areas and actionable points for promoting jointness and integration with other services and government agencies. The commanders also decided that combat-hardened soldiers who have become ‘battle casualties’ will be given an option for “Paralympics” events. The Mission Olympic Wing (MOW) will be tasked to identify potential talent for athletics, rowing, archery, swimming, shooting, paralifting, kayaking and canoeing. The volunteers will undergo screening and selected individuals will be retained for training.