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India’s Progress In Artificial Intelligence – OpEd


The Indian Army recently announced its Land Warfare Doctrine 2018, of which one of the most significant points was the advancement of Artificial Intelligence in the Armed Forces.

Artificial Intelligence is the programming of machines in such a way that they develop intelligence equivalent to human beings or even surpass them. AI is not a new concept. It has been applied in various technologies by USA and China for a long time. However, AI has gained wide prominence in the recent times when the major powers of the world have started integrating AI in to the military sector.

Artificial Intelligence experts such as Elon Musk have repeatedly urged the scientific community to go slow on AI as once it crosses a certain threshold, humans won’t be able to control it. This has been ignored by the major powers and each one of them is trying their level best to excel in it.

The USA was the first state to incorporate AI into the military sector. This was followed by China, who sees AI as a magical wand to lessen the gap existing between itself and the USA. Moreover, China acknowledges the fact that future warfare will involve AI. Hence, in order to strengthen its military, endeavors are in full action to consolidate the military sector. China has developed unmanned aerial vehicles, unmanned submarines and it is currently developing an underwater base which will be aided by AI to monitor the South China Sea.

India, which sees itself as an important regional player, has not ignored this incoming threat. India has realized that China is far ahead in the militarization of AI. Consequently, if India doesn’t take critical decisions soon, then it won’t be good for the nation.

Indeed, India sees China as a huge threat. The prospects of the Chinese military being equipped with AI will pose a great danger to India. It is in light of this, that India has started to benefit from AI. The Indian Army’s Binin Rawat, said “Our adversary on the northern border (China) is spending huge amounts of money on Artificial Intelligence and cyber warfare. We cannot be left behind.”

The Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization is helping the Indian military to excel in AI. India has reserved $180 million for AI per year. It has already made DAKSH robots, which are used to diffuse explosive weapons. In addition, CAIR is working on a Multi Agent Robotic Framework, which will be a group of robots with the capacity to perform as a team of soldiers — mobile robots that would be able to conduct operations at dangerous terrains are also in the development process.

Moreover, India is working on aerial combat drones and AI supported surveillance system for border control. This measures are being take due to the presence of hostile neighbor’s i.e. India and Pakistan and the immense amount of tension at both Line of Control (LOC) and Line of Actual Control (LOAC) respectively.

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Therefore, it is seeking the help of Japan in order to strengthen its military with AI and future cooperation with other countries is also expected.

India already has a strong pool of AI experts and this could be employed as a leverage in incorporating AI into the military sector. With respect to cyber warfare, AI can be utilized in both offensive and defensive purposes. When all of these factors are combined then they act as powerful driving force for India to excel in AI and advance its military to a new level.

Apart from China, India in the future will try to deter Pakistan through Artificial Intelligence. Pakistan right now is far behind in AI, which has been more inclined towards consolidating its nuclear deterrence. India knows the economic conditions of Pakistan and how difficult is it right now for Pakistan to bring a massive revolution in its conventional military doctrine.

After evaluating that the Cold Start Doctrine has not been successful and Pakistan continues to be a great threat, this new wave of optimism encourages India to massively invest in AI in the military sector to give Pakistan a tough time with respect to the conventional warfare, where Pakistan is already lagging behind by a huge distance.

It is yet to see wether this strategy of India will succeed or not, but if India is able to militarize AI to a large extent then it will definitely bring instability in the region as Pakistan wouldn’t overlook this threat.

Artificial Intelligence is a very good tool to advance ones military, however intense militarization of AI in the region can lead to unwanted and unescapable turbulence and ultimately more tensions between the arch-rivals.

*Shaza Arif is a student of Defense and Diplomatic studies.

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