Indian Army is working on 120 niche technology-based projects which would be leveraged for the modernisation of the force, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Manoj Pande said on Thursday as he outlined military-civil aggregation for asset sharing and generation.

Speaking at the ‘Fireside Chat’, a curtain-raiser event of the first-ever Chanakya Defence Dialogue the Army is hosting on November 3 and November 4 in the national capital, General Manoj Pande also stated that one of the lessons of the Russia-Ukraine war is that land warfare would be key domain in contested borders scenario.

“The victory markers will have to be defined in the land domain. That is not to suggest that the integration or jointness that we ought to achieve is not important but in my view, the land domain is going to be more important,” the Army Chief said in an elaborate conversation with Lt General (retired) Raj Shukla, who is now a member of UPSC.

Military-industrial technological initiatives

Sharing broad military-industrial technological initiatives of the Army against a query, the General stated, “We have identified 45 niche technologies that we need to follow and in each of these, we have listed out as to how we would do that. There are, I think, close to 120 indigenous projects pertaining to niche technologies which are currently at different stages of fruition”.

Similarly, he spoke of a Centre of Excellence set up in Mhow Military College of Technology in collaboration with IIT Madras. A 5G test bed there is 75 per cent ready, he pointed out. Another Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence (AI) is again coming up in Mhow, as per him.

General Pande informed that the Army has a defined philosophy for AI and machine technology. He listed surveillance, vehicle tracking and facial determination as some of the areas for the AI application besides a few other projects which he did not name but stated, are showing promising results.

On remote pilot aircraft (RPA) or drones or counter-RPAs, he narrated the Army has inducted a range of such platforms, from nano UAVs to those which can go up to 100 to 120 km. This is besides logistic drones of different payload capacities that can go up to 3,000 meters to 4000 meters, the General said.

“There is still a lot to achieve but I’m confident with the kind of potential we have in the country, if we rightly and promptly adapt this potential I think all the conditions are there for this to happen,” the Chief of Staff observed.

According to him, the defence industry ecosystem is already in place. “There are about 340 indigenous industries actively involved and by 2025 we have 230 odd contracts which are currently in place amounting to ₹2.5 lakh crore. So there are a lot of contracts on demand which are already there for the indigenous defence industry,” he told the gathering. 


To another poser militaries must have the humility to accept they cannot do everything alone, General Pande said they fully recognise that reality and the Army is working with other stakeholders for common goals and objectives. For that, he stated that the Army is engaged with union ministries of road transport and highways, power and communications for infrastructure development, especially at borders.

Likewise, they have tied up with educational institutions to scale up the capabilities of its human resources and roped in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) and others.

At the Chanakya Defence Dialogue, eminent speakers, military strategists, ambassadors and leading thinkers from the realms of defence and strategic affairs will converge for two days here to deliberate on the wide range of security challenges and strategies in the pivotal regions of South Asia and the Indo-Pacific.