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India, US to Commence Defence Artificial Intelligence Dialogue

Image credit: DefenceMinIndia; Twitter

At the recent fourth U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the two countries agreed to engage in new talks on artificial intelligence in defence, space cooperation and public health, among others. According to a government statement, the event was chaired by four ministers who highlighted their commitment to deepening cooperation in defence domains such as space and cyberspace, as the U.S. and Indian militaries jointly meet the challenges of this century. The leaders discussed launching an inaugural Defense Artificial Intelligence Dialogue and expanding joint cyber training and exercises.

During their discussions, the officials forged new and deeper cooperation across the breadth of the U.S.-India partnership, including defence, science and technology, trade, climate, and people-to-people ties. The leaders lauded the US-India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)’s ongoing projects, including a project agreement to co-develop air-launched UAVs. To foster robust private industry collaboration, the countries will consider initiating several more DTTI projects, such as counter-unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and an intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) platform.

The two sides also signed a Space Situational Awareness arrangement, which lays the groundwork for more advanced cooperation in space. Bound by common strategic interests and an abiding commitment to the rules-based international order, they agreed to continue charting an ambitious course in the U.S.-India partnership. As the Indian military emerges as a more jointly integrated force, the 2+2 Ministerial advanced initiatives will allow the U.S. and Indian militaries to work more seamlessly together across all domains of potential conflict—from the seas to cyberspace. The U.S. and India finalised major bilateral initiatives on information-sharing, liaison exchanges, and joint service engagements to support high-end, combined operations.

The Indian Defense Department has been using AI in equipment and for several initiatives over the past decade. In January 2019, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, initiated a project to develop AI-based solutions for signal intelligence to enhance the collation and analysis capabilities of the armed forces. The AI-based tools would help defence forces constructively in decision-making, sensor data analysis, predictive maintenance, situational awareness, accurate data extraction, and security.

More recently, the Indian Army set up an AI centre at the Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) in Madhya Pradesh. It will oversee more than 140 deployments in areas of emerging tech and in active support of the industry and academia. The centre, along with a quantum computing laboratory, will carry out extensive research in developing transformative technologies for military use.

As of January this year, the Navy had progressed around 30 AI projects that encompassed autonomous systems, language translation, predictive maintenance, inventory management, text mining, perimeter security, maritime domain awareness, and decision making.

As OpenGov Asia reported, the AI initiatives are envisaged to have both tactical and strategic level impacts. Officials stated that the Navy would launch several other major projects that incorporate AI and machine learning (ML). Along with centres of excellence, the Navy has organised seminars and workshops with academics and experts for its personnel, focussing on capacity building.

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