Occasional PapersPublished on Feb 24, 2023 PDF Download
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Towards the Integration of Emerging Technologies in India’s Armed Forces

  • Harsh V. Pant
  • Kartik Bommakanti

    The application of emerging technologies will play a key role in the performance of India’s armed forces. All three services understand the significance of these technological innovations in modern warfare, although their development has been uneven across the branches. This analysis provides an overview of how far the three services of the Indian armed forces have gone in integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI), cyber technology, and quantum technology in their ecosystems. It evaluates the differences in their approaches, and explores the regulatory, institutional and legal issues that may be impeding efforts of the armed services to leverage frontier technologies.


Harsh V Pant and Kartik Bommakanti, “Towards the Integration of Emerging Technologies in India’s Armed Forces,” ORF Occasional Paper No. 392, February 2023, Observer Research Foundation.


A wide range of emerging technologies have military applications. This paper examines three—cyber technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Quantum Technology (QT)—and the extent of their incorporation across India’s armed services. While all the branches of the military recognise the importance of emerging technologies, they have yet to leverage their utility.

Among the emerging technologies with military use, the application of cyber technology is the most evolved. Today there is greater awareness within the services about this emerging technology than even just a decade ago. AI, meanwhile, has had its uses for India’s armed forces for some time now, in various forms that include Autonomous Weapons Systems (AWS) and Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS). In the domain of Quantum technology, efforts of the three services are still nascent and an evaluation of its impact on the Indian military may be premature.

India may be a late entrant in the development and application of these emerging technologies, but it is making steady efforts to address the deficits. The present analysis does not delve into the development and application of cyber, AI, and quantum technologies for offensive missions and operations. Rather, it looks at the capacities, institutional architecture, and the nascent investments being made by the Government of India (GoI) to integrate these technological innovations in each of the armed services.

The first three sections of this paper outline the state of integration of cyber technology, AI, and quantum technology in the three branches of the Indian military. The fourth section examines existing laws and regulations around these emerging technologies which may be impacting their development for the armed forces. The paper then describes the experiences of other countries’ militaries, and closes with an outline of the challenges facing India’s armed services in integrating these technologies. 

Table 1. Structure Relevant to the Indian Army’s Application of Emerging Technologies

Source: PC Katoch, “Informationising of the Indian Army: Need for Internal Reform”, CLAWS Journal, Winter 2010, pp. 9-18.

Figure 1. Structure Relevant to the Indian Air Force’s Application of Emerging Technologies

Source: “India’s Integrated Air Command Air Command & Control System (IACCS), Indrastra, September 28, 2015.
Current Applications in the Armed Services

Cyber Technology 

The application of cyber technology is still evolving although it is the most advanced, in terms of service-wide attention, compared to AI and quantum. Applications include the use of cyberspace as a medium for communications, and cyber technology for defensive security.

a. Navy

The Indian Navy has started to integrate Software Defined Radios (SDRs) under the government’s indigenisation drive. The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), Center for the Development of Advanced Computing and Weapons and Electronic Systems Engineering Establishment (WESEE), and the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) are collaborating to develop SDRs for the Navy. The applications include SDR Naval Combat (NC), SDR Tactical (Tac), SDR Manpack (MP), and SDR Hand Held (HH) for secure wireless communications for fixed and mobile naval forces.[1] The state-owned BEL also secured a substantial contract in 2019 to deliver SDRs to the Navy, to aid in enhancing information-sharing and situational awareness.[2],[3] The Navy’s WESEE has collaborated with the Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)  to co-develop SDRs and enlisted BEL as a production partner.[4] Moreover, communications based on the hardware of legacy systems are being replaced with software-based multi-band, multi-functional and multi-mission platforms.[5]

WESEE has attained “Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 3 Rating for software development and maintenance projects.”[6] CMMI emerged as a process development instrument to improve process and behavioural conduct assisting organisations in increasing productivity and efficiency by reducing risks in software, product and service development.[7] The US Department of Defence (DoD) played a key role in developing CMMI, which is commonly required across all DoD and US government software development contracts.[8] WESEE is the only Indian defence organisation securing appraisal for “CMMI V2.0 Level 3 for Development and Supplier Agreement Management.”[9]

The Indian Navy has its own intranet or encrypted cyber communication network known as the Naval Unified Domain (NUD).[10] The NUD is primarily the Navy’s internal cyber network, operating only highly regulated or controlled data that allows for easy segregation and analysis.[11] To sustain a cyber network for NCO missions and general peacetime missions, the Navy has some 400 facilities that include underwater, surface, air and several support installations on-shore that are linked via Local Area Networks (LANs), Wide Area Networks (WANs) and Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs).[12] These networks are flexibly supported by the Navy Enterprise Wide Network (NEWN) with a dense set of fibre optic cables across 30 naval bases.[13] Additionally, the Navy’s Sanchar Automatic Message Switching Systems (SAMSS) facilitate the generation of tactical information linking the War Room in New Delhi to all the communication centres and Project ODOC across all maritime operation centres.[14] Other systems are operational, such as the Computerised Action Information System (CAIS), Saransh Submarine Combat System (SSCS), Tactical Communications Systems for tactical Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH), the Trinetra Stand Alone and Network Security System (TSANSS), the tactical decision support system similar to ODOC and TMS, Weapon Equipment Depot (WED), Computerisation and Networking of Dockyards (C&ND), and Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS).[15]

The Navy is at the forefront of SDR development, optimal or sufficient satellite coverage in the area of responsibility, encryption systems far superior to the world wide web.[16] It is also spearheading development in quantum networks, quantum cryptography, laser communications, and ultra-high capacity wireless networks, although these initiatives are likely to take a decade to come to fruition.[17] This makes the Navy the first service to get off the mark in developing a network-centric force or geared to undertaking Network Centric Warfare (NCW).

The Navy, as former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat once noted, is ahead of the Air Force and Army in cyber warfare capabilities.[18] The service has been quick to prioritise the application of cyber technology to meet its communications and decision support requirements. It has also invested in improving the security of its cyber networks to prevent hostile cyber intrusion at the level of command, across platforms, communications between command headquarters and base installations.[19]

b. Air Force

The Air Force has an internal cyber security and cyber warfare group, just like the Navy and the Army. The service has started instituting measures to digitise requirements for both peace and war time. It has been incorporating digital technologies and recognises the cyber security requirements that come with these innovations.[20] Its in-house development facility, the Software Development Institute (SDI), meets a wide range of computer software-related requirements. Based in Bengaluru in Karnataka, the SDI’s focus since the early 1980s has been on enabling software-driven integration and embedding software into aircraft.[21]  The SDI’s initiatives fulfil a variety of demands and requirements for modern military aviation that include avionics, navigation software, weapons systems, and sensors. Through the SDI, the Air Force runs a Software Engineers Course (SEC) whose role is to develop and improve software avionics and software-driven integration weapons into platforms.[22]

The service’s obsolescent monitoring, surveillance and communications are being progressively replaced with more advanced digitised communications networks. The Air Force Network (AFNET) developed by BEL is a key part of the Air Force’s cyber systems and formed the first segment in the service’s Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACCS) when it was launched in 2010. The IACCS rides on the AFNET, a high-bandwidth 500-Mbps digitised encrypted communication network that replaced the Air Force’s old troposcatter communication technology and integral to the service’s NCW strategy.[23] The Air Force’s digitised communications and data transfer is dependent on the AFNET, which integrates Satellite Communications (SATCOMs), Wide Area Network (WAN), and Internet Protocol (IP). Its static and mobile assets and installations are linked via the WAN—a secured communications network.

The open architecture of the AFNET is also integrated with a state-of-the-art Human Machine Interface (HMI). Live visuals can be instantly accessed by decision-makers through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) from centralised facilities or installations located at substantial distances.[24] Through the AFNET, the IACCS will execute all operations integrating ground-based and air-borne sensors, Command and Control (C&C) nodes and Air Defence (AD) Weapons systems.[25]

Like the Navy, the Air Force has invested in SDRs to enable secure encrypted two-way communications. Some part of the SDRs have been imported, but the service has moved towards acquiring SDRs from domestic sources. It has encouraged the development of the indigenous domestic industry as part of a roadmap that started in 2015 and extends to 2025.[26] It has sought technologies, especially cyber, but not exclusively, to help improve aircraft communications and network across the battlespace. According to the roadmap, the communications requirements are geared to meeting the significant bandwidth needs of the service as well as generating high data rates covering voice data, imagery, and video transmission. The Air Force plans to secure as part of the roadmap a high-security network with a potent encryption and decryption capability.[27] The current Air Force Chief V.R. Chaudhri noted in 2022 that the service was working with the DRDO, academia, and industry to develop niche capabilities in the cyber and AI domains.[28]

c. Army

The Army, while it trails the other two services, has various initiatives to integrate cyber technology and develop its cyber warfare capabilities. The Corps of Signals (CoS) and the Directorate General of Information Systems (DGIS) form the institutional foundation of the Army’s cyber capabilities. They are responsible for providing tactical and operational-level resources for Network Centric Warfare (NCW) and any other relevant military missions and operations. Although NCW is an overlapping function that both perform, CoS is primarily responsible for basic and advanced training (see Table 2). Both the CoS and DGIS also ensure connectivity between different command centres of the Army.  The Military College of Telecommunications Engineering (MCTE) conducts trainings in cyber warfare through a state-of-the-art cyber range and cyber labs.[29]

A number of the Army’s cyber-related communications and information systems are being integrated. At the apex level, the service Headquarters (HQ) of the Army and the Command HQ of the service are or already being digitally linked.  The upper command centres that are being integrated include the Tactical Communications System (TCS), Command Information and Decision Support System (CIDSS), the Battlefield Surveillance System (BSS), and Battle Management System (BMS). The CIDSS was first operationalised in 2011 following extensive user trials. There are 58 nodes connecting the Army’s entire cyber system, consisting of application software, prime mover, the necessary hardware, and shelters.[30] However, at the tactical and operational level, cyber-based or digitised connectivity remains an unrealised goal.

The BMS segment of cyber connectivity and application was discontinued in 2018 as the Defence Production Board (DPB) was no longer interested in pursuing it. The DPB is responsible for the conception and development of all technological innovations applicable to warfare and Army missions.[31] The termination of the BMS disrupted the efforts of advocates for a digitised fighting force.[32] The battalion and combat group-level units of the Army were supposed to be integrated under the BMS. However, Army leadership did not deem it necessary to test and field the BMS because they consider it prohibitively expensive.

The total cost of the BMS is estimated at INR 30 billion, which as of this writing will not be spent by the Army.[33] Beyond what the Army deemed was exorbitant cost, the BMS was also supposed to equip every soldier with a handheld computer and miniaturised tactical computers were to be integrated into the HQ of every battlegroup, Infantry Combat Vehicles (IFVs) and battle tanks.[34] The aim was to generate a common operational picture by integrating other information sources such as the Geographic Information System (GIS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS).[35]

Having missed the 2012 deadline in the initial phase of the BMS, the features of the BMS integrate lightweight equipment, long-range communications through portable satellite communications which is transmitted to the platoon level, and ergonomics. Sensor integration is crucial to the realisation of the BMS. The general purpose of the BMS is to create a taut sensor-to-shooter capability. It is also conceptualised to enable a range of tasks covering decision support functions and operational situational awareness at the level of battalion and combat groups. The BMS, however, also connects every single soldier and combat platform, and linked to the uppermost echelons of the Battalion and Regimental commander to the Tactical Command, Control, Communications and Information (TAC3I) System through the CIDSS providing a common and centralised operational picture (see Table 1). TAC3I was and may still be tasked to integrate the Army’s tactical command system. The BMS connects the lowest to the highest echelons of the Army, permitting mobility and transfer of high data rates.[36]  The Army, however, remains trapped in the era of legacy communications, which is voice-centric rather than data-centric. If and when the BMS is fielded, it will significantly improve high-bandwidth, long-range communications. Its networks will be conducive for rapid deployment which is self-configuring and customisable, combining constant rolling coverage and interoperability.[37] The BMS, when realised, will need all-point or network topology.[38]

The Army has made progress in pursuing automation through a cloud network. Like the other two services, the Army is acquiring SDRs for secure bi-directional communication and has issued tenders to purchase and field SDRs. However, the Army’s attempts to integrate SDRs must meet the requirements of ‘man-portability’ and should be miniaturised sufficiently so as not to affect the mobility of infantry personnel.[39]

Table 2. Indian Army’s Key Training and R&D Establishments for Emerging Technologies

Sources: “The Corps of Signals”, Indian Army, Government of India; Shilpi Chakravarty, “Geospatial a crucial component of the Indian Army – Lt. Gen. Anil Kapoor VSM, Director General Information Systems,” Geospatial World, April 19, 2018, 

Artificial Intelligence 

All three services are still in the early stages of using AI. They display some of the same problems that impede their optimal use of cyber technology.

a. Navy

The Navy already has a history of using weapons in a semi-autonomous form. For instance, the Navy has been using drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) since 2020, primarily for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.[40] The Navy uses the Searcher II UAVs and is yet to acquire combat UAVs. Currently, the service has several areas to consider in the application of AI, including its Tactical Data Link (TDL) system, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), and Combat Management System (CMS).[41] TDL is crucial for the Navy as it seeks to become a Blue Water force and it is also integral to the its 2015-2030 Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP).[42]

Apart from exploiting the massive advances in communications technology, investment in AI will be necessary to establish a credible TDL system to connect and generate interoperability among all Navy vessels widely dispersed at sea.[43] The intention at least for the Navy is about generating greater level of situational awareness through AI. The Navy is aware that fusing sensor data enables greater accuracy about the naval combat environment.[44] On-shore units can also be subject to the application of AI, which the Navy is exploring in the domains of logistics, Human Resources (HR), Dockyard management, and training.[45] At present, they remain personnel-intensive and the application of AI will bring greater efficiency to these areas.[46]  Indian Naval Service (INS) Valsura seeks to leverage the use of AI by consulting several technology companies such as International Business Machines (IBM), Google, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).[47]

The Navy is also integrating the use of Automated Technology such as the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) for its new-generation warships.[48] IPMS will be used across the Navy’s new-generation platforms for control and monitoring propulsion, power generation and distribution, auxiliaries, damage control, steering, and stabilisation.[49] Automated “intelligence” is being embedded not only in the central processor, but also in equipment across the Navy’s vessels.[50] AI and Machine Learning (ML), as former Navy officers concede, are unlikely to serve as substitutes for humans, but they can enhance the performance of personnel.[51] There is an appreciation for both the strengths and weaknesses of AI and ML. In the area of training and assimilating AI and ML technology, the Navy is working towards creating a Centre for Excellence (CoE) at INS Valsura and an AI and Big Data Analysis (BDA) laboratory was set up in 2020 in the same location.[52] The service has also set up an AI core group that will monitor AI initiatives and whether they adhere to prescribed timelines.[53]

Beyond these initiatives, the Navy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BEL. Under the terms of the MoU, the Navy and BEL will set up a Technology Incubation Forum (TIF) for the development of emerging technologies such as AI, Quantum Computing, and Robotics.[54] The mandate is wider in coverage, as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) observed: “The broad charter of the TIF includes technology development in the domain of weapons and sensors, information technology and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, quantum computing, autonomous platforms/robotics, image processing and cognitive radio.”[55]

The collaboration is being pursued under the Modi government’s flagship Atma Nirbhar initiative that is intended to be a collaborative effort between indigenous private enterprise, startups, and academia.[56] Consequently, the GoI decided to abandon the purchase of 30 Predator drones (which are LAWS) for the price of US$3 billion from the American manufacturer General Atomics, and instead develop the capability domestically.[57] India and the US may still revive the deal for the purchase of 30 Predator drones with all three Indian armed services getting 10 each.[58] AI is also being developed to enhance the performance Combat Management System (CMS) of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) that helps detect and engage threats.[59] It will significantly improve the sensor-to-shooter loop of the IAC.[60]

b. Air Force

The Air Force has a history of use of AI, at least in its semi-autonomous form. There are an estimated five squadrons of UAVs operational under the IAF,[61] though the exact numbers are classified.[62] These UAVs comprise a combination of Heron and Searcher II UAVs and, like in the Navy, are dedicated primarily to ISR missions.[63] The Air Force also has an interest in acquiring Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) such as the Israeli Harpy and Harop which are capable of tracking, identifying and destroying targets and executing destruction of radar emitters as part of missions related to the Suppression of Enemy Air Defences (SEAD).[64] These LAWS have yet to be deployed by the Air Force.

Although the more contemporary and advanced applications of AI are still nascent, the Air Force has nevertheless moved towards recognising its applications in several areas. As former Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria has observed, the Air Force is looking at AI applications in the areas of threat monitoring, training, data and intelligence fusion, and decision support.[65] Automation is being explored, but there is scepticism borne out of a lack of evidence about what algorithms can actually accomplish. Given how algorithms undergird AI’s capacity to execute complex missions, as Bhadauria maintained, the question is how they will respond to unpredictable combat environments; he expressed uncertainty over whether machines could be “taught” to implement air combat strategies.[66]

c. Army

The Army lags in embracing AI. Internally, it set up the Army Technology Board (ATB), formerly under the Headquarters of Army Training Command (ARTRAC), and now under the Perspective Planning (PP) Directorate at the IA Headquarters in New Delhi.[67] The ATB has a close relationship with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Sciences (IISc), in addition to a number of other Research and Development (R&D) organisations to bring new technologies including AI to service the Army’s requirements.[68] The Army’s Military College of Telecommunications Engineering (MCTE) has an AI Centre for Excellence (CoE) in Mhow in Madhya Pradesh.[69]  There are specific initiatives underway to apply AI in the Army. The thrust areas for AI development and application for the Army, as the recently retired Chief of Army Staff (COAS) M.M. Naravane observed, are the following: situational awareness; fusion of sensors; faster decision-making; and autonomous weapons systems. He stressed the importance of reorienting and introducing changes in combat doctrine, organisation and structure of the Army if it is to effectively leverage AI.[70]

Table 3. AI-Enabled Systems Developed for the India Army by DRDO

Source: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

Quantum Technology

The least advanced area of investment and application in the Indian armed forces is quantum technology. This is unsurprising given that its application to warfare is only emerging even in states that are most technologically advanced. The Government of India (GoI), in the national budget of 2020-21, for the first time made an INR 8,000-crore allocation for R&D in quantum technology over a five-year period.[71] The areas of investment and application are: “quantum computers and computing, quantum communication, quantum key distribution, encryption, crypt analysis, quantum devices, quantum sensing, quantum materials, quantum clock.”[72] It is possible that part of the spin-offs that will be generated by this R&D investment under the GoI’s quantum technology mission will help the armed services. Concrete areas where benefits to the armed services are: cyber security, quantum sensing and aerospace engineering. The DRDO has already conducted a demonstration of the Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi, covering 100 km between Prayagraj and Vindhyachal, in Uttar Pradesh (UP) using a commercial fibre optic line.[73]

QKD is the safest and most secure way available today for preserving data and code from decryption; this includes secure military grade communication, as the February 2022 test demonstrated.[74] This is unlike traditional communication modes that can be intercepted by an eavesdropper.[75] Quantum encryption involves predetermined symbols or bits, which only two authorised communicators know and use in their communication; in the event it is intercepted by an eavesdropper, it allows the communicators to know how much of the information has been compromised.[76] If the communication is intercepted, it can be detected and the code altered.[77] If the integrity and confidentiality of a message sent via digital or cyber medium is to be preserved, QKD, which is a key element of cryptography, becomes important.[78]

a. Navy

The Navy is working internally on developing quantum sensors. Quantum sensors are vital for the detection of submarines, which the Navy is demonstrably keen on securing.[79] There is work underway both in the public and private sectors to develop this niche technology.[80]

b. Air Force

The Air Force recognises the importance of quantum technology. As the former Chief Air Staff (CAS) Bhadauria observed in 2020: “technology such as Big data analytics, AI and quantum computing have the potential to be seen both as enablers and disruptors in the strategic battlespace of the near future.”[81] However, there is no evidence that the service is pursuing any initiative in this regard.

c. Army

The Army is conducting research in these areas. At Mhow where MCTE is located and which also hosts the Army’s AI CoE, the service has established a quantum laboratory with support from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) in New Delhi.[82] The lab will focus on Quantum Key Distribution, Quantum Communication, Quantum Computing, and Post-Quantum Cryptography.[83] The co-location of Cyber, AI and Quantum technology-related R&D, incubated at a single organisation in the form of the MCTE, parallels the effort of the Navy’s WESEE which is the Navy’s premier technology developer for naval missions.

It remains to be seen whether the Indian armed services will, over time, leverage and tailor quantum tech for specific missions. At the time of writing this paper, the three branches of the military were at the very early stage of quantum tech development. Given the promise of quantum technology and its intersection or applicability with cyber security, there is likely to be significant focused investments in the future, just like in AI and cyber technology. 

Role of the Regulatory Framework

Cyber Security and Technology

The Information Technology Act, passed in 2000 and amended in 2008, deals with cyber interventions. A few years later, the National Policy on Electronics was issued in 2012 and the National Cybersecurity Policy (NCSP), in 2013. Yet, till a few years ago, well-coordinated and focused efforts towards cybersecurity were missing, except for the establishment of the Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-IN) and similar organisations at the state level and the defence forces. Sections 1(2) and Section 75 of the IT Act, 2000 state that Indian laws related to Information Technology are applicable within and outside India if cause and action fall within the country’s territorial jurisdiction.[84] The Information Technology Act 2000 is focused on empowering cyber commerce and enhancing cyber activities, covering some limited aspects of cyber-crime.[85] It lacks a mandate to formulate rules or regulation for the armed forces and cyber war.

It is imperative that a Cyber Security Act is tabled, covering different aspects of cyber-related crimes, offences, forensics and policing, and also to have enabling provisions for conducting a cyber war and for defence in the event of a similar attack. The Cyber Security Act should empower the Executive to take appropriate action in case of a cyber war, including protecting its precursor and prerequisite IT infrastructure from attacks, developing deterrent capability. The ability to conduct offensive operations against India’s adversaries also needs an ‘Integrated National Cyber Strategy’.

The National Cybersecurity Policy (NCSP), released in 2013, does not cover the creation and application of cyber power; the role, organisation, equipping and training of the Indian Armed Forces to execute cyber-enabled operations and cyberwar—this creates a void in national security. A faster route to implement initial concepts of cyber war may be included in the new Cyber Security Policy/Strategy that will go beyond the 2013 iteration. The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) coordinates and oversees cybersecurity issues, including cyber diplomacy. The National Cyber Security Coordinator at the NCSC is entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating and synergising cybersecurity efforts. A Defense Cyber Agency (DCyA) was established in 2019, and mandated to train and equip the armed forces for cyber security and cyber warfare.[86] The DCyA is largely intended for meeting the cyber requirements of the Indian armed services for security, offensive and defensive missions.[87] However, it is not an umbrella organisation that executes all the functions related to cyber security and strategy for the entire country. India has several agencies that perform cyber-related tasks, functions and missions (see Table 4). 

Table 4. India’s Multiple Cyber Organisations

Source: Authors’ own, using various sources.

As a 2019 analysis from the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) noted, there is a need for a ‘cyber doctrine’ that will be co-developed by civilian authorities and the armed forces to deal with cyber security challenges and prevent espionage in their own networks.[88] The armed forces must have resources for cyber forensics and investigation of cybercrimes. These could be add-on resources in the current legal department of the three Services. Leaders must be conversant with the IT Act 2000 (as amended in 2008 and 2011),[89] and be aware of existing regulations such as those developed by Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organisation for internet governance, as well as the Tallinn Manuals and United Nations (UN) resolutions and deliberations on cyber war and cyber interventions. Section 69 of the Information Technology Act empowers government officials to undertake interception, monitoring and decryption of any information in computer resources.[90] The rules under this section were published on 27 October 2009. They do not provide for any situation related to cyber war and defence or the prosecution of cyber war and therefore requires amendments.[91]

On the aspect of data protection, it will be a challenge for any government to use Article 352 of the Constitution[a] for military action in the cyber domain in the event of a cyber attack that steals data.[92] Since cyber attacks occur with high frequency due to poor cyber security and India is a target-rich environment for data theft,[93] there is nothing under existing constitutional provisions specifically that allow for a response. There is no specific provision under Article 352 that includes cyber war nor any provision that includes the resort to cyber war in concert with physical war for the government to invoke the Constitution.

It may be in the best interest of the nation that Article 352 is not enforced and all appropriate measures, including limited cyber war and cyber defence are initiated without resorting to declaring a state of Emergency. However, there could be a stage where the government may consider a formal response to any cyber-attack, with or without the use of Article 352.[94] In case of an emergency arising out of a breakout of cyber war or cyber-attacks, Article 51A of the Indian Constitution can be invoked and explicitly require under section c: “to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India” and section d: “to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so”[95]  to recruit technical workforce and boost the country’s cyber capacity to protect India’s cyber sovereignty.

Article 51A says: The proposed Cybersecurity Act could help push India to sign the Convention of Cyber-crime or the Budapest Convention to contain cyber-crime at the international level. The Budapest Convention was established in 2001 to fight cyber crime. While some countries, such as South Africa and Equador have aligned their domestic laws that meet the standards and requirements of the Budapest Convention,[96] others have opposed doing so such as India. There is already considerable pressure on India to sign the Budapest Convention, which it has resisted doing.[97] India has agreed to at most, at the international level, a UN-led approach on fighting cyber crimes.[98]

This brings us to the development of cyber weapons, which then National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC) Lt. General Rajesh Pant categorically ruled out exporting and importing. He drew attention to India’s agreement with the United Nations “Group of Governmental Experts (UNGGE) on Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the Context of International Security”[99] which prescribes norms for the export and import of cyber weapons.[100] “Software” is defined and regulated under section 6A021B, Category 6 of the Munitions List of the Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET), regulated by India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) as follows: (1) “Software” specially designed for military use and specially designed for modelling, simulating or evaluating military weapons systems; (2) “Software” specially designed for military use and specially designed for modelling or simulating military operational scenarios; (3) “Software” for determining the effects of conventional, nuclear, chemical or biological weapons; (4) “Software” specially designed for military use and specially designed for Command, Communications, Control, Computer and Intelligence (C4I) applications.[101]

UNGGE has floundered, however, despite developing a subset of norms of good and responsible behaviour in cyberspace in 2015, because China and Russia backed out in 2017, effectively neutering what they agreed to earlier. Even if India does not export or import cyber weapons, there is nothing that prohibits the country from developing its cyber weapons. Thus, it is also necessary that the government retain the power to protect cyber personnel or forces who may be involved in the use of cyber weapons without giving any explanation to anyone in the public domain. There is a need to strengthen Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, which states that the employee of the government cannot be charged with an offence discharging his [or her] duties in an official capacity to protect the Indian Union, unless there is prior consent, from the government.[102]

Artificial Intelligence

There are no laws that exist specifically for AI, Big Data (BD) and ML. A legal definition of ‘AI’ is also absent in India. In 2018, the government published two AI roadmaps—i.e., the Report of Task Force on Artificial Intelligence by the AI Task Force constituted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence by Niti Aayog.[103] According to the 2022 Global Legal Insights (GLI) Report, the government’s priority is the promotion of AI and its applications across various sectors covering healthcare, e-commerce, and defence.[104]  However, the Niti Aayog report on AI, as the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) noted: lacked sufficient public scrutiny of its recommendations before it was released, recommendations were made without understanding how AI applications work across sectors and the extent to which they wary across sectors.[105]

Social and sectoral challenges unique to India were not addressed by the Niti Aayog report, despite advancing the importance of AI to public policy.[106] Further, given the volume of Big Data available in India, there are serious implications for market competition. Large companies in the e-commerce sector such as Amazon and Flipkart are likely to monopolise the sector due to their extraordinary access to consumer preferences, coupled with high cost of developing complex self-learning computer algorithms.[107] The Competition Commission of India (CCI) does not prevent the application of AI among competitors to replicate a monopoly, whereby they can collude to raise or reduce output and determine market prices, thereby inflating their collective profits.[108] Indian laws do not consider the application of AI as an enabler of collusion among competitors as a source of market advantage and monopolisation.[109] At present there is no law in India that regulates AI application in the civilian and commercial domains, let alone one that caters to the Indian defence forces.

In his 2016 paper on the AI Revolution in India, Shashi Shekhar Vempati argued that India must view machine intelligence as a critical element of its national security strategy.[110] The United States and Japan, for example, see AI as a critical part of their bilateral relations.[111] The latest initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET) concluded between the United States and India is a vital step in the direction of forging bilateral cooperation in the area of AI.[112] However, there are considerable differences between India and the United States over Big Data and data protection. A Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) is pending before the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) since at least 2019,[113] that seeks address “all aspects of personal data and sensitive data” and whether this data should stay within India and what could be stored somewhere else.[114] Even if data did exit the country, the bill will be considering if a copy of the data that is exported should be retained within the country.[115]

Beyond legislation, the Indian government must also develop a national strategy that captures trends in the emerging technology that are likely to have a long-term strategic impact. India will have to proceed in earnest to evaluate the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) model of defence research pursued in cooperation with the private sector and academia, in order to create dual-use technologies that are sufficiently large in scope, enabling the development of civilian technology applications.[116] Specifically, the Cyber Grand Challenge model of Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will need to be examined for successful incentives to be generated for academia and the private sector.[117] Surveillance laws in India will require revisiting, with the advent of AI-driven technologies such as facial recognition, Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS), and self-driving cars—these give states new avenues of surveillance and have consequences for civil rights such as those to freedom of expression and the right to assembly.[118] Sector-wise protections can complement and expand on the baseline protections expressed and stipulated in national privacy legislation.[119]

Commenting on the NITI Aayog paper, National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence,[120] the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) observed that India’s current Intellectual Property (IP) regime does not adequately create incentives for research and adoption of AI.[121] Section 3(k) of the Patents Act permits exemptions for algorithms from patenting, and the Computer Related Inventions (CRI) Guidelines have provoked controversy over the extent to which patenting is possible of only software in the absence of a hardware component.[122] The NITI Aayog paper is silent on substantive queries on whether patenting of algorithms should be allowed, and if yes, to what extent.[123]

There also needs to be standardisation in CRI Guidelines or the Patent Act, that draws distinctions between AI algorithms and non-AI algorithms.[124] The Indian government must prioritise the development of intellectual property framework that incentivises and encourages AI innovation. Copyright law in India is at odds with AI systems created or trained for reading, viewing, and listening that are the creative work of humans. Indeed, sections 43 (a) read in conjunction with 66 of the IT 2000 would make existing AI algorithms copying creative works liable for infringement.[125]

Lessons from Other Countries


The Chinese military is giving attention to research and development, and the operationalisation of AI for military purposes. This is aided by laws such as the National Security Law (2015) and the National Intelligence Law (2017), as well as initiatives like the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, and the push for Civil-Military Fusion to synchronise all Chinese entities involved in the development of AI under the state and private sectors. In the past, China concentrated its efforts on controlling access to the internet domestically via the so-called Great Firewall.[126] Since July 2015, Beijing has implemented and drafted a series of laws on internet controls and state access to private data. Article 37 of the Cybersecurity Law requires network operators in key sectors to store data they accumulate or produce, within the country.[127]

Additionally, the law requires business information and data on Chinese citizens accumulated within China to be stored on domestic servers and not transferred abroad without permission.[128] The law also includes a ban on exporting any economic, technological, or scientific data that could cause a national security threat or undermine public interest.[129] The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the first National Cybersecurity Strategy in December 2016, reaffirming China’s positions and proposals relating to cyberspace development and security, and provides guidance for the country’s work on cybersecurity.[130] The strategy aims to build China into a cyber power with the simultaneous promotion of a secure, open and well-ordered cyberspace and the protection of national sovereignty.[131] Undergirding the strategy is the view that cybersecurity is “the nation’s new territory for sovereignty” and serves as the basis for exercising and systematically managing cyber control.[132]


Russia has made investments in quantum computing, principally at the Russian Quantum Center, but its commitment of resources is not nearly as much as those of other countries like China and the US.[133] This in part correlates with the overall reduction in Russia’s scientific-research capacity since the 1990s.[134] President Vladimir Putin is believed to have increased expenditure on R&D by only 1 percent of Russia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with R187 billion (approx. US$3 billion) allocated for essential scientific R&D in 2018.[135]

The latest global breakthroughs in quantum information science have not come about as a result of the work of Russian researchers. The US concerns are about an increasing ‘quantum gap’ with China, and not from Russia.[136] A  decree was released by the President of Russia on the development of AI in the country. The national strategy lays out five- and 10-year benchmarks for augmenting the country’s AI expertise, educational programs, datasets, infrastructure, and legal regulatory system.[137] Evidence suggests that Russia will continue to pursue its 2008 defence modernisation agenda, calling for the robotisation of 30 percent of the country’s military equipment by 2025.[138] Moscow announced in December 2019 that it planned an investment of US$790 million in quantum research over five years, as captured in its Russian Quantum Technologies Roadmap.[139] Not all these initiatives are military-related and information is scant in open sources about how Russia could apply these technologies to its military.[140] The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war may stymie, fetter or at least delay the investment and application of quantum technology in both civilian and military domains.


The First National Cybersecurity Strategy, 2018, also called ‘E-Ciber’, is Brazil’s first systematic attempt to develop a holistic view of cybersecurity encompassing different sectors and Brazilian society as a whole.[141] The strategy attempts to build a culture of cybersecurity, communicating with clarity the government’s role and convening power in the years ahead.[142] A National Cybersecurity Law is likely to follow. The Brazilian government treats cybersecurity as part of the umbrella of information and communications security encompassing concepts such as cyber defence, physical security, and organisational data security.[143]

The first mention of cyberspace as a strategic arena for national security was made in the 2005 National Defence Policy, crystallising in the National Defence Strategy of 2008. This started the steep militarisation of cybersecurity and defence during the ensuing decade.[144] Since then, substantial sums of money have been allocated under the annual budget to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the establishment of a Military System for Cyber Defense including, but not limited to, the Center for Cyber Defence (CDCiber) and the Brazilian Cyber Defence Command (ComDCiber).[145] The 2014 Cyber Defence Military Doctrine, for example, defines “cyber defence as the set of offensive, defensive and exploratory actions to protect national information systems, gather data for national intelligence purposes and to compromise information systems of opponents.”[146] The conflation of content regulation with cybersecurity may potentially produce outcomes that create greater confusion about the “roles and responsibilities of the GSI (cybersecurity), Armed Forces (cyber defense), and Federal Police (cyber-crime).”[147] Even though the three should continue to ensure better coordination in incident response, greater confusion will not only increase the three cleavages highlighted by the E-Ciber, but also prove to be risky in a context of development of the National Cybersecurity Law.

The launch of a new AI strategy by Brazil aims to balance ethical application of the emerging technology while boosting research and innovation in the sector.[148] After public deliberation and engagement between December 2019 and March 2020, the strategy laid out six objectives: “develop ethical principles that guide responsible use of AI; remove barriers to innovation; improve collaboration between government, the private sector and researchers; develop AI skills; promote investment in technologies; and advance Brazilian tech overseas.”[149]


The Indian armed forces are gearing up to incorporate emerging technologies in the services. However, there are challenges confronting the Navy, particularly the lack of sufficient organic talent on AI that can credibly identify the areas of application.[150] There is still a deficit in data science talent and skill in the Navy, which is equally true for the other two services. The armed services lack adequately trained personnel for the conduct of offensive and defensive cyber operations.[151] This lacuna is gradually being redressed with the Navy’s signing of an MoU with civilian institutions such as the Indraprastha Institute of Technology, which has introduced Master’s level courses in data science.[152] However, AI-related initiatives applicable to the Navy’s requirements would have to emerge from within the service, rather than from external professionals.[153] Some part of it is currently being redressed by the Navy. 

In the case of the Army, they have had little success in incubating AI-based research, despite considerable interest and enthusiasm expressed by academia in India’s technical institutions such as the IITs and the IISc to contribute to defence-related research.[154] However, the Army’s incubation of integrated R&D in AI, cyber and quantum technology under the MCTE can be expected to yield results. The Corps of Signals (CoS) of the Army is generally considered the primary repository of expertise in computer science and since it is closely allied to the field of AI, some have averred, the CoS must serve as the lead entity in conducting AI-related research.[155] Other organisations such as the Army’s Directorate General of Information System (DGIS) have a large cohort of non-specialist officers who are deputed to the DGIS for limited tenures with little or no expertise. All three Indian armed services’ internal R&D centres such as the Air Force’s Software Development Institute (SDI), the Navy’s CoE at INS Valsura or the Army’s Center for Artificial Intelligence (CAI) or the Quantum Lab located at the MCTE in Mhow.

The Navy has been the most advanced in applying emerging technologies to service its warfighting requirements. Neither the Army nor the Air Force come close to matching the Navy’s WESEE in R&D. More broadly, Indian laws in the cyber and IT domains will need to be updated and provisions introduced to cater to the emergence of AI and quantum technologies. India can look to other countries for lessons in improving the regulatory framework and nurturing capabilities.

Harsh V Pant is ORF’s Vice President for Studies and Foreign Policy.

Kartik Bommakanti is Senior Fellow at ORF.


[a] Article 352 of the Constitution of India says: The President following Cabinet approval can declare a Proclamation of Emergency if the if there is an imminent threat to a part or the whole of India.

[1] Annual Report 2017-18, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2018, p. 87, https://www.mod.gov.in/sites/default/files/AR1718.pdf

[2] “Software Defined Radios”, Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, July 2019.

[3] Huma Siddiqui, “Make in India Software Defined Radio: ‘Mother’ of all Solutions for Tactical Communications of Armed Forces”, Financial Express, August 20, 2019.

[4] Annual Report 2019-20, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, 2019, https://www.mod.gov.in/sites/default/files/Annual-Report-2019-20-final-web-version_compressed.pdf, p. 154

[5] Siddiqui, “Make in India Software Defined Radio: ‘Mother’ of all Solutions for Tactical Communications of Armed Forces”

[6] “WESEE achieves CMMI Maturity Level 3 Rating”, Indian Navy, https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/content/wesee-achieves-cmmi-maturity-level-3-rating

[7] Sarah K. White, “What is CMMI? A model for optimizing development processes”, CIO, June 1, 2021, https://www.cio.com/article/274530/process-improvement-capability-maturity-model-integration-cmmi-definition-and-solutions.html

[8] White, “What is CMMI? A model for optimizing development processes”.

[9] “WESEE Became the First Defence Organisation to be Appraised for CMI V2.0 Lvl 3.” Indian Navy, https://indiannavy.nic.in/content/wesee-became-first-defence-organisation-be-appraised-cmmi-v20-lvl-3

[10] Sanatan Kulshrestha, “Big Data Analytics in Indian Navy”, IndraStra Global, 8 2017, pp. 1-4, https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/bitstream/handle/document/53090/ssoar-indrastraglobal-2017-8-kulshrestha-Big_Data_Analytics_in_Indian.pdf;jsessionid=24674DF548B285768459889C7ADD6EB8?sequence=1

[11] Kulshrestha, “Big Data Analytics in Indian Navy”.

[12] Vijay Sakhuja, Asian Maritime Power in the 21st Century: Strategic Transactions, China India and Southeast Asia, (Singapore: Institute for Southeast Asian Countries, 2011), pp. 238-239.

[13] Sakhuja, Asian Maritime Power in the 21st Century: Strategic Transactions, China India and Southeast Asia.

[14] Sakhuja, Asian Maritime Power in the 21st Century: Strategic Transactions, China India and Southeast Asia.

[15] Sakhuja, Asian Maritime Power in the 21st Century: Strategic Transactions, China India and Southeast Asia.

[16] LB Chand, “A Network Centric Force First off the Shelf”, Aviation & Defence Universe, December 3, 2020, https://www.aviation-defence-universe.com/indian-navy-a-network-centric-force-first-off-the-block/

[17] Chand, “A Network Centric Force First off the Shelf”.

[18] Ayush Jain, “Indian Navy Better Equipped Than Army & The Air Force to Tackle Cyber Threats”, Eurasian Times, April 8, 2021, https://eurasiantimes.com/indian-navy-better-equipped-than-army-and-air-force-to-tackle-cyber-threats-cds-rawat/

[19] Jain, “Indian Navy Better Equipped Than Army & The Air Force to Tackle Cyber Threats”.

[20] See comments of Chief of Air Staff V.R. Chaudhri in, “IAF Views Cyber Operations as and Integral Part of all Military Operations. We Are Continuously Working to Upgrade these Capabilities at All Times”, SP Aviation, Issue: 2, 2022,  https://www.sps-aviation.com/story/?id=3076&h=IAF-Views-Cyber-Operations-as-an-Integral-Part-of-all-Military-Operations-We-are-Continuously-Working-to-Upgrade-these-Capabilities-at-all-times

[21] Software Development Institute, Indian Air Force (IAF), Bengaluru, https://indianairforce.nic.in/software-development-institute

[22] Software Development Institute, Indian Air Force (IAF).

[23] “India’s Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS): A NCW Milestone”, IndraStra Global, September 28, 2015, https://www.indrastra.com/2015/09/ANALYSIS-IACCS-257.html

[24] “Integrated Air Command and Control System (IACSS): A NCW Milestone”, IndraStra Global, September 28, 2015.

[25] V.K. Saxena, Ground-Based Air Defence in India, (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2018).

[26] “Indigenisation Roadmap: Indian Air Force 2016-2025”, Indian Air Force and Confederation of Indian Industry, New Delhi, April 2016, p. 21

[27] “Indigenisation Roadmap: Indian Air Force 2016-2025”, Indian Air Force and Confederation of Indian Industry, New Delhi, April 2016, p. 21.

[28] Comments V.R. Chaudhri in “IAF Views Cyber Operations as an Integral Part of all Military Operations. We Are Continuously Working to Upgrade these Capabilities at All Times”, SP Aviation.

[29] “India Army establishes quantum laboratory at Mhow, offers training in cyber warfare”, Economic Times, December 29, 2021,  https://government.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/governance/indian-army-establishes-quantum-laboratory-at-mhow-offers-training-in-cyber-warfare/88566099  

[30] Annual Report 2011-12, Ministry of Defence, 2012, p. 102

[31] Ajai Shukla, “Revealed: Why the Army Shut Down Important Project”, Rediff.com, July 30, 2018.

[32] Shukla, “Revealed: Why the Army Shut Down Important Project”.

[33] Shukla, “Revealed: Why the Army Shut Down Important Project”.

[34] Prakash Katoch, “Battle Management System – Where Are We?”, Indian Defence Review, January 31, 2017, http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/battlefield-management-system-for-indian-army-where-are-we/

[35] Katoch, “Battle Management System – Where Are We?”.

[36] Katoch, “Battle Management System – Where Are We?”.

[37] Katoch, “Battle Management System – Where Are We?”.

[38] Katoch, “Battle Management System – Where Are We?”, Also see Martin C. Libicki, “Military Cyberpower”, in Cyber Power and National Security, eds. Franklin D. Kramer, Stuart H. Starr and Larry K. Wentz (New Delhi, Vij Books, 2009), p. 278.

[39] Sandeep Dighe, “Army to Buy Software Defined Radios for Better Communications”, The Times of India, march 21, 2017, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/army-to-buy-software-defined-radio-system-for-better-communication/articleshow/57747772.cms

[40] Aditi Malhotra and Rammohan Vishvesh, “Taking to the Skies- China and India’s Quest for UAVs”, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2014, p. 176.

[41] Huma Siddiqui, “Artificial Intelligence to help Indian Navy develop deal with different threats”, Financial Express, April 16, 2019,  https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/artificial-intelligence-to-help-indian-navy-to-deal-with-different-threats/1549959/

[42] Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030, Directorate of Indigenisation, Integrated Headquarters (IHQ), Ministry of Defence (MoD), Navy, New Delhi,  https://www.indiannavy.nic.in/sites/default/themes/indiannavy/images/pdf/naval_initiatives/INIP_2015-2030.pdf,  Amrut Godbole, “AI and Machine Learning for the India Navy”, Gateway House, Paper No. 21, April 2020, p. 10, https://www.gatewayhouse.in/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/AI-Machine-Learning-paper-for-the-Indian-Navy_Cdr-Godbole_Final-Version_GH-1.pdf

[43] Siddiqui, “Artificial Intelligence to help Indian Navy develop deal with different threats”.

[44] Siddiqui, “Artificial Intelligence to help Indian Navy develop deal with different threats”.

[45] Godbole, “AI and Machine Learning for the India Navy”, p. 10.

[46] Siddiqui, “Artificial Intelligence to help Indian Navy develop deal with different threats”.

[47] “Indian Navy conducts workshop on artificial intelligence in Jamnagar”, Business Standard, January 28, 2022, https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/indian-navy-conducts-workshop-on-artificial-intelligence-in-jamnagar-122012800022_1.html

[48]  Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030, p. 42

[49] Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030, p. 42

[50] Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030, p. 42

[51] Subhash Dutta, “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for the Indian Navy”, National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi, May 20, 2020, https://maritimeindia.org/artificial-intelligence-and-machine-learning-for-the-indian-navy/

[52] “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Indian Navy” Workshop at INS Valsura, Ministry of Defence, New Delhi, January 27, 2022, https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1792935

[53]  “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Indian Navy.

[54] “India Navy, Bharat Electronics Ltd sign MoU for development of emerging technologies”, ThePrint, June 30, 2021, https://theprint.in/india/indian-navy-bharat-electronics-ltd-sign-mou-for-development-of-emerging-technologies/687078/

[55] India Navy, Bharat Electronics Ltd sign MoU for development of emerging technologies”.

[56] India Navy, Bharat Electronics Ltd sign MoU for development of emerging technologies”.

[57] Shishir Gupta, ‘Plan to buy predator drones put on hold”, Hindustan Times, February 23, 2022, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/plan-to-buy-predator-drones-put-on-hold-101645565612604.html

[58] “India, US Keen To Fast Track $3 Billion Predator Drone Deal”, NDTV, February 2, 2023, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/india-us-keen-to-sign-usd-3-billion-mq-9b-predator-drone-deal-report-3745567

[59] Huma Siddiqi, “Artificial Intelligence to power Indian Navy’s Combat Management System in its Indigenous Aircraft Carrier”, Financial Express, April 4, 2019, https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/artificial-intelligence-to-power-indian-navys-combat-management-system-in-its-indigenous-aircraft-carrier/1538247/

[60] Siddiqi, “Artificial Intelligence to power Indian Navy’s Combat Management System in its Indigenous Aircraft Carrier”.

[61] Malhotra and Vishvesh, “Taking to the Skies- China and India’s Quest for UAVs”, p. 175.

[62] A.K. Sachdev, “Unmanned Platforms in the IAF: Need to Bolster”, Indian Defence Review, Vol. 34, October 30, 2019,  http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/unmanned-platforms-in-the-iaf-the-need-to-bolster/

[63] Malhotra and Vishvesh, “Taking to the Skies- China and India’s Quest for UAVs”, p. 175.

[64] Malhotra and Vishvesh, “Taking to the Skies- China and India’s Quest for UAVs”, p. 175.

[65] “AI can bring enormous changes in way wars are fought: IAF Bhadauria”, Business Standard, April 5, 2021, https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/ai-can-bring-enormous-changes-in-way-wars-are-fought-iaf-chief-bhadauria-121040500984_1.html

[66] AI can bring enormous changes in way wars are fought: IAF Bhadauria”.

[67] R.S. Panwar, “Artificial Intelligence in Military Operations: A Raging Debate, and Way Forward for the Indian Armed Forces”, USI Monograph, No. 2, 2018, p. 46.

[68] Panwar, “Artificial Intelligence in Military Operations: A Raging Debate, and Way Forward for the Indian Armed Forces”.

[69] Rajat Pandit, “India finally taking some steps to leverage AI for military applications”, The Times of India, February 14, 2022,  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-finally-taking-some-steps-to-leverage-ai-for-military-applications/articleshow/89559262.cms

[70] Pandit, “India finally taking some steps to leverage AI for military applications”.

[71] “Budget 2020 announces Rs 8,000 cr National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications”, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, New Delhi,  https://dst.gov.in/budget-2020-announces-rs-8000-cr-national-mission-quantum-technologies-applications#:~:text=The%20government%20in%20its%20budget,Science%20%26%20Technology%20(DST).

[72] “Budget 2020 announces Rs 8,000 cr National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications”.

[73] “In a first, DRDO demonstrates quantum communication over a distance of 100 km”, The Times of India, 23 February, 2023, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/in-a-first-drdo-demonstrates-quantum-communication-over-distance-of-100km/articleshow/89775251.cms

[74] “In a first, DRDO demonstrates quantum communication over a distance of 100 km”.

[75] Valerio Scarani, Helle Bechmann-Pasquinucci, Nicholas J. Cerf, Miloslav Dusek, Norbert Lutkenhaus and Momtchil Peev”, “The Security of Quantum Key Distribution”, Research Paper, September 30, 2009, p. 3, https://arxiv.org/pdf/0802.4155.pdf

[76] Scarani et al.

[77] “In a first, DRDO demonstrates quantum communication over a distance of 100 km”.

[78] Scarani et al, “In a first, DRDO demonstrates quantum communication over a distance of 100 km”.

[79] “India’s Navy on big hunt for quantum sensors”, ETVBharat, December 4, 2021, https://www.etvbharat.com/english/national/city/delhi/indias-navy-on-big-hunt-for-quantum-sensors/na20211203192316065

[80] “India’s Navy on big hunt for quantum sensors”.

[81] “Air Staff chief address webinar on Domination of Aerospace Domain-Indian context”, psuconnect.in, 23 November, 2020, https://www.psuconnect.in/news/air-staff-chief-address-webinar-on-domination-of-aerospace-domain–indian-context/25615/, CAS R.K.S. Bhadauria’s comments, “Domination of Aerospace Domain: Indian Context”, Center for Joint Warfare Studies (CENJOWs) webinar, November 23, 2020, https://twitter.com/IAF_MCC/status/1330894491742466051

[82] “Indian Army establishes quantum laboratory, offers training in cyber warfare”, Economic Times, December 29, 2021, https://government.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/governance/indian-army-establishes-quantum-laboratory-at-mhow-offers-training-in-cyber-warfare/88566099

[83] “Indian Army establishes quantum laboratory, offers training in cyber warfare”.

[84] Section 75 in The Information Technology Act, 2000, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/576992/

[85] Information Technology Act 2000, https://www.indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/13116/1/it_act_2000_updated.pdf

[86]P.C. Katoch, “Defence Cyber Command”, SP’s Aviation, 6 July, 2021, https://www.sps-aviation.com/experts-speak/?id=554&h=Defence-Cyber-Command

[87] Katoch, “Defence Cyber Command”.

[88] Credible Cyber Deterrence in Armed Forces, Vivekananda International Foundation, March 2019, p. 25, https://www.vifindia.org/sites/default/files/Credible-Cyber-Deterrence-in-Armed-Forces-of-India_0.pdf

[89] “The Information Technology ACT, 2008”, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, 23 December, 2008, https://police.py.gov.in/Information%20Technology%20Act%202000%20-%202008%20(amendment).pdf, “Information Technology (Reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules, 2011, https://www.meity.gov.in/writereaddata/files/GSR313E_10511%281%29_0.pdf

[90] Section 69 in the Information Technology Act, 2000, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1439440/

[91] Credible Cyber Deterrence in Armed Forces, Vivekananda International Foundation, March 2019, https://www.vifindia.org/sites/default/files/Credible-Cyber-Deterrence-in-Armed-Forces-of-India_0.pdf

[92] Article 352 in the Constitution of India 1949, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1018568/

[93] Stas Protassov, “The rise of cyber wars in India”, The Economic Times CIO.com, 28 July, 2022,  https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/digital-security/the-rise-of-cyber-wars-in-india/93175956

[94] Article 51A in the Constitution of India, 1949, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/867010/

[95] Article 51A in the Constitution of India, 1949.

[96] “Convention on Cyber Crime: Special Edition Dedicated to the Drafters of the Convention”, Council of Europe, 2021, p. 5, https://rm.coe.int/special-edition-budapest-convention-en-2022/1680a6992e

[97] See interview National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC). “Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant On India’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US Cooperation, End-to-End Encryption And More”, Medianama, 2 June, 2020, https://www.medianama.com/2020/06/223-rajesh-pant-interview-national-cyber-security-coordinator/

[98] “Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant On India’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US Cooperation, End-to-End Encryption And More”.

[99] “Advancing responsible State behaviour in cyberspace in the context of international security”, A/RES/73/266, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), 22 December, 2018, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N18/465/01/PDF/N1846501.pdf?OpenElement, see also “Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant On India’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US Cooperation, End-to-End Encryption And More”.

[100] United Nations Group of Governmental Experts, Office of Disarmament Affairs, United Nations, https://www.un.org/disarmament/group-of-governmental-experts/

[101] “Amendment of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for issue of Authorization by Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production for Export of Munitions List Items by both Private as well as Public Sector Units as Notified under Category 6 of SCOMET”, Ministry of Defence, Department of Defence Production, New Delhi, November 1, 2018, p. 34, https://www.ddpmod.gov.in/sites/default/files/New%20SOP0001_2.pdf

[102] Central Government Act, Section 197 (1) in The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/810164/

[103] Report of Task Force on Artificial Intelligence, Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, March 20, 2018  https://dpiit.gov.in/whats-new/report-task-force-artificial-intelligence

[104] “AI, Machine Learning & Big Data Laws and Regulations 2022, Global Legal Insight (GLI), India, 2022, https://www.globallegalinsights.com/practice-areas/ai-machine-learning-and-big-data-laws-and-regulations/india#chaptercontent1

[105] Sunil Abraham, Elonnai Hickok, Amber Sinha, Swaraj Barooah, Shweta Mohandas, Pranav M Bidare, Swagam Dasgupta, Vishnu Ramachandran and Senthil Kumar, “NITI Aayog Discussion Paper: An aspirational step towards India’s AI policy”, Center for Internet and Society, 2019, New Delhi,  https://cis-india.org/internet-governance/files/niti-aayog-discussion-paper

[106] Sunil Abraham, et al., NITI Aayog Discussion Paper: An aspirational step towards India’s AI policy”.

[107] “AI, Machine Learning & Big Data Laws and Regulations 2022.

[108] “AI, Machine Learning & Big Data Laws and Regulations 2022.

[109] “AI, Machine Learning & Big Data Laws and Regulations 2022.

[110] Shashi Shekhar Vempati, “India and the Artificial Intelligence Revolution”, Carnegie India, August 2016, pp. 1-18, https://carnegieendowment.org/files/CP283_Vempati_final.pdf

[111] Vempati, “India and the Artificial Intelligence Revolution”.

[112] “Factsheet: United States and India Elevate Strategic Partnership with the initiative on Critical Emerging Technology (iCET)”, The White House, Washington D.C. 31 January, 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/01/31/fact-sheet-united-states-and-india-elevate-strategic-partnership-with-the-initiative-on-critical-and-emerging-technology-icet/

[113] The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, Ministry of Law and Justice, New Delhi, https://prsindia.org/billtrack/the-personal-data-protection-bill-2019

[114] “Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant On India’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US Cooperation, End-to-End Encryption And More”.

[115] “Lt. Gen. (Dr) Rajesh Pant On India’s National Cyber Security Strategy, Indo-US Cooperation, End-to-End Encryption And More”.

[116] Vempati, “India and the Artificial Intelligence Revolution”.

[117] Dustin Fraze, “Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC) (Archived), Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), https://www.darpa.mil/program/cyber-grand-challenge

[118] Vempati, “India and the Artificial Intelligence Revolution”.

[119] Amber Sinha, Elonnai Hickok and Arindrajit Basu, “AI in India: A Policy Agenda”, The Center for Internet and Society, https://cis-india.org/internet-governance/files/ai-in-india-a-policy-agenda

[120] National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence#AIforall, Discussion Paper, National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, Niti Aayog, June 2018, https://indiaai.gov.in/documents/pdf/NationalStrategy-for-AI-Discussion-Paper.pdf

[121] Sunil Abraham et al., “NITI Aayog Discussion Paper: An aspirational step towards India’s AI policy”, The Center for Internet and Society, June 13, 2019, https://cis-india.org/internet-governance/blog/niti-aayog-discussion-paper-an-aspirational-step-towards-india2019s-ai-policy

[122] Abraham et al., “NITI Aayog Discussion Paper: An aspirational step towards India’s AI policy”.

[123] Abraham et al., “NITI Aayog Discussion Paper: An aspirational step towards India’s AI policy”.

[124] Abraham et al., “NITI Aayog Discussion Paper: An aspirational step towards India’s AI policy”.

[125] Prashant Mali, “Artificial Intelligence and Legal Framework for India”, VARINDIA, December 12, 2019, https://varindia.com/news/artificial-intelligence-and-legal-framework-in-india

[126] Jack Wagner, “China’s Cybersecurity Law: What You Need to Know”, The Diplomat, June 1, 2017, https://thediplomat.com/2017/06/chinas-cybersecurity-law-what-you-need-to-know/

[127] Wagner, “China’s Cybersecurity Law: What You Need to Know”.

[128] Wagner, “China’s Cybersecurity Law: What You Need to Know”.

[129] Wagner, “China’s Cybersecurity Law: What You Need to Know”.

[130] “China – Cyber Policy Portal”, UNIDIR, September 2018, https://cyberpolicyportal.org/en/state-pdf-export/eyJjb3VudHJ5X2dyb3VwX2lkIjoiNTkifQ

[131] “China Publishes First National Security Strategy”, United States Information Technology Office, http://www.usito.org/news/china-publishes-first-national-cybersecurity-strategy

[132] “China Publishes First National Security Strategy”.

[133] “Quantum computing and defence”, The Military Balance, International Institute of Strategic Studies, London, UK, February 2019, https://www.iiss.org/publications/the-military-balance/the-military-balance-2019/quantum-computing-and-defence

[134] “Quantum computing and defence”, The Military Balance.

[135] “Quantum computing and defence”, The Military Balance.

[136] “Quantum computing and defence”, The Military Balance.

[137] Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Russian Federation, October 28, 2019, Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Georgetown University, Washington D.C., https://cset.georgetown.edu/publication/decree-of-the-president-of-the-russian-federation-on-the-development-of-artificial-intelligence-in-the-russian-federation/

[138] Kelley M. Sayler, “Emerging Military Technologies: Background and Issues for Congress”, Congressional Research Service (CRS), Washington D.C., April 6, 2022.

[139] Sayler, “Emerging Military Technologies: Background and Issues for Congress”.

[140] Sayler, “Emerging Military Technologies: Background and Issues for Congress”.

[141] Louise Marie Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”, Internet Governance Project, Georgia Tech School of Public, April 5, 2020, https://www.internetgovernance.org/2020/04/05/brazils-first-national-cybersecurity-strategy-an-analysis-of-its-past-present-and-future/

[142] Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”.

[143] Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”.

[144] Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”.

[145] Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”.

[146] Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”.

[147] Hurel, “Brazil’s First National Cybersecurity Strategy: An Analysis of its Past, Present and Future”.

[148] Josh Lowe, “Brazil launches national AI strategy”, globalgovernmentforum, April 13, 2021, https://www.globalgovernmentforum.com/brazil-launches-national-ai-strategy/

[149] Lowe, “Brazil launches national AI strategy”.

[150] Siddiqui, “Artificial Intelligence to help Indian Navy develop deal with different threats”.

[151] Author interview with serving and former Indian army personnel

[152] Cdr. Amrut Godbole, “AI and Machine Learning for the India Navy”, p. 27

[153] Siddiqui, “Artificial Intelligence to help Indian Navy develop deal with different threats”.

[154] Panwar, “Artificial Intelligence in Military Operations: A Raging Debate, and Way Forward for the Indian Armed Forces”, p. 46.

[155] Panwar, “Artificial Intelligence in Military Operations: A Raging Debate, and Way Forward for the Indian Armed Forces”, p. 53.

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Harsh V. Pant

Harsh V. Pant

Professor Harsh V. Pant is Vice President – Studies and Foreign Policy at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. He is a Professor of International Relations ...

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Kartik Bommakanti

Kartik Bommakanti

Kartik Bommakanti is a Senior Fellow with the Strategic Studies Programme. Kartik specialises in space military issues and his research is primarily centred on the ...

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Harsh V. Pant

Harsh V. Pant

Kartik Bommakanti

Kartik Bommakanti