Tech newest warrior to enter battlefield, says defence minister Rajnath Singh - Hindustan Times
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Tech newest warrior to enter battlefield, says defence minister Rajnath Singh

Jun 23, 2023 01:45 AM IST

Defence minister Rajnath Singh raised such concerns during his three-day visit to his Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency.

What if costly Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled defence technologies and chip-embedded modern firearms, imported from advanced countries, are remotely ‘blocked’ at a time the country needs them most?

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attends the ‘Defence Dialogue’ program under Atmanirbhar Bharat at Surya Auditorium in Lucknow on June 17. (Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attends the ‘Defence Dialogue’ program under Atmanirbhar Bharat at Surya Auditorium in Lucknow on June 17. (Deepak Gupta/Hindustan Times)

Worse still, what would happen if modern imported defence technology starts leaking sensitive data to the enemy?

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The plot of a sci-fi thriller?

Well, think again.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh raised such concerns during his three-day visit to his Lucknow Lok Sabha constituency.

“Technology is the newest warrior to enter the battlefield. That is why we all need to be updated and vigilant and require self-reliance on arms and equipment,” the defence minister said as many nations, including China, are expanding efforts to integrate AI tools in their defence technology.

“Today most weaponry is equipped with modern electronic systems. So, can we deny the possibility that the equipment or platform we are using might have such chips or other systems that reveal our strategic positioning or other sensitive information to the enemy?” the defence minister said.

“We all must think about newer and emerging challenges. So, we purchase weapons from a country but could there be a scenario that while using them in adverse circumstances, those nations that have sold the weapons and technology to us, tap technology and systems to block them,” he said.

“Imported arms have their own limitations as they come with some conditions which aren’t right for a sovereign nation to accept. So, for protecting country’s sovereignty if we need most advanced and equipped technology-fitted arms and ammunition, then those need to be developed indigenously for one cannot depend on others for long,” he added.

“In the 1971 war when we required arms and ammunition, then countries to whom we turned to for help, rejected our request and we had to look for a different route. I don’t want to name the countries to which we made request. During the Kargil war too, when our army required arms and ammunition, countries started preaching peace to us. Even those countries which traditionally supplied arms to us also said no,” Rajnath Singh said.

“Countries that turn their backs when the other country is in trouble, can’t be relied upon,” he added.

The defence minister quoted George Santayana, a Spanish-American philosopher who had famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

“This is a statement worth reflecting on,” Rajnath Singh said while emphasising on the need to be self-reliant.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Manish Chandra Pandey is a Lucknow-based Senior Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times’ political bureau in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Along with political reporting, he loves to write offbeat/human interest stories that people connect with. Manish also covers departments. He feels he has a lot to learn not just from veterans, but also from newcomers who make him realise that there is so much to unlearn.

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