Joint Development of Inter- Services Network and C4I2 Systems

Vinod Anand, Senior Fellow, IDSA


"Jointmanship is a key ingredient for success in war. A nation that utilises the combined strength of its Armed Forces effectively will prevail over enemy. We have accepted the strength of this doctrine."1

— Air Chief Marshal Tipnis, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC, Chief of Air Staff.

Command and control are two essential tools for managing any kind of organisation. And these become mandatory for a military organisation that is concerned with prosecution of war. Since the invention of the telegraph, exercise of command and control over military forces spread over vast distances became easier. The use of radio further enhanced the capabilities of command and control. Timely information communicated to a military leader enabled him to arrive at appropriate decisions quickly. Information when properly assessed and analysed becomes intelligence. In military context, command, control, communications and intelligence are sine qua non for taking quick decisions at all levels of war, whether strategic, operational or tactical. Command of a military organisation covers a very wide area of activities, however it is not the intention to discuss all such issues. But command and control cannot be exercised without communications. The role of communications becomes very important especially when we consider the size and geographical spread of our armed forces. Communications also enable us to exchange, acquire and disseminate intelligence about enemy and our own forces. Thus it goes without saying that communications are an integral and vital ingredient of the art of exercising command and control over armed forces.

The present age is being termed as post-modern age or knowledge age. The earlier ages were termed as agricultural and industrial ages. In the present age there has been an information revolution. The advances in new information technologies have not only touched myriad activities in the civil and commercial arenas, but have also ushered in a revolution in military affairs (RMA). These technologies have had a predominant impact on conduct of warfare. Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence and interoperability (C4I2) systems combined with surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities have become inescapable for a modern military organisation. Information technology (IT) has had a profound effect on the way the warfare of the future is likely to be conducted. There have been prognostications of cyber wars, network centric warfare and a new kind of information warfare. The new kind of capabilities when possessed by our adversaries or potential adversaries would not only pose a challenge to our armed forces but also to our national security structures. Therefore, it is imperative that a national and a joint services integrated plan to develop and exploit C4I2 systems based on newly emerging information technologies is evolved for forging unity and economy of effort. Further, a joint inter Services communications network would be the backbone of such a C4 I2 system at strategic and at operational levels also. A joint Services C4 I2 system would naturally have interfaces at successive lower levels in the modern battlefield environment.2

Status of IT at National Level

The National Task Force on IT had given an impetus to development of IT in India by making a number of recommendations in 1998. The Task Force has charted a road map for India to become an IT superpower by 2008. There is also a mention of how our defence forces can help in achieving the milestones set by the IT Plan. The professional skills of Indian IT software experts have been acknowledged globally. The Indian IT skilled manpower is in keen demand by many countries. And it is Indians who are playing a major role in the shift to knowledge-era globalised economy. Thus our defence forces should exploit not only these IT skills jointly but also make their personnel IT literate through joint development and training. However, the current challenges to us at the national and joint services level are the creation of IT infrastructure and the need for increased emphasis on hardware.3 Besides the IT applications in the civil and commercial fields, it is the use of these revolutionary technologies for our national security which would pay us handsome dividends. In the era of nuclearised environment and RMA, creating and developing of C4I2 systems along with enhancement of our intelligence and surveillance capabilities, both at national level and at joint services level, assumes an added significance. Any bureaucratic approach either by the government or the Services would inexorably delay the gains and synergies sought to be achieved by integrated development of C4I2 systems.

Existing Infrastructure in the Services

The command, control and communication systems in the three Services of our defence forces have developed independently without any meaningful efforts towards evolving a joint architecture for such systems. The Sino-Indian war of 1962 and the Indo-Pak war of 1965 highlighted the weaknesses in the then prevalent command and control communication set-up. Victory in 1971 war did not, by any measure, mean that there were no glitches in our inter-Services command, control, communication and intelligence systems. Lack of interoperability between C4I systems of Army and Air Force was apparent in the Kargil War of 1999. The complexity of modern warfare and lateral inter-services linkages with command, control, communications, reconnaissance and airborne and space platforms require that integration is critical if any joint Services operations are to be fought successfully.4

The strategic communications and connectivity had been earlier wholly based upon leased media from Posts and Telegraph communication set-up. The earlier wars dictated the need for dedicated communications for command and control and especially for ground forces in theatres of operations and for air defence. The Army had embarked on a fully automated communication network for its field forces and termed it as Army Radio Engineering Network (AREN). The Indian Air Force had planned for a dedicated communication network for its air defence and termed it as Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES).5 The Navy had laid stress on engineering communication networks for exclusive use by them. All these developmental efforts were mostly meant for intra-Services' requirement only and little thought was given to achieve system integration and co-operation to exploit the economies of scale or synergies to be gained by joint Service efforts.

Though there has been some progress in interfacing Army and Air Force communication systems, the trend of planning and execution of communication networks in isolation has somewhat persisted. The Army has developed Army Static Switch Communication Network (ASCON) which provides rearward connectivity from the field forces. Though the rearward integration has been achieved, the lateral integration with the other two services to meet the demands of joint operations for efficient utilisation of respective Services' systems is yet to be achieved. It is axiomatic that only a joint planning, control and co-ordination of resources management would give us the optimal value for the Rupee spent.

The land line communication system for Army and Air Force only is being co-ordinated by the Army. A variety of media systems including lines, tropo-scatter, satellite and radio are being used for communications. Both digital and analogue forms are in use. These systems cater for individual Services' requirements for their strategic, operational and tactical needs, but they are not integrated and largely suffer from lack of interoperability. INSAT series of satellites do meet some of the requirements of defence communications even though there is no dedicated defence satellite. Army has been designated as the nodal agency for communications, Navy for navigational purposes and Air Force for surveillance applications. However, it would be a joint organisation at the apex level under Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) or Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) which would be more suitable for exploiting the new emerging C4I2 systems jointly and formation and implementation of an Inter-Services Network.

IT Culture in the Services

One of the cornerstones of defence forces' modernisation programmes is induction of IT. It started in the early eighties in a very moderate way with acquisitions of stand alone unit-centric computers for management of data. And it gained momentum during nineties, especially so, after the Gulf War of 1991. Indian armed forces recognised the potential of IT and new tools of information warfare (IW) which were demonstrated during the Gulf War.

The fielding of Joint Surveillance Target and Radar System (JSTARS) and their communication links to weapon delivery platforms; the use of links between scout and attack helicopters, between forward observers and indirect fire systems depicted a quantum jump in systems integration. The future battlefields will depend largely on digital data, voice and video communication. Thus communication has always played a very dominant role in the conduct of warfare. The US Tomahawk cruise missile attacks in August 1998 against pinpoint targets in Afghanistan demonstrated the fusion of a number of advanced technologies, including IT, IW and C4I2 systems. A realisation has grown in the defence forces that IT assets would give value addition and assist the forces in becoming lean, mean and keen, especially so in the continuing era of resource crunch. The Pentagon considers the Internet "a potential source of cheap intelligence" useful to the Department of Defence and they are exploiting the net as a medium for psychological operations and an offensive tool for unconventional warfare.6

The development of automated C3I systems commenced some time in the eighties. Though plan AREN was first fielded in Exercise Brasstacks in 1986, the computers and intelligence segment had yet to be fully integrated for evolving a C3I or C4I system. It is believed that the current five-year defence plan had already earmarked a proportion of the funds for development of IT and C4I2 systems. In 1996, the Indian Army spent more than it spent in the previous six years combined on IT. In 1996-97, the army had projected a requirement of Rs. 80 crores but it was cut down drastically.7 Perhaps, after the Kargil experience, additional funds are being catered for development of IT and C4I2 systems for the defence forces.

All the three Services had initially approached the computers for utilising it as a tool for automation in the office and managing information. The basic components of office automation are telephones, fax machines, photocopiers and computers for storing, handling and retrieving data. With the spread of connectivity between computers, the services had their own local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN) for exchange and passage of data. Such data communication networks have usually been restricted to higher headquarters levels, especially so in the Army. Some of the software systems have also been developed and are in use for unit administration in stand-alone mode without being networked. Over a period of time, each service has developed its database and catalogued various kinds of information pertaining to areas of operations and administration.

The Army has developed two types of information based systems which are in the process of being implemented. The Management Information System (MIS) deals essentially with administrative functions such as personnel management, vehicle management, material management and inventory control. The process for providing connectivity between Command HQs and Army HQs, has already begun.

The Army has also envisaged an Army Strategic Information System (ASTROIDS) which apparently is meant for exchange of operational information between Army Headquarters, Command Headquarters and Corps Headquarters. This would be a C4I2 system. At the lower level it would be linked to the tactical C3I system of the operational formations.8 Thus overall aim would be to establish linkages between strategic, operational and tactical levels of war fighting. The tactical C3I systems would further have a number of sub-components which would relate to feeding of information from sensors, quick passage of communication to commanders, processing, filtering and dissemination of information and finally decision to be taken by commanders for appropriate action on the information/intelligence received.

The Indian Navy, either being a smaller Service or perhaps being more advanced technologically, already has networked major command and control centres, logistic depots, maintenance organisations and ships. Its operational information system links the War Room in Delhi with three Command Maritime Operation Centres and data in respect of all operational units within a particular Command can be exchanged with any other Maritime Operations Centre or the War Room. The Navy also has an Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS) which links major logistics depots through a wide area network.9 The network can be accessed by all the concerned authorities and consumers.

As mentioned earlier the Air Force has gone in for an information dissemination system known as ADGES. This is a network of radar and communication links for providing surveillance to various air defence elements. The system has also been extended to Tactical Air Centre Headquarters, to Air Defence Direction Centres and Wing Headquarters for providing close air support. For logistics, the Air Force has evolved Integrated Material Management On-line system (IMMOLS). For its administrative communication requirement it has a dedicated Distributed Message Switching System (DMSS).10 This system can be exploited for add-ons like e-mail, fax and video-conferencing.

It is quite evident that there are a number of areas, which are common to the Services and can be developed and exploited jointly. The two basic functional areas of all the three Services are operations and its support functions. The nature of modern warfare compels us to move towards evolving a joint approach for developing and creating C4I2 systems.

Inter Service Co-ordination

There are a number of committees and boards that have been established to co-ordinate inter-Service activities and developments in the electromagnetic spectrum. The electronic warfare activity of the three Services is co-ordinated by Joint Electronic Warfare Board (JEWB). The aspects of electromagnetic compatibility and interference are under the control of the Joint Electromagnetic Compatibility Advisory Board (JEMCAB). There is a Central Monitoring Organisation for monitoring activities. The allotment of frequencies and their co-ordination is entrusted to a Joint Communication and Electronics Committee (JCEC). Some inter-Service attempts are also made on arriving at consensus on various standards and specifications for the equipment to be procured or developed. This is done through Directorate of Standardisation in co-ordination with Directorate General of Quality Assurance and R&D. Systems planning and engineering is done mainly by individual Services themselves in an autonomous manner.

All these boards and committees work within a very limited framework of their defined charter and without any pronounced interaction for promoting integration. This leads to lack of compatibility and interoperability. The inter-system and intra-system compatibility, survivability and amenability to integration should be the key ingredients of any future C4I2 and C3I, inter-Services and intra-Service networks. Though there are a number of agencies for managing, co-ordinating and developing systems connected with electro-magnetic spectrum, they need to be brought under a central controlling and co-ordinating authority to promote functional synergies.11 At the strategic level a well-integrated Common Defence Communication Network or an inter-Services military communication network would be the first requirement. This system would also need to integrate the various Services at operational and tactical levels wherever required. This system would need to be dovetailed and enmeshed with C4I2 system at national and strategic levels and tactical C3I system at the lower levels.

Essentials of an Inter-Services Network

The IT plan at the national level envisages a project 'Sankhya Vahini' with the aim of providing national infrastructure in the civilian sector. The purpose of the project would be to establish a high bandwidth all India national network for knowledge oriented multi-media applications. It would be connecting a number of small and major cities. The speed of the network would be many thousand times more than the existing speeds. It would also be a test-bed for developing multi-gigabit technologies that would become the norm in the near future.12 An overview of developments in the civil sector would enable the Defence Forces to suitably work out their requirements and strategies for developing their own military network. It would also indicate to us the availability of bandwidth, satellite transponders and frequencies that would have to be factored into our plans for Inter-Services Network and individual Services network.

The entire project is based in optical fibre cable network (may reach 75,000 km when completed), VSAT (very small Aperture Terminals) with a very large capacity and satellite transponders also of a very high capacity. It is expected that Defence Services would be allowed to host fibre optic backbone.13 There are a number of other features of the project, but its implications for Services would be that adequate bandwidth capacity could become available and Defence Services requirements should be incorporated in the national network. In fact, it should not be that the developments in the Defence Services in applications of IT lag behind while the civil organisations take off on an exponential growth.

Therefore, what should be the goals and requirements of an Inter-Services Information Network? Every Service has developed its own individual information and communication networks at considerable cost. Over a period of time obsolescence in the equipment and systems has also crept in. The existing systems and networks, as far as possible, should be interfaced rather than going in straightaway for state-of-the-art equipment and systems. To start with, an Inter-Services Network should complement the existing networks. Some of the points, which merit consideration for evolution of such a network, are outlined below:-14

l It should basically be a strategic area network having connectivity with suitable organisations and national security structures at national level. It should have inbuilt capacity for connectivity at operational level.

l There should be a nodal agency at the inter-Services level to integrate all existing networks of all the three Services and have a centralised network management system. This agency should develop, create and design the future inter-Services network.

l In the era of information war, net wars and cyber warfare and nuclear backdrop, it should have physical and electronic security, survivability and adequate redundancy.

l For optimisation, the strengths of IT infrastructure (both existing and planned for future), the advancements in satellites and radio-based systems, should be jointly exploited by civil and defence sectors.

l The buzzwords for the Inter-Services Network should be enhanced bandwidth, connectivity and interoperability. The enhanced bandwidth would cater for multi-media applications—voice, fax, data, video images, video-conferencing, tele-conferencing, and transmission of digital maps, plans and ever-burgeoning applications of networks.

l The network has to be designed in a manner that it supports joint C4I2 architecture at the national and Services level in all kinds of environments including nuclear.

l The other qualitative requirements would be robustness and a very high degree of reliability compared to a civil network system. Arrangements would also be needed for continuous monitoring, management, maintenance and overseeing its functional aspects.

Elements of Progress

As a step towards further modernisation of its communication network, the Army has commissioned a Wide Area Network with its first phase commencing in Delhi in August 2000. The system is based on optical fibre with optical fibre nodes created at various offices and residence complexes across Delhi. It is integrated into the existing backbone communication system of the Army through which a link can be established with field formations also. Some of the civil sector companies have been involved with the project. It would be a secure and fail proof system and immune to tapping by enemy agents. It would have inherent redundancy to ensure against failure.15 Thus security problems associated with dependence on MTNL network would be eliminated. The system would have potential for carrying both data and video images. Some of the state-of-the-art equipment for communication network would have to be acquired from the private companies rather than any public sector units. The Army would, thus, have a broad band of services of its own which would represent technological superiority compared to its civil counterparts. This system would support voice and data at a synchronous transfer mode (ATM) at speeds upwards of 155 Mega Bytes Per Second (MBPS) to even 600 MBPS.16

The Army has also commenced work on laying optic fibre cables to strengthen priority sections of the existing Army Static Communications Network (ASCON) across the country. The remote posts in Ladakh and Kargil have been linked through VSAT, which can carry both voice and data. Some of the weaknesses in communications revealed during Kargil have thus been overcome by installation of such a system. As far as possible, all the new systems being introduced are lightweight and based on the same family concept for easy maintenance and reduction of inventory levels. The communication systems being evolved would have to have interoperability and interfaces with the sister-Services at the required levels.

The Navy has commenced work on Navy Enterprise Wide Network (NEWN) and upgradation of Sanchar Automatic Massaging Systems (AMSS) at all its communication centres. The Navy is in the process of developing a package of tactical data links for ships, aircrafts, submarines, aircrafts and shore establishments. The development of Computerised Action Information System (CAIS) equipment for command and control applications and development of Submarine Combat System 'Saransh' is in progress.17 The Navy has been putting in considerable effort in moving towards becoming a 'Network Centric Navy'. The progress made by Air Force in networking has already been outlined earlier.

Areas of Joint Data Interfaces/Information Exchange

Some of the obvious interfaces for information exchanges are required in the areas of joint operations, intelligence, joint planning, integrated logistics and joint training.

The requirement of jointmanship is indispensable in the battlespace of the future. And inter-Services connectivity is essential for conduct of joint warfare at strategic, operational and tactical levels. A common inter-Services network would promote integrated operational environment. Intelligence is another area where information and data can be exchanged in real-time and at times duplication of effort in common areas of building data banks can be avoided. Apparently, each Service has its own perceptions of challenges and threats to national security. A better co-ordination at inter-Services level would enable the armed forces to exploit its available intelligence resources optimally. Though the three Services are co-ordinating their efforts jointly for obtaining signal intelligence and satellite imagery, additional value can be gained through a computer-based data-sharing network. This would synergise the intelligence apparatus and improve the quality, response and dissemination of actionable intelligence to the appropriate agency/ decision-makers for timely action.

There are a number of items and equipment that are in use in two or more Services. It could be helicopters, certain missile systems, radars, small arms, vehicles and so on. A shared information network would optimise inventory levels. This can be an area where common data bases of spares, weapons and ordnance items can lead to major cost cutting and economy of effort.18 The three Services could have a common perspective of the common items of use with them. It would also lead them to practices of standardisation of equipment, joint procurement and provisioning.

As far as exchange of data on training is concerned, unclassified data relating to concepts, papers on new subjects relevant to the particular Service, dissertations and joint training programmes should be easily available on the inter-Services net. This leads us to the conclusion that databases of joint training establishments and major training institutes of the respective services should be connected through Inter-Services Network.

Joint Development of C4I2 Systems

The Defence Services Communication network or inter-Services communication network would be the backbone of the ultimate or the next step of developing a C4I and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system at the joint Services and national level. Kargil war, besides highlighting many areas of weakness in our intelligence organisation, information acquisition capabilities and flaws in surveillance and reconnaissance set-up also brought to the fore inter-Service mismatches in our C3I facilities.

C3I or more aptly C4I2 is important both in the national and military context and as discussed earlier, a properly evolved C4I2 system would permit the decision-makers to take appropriate decisions at all levels. It would basically be an operational information system. A C4 I2 system would comprise a series of functions which includes gathering of information, making decisions and monitoring results. A modern C4I2 system at national level should deal basically with development of strategic surveillance, intelligence and information system.19 There should be mechanisms for automated command and control of strategic forces. These systems become essential for command and control of long range weapon systems, satellite systems and especially so, in the era of nuclear weapons. There has been some movement towards setting up of National Command Post, which logically should have a command and control system at the national level for control of strategic forces. At the apex level development of C4I2 systems would assist the decision-makers at the government and joint Services headquarters level to arrive at key decisions concerning national security. At the national and joint Services level, there would be a number of functions which would be facilitated by an automated C4I2 system. It would facilitate control of joint operations, control of strategic weapon systems and also receive inputs from national and integrated logistics set-up of the services. A common C4I2 system at national and Services level would also facilitate a common approach to electronic combat or electronic warfare and information warfare (IW).

Therefore, what should be our strategy for developing such a system? Needless to say that such systems have to be developed and created in an integrated and joint manner both at national and Services levels.20 At the services level there should be a nodal agency or an organisation under the aegis of Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) which should be earmarked for creating and maintenance of C4 I2 system. Such an agency should also take on the task of developing Inter-Services Network as discussed in earlier paras. Some of the technologies required for such systems would be available commercially off the shelf (COTS); other state-of-the-art technologies may not be available because of the technology denial regimes imposed by America and the West. Thus, of necessity, our approach to development of such systems would have to be of 'incremental gradualism'. We would have to rely on IT talent of our own entrepreneurs and scientists.

Each Service is in the process of developing its C3I systems. It is time that such systems are developed in co-ordination with each other and in an integrated manner. The interfaces at strategic, operational levels (i.e. at Corps HQ, Wing and Fleet levels) should form part of the joint architecture for C4I and ISR systems. It is believed that Defence Research and Development Organisation is working on a tri-service IT Integrated Warfare Programme, which involves a total overhaul of the military's intelligence gathering, surveillance, jamming and counter-jamming systems. The likely expenditure is expected to be around Rs. 190 crores and its likely completion is by the end of year 2000.21 However, it is not known as to the extent of inter-Services co-ordination for this project or whether any joint Services General Staff Qualitative Requirements for such a project were evolved and given to the DRDO.

As a part of national level C4I2 system, the Army has already made some headway in evolving its operational information system with the acronym ASTROIDS as outlined earlier in this paper. Earlier the tactical command, control, communication systems (Tac C3I) and its sub-components have been developed independently without adequate emphasis on inter-services integration and at times even without intra-service integration.

In the realm of inter-Services integration, the most essential components of Tac C3I systems amenable to joint development are Air Defence Control and Reporting Systems (ADC & RS), Air Space Control System (ASCS), joint Electronic Warfare (EW) and integration of sensors of all kinds at various levels. All these systems when properly enmeshed together would enable a joint commander to achieve real time battlefield transparency. All these systems would be spokes connected to a Decision Support System (DSS), providing inputs enabling the commander to reduce elements of fog, friction and uncertainty in the digitised battlefield.22

All the three Services and especially so the Army and Air Force have to develop jointly the ADC & RS and ASCS. The wars in the subcontinent have been predominantly land wars. The role of Air Force and air medium would be equally if not more, important as that of land forces in a future conflict. The air medium in a future battlefield would be dense with flying objects like aircrafts, helicopters, missiles, artillery shells and rockets of our own side and that of the enemy. Our own anti-aircraft system of different Services would need to be co-ordinated to avoid fratricide and achieve optimisation of resources. Thus need for evolution of automated and integrated Tac C3I systems for ADC & RS and ASCS becomes inescapable and should be implemented on war footing.

There would be many kinds of surveillance devices and sensors of different Services in the joint battlefields of the future. The reconnaissance & surveillance capabilities of platforms like aircrafts, Uninhabited Air Vehicles, surveillance radars, signal intelligence, and other kinds of sensors need to be co-ordinated and integrated for evolving Battlefield Surveillance Systems. The connectivity to weapon platforms of various kinds belonging to different Services would also be required for executing assigned missions to the appropriate weapon platforms. Thus an integrated joint Services interface and interconnectivity in C4I2 systems at operational level in the era of knowledge-based information age warfare, becomes mandatory.23

The security and survivability of such information systems is of paramount importance when working in a networked and digitalised environment. The Services have to work jointly to protect their own information networks and C4I2 and tactical C3I systems through protective measures like use of cryptology and other electronic means. We have to take joint defensive measures against adversaries attempts of command and control warfare, information warfare, psychological warfare, military deception anti-hacking and so on24. At the same time we would have to continue to improve our offensive information warfare capabilities in an integrated manner. The overall aim would be to attain information superiority and remain pro-active.

All these requirements of an inter-services network and a C4I2 system lead us to the conclusion that besides individual services improving their human resource development (HRD), a joint effort in this field would also pay handsome dividends in improving IT literacy in the Services. Joint training and establishments at successive levels would hone the IT skills and thus contribute towards promoting culture of jointness in the Services.


As an outcome of the Kargil Review Committee's recommendations, a Group of Ministers has been established to examine the management of National Security issues. A Task Force on the Restructuring of Management of Defence chaired by Mr. Arun Singh has also been formed. One of the key issues entrusted to this Task Force is to analyse the emerging security scenario having regard to the nuclearised environment, revolution in military affairs, information and other similar developments. The acquisition and development of a common Inter-Services Network connected with national information infrastructure and supported by a C4 I2 system at the national level with a joint architecture of C4 I2 systems at the inter-Services level would be essential cogs of smooth and seamless national security machinery.

Information technology and its tools have been widely recognised by the Armed Forces all over the world as the most important force multipliers. IT and IW help us to focus on key battle winning aspects. The electro-magnetic spectrum has become the new high ground to be captured for success of operations, and battlefield interdiction would also include electronic isolation of force. Thus, the electro-magnetic spectrum has to be exploited in an integrated and joint manner at both the national and Services level. Both IT and IW as a component of national and combat power can be exploited jointly during both peace and war, in fact, along the entire spectrum of conflict to gain optimum value for the resources employed.

There is a need at the apex level to create a nodal agency or organisation which should work towards a common defence communication network at the strategic level with linkages with National Command Post and other evolving national security structures. The same organisation at the inter-Services level should be tasked to develop and create integrated C4I2 systems at joint Services level with required interfaces at operational levels. Formation and creation of such an organisation requires vision and drive. A phase wise evolution and execution of plans under the aegis of COSC and creating a new joint services organisation to evolve, co-ordinate and develop C4I2 systems in an unified manner would propel our armed forces towards achieving synergies in defence of the realm.

The all-pervasive influence of information technology also creates overlap between strategic, operational and tactical levels of warfare and conflict. A perfected inter-Services communication network and an integrated C4I2 system would logically promote joint operations, joint doctrine, joint planning, joint intelligence, joint staffing and procedures. The RMA and the nature of war dictate to us that our armed forces fight as an integrated force. The new tools of IT would help the defence forces to fuse together in reinforcing and complementing each other. A streamlined Inter-Services Network, C4I2 system supported by ISR and precision platforms would enable our defence forces to truly become armed forces of the twenty first century.


1. Air Chief Marshal AY Tipnis's message at a seminar held on "Jointmanship under New Technological Environment" at Defence Service Staff College Wellington, March 27-28, 2000.

2. For origin of C3 I and its upgradation to C4I, see Bhasyan Kasturi, "C3I—its Relevance in the Indian context", The Indian Defence Review, October-December 1997.

3. Brig. Vinod Anand "Information Technology and Defence Forces", Strategic Analysis, November, 1999". Also see the same author "Global War for IT Talent; The Empowerment of India through Information Technology", Strategic Analysis, May 2000.

4. Air Marshal BD Jayal (Retd.) PVSM, AVSM, VM and Bar, "Indian Air Power, Lesson and Prospects", The Indian Defence Review, October-December 1999, p. 16.

5. Commander RJ Nadkarni, "Model of An Inter-Services Information Network", Seminar, 2000, Jointmanship Under New Technological Environment, March 2000, pp. 111-112.

6. See, Brig. Anand, n.3

7. Ibid.

8. Manvendra Singh, "Armymen's Combat Kit will have a Computer too" The Indian Express, December 27, 1998. Also see Commander RJ Nadkarni, n.5.

9. See, Commander Nadkarni, n.5.

10. Ibid.

11. Brig. Vinod Anand, "Achieving Synergies in Defence", Strategic Analysis January 1999.

12. Commander SB Kesnur, "Inter-Services Information Network Communication, Connectivity and Data Bases", Seminar 2000, pp. 130-144. See Commander Nadkarni, n.5.

13. Ibid.

14. Also see Rear Admiral Bangara's views on Inter-services Information Network, Seminar 2000, DSSC, Wellington, pp. 145-146 and see Commander Kesnur, n. 12 above.

15. S.P.S. Pannu, "Infotech, telecom firms to play key role as Army goes Hi-Tech", The Hindustan Times, August 2000.

16. Pratyush Kanth, "Armed to the Teeth, it now packs a byte", The Times of India, July 31, 2000.

17. Rear Admiral Arun Saxena, AVSM, VSM, "Technical Aspects of Networking and Network Security", Seminar 2000, pp. 90-95.

18. See, Commandert Kesnur, n. 12, p. 141.

19. For a detailed discussion of C3 I systems, see Virender Kapoor and MI Jaisinghani, Battlefield Information Systems: C3 I, (Nasik Road, Regt. of Arty Association, 1994).

20. The goals and objectives of C4 I2 system continue to be to attain unity and economy of effort, exploit joint force capabilities, enhance security and redundancy and position information where it is required critically. Also see Rear Admiral Y Prasad, AVSM, SM, "Inter-services Information Network", Seminar 2000, p 152.

21. See, Brig. Anand, n. 3.

22. Kapoor and Jaisinghani, n. 19, pp. 20, 54 and 78 and for additional technical details see chapter 9.

23. See Rear Admiral Arun Saxena's conclusions on requirement of a Defence Information Infrastructure and a national C4 I SR for operations and support functions if we want to achieve any meaningful jointmanship. See n. 17, p. 106.

24. Sqn Ldr AR Saluja, "Cyber Security in Defence Services" USI Journal, April-June 2000. p.273.