The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Task Force of the Ministry of Defence led by Chairman Mr N. Chandrasekaran on 30 June submitted its final report to the Defence Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman on using AI for military advancements.
A statement published by the Ministry of Defence quoted the report saying that the Task Force has studied the development in the artificial intelligence and machine learning sectors in India, both in general and specific contexts of defence needs.
The Task Force stated that its mission is to leverage AI for economic benefit, to create policy and legal framework that will accelerate the deployment of AI technologies in several sectors in the country and to provide recommendations for specific government, industry and research programs.
The government said it intends to use the country's strong IT industry and its large number of engineers for military advancement and noted that the Ministry has already initiated the process of preparing Indian defence forces in their use of AI.
In the statement, the Ministry said that artificial intelligence has the potential to have a transformative impact on national security. It is also mentioned that artificial intelligence is essentially a dual-use technology; it can fuel technology-driven economic growth and has the potential to provide military superiority.
The Task Force that was set up in February 2018, studied a whole range of issues regarding the strategic implications of AI from a national security perspective as well as in the context of the world. The report expounded on the Task Force’s idea of AI, the sectors in which AI can be leveraged in the country, and the challenges and ethical factors that need to be taken into consideration. The report concluded with a list of policy recommendations for the government in ways it can leverage AI over the next five years.
Apart from military, the report outlined nine other areas that would benefit from advancements in AI, namely, manufacturing, fintech, health, agriculture, technology for the differently-abled, environment, public utility services, retail and customer relationships and education.
According to the press release, the report said that the government plans to use AI to make India a significant power of AI in defence, particularly in the areas of aviation, naval, land systems, cyber, nuclear, and biological warfare.
The report made recommendations for policy and institutional interventions that are required to regulate and encourage robust AI-based technologies for the defence sector in the country.
In India, AI work is mainly carried out in the private sector; hence the report recommended the collaboration between the government and start-ups and commercial industries in the field of use of AI for defence purposes.
The release said that the Task Force held deliberations with all its stakeholder representatives, including officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, and representatives of all Defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).