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Indian Armed Forces to build 5G Network

Indian Armed Forces to build 5G Network

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  • GS 3 || Security || Internal Security Threats || Cyber Security

Why in the news?

5G will bring enormous benefits to the Indian armed services over the next decade at least. It is widely regarded to be state-of-the-art technology, which will have a bearing on military operations.

Present context:

  • Military planners in India, just as they are in other countries, are likely to seize this opportunity to integrate 5G hardware and software for their current and future capabilities.
  • 5G will have faster response rates as opposed to 4G, wider bandwidth and extremely quick transmission and reception of imagery and battlefield conditions.
  • Nevertheless, 5G spectrum presents challenges to a range of the military’s technical capacities.
  • To ensure the effective and complete performance of 5G for the Indian military, the government has to get technical experts to undertake computer simulations to obviate or limit interference.

The role of communication in the military leadership:

From the management perspective, the communication in every organisation facilitates two principal functions: informational organisational and motivation inspirational.

  • The other function of communication is usually facilitated with less structured activities which are within the competences of human resources branches, public affairs offices as well as press offices
  • Besides creating a positive image of the firm in its external environment and in the media, public affairs offices are often responsible for intra organisational
  • They perform the functions of internal communication by: issuing brochures (bulletins), managing organisational intranet websites, integrating teams and  fostering the  feelings  of  employee identification with an organisation and employee satisfaction from the projects they participate in

Benefits of 5G communication:

  • 5G will bring enormous benefits to the Indian armed services over the next decade at least. 5G networks will improve the situational awareness by transmission of large amount of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR)
  • It is widely regarded to be state-of-the-art technology, which will have a bearing on military operations. Yet the Government of India (GoI) is yet to make a decisive call regarding where to source 5G from.
  • 5G technology also has the potential of making the concept of smart bases a reality. 5G will be robotic surgery in a remote battlefield providing the prompt and best healthcare to prevent lethalities and disabilities.
  • 5G technology will leverage directional antenna with beamforming which will inherently provide anti-jamming properties.
  • The real-time exchange of situational awareness data vis a vis available resources (manpower, weapons and ammunition, ration etc) at a base will definitely result in optimal deployment and distribution of weapons at the target, providing an edge in a theatre of operation
  • China’s Huawei still remains a potential contender for the supply of some 5G equipment. The government has identified these companies as likely to install “trap door” or “back door” technologies that could enable Chinese spy agencies to conduct espionage.
  • These technologies, if installed by Huawei or ZTE, will in all likelihood jeopardize India’s national security. 5G brings great benefits to the civilian and commercial telecommunications sectors.
  • It will generate higher data rates, rapid transmission enabled by high bandwidth, and beyond the benefits it brings to the civilian sector, there are considerable military benefits as well.

Challenge associated with 5G communication:

  • Unlike the commercial users of 5G who might not want to invest in robust protection gear from interference due to high cost, the Indian armed services will be compelled to do so.
  • They will need to invest in rugged transportable equipment that keep interference to a minimum in an operating environment.
  • To ensure the effective and complete performance of 5G for the Indian military, the government has to get technical experts to undertake computer simulations to obviate or limit interference.
  • The armed services are likely to face ubiquitous obstacles, such as high-powered jamming signals of the opponent.
  • 5G has high bandwidth. Consequently, jammers will follow into the millimeter wave range to jam systems at close range.
  • All users, including commercial and military users, will depend on 28 GHz and beyond for short distance transmission. This is unlike 4G which has a longer wavelength and lower frequency signals, generally 3.5 GHz and below.

What government is doing?

  • Government has conveyed “mixed signals” or appears conflicted about the extent to which it wants to exclude Huawei from the Indian telecommunications market.
  • Despite the higher cost of alternative sources of 5G equipment and the absence of any native Indian capacity to build 5G hardware and software, it would be wiser to choose non-Chinese sources.
  • Being familiar with their own 5G devices, the Chinese will be better positioned to generate signal interference and jam electronic transmissions of the Indian military. Temporizing over the decision to include Huawei or ZTE is seemingly reasonable, but when weighed against the foregoing analysis, it is best the government not dither and make a clear call.

Present Status of 5G Development:

  • With the host of new technologies and potential applications in all aspects of life, many countries are in the race to become the first-mover in commercial 5G deployment within their territory as well as globally.
  • The testbeds live in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other European countries and they are expected to deploy 5G soon after. Singapore, Russia, and Canada also have made significant progress in this direction.

Conclusion:

The deployment of 5G networks is the need of the hour to meet growing demands and immense opportunities it would eventually provide. It is absolutely essential to work out network design with adequate security mechanisms built at each layer to make it robust enough to prevent an attack and also resilient enough to survive/recuperate from a successful attack.

Mains oriented question:

What are pros and cons of installation of 5G in defense system? (150 words)