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President dedicates Army Wide Area Network to Nation

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (UNI) President APJ Abdul Kalam today dedicated to the nation the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) -- a survivable network based on an interconnected mesh topology with high-capacity optical fibre links.

AWAN has been designed to connect all Army formations, units, training establishments and logistic installations in the country.

It will provide secure exchange of information directly from one user to another without intermediate manual handling/intervention and will enable data exchange services including audio and video.

Speaking on the occasion, the President described AWAN as an important defence requirement for E-governance and said in addition to the Army, it may encompass the entire defence services and the interlinkages with other departments of the Government, particularly those dealing with national security matters and related decision -making process.

Dr Kalam opined that AWAN would become the central nerve system of the Armed Forces and will enable the Army to face the operational challenges of modern warfare. He called for the effective utilisation of AWAN for data exchange and decision-making rather than merely as a medium of point-to-point communication such as e-mail or chat.

Exhorting the Army to explore more usage of AWAN, the President said it could be used for imparting training through a universal tele -education delivery system with synchronised multimedia delivery with two-way interaction.

Referring to the challenges of 21st century warfare, the President visualised every soldier having a wearable smart intelligent computer and communication devices which would help him in his operational manoeuvers for self-defence and also in dealing with offensive situations.

Dr Kalam said successful fielding of AWAN covering all the 174 signal centres with state-of-the-art system design, system integration and system implementation was a commendable effort towards self-reliance in establishing a complex communication in IT infrastructure in the Indian Army.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Defence M Pallam Raju observed that the nature of warfare today had undergone a metamorphic change. Information superiority had proved to be the most effective force multiplier in all the major wars that have been fought in the recent past thus reinforcing the concept of the Network-enabled warfare.

The Minister said the efforts of the Armed Forces to achieve the capabilities of Network-enabled warfare by putting in place a robust and highly reliable Information infrastructure -- comparable with the best in the world -- was indeed a commendable achievement.

Army Chief General JJ Singh, in his address, described AWAN as among the first major initiatives undertaken to prepare the Indian Army for fighting in the digital battle space. He said the future conflicts were likely to be of shorter duration but highly intense in terms of fire power and lethality.

Gen Singh said the Army's support systems needed to provide real-time information sought by the decision-makers in the battlefield. Hence a robust, reliable and secure information infrastructure was one of the foremost ingredients for network -enabled operations, the Army Chief added.

AWAN will replace the existing message-handling network in use by the Indian Army called Automatic Message Switching System which was started in mid-1980s and was now unable to meet the current and future user-aspirations due to its slow speed and technological obsolescence.

Defence Secretary Shekar Dutt and Chairman of TATA Group of Companies Ratan Tata were also present on the occasion.

UNI DG MSJ DS1625

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