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India-China standoff: Why the secure communication system will be a boost for the Indian Army


New Delhi, Oct 02: The creation of a secure communication system for the Army at a cost of Rs 7,800 crore was cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

This move significant as it would enhance network coverage in the forward areas, which also includes the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Defence Ministry said that this move is important keeping in view the current operational situation at the LAC.

India-China standoff: Why the secure communication system will be a boost for the Indian Army

The CCS cleared the proposal for establishing the Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON) Phase IV, with the project to to be implemented by the Indian Telephone Industries Limited under a Rs 7,796 crore contract. The same would be functional in the next three years.

At the speed of 0.7 mach, Nirbhay subsonic cruise missiles to defend LAC

"The project will provide better survivability, responsiveness and high bandwidth in any operational scenario and enhance the communication coverage of network closer to the International Border, Line of Control and Line of Actual Control," a statement by the Defence Ministry said.

The network would extend the high bandwidth communication to remote operational areas in the central and eastern sectors. It would further enhance communication reach to the forward locations in the western borders also.

According to the statement, the project would augment the Army's communication network in sensitive operational areas and also provide a major boost to its operational preparedness. This is also crucial keeping in mind the current situation along the LAC, where India and China are locked in a border row for over five months now.

"The project is a strategic and theatre area communication network which will upgrade the existing Asynchronous Transfer Mode Technology to Internet Protocol (IP)/Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Technology. Optical fibre cable, microwave radio and satellite will be used as the communication media," the Ministry's statement also said.

It will involve several activities including execution of civil works, laying of optical fibre cable and tower construction, and generate employment in remote border areas. The project is also a big opportunity for the public sector to showcase its capability and provide impetus to the Indian economy and will be a step in the direction of achieving the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat," the statement also said.

Endurance would be key as situation along LAC remains tense, but under control

In another statement, the ministry said that in another move expected to provide thrust to the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat {Self-Reliant India), the defence ministry signed a contract with Nagpur-based private firm Economic Explosives Ltd (EEL) for supplying 1 million multi-mode hand grenades to the army. These will replace a World War-II vintage hand grenade design being used by the Army.

This is a flagship project showcasing public-private partnership, enabling 'AtmaNirbharta' in cutting edge ammunition technologies and accomplishes 100% indigenous content, the Defence Ministry also said.

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