Tech That Can Recognise PLA, Their Vehicles: Army’s ‘Made in India’ Defence as China Steps Up Patrolling

Source : News18

Tech That Can Recognise PLA, Their Vehicles: Army’s ‘Made in India’ Defence as China Steps Up Patrolling
Indian Anti Aircraft gun deployed in Ladakh at LAC (File Photo)

The Army has indigenously designed and developed a series of surveillance equipment and has deployed them at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern sector to closely track frequent exercises and heightened patrolling activities by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops at the disputed borders.

Last week, eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Manoj Pande had said the PLA had increased the frequency and duration of annual training exercises along LAC at the eastern borders and has also continued to deploy some of its reserve formations at the depth areas.

He had also admitted to an increase in Chinese patrolling activities at the LAC, and had said local commanders resolved any face-off that took place with Indian troops as per set protocols.

To track these Chinese activities, the army’s homegrown innovations have been developed incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies.

For instance, Major Bhavya Sharma has developed the face recognition software, which has been deployed close to the LAC to keep track of PLA soldiers, whenever they are spotted at the disputed areas adjoining the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh.

Major Sharma is from the Signals regiment of 5 Mountain Division. This is one of the two divisions deployed in the region that takes care of the sensitive Tawang sector and the LAC that borders the sector. There are primarily three disputed areas along the LAC in the Tawang district — Namka Chu Valley, Sumdorong Chu and Yangtse — which see patrolling by both sides.

The software can help identify PLA personnel coming close to the LAC, by matching them with a preset database collected over a period of time through various surveillance measures.

Indian preparations at 2 fronts and especially against China

The software uses “Python” language code and comprises two modules — face detection and face recognition — and uses AI computer vision technology to carry out face recognition over a live feed, recorded video or still image.

Developed in April, the software costs Rs 5,000 and can function without the internet.

Other surveillance equipment developed indigenously by the army and deployed at the LAC also includes pan tilt handheld thermal imager.

Officers at the spot said this had been deployed at forward locations at the LAC to track movement of PLA personnel, including their light vehicles, assess how many were there and also to rule out animal movement. The feed received from the equipment had also been digitised to improve accuracy of detection — as against what was analogue in the past.

Apart from the indigenous equipment, India has deployed satellite, radars, ground sensors, range of Israeli Heron unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and aircraft to keep 24-hour track of the LAC and beyond in the depth areas.

The feed from all the surveillance resources is collectively received at the divisional surveillance centre at Rupa — manned round the clock by trained army personnel — where it is processed and disseminated to soldiers on the ground for timely action.

Last week, Maj Gen Zubin A Minwalla, general-officer-commanding of 5 Mountain Division, had said the army was creating more battlefield transparency through technology. “We are using technology to increase our awareness of the entire situation,” he had said.

Another senior army officer said while technology could not replace boots on the ground, it was being used as a big “force multiplier” by arming soldiers deployed at the LAC with real-time information on the enemy’s movements.

“Information of build-up in the rear areas can be received faster and in advance and, thus, be processed in time to assess the enemy’s intention and take suitable counter measures in time,” the officer said.

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