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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : It is crucial for India to embrace multi-domain operations 


Source: The Hindu


  • Prelims: Current events of international importance(India-US relations, Indo-China disputes etc )
  • Mains GS Paper II: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India, Significance of Indo-Pacific for India etc



  • The India-China fighting on the Arunachal Pradesh border has brought the Chinese threat on the front burner again.

Current Affairs



External Affairs Minister about Chinese threat:

  • To counter this threat, we have a deployment of the Indian Army that we have never had.


Threat has faded in public consciousness due to:

  • electioneering
  • bridge collapses
  • yatras,
  • G-20 etc.


Multi-domain operations (MDO):

  • It comprises operations conducted across multiple domains and contested spaces through convergence of capabilities
    • Overcomes an adversary’s strengths by presenting it with operational and/or tactical predicaments.
  • MDO is not just actions on land, in sea, air, cyber, space and in the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • It is not one service using capabilities in multiple domains to do a task: It is the best positioned and capable operator of any service doing it across any domain
  • An Army coastal missile battery: It could be tasked to strike an enemy naval vessel detected by the radar of an Air Force aircraft or an Air Force’s armed unmanned aerial vehicle on an Intelligence
  • Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions: It could be diverted to use its weapons against an Army target detected by a naval/civilian satellite
    • Alternatively, a cyber weapon could be used.
  • MDO architecture uses any sensor and the best positioned shooter
  • The technical complexity and the command, control and communication (C3) structure required can well be imagined.


MDO and its C3 structure:

  • It would have inputs from all sensors to come up with an optimum engagement solution using artificial intelligence.


What does it demand?

  • All sensors (and other information input sources) must be capable of being hosted on the MDO architecture.
  • All solution providers (executors) must be able to receive inputs and instructions from the MDO C3 structure and carry them out.
  • If the link to the main structure is not available (say, jammed by the enemy): The mission command characteristics of distributed control would come into play so that operations continue.


Way Forward

  • Pioneering technologies that only nations with a developed scientific base and financial standing can afford.
    • It would require a de novo look at doctrine, planning, acquisition, staffing and training.
  • India would be deterred by denial during peacetime itself as China, which has the technology and finances, masters MDO..
    • India has no choice but to embrace MDO too.
  • Traditional physical domains must be stabilized with critical deficiencies of the services being plugged.
  • C3 networks need to be hardened and protected against cyber threats.
    • Importantly, they need to be linked and synchronized so that seamless exchange of data is ensured.
  • A pilot project must be started now so that the true challenge of creating an MDO environment is grasped
    • Presently, it’s just western literature driving theoretical discussions in the seminar circuit.
    • The pilot project would identify the technologies required and an idea of the monies necessary.
  • To get the fundamentals of MDO right: It is vital to train and educate personnel starting now
    • S. Air Force has a one year-long training course ongoing to help develop critical thinking and problem solving skills



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