Explainers

Why Indian Army activating satellite-based internet on Siachen Glacier is a big deal

The Leh-based Fire and Fury Corps, which handles military deployment along Kargil-Leh and secures the frontier with China and Pakistan, tweeted that internet was activated on the Siachen Glacier at 19,061 feet

FP Explainers September 20, 2022 22:00:16 IST

The Leh-based Fire and Fury Corps made the announcement on Twitter. Image courtesy: @firefurycorps

The Indian Army in a remarkable achievement activated satellite-based Internet service on the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.

The Leh-based Fire and Fury Corps, which handles military deployment along Kargil-Leh and secures the frontier with China and Pakistan, tweeted:

This comes on the same day that the Indian Army said it has invited the domestic defence industry to offer critical defence equipment for emergency procurement in consonance with its commitment to “fight future wars with indigenous solutions”.

Let’s take a closer look:

Why is this a big deal?

Because of the inherent difficulties in providing services to far-off and mountainous areas.

As per Daily Excelsior, while China has strengthened communication in remote villages in its side, India has been falling behind in some areas – though the present government has done much to catch up.

As per The Times of India, Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is the internet service provider for the army in Siachen, located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas.

BBNL has also undertaken the BharatNet Project, which is aimed at providing satellite-based Internet connection to around 7,000 Gram Panchayats and to remote areas with no access to fibre-based internet, as per the report.

Under the project, 7,000 sites are slated to be covered by four satellite gateways having two high-throughput (HTS) satellites. Thus far, roughly 4,000 Gram Panchayats have been commissioned as part of the project,  as per the report.

As per Daily Excelsior, a few private companies are providing different satellite-based internet services to the Indian Army in sensitive places in border areas like in Eastern Ladakh.

Hughes Communications India, which has tied up with ISRO for using the Indian space agency’s Gsat-11 and Gsat-29 satellites and recently announced the commercial launch of India’s first high-throughput satellite (HTS) broadband service, is providing sat-based connectivity to the Indian Army along the China border, including in the Galwan region, as per the report.

Indian Army shares links for RFPs

The Indian Army has been focussing on many indigenous solutions to meet its various needs and recently hosted a seminar on logistics and discussed ways to make the system self-reliant.

In a series of tweets, it also shared links for getting details on Requests for Proposals (RFPs).

“In keeping with its commitment to fight the future wars with Indigenous Solutions, #IndianArmy invites Indian Defence Industry to offer critical defence equipment for Emergency Procurement. #IndianArmy #InStrideWithTheFuture,” the Army tweeted.

The process will be based on “compressed timelines, wherein the procurement window will be open to the Indian industry for six months and the industry would be expected to deliver equipment within one year of signing the contract,” it said.

Procurement cases will be based on “open tender enquiry,” it wrote on the microblogging site.

“Proposals are being fielded for Guns, Missiles, Drones, Counter Drone, Loiter Munition, Communication & Optical systems, specialist Vehicles, Engineering Equipment & Alternate Energy Resources,” it said in another tweet.

“Government is committed to create a robust, secure, speedy and ‘Aatmanirbhar’ logistics system to effectively deal with future security challenges and take the country to greater heights,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said at the event.

In June, the Defence Acquisition Council cleared capital acquisition proposals of the Armed Forces amounting to ₹76,390 crore to ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ and ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ categories, as per Mint.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: September 20, 2022 22:01:18 IST

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