An Eye For An Eye: Army Chief General Manoj Pande (third from left) getting briefed on the situation along the Line of Actual Control during his visit to Ladakh. After the success story with IIT Delhi, the Indian Army has taken the latest step

Buoyed by the success of the collaborative affair between the Indian Army and IIT Delhi in spurring military innovations at a rapid pace, two more similar collaborative cells are set to open at the premier Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at Bangalore.

Announcing the development on Thursday, Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande said: “We are engaging with leading academic institutions in the country. We already have an Indian Army cell at IIT Delhi. We plan to open two more cells at IISc Bangalore and IIT Kanpur… so that bright young minds and the academia… this is our effort to engage them.”

The Army chief was speaking at the customary press conference in New Delhi before the Army Day event commences in Bengaluru on Sunday.

The Army’s effort is led by the Army Design Bureau (ADB).

The chief spoke glowingly of the ADB which in the last 2-3 years has grown into a fully-formed entity at the Army Headquarters with the core mandate of being the single point of contact or the nodal agency coordination and collaborating with the academia, private industry and other stakeholders.

A key area of focus has been cutting-edge research in ‘niche’ technology areas including hypersonics, quantum technologies, big data analysis, algorithmic warfare, electromagnetic and directed energy weapons, robotics, lasers, and loiter munitions.

Already a team of about 50 scientists have been handpicked, all under 35 years of age, who are working in R&D to develop futuristic weapon systems, platforms and equipment for the armed forces.

The team of 50 young scientists, guided by an apex committee of seniors, experienced scientists and academicians, are divided among five Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories that are each dealing with a specific specialisation that will have vital military implications in five key niche ‘cutting-edge’ areas.

The five DRDO labs specializing in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum technologies, cognitive technologies, asymmetric technologies and smart materials are located in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad respectively.