Imperative for soldiers to use social media in modern day warfare : Army Chief

New Delhi, Sep 4 : Chief of the Army Staff Bipin Rawat on Tuesday said that it is necessary for soldiers  to engage in social media because of the use of Artificial Intelligence in modern day warfare .

On the tactical usage of Artificial Intelligence in modern warfare, Rawat said, “In modern day warfare, information warfare is important and within it, we’ve started talking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). If we have to leverage AI to our advantage we must engage through social media as a lot of what we wish to gain as part of AI will come via social media.”

Rawat said information warfare has become an intrinsic part of the modern day warfare and the enemy will use the social media for deception and to its advantage.

“We have received advice that we should advise our soldiers to stay away from social media. Can you deny a soldier from the possession of a smart-phone. If you can’t prevent usage of smartphone, best to allow it,but important to have means of imposing discipline,” Rawat said.

“Social media is here to stay, soldiers will use social media. Our adversary will use social media for psychological warfare and deception, we must leverage it to our advantage,” he added.

Also, the Army Chief denied the possibility of keeping the soldiers away from smart phones.

The Army Chief said the social media could be used in combating proxy war, cross-border terrorism but drew a note of caution, saying it was “important to have means of imposing discipline” among the soldiers regarding their social media behaviour.

He, however, said he himself didn’t possess a cellphone but that should not mean that his force should be denied of it.

“I don’t have a cellphone and when someone asks me my cellphone number I just give them (any random number) 9868… and if it turns out to be an 11-digit number I just say cut the last digit.

“But we (the Indian Army) have to engage, remain engaged and benefit (from the use of social media).

“In modern day warfare, information warfare is important and within it, we have started talking about Artificial Intelligence. If we have to leverage Artificial Intelligence to our advantage, we must engage through the social media as a lot of what we wish to gain as part of Artificial Intelligence will come via social media.”

The views by the Army Chief came months after the social media policy for soldiers was criticized when a senior Army officer was allegedly honey-trapped by an ISI agent through Facebook.

The Defence Ministry set out guidelines for the soldiers on the usage of the social media. They have been asked not to use photos in uniform as profile pictures on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other platforms.

The guidelines also bar them from clicking on advertisements on social media sites alluring for prizes/awards, exposing official identity, revealing their rank, unit name and location or anything related to their work, accepting friend request from unknown users.



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