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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/12/20

China helps Pakistan upset military balance against India

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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With the help of Peoples Liberation Army, Pakistan Air Force has established the Center of Artificial Intelligence and Computing (CENTIC) which has very serious implications of military balance between India and Pakistan, according to Indian Defense Analyst Pravin Sawhney.

This institution will also have regional and geopolitical implications, Sawhney said in a You Tube video talks Friday.

Pakistan's Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, inaugurated Center of Artificial Intelligence and Computing in Islamabad on August 27, 2020. In an official statement, he said that CENTAIC will be the vanguard of AI development in the country for both military and civilian purposes, enabling the PAF to integrate AI into its operational domain.

The CENTAIC will enable PAF to develop sensor fusion technology, a technology that combines sensory data from multiple sources such as radars, lidars, and cameras to form a single model having the least uncertainty as it balances the strengths of different sensors.

As per reports, the CENTAIC will explore key fields of AI including Big Data, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Predictive Analysis, and Natural Language Processing (NLP). The establishment of CENTAIC will also remove barriers in the research of transmit-and-receive modules (TRM) for active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.

One of the first projects which this center will take up is of cognitive electronic warfare. This certainly shows that deep intra-operability which has been developed between the Pakistan Air Force and the People's Army Air Force of China, Sawhney said adding:

"Around this, there will be certain centers of excellence which will be set up, over various deceptive technologies, some of which will converge into this cognitive electronic warfare. So there would be center of excellence of machine learning, big data, computer vision, natural languages process etc."

The CENTAIC will also drive the development of PAF's fifth-generation stealth fighter jets, medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and other advanced weapons under the Project Azm. AI could be employed in Project Azm for several applications such as algorithms for guidance systems for air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, image processing for TV/IR seekers, and human-machine-interfaces (HMI).

According to Sawhney, more than anything else, it has two unique things. The first is that this center will become the national pivot. First civil-military fusion in Pakistan which means that this is where the brains of Pakistan's state, everybody will converge here, both to contribute to the war as well as contribute to the prosperity of Pakistan through the 4th Industrial Revolution. And because of this, it will become the national pivot. It is also being said that this center will be responsible for bilateral agreements with friendly nations.

What prompted Pakistan to establish CENTIC? Sawhney believes that all this happened because of India's ill-considered Balakot strike of February 2019. "Why do I say that is the next day of the Balakot strike, on February 27, 2019 when the Pakistan Air Force did that operation, swift retort, it was very clear that they were able to degrade the communication and the situation awareness of the Indian Air Force. This is completely undeniable. They were able to do that. Why they were able to do that is because PAF had integrated the airborn-electronic-warfare attack capabilities in their air maneuver profile."

Sawhney says Pakistan acquired this capability by Shaheen series of exercises that PAF is doing with PLAF (Chinese Airforce) since 2012. It is well-known after the military reform in PLA in 2015, the elements of strategic support force has been participating in this Shaheen series of exercises. PLAF is very good in integrating the electronic warfare attack capabilities into their air maneuvers.

"Perhaps by the year 2023, when the PLA, according to my assessment, will be ready with its intelligence war, which is the war with machines in the lead, against India," Sawhney said.

2020 gave India a sharp lesson on PLA

In an article published Friday by an Indian newspaper, the Wire, Sawhney argued that the May 2020 Ladakh crisis marks a turning point in India-China relations, since both sides have crossed each other's red lines. "By grabbing 1,000 square km of Indian territory in Ladakh, China has made it known that bilateral peace and stability will be on its terms. Incapable of evicting the People's Liberation Army forcefully, and unwilling to accept Beijing's military coercion, India has become the United States' de facto military ally to purportedly contain China."

As of now, what appears more probable is that the disengagement and partial de-escalation of opposing forces in Ladakh, whenever it happens, would be on PLA's terms, Sawhney said adding: Since both sides intend to permanently hold the Line of Actual Control, meaningful de-induction of Indian forces from the northern and eastern theatres is ruled out. Unfortunately, the PLA threat will increase and not diminish in 2021. China's preparations are focused on intelligentized war and it hopes, in my estimation, to be ready for a conflict against India by the end of 2023.

Being non-contact and invisible, intelligentized war places a premium on Artificial Intelligence and has four distinctive technology features: Dominance of the electromagnetic spectrum; autonomy; drones and unmanned systems; and human-machine collaboration and combat teaming. Such a conflict will not be a border war limited to salami slicing, as the Indian military believes. It will be war of occupation where there would be minimal loss of PLA soldiers' blood. Given the unbridgeable mismatch between the conventional capabilities of the two sides, India's nuclear deterrence would be rendered useless.

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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