The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) has cleared a project to establish a secure communication network for the Indian Army that will include modern optical fibre cable links to forward areas, with Public Sector Undertaking ITI set to implement the Rs 7796 crore plan.

The defence ministry has said that the new Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON) will provide a “big boost to the operational capability of the defence forces”, given the current operational situation on the border with China and provides an opportunity to the PSU to give an “impetus to the Indian economy”.

The project will lead to a complete upgrade of military communication systems that will shift to Internet Protocol (IP) / Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) Technology. “Optical Fibre Cable (OFC), Microwave Radio and Satellite will be used as communication media,” the defence ministry said.

Officials aid that the project will provide better survivability, responsiveness and high bandwidth in any operational scenario and enhance the communication coverage of network close to international boundaries, like the Line of Actual Control (LAC), where tensions have been simmering with China since May.

“The project would augment the communication network of Indian Army in the sensitive forward operational areas which in turn will provide a major boost to the operational preparedness of the Indian Army especially keeping in view the current operational situation at LAC,” the ministry has said.

The network will extend the high bandwidth communication to the remote operational areas in Central and Eastern Sectors and enhance communication reach to the forward locations in the Western border too.

The project will have indigenous content of about 80 percent, with official saying that it would come as a boost for the industry as well. “The project involves execution of civil works, laying of OFC, tower construction, etc.and with utilization of local resources, hiring of manpower, it would generate employment opportunities especially to the people in remote border areas, support and boost rural economy, assist in upliftment of the local of the local economies, provide skill development during the prolonged period of execution and maintenance of the network,” the ministry has said.