On January 1, the Indian Naval Headquarters (INS) will officially launch the Digital Infrastructure Management (DIM) programme for the new $20 billion naval base in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) – the first such project to be launched by the Indian government.

This is part of the Government’s ambitious Digital Agenda for the Indian Ocean, which aims to develop digital infrastructure in a timely manner, and has been endorsed by the Cabinet in November 2015.

The digital agenda will be implemented by the Defence Secretary, Subhash Jha.

A press release from the Defence Ministry, titled Digital Infrastructure in the Indian Fleet, said: “Digital infrastructure in the Navy is an important step forward in developing a more efficient and competitive Navy.

The Indian Navy is expected to be the first navy in the world to be able to provide high speed internet connectivity in all its vessels, enabling a high level of efficiency and innovation, and also contribute to national security and defence objectives.”

The press release added that the programme will be complemented by a Digital Infrastructure Task Force, which will be headed by the Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Gopinath Munde.

A digital infrastructure task force is a joint committee of the three services, with the Chief of Naval Staff and other senior naval officers and officers-at-arms on one side, and the Defence Minister, Lt Gen (retd) (ret) Manish Nandy, on the other.

In this context, the Navy has recently launched the Navy Digital Initiative for the Navy (NDFI) – a joint venture with the IT industry to develop a platform to enable digital infrastructure and information sharing for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The NDFI is being implemented in several departments and agencies in the defence, defence-related, civil aviation and logistics, information technology, and defence manufacturing sectors, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.

The NFFI is the first-ever initiative for the defence ministry, it added.

The Digital Infrastructure Initiative is aimed at providing a framework for digital infrastructure development, with specific focus on defence-linked industries.

“The NDFi will assist the Government in establishing a digital infrastructure roadmap for defence sector.

The objective is to bring together the various departments and stakeholders for the digital infrastructure of the defence sector, including the Government, to deliver better quality of services and solutions for the needs of the citizens,” the MoD said.

Digital Infrastructure In the Navy “The Navy is planning to create a digital ecosystem for the use of the fleet, which would include information systems, mobile connectivity, digital communications, and other digital infrastructure,” the statement said.

The Navy has already announced that it is developing an Information Technology Infrastructure (ITI) initiative that will allow the Indian fleet to receive the latest technology.

In the statement, the MoDs statement said the Navy will soon begin work on the NDFEI to support the ITI.

“In this initiative, the Government will develop a framework to bring the Navy together with the private sector, with an emphasis on the defence IT sector,” the ministry said.

In August this year, the Defence Department had set a deadline of January 31, 2019, for the completion of the IT infrastructure for the naval base, which is expected at the end of 2019.

The IT infrastructure, including digital communications and internet connectivity, will be built at the naval station and will include a helipad, access points, power lines, communications infrastructure, and water and power supply infrastructure.

It is expected that the Naval station, which has a population of 1.8 million people, will accommodate 1,400 vessels.

The government has already decided to buy a third runway of the naval airbase at Nizamuddin, in the North-West Frontier Province, for use as a naval air base.

The project will also include building an aviation-based aircraft hangar at the base and a maritime communications centre at the site.

The Ministry of Shipping and Shipping has been working on a plan to develop the naval facilities at Nitzan, including a helimining centre, heliport, and a heli-transport terminal, it said.