The 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC) took place from September 26 to 27, 2023, at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi. This biennial event, co-hosted by the Indian Army and the US Army Pacific, brought together army chiefs from 30 Indo-Pacific nations to deliberate on security cooperation, collective strategies, and pressing regional issues.
13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference: Key Discussion Points:
1. Security Cooperation and Collective Strategies:
- The primary objective of the IPACC was to foster security cooperation among participating nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Army chiefs discussed and formulated collective strategies to address regional security challenges.
2. Military Diplomacy and Crisis Mitigation:
- A crucial focus of the conference was the role of military diplomacy in mitigating crises within the Indo-Pacific region.
- Army leaders deliberated on the potential contributions of their respective armed forces in crisis management.
3. Display of Domestic Defense Manufacturing:
- Indian vendors showcased a wide array of locally-produced weapons and systems to representatives from 30 countries.
- The exhibition featured advanced drones, artillery guns, unmanned ground vehicles, surveillance equipment, and armored personnel carriers, highlighting India’s advancements in defense manufacturing.
4. Drone Technology Showcase:
- The exhibition highlighted various drone technologies, including loitering munitions, UAVs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, multi-payload drones, and nano UAVs.
- Notably, the ALS-50 loitering munition, manufactured by Tata Advanced Systems, was featured, with deliveries to the Indian Air Force underway.
5. Nano UAVs for Counterterrorism:
- The Indian Army acquired nano UAVs, named Doot and Parush, built by IDR Research and Development for its counterterrorism units deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.
- The Doot UAV, weighing 350 grams, is palm-sized.
6. Indigenous Drone Manufacturers:
- Prominent indigenous drone manufacturers, such as Kalyani Group and ideaForge, displayed their products, including multi-mission drones and UAVs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
7. Artillery and Ground Vehicles:
- The exhibition featured Kalyani Strategic Systems’ MaRG 155mm/39 caliber artillery guns with shoot-and-scoot capability, as well as other artillery systems.
- Additionally, wheeled and tracked unmanned ground vehicles were showcased.
8. India’s Defense Export Targets:
- India has set an ambitious defense export target of ₹35,000 crore by 2024-25, reflecting the nation’s growing capabilities in defense manufacturing.
- Export figures have risen significantly, while imports have decreased due to policy initiatives and reforms.
9. Multilateral Security Partnerships:
- Chief-of-Staff of the US Army, General James C McConville, co-hosted the conference alongside Chief of Indian Army Staff General Manoj Pande.
- Two other conferences, the Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) and the Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum (SELF), were held concurrently to strengthen multilateral security partnerships.
10. Indo-Pacific’s Global Significance:
- Lieutenant General M. V. Suchindra Kumar emphasized the critical role of the Indo-Pacific in the global landscape.
- He highlighted that the region represents 64 percent of the world’s population, contributes 63 percent of the global GDP, and accounts for 46 percent of world merchandise trade.