Soldiers cannot be prevented from using smartphones and social media but there has to be discipline, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said today. He said he had been advised to keep soldiers away from smartphones, but that was not possible, so best to allow it.
"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," the Army Chief was quoted as saying by ANI news agency.
There are reports that the government wants to keep soldiers away from social media. The policy for social media use in the military came under sharp focus when a rash of videos emerged on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of soldiers critical of the army or their seniors.
Recently, the subject came back in the media glare after a Lieutenant Colonel posted in Jabalpur was trapped by the Pakistani intelligence through social media.
"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 smartphone?" General Rawat questioned.
"If you can't prevent usage of smartphone, best to allow it, but important to have means of imposing discipline," he added.
General Rawat also said in modern day warfare, information warfare was important and artificial intelligence (AI) was being talked about. "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," said the army chief, according to ANI.