The Prayas ePathshala

Exams आसान है !

10 May 2024 – The Indian Express


Indian Army’s Adoption of Technology

  • 2024 is being marked by the Indian Army as the “Year of Technology Absorption.” In light of the changing nature of combat, this subject emphasises the Army’s unwavering focus on embracing technology to modernise itself and stay ahead of opponents. In this sense, the goal and methods are visualised under the auspices of Atmanirbharta.
  • The objectives of Made in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) would reduce risks in an uncertain time by preventing the manipulation or disruption of vital supply networks, the same kinds of obstacles that have hindered Ukraine in its fight with Russia.
  • Disruptive technology (DT), which includes autonomous weapon systems like drones, sensors, robots, space technology, and hypersonic missile systems, will be the primary area of absorption. Several countries have made significant progress in the field of DTs, with the US and China leading the way. The advantage a country has in assimilating these technologies will undoubtedly determine the strategic competition and engagements of the future.

What Kinds of Disruptive Technologies Are There in the Defence Sector?

  • Advancements that drastically transform the current state of industries or sectors are referred to as disruptive technology. These advancements frequently make older technologies outdated and reshape conventional processes.
  • Disruptive technologies have the power to completely alter the nature of national security, redefine military capabilities, and change warfare in the defence industry.


  • Game-Changing Impact: By bringing new capabilities or strategies that drastically change the balance of power on the battlefield, disruptive technologies have the potential to revolutionise warfare.
  • Quick Development: They frequently result from quick developments in industries like biotechnology, robotics, cybersecurity, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence, which greatly enhance military prowess.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Compared to established systems, disruptive technologies may provide more affordable solutions, allowing militaries to operate more effectively with fewer resources.

 Disruptive technology examples include:

  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): Also referred to as drones, UAVs have completely changed military strike, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities. They revolutionise military strategy and tactics by providing real-time intelligence collection, precise targeting, and operational flexibility.
  • Cyber Warfare: Using computer networks to interfere with, take down, or compromise the infrastructure and systems of adversaries is known as cyber warfare. Cyberattacks pose serious risks to national security because they can target command-and-control systems, communication networks, and key infrastructure.
  • Hypersonic Weapons: Because they can travel faster than Mach 5, hypersonic weapons are very challenging to intercept and can launch quick strikes against far-off targets. These weapons’ ability to increase tactical flexibility and shorten reaction times could alter the nature of conventional combat.

 Effect on the Conduct of Military Operations:

  • Enhanced Situational Awareness: The military’s situational awareness is improved by disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, data analytics, and enhanced sensors. This allows commanders to react to changing battlefield conditions and make choices quickly.
  • Precision and Lethality: Disruptive technologies include autonomous systems, improved targeting capabilities, and precision-guided missiles, which increase military operations’ accuracy and lethality while reducing collateral damage.
  • Asymmetric Warfare: With the use of disruptive technologies, smaller, more technologically proficient armies can take on larger, more established military forces by employing asymmetric warfare strategies including electronic warfare, drone swarming, and cyberattacks.

 What Role Does Atmanirbhar Bharat Play in the Modernization of the Defence Sector?

  • One of the few nations to have successfully built and produced an indigenous ballistic missile defence system, a fourth-plus generation fighter aircraft, a nuclear submarine, a Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system, an ICBM, and a Main Battle Tank (MBT) is India.
  • Even with this demonstration of advanced capabilities, more than half of the Defence purchase budget is allocated specifically for imports.
  • 60% of the remaining 50%, which is paid to Indian vendors, is indirectly transferred to foreign companies as a result of imported parts being incorporated into weapon systems. The Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) – 2020 was initiated in accordance with the Make-In-India initiative and Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Beginning with “self-sufficient,” the path progressed to “self-reliant,” “coproduction,” “private sector participation,” “Made in India,” and, at the end, “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

 The 2020 Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP):

  • In 2020, the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) mandated that procurement contracts include 50% indigenous content (IC). A new procurement category, Buy (Global-Manufacture in India), has been introduced to incentivize overseas original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to establish manufacturing and maintenance facilities in India.
  • Ab initio indigenization of spare parts will be made possible by this. Several “Positive Indigenization Lists” have been produced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), including things that can only be purchased from local suppliers. “
  • The Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs) presently import close to 5,000 products, with the three Services included on this list.
  • Make-In-India in the Defence Sector: To address the “Military Capability Voids” and in accordance with the national vision of “Make in India,” the source of capital acquisition was broadly categorised as either “Indian” or “Not-Indian.”
  • Indian: The vendor and his weapon system must offer any or all of the following for a product to be considered Indian and to meet the “Made in India” goal.
  • India has set up a production line.
  • The company that owns the technology is Indian.
  • Indians get jobs created for them.
  • One pays taxes to the government of India.
  • In India, supply chain management is established.
  • enters the market posing as a “Indian Brand.”

What are the Various Obstacles to Technology Absorption in the Defence Sector?

  • India is still one of the world’s biggest importers of military hardware because to its lack of emphasis on defence R&D and low researcher density, which have prevented India from developing any revolutionary weaponry or military technology to far.
  • India has 156 researchers per million people and only allocates 0.8% of its GDP on research and development. As a point of comparison, the United States of America allocates 2.8% of its GDP to research, whereas China spends 2.0% and has 1113 researchers per million people. Israel, on the other hand, allocates 4.8% of its GDP to research and has 8255 researchers per million people.
  • In accordance with DAP-2020, the vendor may provide technology transfer that is unrelated to the system or product being purchased. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully and thoroughly examine the offers made by foreign suppliers to make sure the technology is applicable to both present-day and future defence uses.
  • It is frequently discovered that the technology in question is subject to permission by a foreign government, making it challenging to get the newest technology. Foreign suppliers often withhold their technologies in many cutting-edge technology fields, citing IP rights, patents, and other legal protections, or they may charge exorbitant fees for them.
  • Under their separate export control regimes, the governments in question forbid selling technology, even in situations where the supply is willing to accept a payment.

Issues Concerning Multiplier Factor Determination:

  • Since technology absorption becomes a crucial element of the offset agreement, it can be necessary to determine appropriate multipliers in order to support and motivate the foreign supplier who is prepared to transfer the required technology.
  • The technology is disproportionately more expensive since the negotiated value is frequently determined by the foreign supplier’s previous R&D expenditure, the technology’s market value, or the cost of creating the technology in India.
  • The defence sector is vulnerable to a range of cyber risks and attacks due to its increasing dependence on digital technologies and networked systems. inadequate incident response procedures, strong cybersecurity frameworks, and readiness to reduce changing cyberthreats.
  • The Indian military’s equipment and platforms are out of step with the rapidly changing technological world since they typically have long service lives. The military services are forced to use progressively antiquated systems due to delayed modernization and upgrade programmes.
  • Insufficient industry-academia connections and restricted knowledge transfer from outside partnerships impede the advancement of domestic defence technologies.
  • It is argued by analysts that the advent of new technologies has led to a military revolution since modern battlefields are more deadly. Nonetheless, current hostilities such as those between Russia and Ukraine and Armenia and Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) demonstrate that the actual death toll is not appreciably different from that of previous conflicts. This suggests that although technological advancements play a significant role, they are not the only factor influencing how wars turn out.

 What Are the Various Ideas to Be Included to Make Sure Technology Is Absorbed Smoothly?

  • In combat, technological countermeasures rapidly reduce the effectiveness of newly developed weaponry used by an enemy. The most significant adjustments are frequently operational and tactical, or the ways in which a force fights at different levels, rather than technology. They entail modifications to the equipment that armies can employ.
  • Tanks and other weapon platforms need to change to be more resilient in the current fighting environment. This will necessitate shifting strategies and strengthening the integration of various capability kinds. It is now nearly hard to conceal these tanks on the battlefield due to the abundance of sensors.
  • Instead of eschewing traditional platforms in favour of exclusively digital solutions, future planning must place a premium on technology and its characteristics. The first step in this approach will be to acknowledge the differences between vulnerabilities and sensitivities.
  • The Russian army’s use of conventional warfare tactics is one of the factors contributing to “Russia having the upper hand over Ukraine” at the moment. In the end, what matters are factors like strengthening conventional defence lines and creating a more robust military industrial base that depends on technological breakthroughs.
  • It is crucial to comprehend the newest technologies, their possibilities, and the situations in which they might be applied. Rather than being managed primarily at higher levels, the absorption will need to be clearly seen at the unit levels. The democratisation of the use of cutting-edge technology is essential to bringing about real transformation.
  • Technology absorption will also unavoidably involve a number of pertinent factors, including organisational reorganisation, human resource management and the development of specialists not only at the upper levels but also at the decentralised execution levels, civil-military fusion, data integrity policies and procedures, and procurement policies that are relevant to disruptive technologies.

 Maximising the Potential of DISC and iDEX:

  • The government has lately launched some highly practical programmes that would fortify the innovation ecosystem, such the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) and the Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX). Through these initiatives, the nation’s talent pool will be utilised to build products for the armed forces and to activate the capabilities present in the greater Indian start-up ecosystem.
  • A comprehensive strategy that tackles organisational, human resource-related, and policy issues in addition to technological problems is necessary for the defence industry to successfully adopt technology. Organisational restructuring, human resource management, expertise decentralisation, civil-military fusion, data integrity, and procurement rules appropriate for disruptive technologies are critical areas of concentration. Defence establishments can better assimilate and integrate new technologies, strengthening their skills and preparedness in a changing security environment, by tackling these macro-level issues.

Select Course