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Technology Absorption in the Indian Army


The Indian Army has designated 2024 as the ‘Year of Technology Absorption’, highlighting its commitment to integrating technology to stay ahead of adversaries amidst evolving warfare dynamics. This initiative aligns with the overarching goal of self-reliance (Atmanirbharta).


GS-2- Government Policies and Interventions


  • Indigenization of Technology
  • Defence Technology

Mains Question:

The Indian military is moving in the right direction, but the challenge lies in sustaining technology absorption with anuanced understanding of the requirements. Analyse. (10 Marks, 150 Words).

More on the Technology Absorption:

  • Emphasis will be on adopting disruptive technologies (DT) such as artificial intelligence, autonomous systems like drones, sensors, robotics, space tech, and hypersonic weapons.
  • Notably, nations like the United States and China have made significant strides in DTs, shaping future strategic competitions where technological absorption will determine success.
  • In military terms, absorption entails acquiring, adapting, and integrating technologies into existing structures known as legacy systems. These encompass various intricacies often not readily apparent to outsiders.

Misconceptions Surrounding the Integration of Disruptive Technologies (DTs):

Several aspects as outlined below offer a nuanced understanding of the matter:

  • Firstly, traditional weapon platforms and tactics are expected to endure alongside the introduction of DTs. The focus lies more on finding practical applications for these new advancements rather than solely on their discovery.
  • Integration, as a part of absorption, where new DTs complement existing platforms, is crucial. Simply discarding current systems to replace them with new ones may not necessarily be the most effective approach moving forward.
  • Despite the potential for new technologies to significantly reshape the nature of future conflicts, it’s crucial not to become complacent merely due to their acquisition.
  • The manner in which military organizations employ these technologies will be pivotal in understanding their impact on the battlefield.
  • Some analysts advocating for a technological revolution in warfare argue that modern battlefields have become more lethal.
  • However, it is noted that the actual lethality witnessed in recent conflicts, such as the Russia-Ukraine and Armenia-Azerbaijan (Nagorno-Karabakh) wars, isn’t vastly different from that of earlier eras.
  • This underscores the fact that technological advancements alone won’t determine the outcome of conflicts; they are just one aspect influencing results.
  • Furthermore, as observed in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the initial advantages Ukraine had weren’t sustained as the war progressed. One contributing factor to Russia’s advantage on the battlefield now is its utilization of traditional military strategies.
  • Elements like reinforcing conventional defense lines and possessing a robust military-industrial base ultimately hold more significance.
  • The Indian military’s approach of simultaneously focusing on disruptive technologies and enhancing indigenous defense manufacturing capabilities certainly sets a promising path forward.

Adapting to New Conditions is Crucial:

  • Adjusting to new circumstances is paramount. In warfare, technical countermeasures swiftly neutralize the effectiveness of newly deployed technology-enabled weapons by adversaries.
  • However, the most crucial adaptations often pertain not to technology but to operational and tactical aspects — essentially, how a military conducts operations at various levels. These adaptations entail changes in how armies utilize their available tools.
  • Over a century ago, military forces devised tactics to minimize their vulnerability to enemy fire by leveraging dispersion, cover, and concealment. Such strategies hold even greater significance in today’s era.
  • In contemporary battle scenarios, weapon systems like tanks must evolve to enhance their survivability. This necessitates tactical adjustments and a heightened integration of diverse capabilities.
  • Given the abundance of sensors on the battlefield, concealment has become nearly impossible. For instance, tanks will need to operate in widely dispersed formations, accompanied by electronic warfare units tasked with detecting and disrupting enemy aerial platforms.
  • Similarly, infantry units operating in dispersed formations will require exceptional junior leadership to effectively navigate compartmentalized and technologically advanced battles.

Way Forward:

  • Rather than replacing traditional platforms with exclusively digital solutions, future planning should revolve around integrating technology and its capabilities.
  • This process begins by recognizing vulnerabilities and sensitivities, as well as identifying the gap between them.
  • A comprehensive grasp of the latest technologies, their potentials, and their contextual applications is essential.
  • The process of absorption must be evident at unit levels rather than solely controlled from higher echelons. Empowering units to leverage technology at the forefront is crucial for genuine transformation.
  • Moreover, technology absorption will encompass various macro-level aspects, including organizational restructuring, human resource management, the cultivation of specialists at decentralized execution levels, civil-military integration, implementing structures and policies to ensure data integrity, and developing procurement policies suitable for disruptive technologies.


While the Indian military is making strides in the desired direction, sustaining this momentum requires a nuanced understanding of the applicable requirements. In this regard, there are valuable lessons to be learned from recent and ongoing conflicts that should not be overlooked.

May 2024