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MAY 2014 ISSUE

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Force Magazine
Guest Column - Force Magazine
Faster and Quicker
The new government has to take steps towards reenergising air power
 
AVM Manmohan Bahadur (retd) By AVM Manmohan Bahadur (retd)

As the hustle and bustle of the 2014 elections enters its final phase, all eyes and ears would be on the evening of May 16 by when the picture would be fairly clear who would govern India for the next five years. The focus would then divert from the promises made at the hustings to their deliverance in real life environment – a chasm that has been too wide for many victorious parties to bridge in the past.
Traditionally, Indian electioneering has focused on the issue of the economic uplift of the masses. Hardly a word was written in the manifestos of political parties on national security issues, other than a superficial mention that it would be looked after. The 2014 elections have seen a partial filling of this void due to public awareness of the worsening security in India’s internal security environment and its neighbourhood; the maturing of the national media, both electronic and print, in matters defence has added to this awareness.

Faster and Quicker

For the first time ever, leading candidates have talked from public platforms about how they would address the severe and myriad problems plaguing the security discourse. For the first time too, an attempt has been made by political parties to woo ex-servicemen and one would be hard pressed to think of an earlier election where a retired army chief and many retired officers have entered the fray as candidates. These are all good signs for an emerging democracy, and the larger the number of retired personnel who take the plunge into electoral politics the better it would be for the country. The experience of decades spent in a uniform is too valuable to be lost to the inevitability of retirement in one’s still productive years.

This piece would address problems of the Indian air power that the next helmsman would need to address in quick time to fill the voids in national security. Incidentally, in these times of gender equality would ‘helmsperson’ be the politically correct term?

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