As if rising mercury was not enough to generate heat in the Capital, the outgoing chief of army staff General V.K. Singh continued to fire one salvo after another. But of all his attacks, what generated maximum heat and debate was his letter to the Prime Minister lamenting unacceptable shortages and lack of war-preparedness. The confidential communication mysteriously landed up in the hands of a journalist and the rest, as they say, is history.
From FORCE’s perspective, the contents of the letter were not surprising. The surprise was that it surprised so many people. For the last eight years, FORCE has been consistently highlighting shortcomings in various streams of the army and how army modernisation has been lagging behind. The cover story in this issue once again traces various aspects of this malaise, including the probable reasons for it. A feedback on this matter especially from our readers in the army would be welcome. Meanwhile, it has been said that artillery modernisation probably has suffered the most. Since the induction of Bofors guns, nothing worthwhile have been added to land firepower. Our expert puts artillery obsolescence in perspective. By a happy coincidence, FORCE was invited by Nexter Systems to see the firing of their mounted gun system, Caesar, at French Army’s Canjuers Military Camp. Incidentally, FORCE was the only Indian magazine to be invited for this international event. The report on Caesar’s firing fits in neatly with our cover story on the slow pace of modernisation.
May was an eventful month for FORCE. Another correspondent of FORCE visited Kazan Helicopters
facility in Kazan on the invitation of Russian Helicopters. That on-the-spot report forms part of
our comprehensive update on military helicopters, looking at current Indian requirements, immediate
acquisitions and future technologies.
We also bring you two interesting articles. The first by Admiral Arun Prakash arguing that maritime cooperation between India and the United States has enormous potential which could lead to sharing of US technology with India. New Delhi should assess possibilities of a close relationship with the US. The other article is by General Mrinal Suman which looks at the possibilities of SME (small and medium enterprises) getting meaningfully involved in India’s indigenous defence industry.
The new army chief General Bikram Singh took charge on the day FORCE went to print. He will have his hands full for the next few months. Here’s wishing him a peaceful and meaningful tenure. May he make news for the right reasons! On that note, enjoy the issue and stay cool!