It’s crystal celebration for us. We are 15. And you, dear readers, are holding the 180th issue of FORCE in your hands right now. Some journey this has been; wouldn’t call it a roller-coaster because it has been a gradual and sometimes exhausting climb up, but pleasurable all the way. It wouldn’t have been possible without your faith in our writing and the support of our advertisers which provided the rope we could hold on to while negotiating some of the steep turns in our journey. Thank you all, for everything.
As anniversary demands, this issue is special. We take a broad view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies in the realm of national security and defence. Given India’s geography and history, our national security willy-nilly hinges on our relations with our two neighbours — China and Pakistan. Hence the lead article reviews Modi’s landmark engagements with both.
Four years is a long time for government policies to shape up, even if the results do not show immediately. There have been several markers with which one can deduce the shape of the government policy vis a vis China and Pakistan over the years. However, we have focussed on one event with each neighbour as we believe that this will determine not only the future of our bilateral ties but also the state of our defence and security. In the case of China, that event was Doklam. With Pakistan, it was surgical strikes. We review both to see how they have strengthened or weakened our position, both externally and internally.
The second focus area of the government in the domain of national security has been modernisation and strengthening of the Indian armed forces. One of the ways of doing this, according to government pronouncements is by building-up Indian defence industrial base, so that we progressively become less dependent on imports. What’s more, from importers, we should become exporters of defence equipment! Prime Minister Modi said this himself at DefExpo earlier this year.
Hence, the second part of the FORCE lead looks at the state of the Indian defence industry, and the effect of the revised and re-tweaked defence procurement procedure policy. FORCE had the opportunity to visit one of the leading private sector defence company in Pune, which has been doing a lot of independent work and in collaboration with the DRDO. At the moment, this seems to be one of the workable models for progress. Perhaps, there is a lesson in this. Also, perhaps, this is the way the government would learn to be less distrustful of the private sector.
We also have several technology updates and specialised articles by domain experts on different programmes. Finally, there is the Farnborough International Airshow report, where India is increasingly becoming invisible. It seems that the more we want the world to look at us more it is looking away, as far as defence is concerned. On that note, enjoy the issue!