Two near concurrent events decided this month’s focus — the Russian government’s International Military-Technical Forum ‘Army 2018’ exhibition and the multilateral military exercise under the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s banner in which India and Pakistan also participated. This is the first time that Indian and Pakistan militaries have exercised together. If one were to go by the visuals that came out of the weeklong exercise then it appeared that at least in Chebarkul training grounds (the location) the two had put aside the bilateral animosity and the bitterness of the Line of Control to embrace the spirit of multilateral cooperation; there were games and plenty of bhangra. This became possible after Russia succeeded in persuading India to participate in the exercise.
This, then, is the cover story for September — Russia’s outreach in the face of crippling US-led sanctions. In the rapidly changing geopolitics of the Asian region, Russia has been forging new relationships on the debris of past follies, even as it is ensuring that old ties do not run into stormy weather.
This outreach was evident even at its defence exhibition Army 2018, which is emerging as Russia’s biggest annual extravaganza, though there have been murmurs within the Russian industry that an annual event is not sustainable. FORCE was media partner for the exhibition where Indian presence was marked by the country pavilion and ministry of defence delegation. All this will eventually lead up to the annual summit between India and Russia. President Putin would be visiting India in October. Incidentally, 2018 marks 70 years of India-Russia bilateral ties.
After several false starts, it seems that a few of Indian Army’s modernisation plans may be moving forward, for instance, artillery and infantry vehicles. We have updates on both by former lieutenant generals.
August saw the worst floods in a century in Kerala. As always, the three services mounted a formidable rescue and relief programme for the beleaguered people. No words can express the extent of the devastation and the magnitude of succour. Hence, we let the photographs speak for themselves in the picture story on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) efforts of the three armed forces.
Then of course are the regular technology updates, news from the industry and the services and columns by specialists. Enjoy the issue!