Letter from the Editor | August 2017

FORCE is 14. As we always do, we have tried to pack a powerful punch in our anniversary special issue.

We start with a comprehensive interview with the chief of Defence Research and Development Organisation, Dr S. Christopher. In government of India’s ‘make in India’ vision, DRDO is and will continue to play a stellar role. And Dr Christopher is conscious of that. In his conversation with FORCE, he has drawn attention to several issues which will be of immense interest to the readers.

With the Doklam crisis refusing to abate, the Indian Air Force is rightly concerned about its dwindling combat strength. Since the government has disclosed its intention of building a single engine fighter line with foreign assistance, and with the Indian Navy’s requirement of twin-engine fighters for its future carriers, we requested Ashley Tellis to write on the United States’ offer. In his usual incisive style, he has made a forceful case for India buying the F-16s and the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Another needling issue that is becoming more complex by the day is India-Pakistan ties. To get the Pakistani perspective, we met up with the outgoing High Commissioner, Abdul Basit. His has been an eventful tenure swinging from one extreme to another. When he arrived in 2014, he could not have foreseen that his tenure would end with bitter ties with India, and for no fault of his. He was candid enough to talk with FORCE over lunch, as much as his office permitted him to do.

In addition to that, Pakistan’s former foreign minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri also writes for the anniversary issue. Author of the acclaimed ‘Neither A Hawk Nor A Dove’, Kasuri makes a compelling case for improved relations between the two countries.

Another section that has lent gravitas to the Anniversary issue is a special section on the Indian Navy in view of the recently concluded Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal between the Indian, United States and Japanese navies. FORCE was the only magazine from New Delhi to attend the media day when senior representatives of the three navies addressed the press. On the side lines of the exercise, the FOC-in-C, Eastern Naval Command spoke with FORCE on the growing scope and importance of the exercise.

FORCE was also invited to two Russian defence shows this month — the International Maritime Defence Show in St Petersburg and the MAKS-17 near Moscow. We provide the readers with insights and interviews from both these events. These succinctly put across the importance of this relationship and the need to build it further.

Finally, there are the FORCE regulars — news, reports and columns. Happy Anniversary to us! And thank you for walking this distance with us.