Letter from the Editor | September 2017

The highlight of this month was the sudden resolution of the prolonged India-China face-off on the Doklam plateau of Bhutan. For an issue that had dragged on since June 16, its closure came in quickly and, some would say, unexpectedly. But as history shows, nothing with the Chinese is as it seems. There are circles within circles and loops within loops.

Even as the nationalist media in India hailed the disengagement of troops in Doklam as a major victory for pragmatic firmness of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and astute negotiating skills of national security advisor Ajit Doval, the echoes from the Chinese silence suggest that this is not the last we have heard on the issue. In fact, despite the jubilation in the media, there is certain unease amongst the policy-makers and the military leadership, both of whom are worried about the aftermath of the Doklam disengagement. Sure enough, this had to be the lead commentary of the September issue. We have tried to offset perception against reality. Even as the former induces sanguinity, latter is sobering. Hopefully, the readers will be able to balance one with the other.

One of the highlights, from FORCE perspective, of Prime Minister’s address from the Red Fort was the success India has had in the war against terrorism. He said, “Security of the country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Whether it is our oceans or borders, cyber world or space for all kind of security India is capable to defeat all such inimical forces. Our uniformed forces have achieved the pinnacle of sacrifice in fighting left-wing extremism, terrorism, infiltration and elements disturbing peace. The world had to recognise the strength of India and it clout in the surgical strike.” This then became the FORCE focus for September.

Our cover story, though it starts with Kashmir, dwells on all aspects of the Prime Minister’s assertion. We have sections on external security vis a vis Afghanistan-Pakistan; counter-terrorism in the hinterland; cyber-security; surgical strikes and border infrastructure. The reason we visited Kashmir again were twofold. One, this is where Pakistan’s hand is overt, which in the national narrative is the fountainhead of terrorism (hence, surgical strikes!); and two, the already unstable situation in the Valley faces risk of further instability by thoughtless and untimely provocation in the form of contestation of Article 35A.

The September issue is a power-packed one. In addition to these, there are our usual articles on procurements, industry updates and news from the military and the paramilitary forces. Enjoy!