Letter from the Editor | April 2021

There are times when so many different things happen that it seems a tad unfair to focus on only one of them as the cover story. The good part of this is that the readers get a wide range of articles and perspective, instead of one cover story that takes up one-fourth of the edition.

March has been one such month, when issues jostled with one another for the place of pride on the April cover. Eventually, we decided upon small arms for two reasons. One, we had never done a cover on small arms before; so, there was a novelty factor. And two, the small arms requirement of the Indian military and paramilitary forces is so basic and so huge that it is a wonder that Indian defence industry has not been able to produce a family of acceptable personal weapons for the soldiers. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that hinterland India has a thriving illegal business of country-made small weapons!

Despite the second, or the third, wave of Covid-19 pandemic, March has been a busy month. On his first overseas tour since taking over as the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin stopped by in India to reinforce his government’s commitment towards stronger India-US defence relations. This followed the first Quad Summit, albeit virtual. In a short capsule on Indo-US relationship, we look at both the future of defence ties (benefits and pitfalls included), as well as the Quad, which now seems to be taking shape after a slow and reticent start.

As far as defence technology is concerned, we look at two systems: Conventional submarines and how the Indian fleet, despite new inductions, is moving towards obsolescence; and tanks, where the guest writer argues that the Indian Army needs to embrace the indigenous Arjun tank, not only to support make in India, but also because after several hiccups, the system has matured.

The early onset of summer has led to some unexpected developments. A slight thaw in India-Pakistan relations seems to have occurred. Early days to presume that the ice would melt, and a fresh-water spring would gush forth; but a Pakistan-based analyst writing in this issue insists that everything is possible if India starts to correctly read Pakistan’s overtures. Hopefully, someone in the government pays heed.

We also have a special report on radicalisation and how while focussing mostly on its violent manifestation, we neglect the more dangerous aspect of it—hate-mongering—which creates long-term fissures in the society.

Enjoy the repast.




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