Very early in FORCE’s life a senior corporate communications executive with accounts of a couple of global defence companies, and potential FORCE advertisers, advised us that we must not waste so much time and effort on writing on operational and policy matters.
‘No one reads them. These are engineers and marketing executives trying to sell their equipment in India,’ he said referring to his clients. ‘They don’t care what you write. Just put their pictures with their press releases. They will be happy.’
What about our readers, military officers, government policymakers or even defence and aviation enthusiasts? How can we cheat them of good content? The answer to these questions was offered by a retired senior officer.
‘This is the age of short message service (SMS). No one has the time to read anything longer than a sentence.’
We are happy that we ignored both pieces of advice. Not only our readers stayed with us; our new subscribers wanted to buy all the old issues too. As a value addition, we started getting our old issues bound in a leather ensemble as annual volumes. Both libraries and individual readers bought them. We discontinued the annual volumes two years ago as we ran out of the copies of the old issues.
As we present the 18th Anniversary special issue to you, we would like to thank you for your commitment to the idea which founded FORCE. You validated our belief that quality editorial, even if niche, will always find a readership. We also want to thank our advertisers who continued to chose FORCE proving the communication honcho wrong. Finally, we want to thank all those who have been with us on this 18-year long journey, whether it was for a few months or several years. Your presence added value to FORCE and made our journey more interesting as well as meaningful.
This special issue focusses on a subject of immediate concern—theatre commands. FORCE has always maintained that the Indian armed forces need reforms to keep pace with evolving threats and technology that has redefined warfare, both in its art and science. The reforms proposed by CDS Gen. Bipin Rawat are 20 years too late. We have got experts from across the three services to argue why more thought needs to be put into these reforms. More importantly, if true integration is the objective than it has to be a bottoms-up process, not top down. Hopefully, better sense prevails, and the idea of reforms goes back to the drawing board.
With this, happy 18th to all of us! Given the promise of our adolescence, we can hardly wait for adulthood.