Letter from the Editor | February 2018

Instead of being a special issue on DefExpo as was envisaged till a month ago, this edition of FORCE is like any other, though no less special. At the cost of appearing repetitive, we return to China once again in our cover story. The reason is simple: China refuses to desist from making news. At least twice every week, if not more, it hogs the headlines. This cover story has been provoked by two recent events.

On 1 January 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping went to the PLA base in Webei and gave his vision for the future role of the military to his troops. The address was telecast live to the Chinese armed forces. The essence of Jinping’s address was that the Chinese military has to be prepared at all times for all kinds of eventualities because the President has put military power at the heart of China’s new assertive foreign policy. The message was both unprecedented and unambiguous. There was no way it could have been ignored.

The second provocation was a recent discovery of a new road and military posts that China has been building in the Shaksgam Valley. The road passes through the north of the Siachen glacier and once operational will add to the vulnerability of not just Siachen but the entire north Ladakh. Given that China has the capability of building all-weather, all-terrain roads, the threat posed by this road will be acutely felt by India in the winter months when snow isolates our northern-most areas. In addition to these two immediate reasons has been the general posture of China on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In the last three years, the PLA has been extremely aggressive and China has increased pockets of disputes on the LAC putting additional pressure on the Indian Army.

There are two other articles that deserve special mention, both written by men who were part of the events as they unfolded. Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat recalls the intense cooperation between India and Soviet Union which helped in setting in motion the process that eventually led to the first industrial joint venture, BRAHMOS cruise missile. Brig. Ravi Palsokar writes about the disaster called the IPKF. As a brigadier posted in Sri Lanka, he saw the tragedy unfold right in front of him. We need more such articles of contemporary and personal histories so that important lessons as these are not lost to memory. Once again, we invite our readers to send us articles which record the history and valour of their units.

In addition to this, are a host of other articles and features including updates from the defence industry. On that note, enjoy!


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