Letter from the Editor | January 2022

Hitting the chronic optimists smack in the face, 2022 has got off to a rampaging start. The first day of the year reported an unprecedented stampede at the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Jammu killing 12 people, a landslide in Haryana trapping several miners and the beginning of community transmission of the Omicron variant of the Corona virus. However, even without this spate of bad news, the New Year was in any case burdened with the baggage of previous years.

Never before has India’s national security appeared so vulnerable to threats, both external and internal. The crisis with China in Ladakh remains unresolved, with the possibility of an honourable resolution diminishing by the day. Even though the guns are silent on the Line of Control with Pakistan, given the state of our bilateral relations, the silence is more like an unnerving lull before the storm. And yet, national attention is on chasing imaginary demons within the national boundaries, seeing enemies among fellow citizens.

But hope we must. And clutching on to that fragile sentiment, FORCE wishes all its readers a very Happy New Year. Perhaps, 2022 will indeed be a great year, present misgivings notwithstanding.

The January issue has traditionally been a special on the Indian Army to mark the Army Day on January 15. And so it is this year. Given that the army believes that it will be the lead service in any future conflict, firepower will be critical to land operations. Hence, the cover focus is on artillery modernisation which is again stagnating after showing signs of movement until a couple of years ago. In addition to that, there is an overview of army’s modernisation programme.

Since this is the first issue of the year, it is anchored by the round-up of the year gone by. In hindsight, everything looks evened-out. And strangely enough, 2021 did pack a few things which made one feel that ‘all is well’.

In other stories, we have a detailed chronicle of how China covertly built up its military-industrial complex to the extent that today it is among the leading exporters of defence equipment. In sharp contrast is the story of shipbuilding in India which packs as many misses as hits. There is also a sobering view from Pakistan, which underscores the importance of regional cooperation in opposition to extra-regional ambitions.

Given the way internal security has become such a challenge in the last few years, we have a section on the law enforcement agencies—their present infirmities and how they can be overcome.

On that optimistic note, have a great 2022!



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