Monsoon seems to have arrived early in India. The temperature has fallen back in the tolerable 30s. The dawn and dusk have reclaimed the semblance of pleasantness. For all the humidity, chaos and disease that ensue, monsoons are harbingers of hope in India, a land largely dependent on nature’s benevolence for everything, from harvest to economy. And so as the monsoon clouds envelop the sky obliterating the sunshine, they do so with the promise of better conditions after their departure — Cleaner air, sharper sunshine and cheaper agricultural produce.
If the government of India has its way, it would like the citizenry to view its policy-making with the same degree of indulgence. Hardships, chaos and confusion followed by better security situation, improved economy and a self-assured foreign policy. Alas, it does not work quite like this. This month’s cover story looks at one such policy, the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016. When the policy was first released, the industry stake-holders marvelled at its verbosity and incoherence. One went to the extent of saying that it appears that the person who wrote the final document was either extremely sleepy or drunk! A year and half later, analysts are still finding areas of misplaced emphasis and ill-conceived concepts.
Since the purpose of the procurement policy is Indian military modernisation, we have enlarged the cover story to go beyond policy-making and into areas of medium term and long term requirements, for instance, minesweepers for the navy and night fighting capabilities for the army. There are also technology updates along the way, ranging from aerospace radars to submarines.
There is a wide-ranging special report on India’s border guarding forces, the challenges they face in the daily execution of their duties and how emerging technologies can help them do their job better.
We also have a very comprehensive news update from the just concluded land and airland show Eurosatory. FORCE incidentally was the media partner for the show. For the last few years, most Europeans shows have been focussing on two emerging challenges — cyber threats and unmanned systems. As expected, Eurosatory once again laid focus on these twin universal threats. The other highlight of the show was the progress on French Army’s Scorpion programme. Incidentally, two years ago, when the prototypes under Scorpion programme were being launched, the French defence industry had organised a two-day international media conference to showcase what they intended to build. FORCE was the only Indian magazine to be invited to that conference.
Finally, we have an interesting article on how public-private partnership can improve the quality of military education in India. Hopefully, it reaches the right quarters. On that note, pause and listen to the falling rain. Sometimes that is all we need to uplift our spirits.