Letter from the Editor | May 2022

Early April, Pravin Sawhney was in Pakistan to participate in the 2nd edition of Islamabad Security Dialogue. While he was asked to speak on the Challenges to International Security, the core of his talk was on future technologies and how best Pakistan could incubate, harness and adopt them, both to strengthen its military power as well as benefit its civilian population. That Pakistan was open to outside suggestions on such matters was commendable. More common sense to them.

From India’s perspective, the highpoint of Sawhney’s visit was not his talk. It was the unexpected twin encounters. First, with the then National Security Advisor to the government of Pakistan, Moeed Yusuf, and the following day with two very senior Pakistan Army officers and close confidantes of the army chief himself. The objective of both these encounters was the same—to convey to the Indian government that Pakistan was keen to restart the stalled bilateral dialogue on all issues.

Of course, to convey this, a non-government civilian was not required. But a former army officer and a vocal proponent of India-Pakistan peace and resolution of the Kashmir issue was needed to convey the second part of the conversation—the Musharraf-Manmohan Singh dialogue may have been lying comatose, it was not buried yet. The four-point formula could once again become the basis of talks on Kashmir. That both the Pakistan Army and the government was on the same page on this issue. The government in Pakistan has since changed, but the fact that the new prime minister has reached out to India, suggests that certain things are institutionalised and continuity of approach would be maintained.

This then is the cover story for May. More than any other time in Indian history, it is critical to seek peace on the western front because our relations with China will continue to get more complex and are likely to enervate us. The articles accompanying the cover story underscore the challenges we face vis a vis China and puts our lack of preparation in sharp relief. May better sense prevail.

From this month, we are starting a new series on counter-insurgency written by the IPKF veteran and author of Ours Not to Reason Why, Brig. Ravi Palsokar. Called The Soldiers’ Dilemma, it will appear once in two months and as the name suggests will focus on various aspects of the decision to deploy the military for CI-Ops.

Our other stories include the Tour of Duty debate, the emerging world order post the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the competitive rise in hypersonic missiles. Quite an eclectic mix the May issue is. Stay safe. Stay hopeful.




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