Letter from the Editor | September 2020

Bad news continues to stalk India. The Covid-19 Pandemic shows no sign of slowing down. With 3.7 million cases and more than 65,000 deaths, India is now among the worst-affected countries in the world. The military face-off with China is becoming increasingly intractable. Talks, at all levels, have hit a stalemate. With Pakistan, the ties had hit rock bottom last year when the government changed the status quo in the state of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Articles 370 and 35A.

And the economy has been lurching from one low to another. The latest figures released by National Statistical Office shows that India’s GDP declined by 23.9 per cent between April-June 2020. Among all major economies of the world, this has been the sharpest decline so far.

Yet, business goes on. Despite the spate of bad news, ministry of defence remains undeterred. It has recently released a series of policy documents, starting with the revised Defence Procurement Procedure. Only it is not called that anymore. It has been renamed Defence Acquisition Procedure. Call it old wine in new bottle, but the MoD insists that the new bottle is symbolic of new verve and determination towards self-reliance. Or Atmanirbharta, as the Prime Minister has called it. Since DAP was not enough to convey the intensity of this determination, the MoD has also released a Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy, in addition to a negative list of items which will be embargoed for import.

This clearly has been the biggest news since the Chinese aggression, the tanking GDP notwithstanding. Hence, the FORCE cover story puts these three policy documents through a looking glass. Supporting the cover story are features on the defence corridors and the business of maintenance, repair and overhaul of defence aviation platforms. Hopefully, the cover story raises as many questions as it attempts to answer.

The September issue is rich in expert comments. From a review of 2019 Balakot air strike, unravelling of the Naga peace process and land-based air defence system to the quest for a lightweight tank and criticality of integrating women in the combat arm of the border guarding forces, we have put together a fair mix.

The India and the BRI column rounds-up South Asia with a feature on Myanmar this month. We will now move onto to Southeast Asia.

With this issue we have formalised a books section. FORCE has repeatedly underlined the importance of reading. Now we want the veterans to list what they think are must-read books. Readers are welcome to send their own lists. We will be happy to publish them. Enjoy the issue.



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