Letter from the Editor | September 2023

Usually, the month of September signals the beginning of the festive season. The weather improves—following the monsoon cleansing, the air becomes cleaner; the humidity starts to recede rendering a pleasantness to the evenings; a feeling of conviviality in anticipation of the coming festivals fills the atmosphere; and many start renovation or redecoration of their living spaces.

This September is heralding a different kind of festival—India’s year-long presidency of the G-20, which is culminating in a summit shortly. Since the who’s who of the developed world are descending upon Delhi, in keeping with the festive spirit, preparations are on a different scale and space. Instead of homes, the National Capital Region has been spruced up. While what happens at this international jamboree will be the subject of discussion next month, this issue presents a sobering view of the emerging world, shifting sands of global geopolitics and the delicate art of balancing which India needs to embrace instead of playing hopscotch from time to time.

In August, South Africa hosted the 15th edition of the BRICS summit, of which India is a founding member, along with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa. At the South African edition, the economics-driven association of nations collectively decided to admit six new members out of scores of requests from South American, African, West Asian and South Asian nations. The FORCE cover story encapsulates this turning point in our contemporary history. It is not only the question of the historically weak nations seeking a seat at the BRICS table, but also the emergence of a new kind of global comport, in which relationships are being sought and made on the principles of mutual benefit; or win-win, as Chinese are wont to say. Clearly, this shift is driven by China as the most resilient and powerful economy in this group, in concert with Russia. It would be in India’s interests if it reads this shift correctly, instead of remaining weighed down by the baggage of history.

The September issue also celebrates India’s successful moon mission and the lessons it holds for the defence research and development fraternity of the nation. There are articles on the importance of precision technology, both manned and unmanned, as well as an overview of the challenges India’s strides into the realm of digitalisation face. Cyberspace is both an enabler and a serious vulnerability; the sooner we work on it, better it would be. Right now, our defence mechanism seems to hinge upon installing multiple gatekeepers, making user experience cumbersome and time-consuming.

After months of brutal violence, tremulous peace has returned to Manipur. But it would be naïve to imagine that the situation is normal now, especially when the border remains porous and a hotbed of trafficking—human, drugs and small arms. Our report on the management of India-Myanmar border dwells upon all these challenges. In addition to this are news updates from the defence industry and the services. Enjoy!



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