At the end of an out­stand­ing but bit­terly fought elec­tion cam­paign for 543 seats of the Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Par­lia­ment) polls in 2014, the Bhar­tiya Janata Pary (BJP) Govern­ment to­gether with their al­lies won with a clear ma­jor­ity, 336 seats out of a to­tal of 543 mem­bers of Par­lia­ment. The BJP it­self also emerged with more than half the seats in the Lok Sabha hav­ing suc­cess­fully won 283 seats out of a to­tal of 543, thus gain­ing a sim­ple ma­jor­ity by them­selves. The BJP Govern­ment in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter elect, Naren­dra Modi and all his min­is­ters were sworn in by the Pres­i­dent of In­dia in a mega event held in the Rash­tra­p­ati Bha­van (the Pres­i­dent of 26, 2014. Nearly 3,000 people from all walks of life at­tended the event. How­ever the cen­tre of at­trac­tion, cyno­sure of all eyes, was the Prime Min­is­ter him­self whose bril­liantly ex­e­cuted elec­tion cam­paign was still fresh in the mem­ory of the au­di­ence wit­ness­ing the event world­wide.

In a bid to show­case In­dia Õs democ­racy, the BJP and its al­lies in­vited SAARC lead­ers for the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony. BJPs leader Arun Jait­ley said: Ò The in­vi­ta­tion to all lead­ers of SAARC na­tions to be present at the cer­e­mony is to show­case In­dian democ­racy and its strength to the world at large. It is a democ­racy event. It should not be viewed through the prism of bi­lat­eral is­sues be­tween coun­tries Ó. He fur­ther said the fact that In­dia Õ s neigh­bours will be repre both democ­racy and greater in­te­gra­tion of the re­gion. Ó

The na­tion is thank­ful that at last we have a Prime Min­is­ter who him­self works hard and ex­pects other min­is­ters to fol­low his ac­tiv­ity in which they have been placed. It is high time that some­one changed the poor work ethics of our pub­lic ser­vants whose nui­sance value and bad man­ners are en­coun­tered by our cit­i­zens in their daily in­ter­ac­tion. The work­ing style of the new Prime Min­is­ter seems to have been un­der­stood by all his min­is­ters and day it­self there was no change in the daily rou­tine of the Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi. The day started with yoga and med­i­ta­tion, fol­low­ing which, he reached packed day ahead. Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, he held a se­ries of meet­ings at Delhi Õs Hy­der­abad House with eight South Asian lead­ers who had at­tended his oath cer­e­mony. The last of those meet­ings was with Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif, in which both lead­ers, de­cided that their for­eign sec­re­taries would be in touch, or meet, to dis­cuss how to re­sume talks sus­pended since Jan­uary 2013. As per me­dia re­ports it seems that the Prime Min­is­ter did strongly con­vey his views on ter­ror and raised the is­sue of the slow pace of the 26/11 trial in Pak­istan.

Now let us come closer home to the is­sues con­cern­ing na­tional de­fence, which are ad­versely af­fect­ing the op­er­a­tional pre­pared­ness of the na­tion. Some of these is­sues re­quire im­me­di­ate rem­edy. The state of op­er­a­tional pre­pared­ness and mod­erni­sa­tion of the armed forces is un­sat­is­fac­tory at a time when our likely ad­ver­saries are get­ting more and more ag­gres­sive. Un­der the cir­cum­stances the new govern­ment has a task clearly cut out for them to in­fuse fresh en­ergy in the armed forces by and in­duct­ing mod­ern equip­ment, grant­ing additional cap­i­tal budget for early pro­cure­ments and prun­ing down the lengthy pro­cure­ment more de­tailed paper lay­ing down the Ò De­fence Chal­lenges Fac­ing In­dia Ó has been in­cluded in this is­sue of the mag­a­zine. In ad­di­tion this is­sue car­ries an in­ter­view of the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Army Air De­fence (DGAAD), an ar­ti­cle on the Philip­pine Army and an ar­ti­cle on Ur­ban War­fare among some other topics.

Lt Gen­eral (Retd) V.K. Kapoor

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