Nation First. Happy Independence Day!
As we celebrate the 67th Independence Day celebrations, there is a lot to ponder. To begin with the theory of ‘Nation First’, as enunciated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has to be imbibed in all Indians. Despite all the progress, we see ourselves faltering at different levels as we side-step the ‘Nation First’ theory. Personal aggrandisement has overtaken national interests, hence we see ourselves falling short on many counts.
National security is of utmost importance. That can be assured only when we are rid of corrupt systems, efficient and forward thinking approach to development and above all a mindset of ethical practices. National security has partially suffered as appropriate decisions have not been taken as regards modernisation of armed forces, developmental work (for instance in naxalite infested areas) etc. However, we see a whiff of fresh air with the Narendra Modi government promising to put ‘Nation First’.
In this issue, Lt. General (Retd) P.C. Katoch talks about ‘reviving the spirit of nationalism’ and states that any delays in overhauling the defence sector will seriously endanger India’s security. He exhorts the Prime Minister to give all the focus he can to defence. In another article, he has spelt out the urgency for the Indian Army to have better and advanced vehicles to replace the upgraded BMP2. The future infantry combat vehicle (FICV) project has to be put on fast-track. In the light of corruption scandals, Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey writes it would be in the interest of the nation, not to blacklist or ban outright the foreign companies as they are involved in various programmes in India.
The Prime Minister has shown early promise, not just on the domestic front, but also internationally. He has reenergised relationships with the neighbours and beyond. During the recent visit of the US Secretary of State John Kerry, it was amply clear that decks are getting cleared for deeper strategic partnerships between the world’s oldest and the world’s biggest democracies.
Air Marshal Pandey has specifically touched upon the interest of Indian defence in the context of Indo-US relations. This is an area in which while there has been significant interaction, there is the need and scope for much more. India needs to leverage its strengths as the Modi government is enjoying a magnetic appeal from world powers. The hopes and expectations are growing rapidly as Modi promises to transform the country soon into an economically vibrant nation, as Ranjeet Kumar has analysed.
Modi has had his first stop at Nepal wherein there was amazingly high warm response and he stuck to the development plank even there, stating it was imperative to prioritising infrastructure development, key not just for economic prosperity but stability in the region.
As we celebrate Independence Day, we also salute some of the finest soldiers India has produced. Though there are countless soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for the nation, we have picked few of them who have led from the front and we believe that they not only represent the soldier community, but also enthuse the nation by their bravery, statesmanship and spirit of nationalism.
All this along with a slew of regular columns… Happy reading!
Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief