Na­tion First. Happy In­de­pen­dence Day!

SP's MAI - - FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK -

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

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