FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
First and foremost, we would like to congratulate Nirmala Sitharaman for taking the helm at the defence ministry. She is the second woman in the history of India to hold the portfolio of defence. It goes without saying the enormous confidence the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in Nirmala Sitharaman who showed her mettle as Commerce and Industry Minister. Yes, she has onerous tasks before her and she has already made her intent known on how she is going to go about managing the ministry.
Her first message as Defence Minister was on four issues: first, Armed Forces be endowed with and equipped to perform their duties with best available equipment; two, major role for ‘Make in India’, India being major defence procurer; three, welfare of soldiers and families ensuring soldiers in toughest borders and challenging zones remain assured their interests are being taken care of, and; four, address all long-pending issues.
In an analysis, Lt General P.C. Katoch has said that Nirmala Sitharaman holding charge of Ministry of Commerce & Industry had overview of the pathetic state of equipping of the military; the chapter on defence on official website of Ministry of Commerce & Industry in 2014 reading 50 per cent of equipment held by the our military obsolete and 33 per cent provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sub-standard. With defence neglected, the Defence Minister has multiple challenges before her. The military needs synergised reorganisation horizontally and vertically, taking into account threats to national security and suiting hybrid warfare requirements.
The Minister had a recent meeting with the US Defence Secretary, James Mattis and the former came out trumps when she made it clear that India will not send troops to war-torn Afghanistan, but pledged to help the troubled country build infrastructure and stamp out terrorist safe havens. The announcement clears the government’s stand in the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s speech where he had urged India to assist efforts to restore security in Afghanistan. “There shall not be boots from India on the ground in Afghanistan,” Mrs. Sitharaman had said.
In this issue, we have an exclusive interview with the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa who has stated that the Indian Air Force has got the top of the line high end systems, medium technology and also low technology aircraft like MiG-21. All the medium technology platforms that India got in early 1980s like – MiG-29, Mirage, and the Jaguar have been upgraded and they are comparable to any fourth-generation aircraft as far as avionics is concerned. “Now India was going in for cutting edge technology. We already have the cutting edge technology in Rafale, S400 and MRSAM . The India Air force has a mix of all three technologies.”
In an article, the former Air Chief, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik (Retd) has stated that the single thought that must prevail in our minds is that Kashmir is an integral part of India and it is our sacred duty to restore the Valley to its pristine condition. “Hard decisions will have to be taken, some out of the box, but our resolve must not waver. I have mostly spoken of things military but the situation demands strong political will and public support. It demands improving outreach to people and improved governance. It demands something which other people feel we as a nation lack – Ruthlessness.”
These articles and more in this issue. Happy reading !
Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief