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Saturday October 19, 2019

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Soldier's Pride is Paramount!

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From the very beginning of civilisation, wars have taken place for one or the other reason but the methods have been different in every military campaign whether it was the ancient wars of Mahabharata or Ramayana or World Wars I and II or any other war.

In war it is the land forces that finally capture enemy territory. Undoubtedly fighter planes and warships play a vital role in modern war but we all know that without a strong and well equipped land force that puts boots on the ground it is impossible to show plausible victory. The land forces have to be the best equipped and honed to use their weapons to best advantage. They have to be highly disciplined and tough as steel and very motivated to be able to defend a terrain as varied as the Indian geography. They have to be made to feel that their pride in their profession is appreciated by the nation they defend with their blood. There should not be any compromise on the quality of arms and equipment made available to them. However, our land forces are being deprived of the most innovative technologies available only because the process of procurement of military weapons has become so contaminated with scams that nobody wants to take responsibility for selecting the much-needed weaponry for fear of becoming embroiled in charges and counter-charges.

I feel the following questions deserve urgent attention:
1. Why should there not be a special cadre for all procurements for the defence of the nation?
2. Why should an exhaustive list of equipment needed over the next decade and beyond not be published so as to get the maximum number of arms producers to participate in the bidding?
This will also help our own private sector to respond.
3. Why should not the offset policy that has been made part of the procurement process be reviewed every two years?
4. Why not have a separate defence procurement ministry?
5. Why should the expertise of retired senior defence personnel not be tapped for this process?

If the government gives immediate attention to such questions, only then can we build strong land and other forces to counter any threats from our adversaries like Pakistan and China. I am sure our government is acutely aware of this.

The pride of all the defence personnel must be the top priority for all the states of the Union of India. Yet the feeling has grown that there has been a steady erosion in the standing of the Armed Forces in the Order of Precedence that governs protocol and inter se relations between civilian and military bureaucracies to the disadvantage of the latter. Somewhere, somehow, our defence forces’ pride and elan does not get the priority it deserves. What we have been observing is that politicians forget that their parliament and their constituencies are safeguarded by these defence personnel only in times of natural disasters and even man-made calamities. It is these land forces personnel who are always there to extend their best support to the people in the time of dire need. It is they who save the lives of our people. And if they are taken for granted or even callously ignored then their morale will be seriously affected to the detriment of national security.

Our land forces are one of the best and biggest standing armies in the world today and we are proud of them. Team DSA salutes them and this special issue is dedicated to our land forces. I hope our readers will like this issue as it has contributions from some very eminent and well-known generals from our land forces.

India under terrorist attack. Once again. This time at the High Court, New Delhi. The US saw just one terrorist attack and we have seen hundreds till date. They revamped their entire security system to counter terrorism. What is our government waiting for? It seems we do not have the seriousness and compelling political will to counter and annihilate terrorism in India. When will our government wake up?

Incidentally, the DSA has become the first and the only professional magazine in the defence and security genre to be awarded an ISO 9001: 2008 certification.

I also welcome new team members Wg Cdr Sangeeta Malla (retd) and Mithlesh Tiwari.
Jai Hind!


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