Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)

The aspiration to become a superpower, growing complexity of security challenges in India’s neighbourhood and economic progress (India poised to become a $5 trillion-dollar economy by 2025) – to safeguard these interests, India undeniably requires strong defence capabilities. In pursuit of building its military capabilities India has also been one of the largest arms importers (12% of global arms imports). High import-dependence (70% or more) for weapons and munitions create undesirable dependencies and vulnerabilities.

Self-reliance in Defence thus, is of vital importance for both strategic and economic reasons and has been an important guiding principle for the past two decades. Add to that India’s ambition of emerging as a world-class defence manufacturing hub. PM Modi’s Mission ‘Aatamnirbhar Bharat’ has acted as a catalyst for self- reliance in defence.

Recently released Defence Procurement Method (DAP 2020) is an important step. Highlights include higher indigenous content, revised definition of Indian Companies and removal of offsets. ‘Import ban list’ now forms part of the DAP. Policy implementation and its exploitation by all the stakeholders remains imperative. Indigenisation must keep pace with modern technologies, as one of the finest armies of the world must be equipped with matching technologies in terms of quality and reliability. IAF Chief ’s interview echoes this sentiment.

Aatamnirbharta being the theme of this issue, the cover story is written by two of the finest experts in the country. Lt Gen JP Singh and Lt Gen Subrata Saha, both have served as Dy Chiefs of Army Staff and have won laurels for their contribution to the cause of modernizing the Indian Army, even after hanging their spurs.

PLA continues its siege at the LAC and is in eyeball to eyeball contact with the Indian troops at many places. Lt Gen Ata Hasnain has penned a detailed analysis of the imbroglio and woven the thread through all the milestones. In a brief prose, Maj Gen Dewan opines that a political solution should be found to resolve the military stalemate.

Ambassador Vivek Katju has written a piece on US Elections’ impact on the subcontinent. Lt Gen Sanjiv Langer has delved into the intrigue of the Mediterranean and why Turkey is in a position of strength. With so much variety, I am sure our readers will find this issue riveting to read.

Stop Press: A brief piece on Armenia and Azerbaijan war is added as the conflict assumes global significance.