Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)


India possesses a highly professional million-man army, significantly powerful naval forces, and a modern air force. It occupies a strategic position at the crossroads of the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. It is the site of one of the world’s oldest civilisations, a powerful influence throughout Asia for thousands of years, and for the last 75 years, against all odds, it has maintained a functioning democracy.

With its vast population, burgeoning economy, technological advancements, initiatives like Digital India and massive investment in infrastructure development, India has left an indelible mark on the world stage. India’s rise is not solely limited to its economic and technological achievements; it extends to its diplomatic influence as well. India has strengthened its international relations, forging strategic partnerships with nations across the globe. Its soft power, characterized by its rich cultural heritage, Bollywood, yoga, and cuisine, has enhanced its global standing and made it an attractive destination for tourism and cultural exchanges. India has taken a proactive role in addressing global challenges, including climate change, healthcare, and sustainable development, which has further elevated its stature.

India’s rise is intertwined with its democratic values and commitment to pluralism. Despite its diverse society comprising various religions, languages, and ethnicities, India has upheld the principles of inclusivity and secularism. India’s vibrant democracy is a source of inspiration for many aspiring nations and underscores the potential of inclusive governance models. India’s experience in implementing large-scale social welfare programs, such as the Jan Dhan Yojana (financial inclusion program), Swachh Bharat Mission (cleanliness campaign), and Ayushman Bharat (universal healthcare) have attracted attention and admiration from other developing countries.

However, India’s rise is not without its challenges. The country still faces significant socio-economic disparities, including poverty, illiteracy, and inadequate healthcare in certain regions. Addressing these issues and ensuring equitable growth remains a critical task for India’s future.

Mr Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, has emerged as a prominent leader within the Global South, representing the interests and aspirations of developing nations. His leadership and vision have positioned India as a key player in shaping the agenda of global affairs. Through his engagements, Modi has consistently highlighted the aspirations, concerns, and development priorities of the Global South, urging for a more balanced and fair international system. He has emphasized the need for a more equitable and inclusive global order.

In our cover story Gen Ata Hasnain explains that India’s rise is a testament to the country’s resilience, potential, and determination. He adds caution stating that India must remain committed to addressing its socio-economic challenges and building an inclusive society.

Other prominent features in this issue include Military Transformation by Gen Sahni in which he extends the argument he made in the previous issue. Indo–Japan cooperation, Manned-Unmanned teaming and the much needed reforms in DITM are other features of interest in our May- June issue.