Col Ashwani Sharma (Retd)


Hamas’ surprise attack on October 7th caught the nation, its political leadership, and the military off guard. As expected, it sent shockwaves across the globe, eliciting a range of reactions. The Western countries, led by the US, swiftly voiced their strong support for Israel, while also condemning Hamas’ terror attacks and likening them to those of ISIS. In Gaza and the West Bank, reports of celebrations emerged following the initial success of the attack. However, the Israeli response began a couple of hours later, even as Israel grappled with the scale of the massive raid. Israeli air strikes reduced parts of the besieged Gaza Strip to rubble. In response, the Arab world rallied in support of the Palestinian people, calling for an immediate end to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) offensive.

The international community found itself divided in its condemnation of terror and the perceived disproportionate response by Israel, which claimed it was necessary to crush Hamas, who had dealt a significant blow to Israel’s pride and reputation, resulting in over 1,400 casualties and around 240 kidnappings. India’s response to the crisis underscores the challenges of balancing support to a long term ally, condemning terror, providing humanitarian aid and seeking a peaceful and lasting solution.

Our cover story in this issue carries a comprehensive analysis of the geopolitical, military and diplomatic aspects with a brief on the history of the divided land.

Events in West Asia have pushed Ukraine – Russia war to the margins of media coverage. Together, the wars have perhaps distracted the US and Western Europe enough to take their eyes off China, the main global competitor and rival whom they wish to contain. Col Ajay Singh and Lt. General Ata Hasnain have contributed to these two topics respectively.

As the conflicts continue, it’s worth noting India’s approach to similar situations. In recent years, India has adopted a tougher stance, responding swiftly to acts of terror, carefully avoiding collateral damage and diligently preventing escalation. India’s military operations against terrorists on its own soil have consistently prioritized the use of minimum force, even in the face of grave provocations and casualties. This approach reflects India’s military culture, setting an example of responsible military conduct.

An interview with India’s Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Chowdhary brings out major aspects related to India’s emergence as an aerospace power – a fitting finale to the last issue of calendar year 2023. I wish our readers an enjoyable read.