As the fastest growing major economy, India ought to have by now achieved major power status with a permanent UNSC seat. But over a decade of ineffectual defence modernisation has led to anaemic ‘Comprehensive National Power’. Unsurprisingly therefore, the Lowy Institute’s 2019 Asia Power Index concludes that “India underachieves relative to both its size and potential”. Her ‘Act-East-Policy’ underperforms both in economic relationships and defence networks.
In this context, a galaxy of security experts with lifetimes of experience provides deep insights into “Securing India’s Strategic Space”. Without a National Security Doctrine, our strategic approach is necessarily fuzzy. Hence, dealing with China, the Afghan dilemma, great power play in Central Asia and the Indo-Pacific remain reactive and diffident. Therefore, leveraging the strategic dimensions of our maritime and airpower plus fixing our ridiculous higher defence organisation assume importance.
Vital issues of ‘Defence Preparedness, Izzat and Morale’ are another focus area. These include: reforming military intelligence; mission-oriented defence budgeting and building a sound military-industrial base to sustain our defence forces.
The striking contrast between what Defence personnel sacrifice for the Nation—unto their lives—and the paltry coppers that a niggardly Babustaan-Politico combine grudgingly concedes them, highlights the need for a Kautilya Covenant.
Despite this, time and again the dauntless courage and blood of our officers and jawans has redeemed the neglect and blunders of national leadership. As the pièce-de-résistance, we showcase the supreme valour of three PVC/MVC winners from the 1948 J&K War onwards and some battlefield vignettes of Indian Army.
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