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Photo by Mitul Gajera on Unsplash.

India celebrating republic day with the parade.

In the context of the pandemic affecting the world, India being amongst the worst impacted countries, the fundamentals of State-Citizen relationship in a democratic dispensation have come under the focus in terms of defining where the nation's energies and resources would be devoted first. The health emergency caused by Covid-19 has been with us for more than a year -- and still persistent -- leading to enormous loss of lives, destruction of employment and a sharp rise of poverty posing the unprecedented challenge before the ruling dispensation of reviving a derailed economy.

The sovereign state of India has in this period been tested also for its ability to ensure defence of the nation against external dangers and security of its people against internal threats. In the developed West, including the US and UK, no external and internal security risks were encountered and the national governments there could more easily concentrate wholeheartedly on dealing with the pandemic and using their large financial resources towards aiding the population in economic distress. In India, a country with financial limitations, the period saw an escalation of the hostile activities of the two adversaries on the borders -- Pakistan and China -- who had formed a military alliance primarily to damage India's security. The Modi government thus faced issues of defence, internal security, health emergency and economic disruption, all together, and it goes to its credit that a sincere and competent effort was made at the highest levels to deal with this challenge on multiple fronts through these difficult months. Prime Minister Modi's leadership stands out for commitment to nationalism, political will, personal application to solution finding, hard work and quick decision-making on matters across the spectrum.

For a sovereign democratic state, defence of the nation and security of its people will always be on top of its agenda notwithstanding any spells of internal difficulties and socio-economic pressures that the country might have faced at any point. By the time the pandemic hit the country, the Sino-Pak axis had already become active in denouncing India for abrogating Art 370 relating to special status of Jammu and Kashmir. While China started a military build-up on LAC in Ladakh, Pakistan stepped up terror activity in Kashmir using even drones for dropping arms and IEDs from across the LoC in aid of terrorists infiltrated into the Valley.

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India's first indigenous aircraft carrier, Vikrant, begins its sea trials this year.

As India's first indigenous aircraft carrier, Vikrant, begins its sea trials this year, it not only epitomises a significant milestone in the country's native techno-industrial prowess but also marks the fulfilment of a dream long nurtured by a nation aspiring to revive its maritime tradition and restore to itself the prestige it held among seafaring countries in the past.

Indeed, the impact of seapower in shaping India's past and the role that it would play in forging her future had been well understood by our national leadership and strategists alike, and soon after independence the Indian Navy (IN) embarked on a cogently articulated plan to strengthen its capabilities. Specifically, within six months of Independence, the Navy drafted a ten-year expansion plan which, inter alia, included two light fleet carriers to be later replaced by four fleet carriers.

This focus on carrier borne airpower emerged from the experiences of the Second World War where aircraft carriers indubitably played a central role on both sides. But it wasn't the Navy alone which sought to bolster its aviation capabilities. The eminent civil servant, historian and strategic thinker, Sardar KM Panikkar presciently noted in his book titled India and the Indian Ocean: An Essay on the Influence of Sea Power on Indian History (1945). "Equally important, especially for a country like India, with a vast coastline is the development of a naval air arm, as an integral part of the sea forces. The naval air arm has an important part to play in naval warfare, by patrolling the coasts, by keeping the sea clear and affording air cover to the navy."

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Indian Naval Ship Kirch.

A series of voyages by multiple Western allies in mid-2021 through a disputed Asian sea will incite China, the waterway's largest claimant, to shadow the foreign ships, hit back at the countries behind them and possibly hold a live-fire drill, analysts say.

At least eight countries have indicated since late July plans to send navy vessels into the resource-rich South China Sea, which stretches from Hong Kong to Borneo Island, in support of keeping it open internationally rather than ceding it to Chinese control.

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HAL introduces unmanned flight systems. IANS

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on Thursday unveiled a leap in technology of teaming up unmanned aircraft and vehicles with manned jets similar to the US project of skybrog. It will enhance Indian military strike capabilities.

Teamed with a manned aircraft known as mother-ship, the unmanned aircraft will leverage autonomy to disrupt and defeat adversaries in contested environments.

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