Author : Group Captain Sharad Tewari, VM (Retd),

Dear Readers,

It gives us great pleasure to present to you yet another invigorating and stimulating issue of the USI Journal, for the 3rd Quarter of 2023. For over 15 decades, the USI Journal has compiled military and strategic affairs and has provided a platform to the military officers as well as other scholars to inculcate the love for writing and reading and share their knowledge with our members and readers. This issue contains 12 well researched articles, two review articles, and two short reviews of recent books.

        The lead article is on ‘Recalibrating Defence Indigenisation’ by Lieutenant General NB Singh, PVSM, AVSM,VSM (Retd). The author argues that achieving technological parity with China by 2045, or earlier, should be underpinning the strategy to accelerate self-reliance. The article gives out a road map to accelerate self-reliance, making the ‘Make in India’, a truly global brand in the stride. This is followed by an article by Dr Soumya Awasthi, titled ‘Strategic and Geopolitical Shifts: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s surging Resilience and India’s Security Calculus’. The article highlights that since 2021, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan has transformed into a formidable force and for India’s regional stability, vigilance, strategic acumen, and prudent military measures are crucial in navigating the complex dynamics between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the evolving terror landscape.

        The third article titled ‘Iran-Saudi Arabia Relations:Cooperation and Convergence Replacing Hostility and Divergence’ is by Major General Jagatbir Singh, VSM (Retd) who writes about the recently concluded Iran-Saudi Arabia Agreement in the context of the evolving global and regional geopolitical scenario, and dwells on the intricacies of the Agreement as well as the pivotal role played by China, and its implication for neighbours and India. The next article is by Dr SD Pradhan, former Dy NSA, on ‘Growing Indian Defence Production Capabilities: From the biggest Importer of Defence Equipment to an Exporter’. He brings out that India’s progress in increasing its indigenous defence production capabilities, in recent years, is indeed remarkable. However, two significant challenges remain, availability of sufficient investments and the induction of advanced technology, on a continuing basis, for maintaining a competitive edge in the global defence market.

        Colonel Mandeep Singh (Retd) in the article ‘Of Military History and War Dairies’ writes that the military histories are used to examine the past and make decisions about the future and, therefore, it is essential that these are written honestly. Further, timely and honest generation and maintenance of war diaries is essential so that not only the military histories are written correctly but the right lessons are learnt from them. One of the challenges of the current United Nations Peace Operations is the ‘mis and dis information’ campaign by the armed rebel groups as well as the not-so-friendly host states to malign the peace operations. This has been looked into in the next article titled ‘Misinformation and Disinformation in UN Peace Operations’ by Major General PK Goswami, VSM (Retd). The author brings out the steps to be taken in a multi-faceted approach to tackle mis and dis information menace through ‘Training and Strategic Communication’, both, at operational and tactical level.

        The seventh article is the concluding part of ‘Fifty Years after India’s First Airborne Operation at Poongli Bridge, Tangail:What we know of its Planning? (Part 2)’, written by Lieutenant Colonel RS Bangari (Retd) and provides an insight into the planning process of the airborne operation at Poongli Bridge, along with its execution, to achieve the desired objectives. This lays the foundation for a more informed debate on certain highlights and issues that this article brings up. Part 1 of the article was published in the previous (April - June 2023) issue of the USI Journal. Dr Irfan Ul Haq, in his article titled ‘South China Sea: Dracophobia and the Lilliputian Dilemma in a Gulliverian (China) Neighbourhood’ highlights that the South China Sea holds massive historical significance as the epicentre of the Indo-Pacific Region and is evolving into the most vibrant and contentious geopolitical hotspot. It is in this context that the article analyses the dilemma among the smaller regional neighbours of China.

        The next article is the edited version of the paper which won the first prize for the COAS Gold Medal Essay Competition for the year 2021-22 in Group II category, titled ‘Fortifying Indian Army’s response at Tactical Level against People’s Liberation Army’, by Major Ankita Mishra. This article sheds light on the challenges faced by the Indian Army in relation to the PLA and the measures to mitigate the shortcomings and fortifying response against the PLA. Russia and India have enjoyed a particularly close strategic relationship over the last half century oftime. The two countries continue to have common interests as they look for a multipolar world. The article by Major General (Dr) Pawan Anand, AVSM (Retd) on ‘Russia and India: Navigating Uncertain Times’ highlights that there is much to learn from recent geopolitical experiences of either country, even as they steer their individual course through an uncertain world situation.

        The penultimate article is titled ‘The New Cold War’ authored jointly by Dr Martand Jha and Ms Anuttama Banerji. It analyses the New Cold War that is building up between the United States and China and brings out that India’s has to ensure that this doesn’t impacted negatively on her strategic, economic, and overall national interests. The last article of this issue is by Mr Manav Saini, titled ‘Colombo Security Conclave: Need for Transition towards Sustainable Energy Security’. The article discusses the development of CSC, its limitations, and explores the importance of including relevant offshore renewable energy for CSC and the way forward to make the mini-lateral a more robust organisation.

        This is followed with Review Article 1 where, Major General Jagatbir Singh, VSM (Retd) writes about the book ‘War Despatch 1971’ edited by Brigadier BS Mehta. The reviewer writes that the book is unique in many ways. It’s a lucid recount of the triumphs and challenges by a group of officers, from the 28 NDA Course, who fought the 1971 War with grit and courage in the face of adversity. Review Article 2 is about the book ‘ARMOUR ‘71’ authored by Cavalry Officers Association. Here the reviewer, Major General VK Singh (Retd) writes that beginning with the politico-diplomatic perspective of the war, the build up to the war, armour operations in each theatre, followed by naval and air operations, the canvas of Armour 71 is undoubtedly wide. The book covers interesting viewpoints and the role of armour in offensive and defensive operations. 

This issue also carries short reviews of the following books:

n       Chinese Military Legal System: An Analysis

        By UC Jha and Kishore Kumar Khera

        Reviewed by Gp Capt Sharad Tewari, VM (Retd)

n       The Eastern Gate: War and Peace in Nagaland, Manipur and India’s Far East

        By Sudeep Chakravarti

        Reviewed by Dr Jyoti Yadav

        As always, we look forward to your feedback and suggestions. The USI acknowledges the financial assistance received from the ICSSR for publication of this Journal.

Happy Reading!

Gp Capt Sharad Tewari, VM (Retd)

Director Editorial