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In this issue

Over the past month, a few issues had kept the Armed Forces in the news: The Sino- Indian standoff at Doklam; Appointment of a lady as Raksha Mantri – a first for India – and the passing away of a legend, the Marshal of the IAF, Arjan Singh. Each has its own significance. However, the most critical was the standoff at Doklam, where India averted a larger conflict with China with much maturity at the diplomatic level. But the confidence in South Block came from the adept handling of ground situation by the Indian Army. It was a litmus test for the army’s capabilities and its professionalism. This has changed the perception about China's ability to alter the power balance in the region at least for now. However, experts warn to be cautious, as former officers opine on this aspect in this issue. After a brief spell, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has for a change, got a full-time Raksha Mantri. And though the appointment of a lady took many by surprise, since the challenges at the MoD would be many for even those with a strong background in national security issues, the expectations are high from the new incumbent. But with MoD, she has some tight-rope walking to do in the remaining months in the run upto to 2019 polls. Will she be able to deliver, is what we ask in this issue. Perhaps, time alone will tell! At the outset, the announcement to involve the army to clean-up mountain tourist spots has not gone down well with our Fauj across the spectrum, which perceives the decision as being reduced to sundry tasks. More so when seen in light of the nation’s quintessential dependence on it for all contingencies and not giving them their due, vis-à-vis civil services. It is time for the Govt to correct this imbalance and rectify the disparity in precedence and pay.

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