The first quarter of 2021 was action-packed and its positive outlook has instilled optimism. While the pandemic continues to bare its fangs, India’s soft power outreach through vaccine diplomacy has been impactful. The Great Power game between US and China has intensified further, each asserting its supremacy – the former as a reigning superpower and the latter announcing its arrival as the rising power and challenger.
India’s centrality in the ongoing geopolitical power tussle is unique. It provides India with an opportunity to establish itself as an evolving idea, a compelling alternative to take on the Chinese belligerence and cut short its threatening expansionist influence. India’s growing proximity with the US, assertive diplomacy and expansive global influence as a reliable trade and business partner were the main reasons behind China’s Himalayan aggression. China perceives India as the real challenger to its regional hegemony. The main objective of the Chinese adventurism was to strangle India and slow down its growth trajectory.
The post-pandemic scenario for India has been challenging on multiple fronts, testing its resilience and resolve continuously. The response to its biggest challenge — regaining its pre-Covid economic growth performance — has been positive and on track with special thrust on infrastructure, healthcare and green energy. And to keep the momentum going, it’s imperative that the defence sector powered by techno-nationalistic industrial policies acts as a catalytic force to help steady India’s rise as an economic powerhouse.
India may have missed its big ticket goals. But it should take pride in its small achievements. These tiny delights are the real bedrock, sound platform from where India should ready itself to take a giant leap into the future. Aero India 2021 effectively showcased to the world that India is ready for rebound and open for business.
Moving ahead, India will have to continuously introspect and find answers to some hard questions. Why India’s aspiration to be a key player on the global stage remains unfulfilled? Shouldn’t the Strategic Autonomy be given wider scope to navigate the Great Power game challenges and reap maximum benefits? Why is a comprehensive National Security policy that’s aligned to the global geopolitical challenges still not in place? Is it succumbing to the expansion of snowflake syndrome across the spectrum (political, administrative and societal) on the domestic front? How can it chart its own course to achieve high growth in economic, military and technological fields that benefits the world too?
The current edition focuses on the indigenous research, development and innovation efforts in the defence sector and explores the possible innovative roadmap for the country to make the most of the silver-lining opportunities the future beholds. Achieving self-reliance militarily is now within reach – all it requires is resource optimisation and planned and dedicated effort.
Before signing off, I would like to share a pointer with our esteemed readers. Have you noticed a trend: the term self-reliance being gradually taken over by Atmanirbhar and used more frequently? Does it have something to do with how self has overtly come to mean ‘harness maximum benefits for self’? Do share your thoughts with us.