Recently, the President’s Colours were awarded to Army Aviation Corps in recognition of their contribution. Our lead story in this issue is an interview with DG, Army Aviation Lt. General Kanwal Kumar on this achievement as well as the role and future of the Corps.
The fate of the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) has undergone many twists and turns since 2004 without seeing the light at the end of a long tunnel. Thus the lead story gives an overview of the project by commenting that the FICV is yet another case history of self-inflicted injury, creating a capability gap with no effort to seek its accountability and responsibility thus taking back the project to its date of birth in 2004.
Combat in urban areas can be the most destructive due to densely populated terrain, military weapons not suitable for urban warfare, close quarter battle (CQB), hand to hand combat and violent behaviour of non-state forces who do not believe in rules of engagement. The current terrorism is mostly fought in urban terrain. The examples of Iraq, Syria and Jammu & Kashmir are very current. The situation becomes more complex when own citizens are involved and it is difficult to avoid collateral damage. A quote from Vietnam War indicates the nature of urban warfare, “it became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” It has also given birth to a new genre of tactics and weapons which the article on Urban Warfare amply explores.
Special Forces (SF) have started playing a key role especially in counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations thus their role is more topical. US’ operations in Iraq and Afghanistan has highlighted their role and importance. The recent example is the Delta Force Commandoes of US’ raid on Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Indian Army may have carried out many covert operations in the past but the 2016 Surgical Strike has been well publicised. This article on ‘Special Forces’ covers only army SFs like the US Army SFs (popularly called Green Beret) and India’s Para Commandoes. In India the SFs of the Armed Force are also grouped under a single command. Their broad role can include unconventional warfare; counter-insurgency; special reconnaissance; counterterrorism; information operations; counterproliferation of weapon of mass destruction; security force assistance; hostage/POW /civilian rescue and many more.
Acts of terrorism by non -state actors against a legally appointed government has become a global issue and majority of the nations are carrying out counter terrorism operations in some form or the other. This issue has become so critical that it is being raised in every fora from UNO to all multilateral/bi-lateral talks. India is thus no exception. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in their first ever open acknowledgement in 2011 in US Court, said that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) sponsors terrorism in Kashmir and it oversees terrorist separatist groups in Kashmir. Thus an article is included in this issue which gives an overview of counter terrorism operations.
Read on dear readers and wish you all a Merry Christmas!