ACCORDING to a report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) India’s arms imports from Russia, the major supplier of defence material for the country for decades, shrunk by a whopping 42 pc during the 2014-2018 period. From India’s 75 pc imports of arms from Russia during 2009-13 period, they have slumped to 58 pc. Such a drastic drop of imports of arms from India’s traditional supplier can be attributed to two major policy shifts in India’s defence supplies: First, India has consciously reduced its dependence on one source for defence material i.e. Russia and diversified its sources of procurement of defence requirement, giving herself multiple choices in terms of price, technology and quality. And secondly, it has taken up manufacturing of defence material on a massive scale domestically, through public sector and is also encouraging private sector to enter the field in a big way, an area hitherto unexplored. These twin moves have given much advantage to the country as far as its defence preparedness is concerned.
AN INTEGRAL part of a vibrant and healthy democracy is the active participation of young voters in the electoral process. As India goes for one of the unique and crucial general elections inside a month, over 1.5 crore first-time voters are set to form a crucial part in the course of sustenance of democracy. The number itself tells a story of youngsters realising their responsibilities in a democratic system. Considering the very act of voting as an empowerment is the biggest trust one can place in the political process of a country. Indian politics has gone up to a new level in the last few years and the role the first-time voters will play in shaping up a new Government will be the most watched event. Voting right gives one a chance to assert one’s belief and trust in a democratic system. The willingness of electors in 18-19-year age group to become a part of the electoral engineering will act as a catalyst for more people to exercise their franchise. Youngsters associating with the spirit of nationalism is truly welcome.