29 November 2012

New Chiefs for Indian Intelligence

Paper No. 5317 Dated 28-Nov-2012 
By B. Raman 

(Written at the request of Editor, Rediff.com ) 

1. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), which is presently celebrating its 125th anniversary, and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), the external intelligence agency which came into being in September 1968, will be having new chiefs for a period of two years from January 1,2013. 

2. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, is reported to have chosen Shri Asif Ibrahim, an IPS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, to head the IB and Shri Alok Joshi, an IPS officer of the Haryana cadre, to head the R&AW. 

3. Both are highly experienced and competent officers who will do credit to the two organisations. While the experience of Shri Asif Ibrahim has been in his State and the IB, that of Shri Joshi has been in his State as well as in the IB and the R&AW. 

4. The two officers will be heading their respective organisations at a time when they will be implementing the recommendations of the Naresh Chandra Task Force on National Security, submitted to the Prime Minister on May 24 last. The Task Force report contains important recommendations for the revamp and modernisation of our national security set-up, including the various agencies of our intelligence community and the agencies responsible for cyber security. 

Launch covert action


Only covert action by Indian intelligence agencies can neutralise terrorist organisations like LeT and JeM in the long run. 

Ajmal Kasab has finally been hanged, but he was only a foot soldier of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a fundamentalist organisation that continues to launch acts of terror on Indian soil. Despite the voluminous evidence presented to Pakistan, president Zardari’s government has failed to satisfactorily meet India’s demands for either effectively trying the masterminds of the Mumbai terror strikes of November 26, 2008 or handing them over to face justice in India. 

Peace is undeniably important but not if the cost is a continuing proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism in other parts of India being sponsored from across the border by organisations over which the Pakistan government claims it has no control. 

Since all other options have been exhausted, the government of India must consider viable military and covert options to send a strong message to the Pakistan army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate that India’s threshold of tolerance has been crossed and that enough is enough, especially if a similar incident recurs. 

CONTINUITY AND CHANGE

- How the US election and China’s new leadership affect India 
Ronen Sen 

Earlier this month, we witnessed the outcome of presidential elections in the United States of America, the preeminent global power and the world’s oldest democracy, and the change of leadership in China, the foremost rising global power which is poised to emerge as the world’s largest economy. From India’s perspective, these developments involve our most important and broad-based strategic partnership, and our evolving relationship with our largest neighbour in which we have very high stakes. 

Barack Obama was re-elected as president with a decisive mandate. His party retained majority in the US senate. However, the Republicans held on to their control of the House of Representatives. Three-fifth of governors of states remain Republican. Obama’s share of the popular vote was also the lowest of any second-term US president. This reflects not only a deeply polarized polity but a society split down the middle in terms of colour and class, and gender and generational gap. The impact this will have on the administration’s ability to address domestic and foreign policy challenges remains to be seen. However, given the strong bipartisan support to a strategic partnership with India, our relations with the US should not be unduly affected by the election outcome. 

Expanding the Idea of Asia

Issue Net Edition | Date : 29 Nov , 2012 


The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh in a group photo with the ASEAN/EAS Heads of State/Government and ASEAN SG 1st at Gala Dinner for the 21st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 

As economic power shifts increasingly to Asia and affects global political equations, adddressing security issues in the region becomes more pressing. Can the often discussed pan-Asian security architecture be created? 

US is not part of Asia geographically, but as the dominant global power it is present there politically, economically and militarily. 

The idea of such an architecture is not new. In 1969, with the Cold War raging and the Sino-Soviet break occurring, the Soviets had proposed the concept of collective security in Asia. In 1967 the South-east Asian countries had created ASEAN for economic and security reasons. From this an ASEAN-centric security architecture has emerged with the establishment in 1994 of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) which now comprises 27 countries, including ASEAN dialogue partners like India, US, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the EU, and others such as DPRK, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 

Myanmar - “The Best Unopened Market in the World”


The Daily Reckoning Presents

Chris Mayer Archibald Colquhoun returned from a trip to Myanmar (Burma) enthusiastic about the opportunities in the country. He wrote a book about it all: Burma and the Burmans: Or, "The Best Unopened Market in the World." 

Colquhoun writes exuberantly about the oil resources of the country, as well as its jade, gold, copper and coal. There are dense forested hills of teak, unspoiled fisheries and fertile valleys. Nor did he forget the potential for reopening old trade routes connecting China and India. 

The thing is, he wrote about all this in 1885.

But Colquhoun was right. By the 1920s, Burma was a regional hub and relatively rich. But after those prewar peaks, Myanmar suffered through a long period of decline and isolation, nurtured by an oppressive government. Today, Myanmar is again in the news as it reforms and opens up to the world outside. It is a market of 60 million people poised to join the global economy. It is a large country, bigger than France, with rich stores of natural resources and much untapped potential. 

SOUTH EAST ASIA: Strategically ‘The Great Game” is in Swing

Paper No. 5315 Dated 28-Nov-2012 

By Dr Subhash Kapila 

Introductory Observations 

The geostrategic significance of South East Asia needs no introduction. This region was the cynosure of strategic attention during the heyday of the Colonial Era. The Second World War highlighted it further when Japan swept through the region to the very gates of India. 

During the Cold War when Communist China sponsored a number of Communist insurgencies in South East Asia a Russia-China sponsored to begin with challenged the United States in Vietnam with the aim of preventing it from gaining a foothold on Mainland Asia in addition to South Korea. 

During the Post-Cold era the United States as the reigning unipolar power was strategically distracted in the Balkans in the 1990s and in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s. 

The better part of these two decades were exploited by China to muscle into South East Asia by crafty use of soft power and a subtle velvet glove policy where South East Asia countries were given the impression that in the strategic vacuum caused by United States temporary inattention to South East Asia, strategic prudence would demand that South East Asia countries accommodate China’s strategic sensitivities in their respective strategic calculi. 

Strategically buoyant by its considerable military expansion in qualitative terms of firepower and reach and with no strategic countermoves by the USA in the last decade, China was emboldened to flex its military muscles in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. 

Obama’s Visit to Myanmar

IDSA COMMENT 


November 29, 2012 

US President Obama’s path breaking visit to Myanmar was part of the Asia visit (Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia) that he has undertaken at the very start of his second term. It is being seen as the next stage in ‘Pivot to Asia’ or ‘rebalancing’ and could set the basis for the Obama Administration’s next four years. Although brief, the visit could potentially have implications for Myanmar’s internal developments and external relations. At one level, it appears to redress some of the imbalance (due to over-dependence on China) that had crept into Myanmar’s external relations during its isolationist phase. At another level, apparently, Myanmar has succeeded in obtaining US support and approval for the democratisation process currently underway. Another visit that took place almost around this time was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to India. In its own way this visit reaffirmed India-Myanmar relations just as Obama’s visit reaffirmed US-Myanmar relations. 
Domestic Situation 

Obama’s visit strengthens the hands of President U Thein Sein and has raised expectation in certain quarters that it would encourage the Myanmar government to address the democratisation and ethnic challenges. 

The democratisation challenge has created an uncertainty in the run up to the 2015 general elections in Myanmar because the 2008 Constitution continues to accord the military an important place. Without amendment to the Constitution and the military occupying 25 per cent seats in Parliament and regional legislatures, a complete democratic transition cannot be said to have occurred. 

Squeezing the Haqqanis: Will it work?

Paper No. 5316 Dated 28-Nov-2012 

Guest Column by Sambuddha Mitra Mustafi 

In the backdrop of a gradually weakening Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network has emerged as a powerful extremist group operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater. How can the UN Security Council's recent sanctions against the Haqqanis act as a potential de-motivator for this Pakistan-based terrorist outfit? 

On 5 November the UN Security Council’s Taliban Sanctions Committee added the so-called Haqqani network to its blacklist. The sanctions against it include a travel ban, arms embargo and freezing of assets. The extremist group based out of Pakistan’s North Waziristan is suspected to be behind a number of spectacular attacks aimed at Western targets in Afghanistan, including the US embassy in Kabul last year, which led to a top American general calling them “a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).” The July 2008 attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul that left 40 people dead was also blamed on the Haqqanis – so New Delhi has welcomed the UN decision enthusiastically. 

The renewed push against the Haqqanis reflects the changing balance of power among the various extremist groups operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theatre. The long dominant player, the Quetta Shura led by the Taliban’s supreme commander Mullah Umar, is now seen as rudderless, with its leader’s health failing and no clear successor in sight. The Quetta Shura’s decline has coincided with the rise of the Haqqanis. This group, which operates semi-autonomously from the Quetta Shura, has already had the transition to the next generation of leadership and is now seen as a bigger strategic asset by the Pakistan military as it jostles for a footprint in post-NATO Afghanistan. While the Haqqanis’ dealings with top Pakistani politicians remain murky, they have been reaching out to politicians for a while. A top Haqqani family member reportedly met Imran Khan as far back as 2007. Last year Khan said the ISI’s contacts with the Haqqanis should be used to bring the latter to the negotiating table. 

Afghan Security Returns to the Grassroots




Published on The National Interest (http://nationalinterest.org

November 28, 2012 

As the U.S. and international forces scuttle for the exit in Afghanistan, questions concerning the United States’ involvement and its role in the country after 2014 loom large. 

The Obama administration is reportedly [3] weighing different options recommended by the U.S. commander Gen. John Allen in order to plan the strategic context related to the way ahead with Afghan transition and beyond. The size and purpose of the flexible residual force that will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014—mostly Special Forces and trainers—will soon be determined. Although the final numbers are still uncertain, the overall U.S. civilian-military campaign plan is likely to be in the range of thirty thousand personnel. In the months ahead, Washington not only needs to ensure a successful transition to Afghan lead—it also must devise new ways to maintain security across the country after 2014. 

One such element that remains largely out of public attention is a growing interest in the Village Stability Operations (VSOs). These missions are conducted by the U.S. Special Forces embedded with villagers to maintain social stability by supporting villages from within. The VSO methodology is part of the broader counterinsurgency campaign and is crucial not only to understanding local villages but also in identifying and addressing sources of instability at the grassroots level. Most of the VSOs are clustered in areas that are plagued by insurgents and have limited Afghan or U.S. military footprint. While the source of insurgency is not rooted in Afghan villages, but outside the archconservative countryside, and essentially outside Afghanistan, such an effort helps the U.S. forces to isolate the local population from insurgents and curb their influence at the local level. 

China’s Nuclear Energy Play

By Zachary Keck 
November 29, 2012 


China will significantly increase the amount of energy it generates from nuclear sources over the next few years, Zhang Huazhu, chairman of the China Nuclear Energy Association, told a forum in Guangdong Province on Wednesday. 

Zhang said China will have an installed nuclear capacity of 42 gigawatts (GW) by 2015, which is expected to be about 10 percent of global nuclear output at that time. China currently has 6 nuclear power plants and 15 working nuclear power units, according to Chinese media outlets. Last year it generated 12.5 GW of power from nuclear sources, which accounted for about 1.8 percent of China’s entire electricity generation and roughly 3.5 percent of the world’s total nuclear energy production capacity. 

Zhang said China plans to have 41 operating nuclear power units and be in the process of building 20 additional nuclear power plants by 2015 or “a little later.” 

Asean Chief: South China Sea risks becoming 'Asia's Palestine'

By Ben Bland, FT.com 
November 28, 2012 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT) 

Vietnamese sailors training with a 12.7 mm machine gun on Phan Vinh Island in the disputed Spratly archipelago in 2011. 

Jakarta (CNN) -- Southeast Asia's top diplomat has warned that the South China Sea disputes risk becoming "Asia's Palestine", deteriorating into a violent conflict that draws sharp dividing lines between nations and destabilises the whole region. 

Surin Pitsuwan, the outgoing secretary-general of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, told the Financial Times that Asia was entering its "most contentious" period in recent years as a rising China stakes out its claim to almost the entire South China Sea, clashing with the Philippines, Vietnam and others. 

The World in 2013

Ten predictions for a year of brewing conflict. 
BY JESSICA T. MATHEWS | NOVEMBER 28, 2012 



Three major forces will loom behind the headlines in 2013, driving events in the new year: the crisis of the Western political order, rising sectarian strife in the Middle East, and worries about American withdrawal from the world. 

The most immediate challenge is the crisis of the Western democratic model, caused by the inability of the United States and Europe to deal with their respective fiscal and financial issues. The problems are economic, but the weaknesses are fundamentally political. A continued failure to act will result in the weakening of the West's global stature in every dimension of national strength -- its ability to prosper, to summon and guide international action, and to advance core national interests. 

Despite Ceasefire, Israel-Gaza War Continues Online

By Robert McMillan and Spencer Ackerman
11.28.12


Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, center, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, is briefed on the Gaza war, Nov. 20. While the shooting war has stopped, distributed denial of service attacks on Israeli and Palestinian websites by unknown parties has intensified. Photo: Flickr/Israel Defense Forces

It’s been a week since Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire pausing their war in Gaza. But on the internet, a different kind of fighting never stopped — and has actually intensified since the rockets stopped falling and the warplanes returned to their bases. 

About two hours before last week’s ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, supporters of both sides intensified their barrage of distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks against each other, according to CloudFlare, a U.S. company that provides DDOS protection services to websites that come under attack. The volume of attacks continuing after the ceasefire has outpaced those occurring during the offline hostilities. 

Pentagon Cries Poor, Starts $10 Billion Nuclear Weapon Upgrade

11.28.12


A 1954 nuclear test on the Bikini Atoll. Photo: Wikimedia

The Pentagon is facing its worst cash crunch in more than a decade, with potential cuts of up to a half-trillion dollars over the next decade if Congress doesn’t act soon. Yet the U.S. military still somehow found the money on Tuesday to put a down payment on a $10 billion upgrade of its nuclear weapons in Europe — y’know, just in case there’s another Cold War. 

The $178 million, three-year contract with Boeing is for a prototype “tail kit” for the B61 nuclear weapon. The fins and control systems will be similar to the ones on today’s conventional, GPS-guided bombs, potentially making this enhanced version of the B61 the most accurate weapon of mass destruction ever. It’s one part of a bigger package of improvements to the B61 that the Pentagon insists it needs in order to keep this slice of its nuclear arsenal ready for war, if needed. Everything from the spin rocket motors to the electronic neutron generators will be refreshed. Total cost: an estimated $10 billion. 

Just about the only thing that won’t change is the weapon’s nuclear “pit,” and who the U.S. military plans on dropping the thing on. “Who’s the target? The Red Army. The Red Army that’s sitting in East Germany, ready to plunge into Europe,” explains. Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “No, I’m serious.” 

Armageddon on a Budget

Don't worry, we can still nuke Russia even if we go over the fiscal cliff. 
BY JEFFREY LEWIS | NOVEMBER 29, 2012 


As we speed toward the so-called fiscal cliff, we are confronted by dire warnings. A Thelma-and-Louise style plunge will drag the country back into recession, inflict terrible hardship on the less fortunate, and decimate our military might. 

Well, perhaps. But here's a little good news: we'll still be able to nuke the bejesus out of the Russians. 

About a year ago, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta sent around a "heartburn" letter warning of the dire implications of across-the-board budget cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act. Panetta outlined the cuts that might occur under the process commonly referred to as sequestration. This was, in part, an exercise in panic-mongering to generate political will to avoid sequestration. 

In case you need a refresher, the United States maintains a stockpile of about 5,000 nuclear weapons, about half of which are backups for the deployed force. Under the New START treaty, the United States will field up to 420 ICBMs with one warhead each, 14 submarines carrying up to 240 SLBMs with four or five warheads apiece, and up to 60 nuclear-capable bombers. That will work out to 1,550 deployed "strategic" warheads, although the real number will be higher because of the way the treaty counts warheads on bombers. The United States also has a few hundred "tactical" nuclear weapons -- gravity bombs for use by U.S. and NATO fighter aircraft. 

House on dead-end street


Pratap Bhanu Mehta : Thu Nov 29 2012
Politics won’t let Parliament live, democracy insists it can’t die 

Dear Citizens, I write to you, my creators, to put me out of my prolonged agony. The slow, torturous death to which I am being subjected could only have been imagined by the most unusual of scriptwriters. Even in my current misery, I am occasionally capable of a certain ironic detachment. I can say with perfect confidence that I am the only entity to have reached the kind of suspended existence that the great villain Ajit had imagined: Raabert, ise liquid oxygen mein daal do, liquid ise jeene nahin dega,oxygen ise marne nahin dega. I never knew what that meant until now: politics mujhe jeene nahin dega, democracy mujhe marne nahin dega(Politics will not let me live, democracy will not let me die). I am considered so indispensable that I will not be allowed to die; I am considered so useless that every political party wants to get rid of me. But this existential joke on me is not just a joke. It is a burden I cannot bear much longer. 

Everything that made me come alive has been systematically decimated. I am now on artificial life support systems because I have been starved of the very things that make me tick: debate and discussion. As with any fading entity, my childhood memories are stronger than more recent ones. I remember Jawaharlal sitting in my chamber for hours on end even when he did not have to. I remember my halls echoing with national purpose. Colourful characters from all the parties, from Hiren Mukherjee to Piloo Mody, Atalji to Madhu Limaye, enlivened my existence. But what do I have now? A contagion of pettiness? The echo chamber of words that made the nation is simply a gladiatorial pit. Or it just stands there in stunned silence. Occasionally, this silence is punctuated by the sounds of headless chicken scurrying around, without a sense of purpose or even of their own interest. (Forgive me, I am dying so am allowed to be cranky.) The great Ambedkar identified democracy not with popular sovereignty but with unrestrained debate. He could not have imagined debate being meaningless noise. 

Two-state solution on the line Gro Harlem Brundtland Jimmy Carter

AP A Palestinian boy looks from the rooftop of a destroyed house in Gaza City, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. 

All U.N. member states must vote on the resolution today, as it commits to peace in the Middle East based on the creation of a viable and contiguous Palestinian state 

If the recent rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli air strikes on Gaza tell us anything, it is that the status quo in the Middle East is not a safe choice for Israelis or Palestinians.

In the current political climate, it is highly unlikely that bilateral talks between Israel and the Palestinians can restart. Action is needed that will alter the current dynamic. As Elders, we believe that the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations is such a moment.

On November 29, United Nations member states will be asked to vote on a resolution to grant “non-member observer state status” to Palestine, a significant upgrade from its current “observer entity” status. We urge all member states to vote in favour.

In going to the General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not carrying out a provocative act. Nor is he undermining trust and distracting from the pursuit of peace, as his critics have said.

U.S., Pakistan ties fully repaired: Pakistan foreign minister

By Katharine Houreld 
ISLAMABAD | Wed Nov 28, 2012 

(Reuters) - Pakistan and the United States have restored full military and intelligence ties after relations hit a low point last year, and Islamabad will take further steps to support a nascent Afghan peace process, Pakistan's foreign minister said on Wednesday. 

Full cooperation between Islamabad and Washington is critical to U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan before most NATO combat troops withdraw by 2014. 

"There was a fairly difficult patch and I think we've moved away from that into a positive trajectory," Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told Reuters in an interview, referring to Pakistani-U.S. relations.

"We are coming closer to developing what could be common positions. We wish to see a responsible transition in Afghanistan." 

Relations between the uneasy allies were severely strained by a series of incidents in 2011. The crisis in ties began when a CIA contractor shot dead two men he suspected of trying to rob him in the city of Lahore.

Months later, U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a raid and kept the Pakistan military in the dark, humiliating the country's most powerful institution.

Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable ballistic missile

By AFP 
Published: November 28, 2012 

PHOTO: ISPR 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday test fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile with a range of 1,300km, the military said. 

The military described the Hatf V Ghauri missile as a liquid fuel missile, which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads. 

The eighth missile test so far this year comes two months after the last test of a Hatf-VII with a range of 700km. 

Five of those tests were conducted within a few weeks after India successfully test fired the Agni V, which can deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China. 

Defence analysts say India’s strategic priorities are focused more on China, while Pakistan is still concerned about its eastern neighbour.

The Risky Strategy Behind China's Construction Economy

Indebted Dragon 
November 27, 2012 

China's real estate market has overheated in the past. But Beijing has repeatedly said it would "cool" things down; it never did. Now, as the market corrects itself, a large part of the country's economy is convulsing, while sending shockwaves through the global economy. 

Construction workers install scaffolding on the top of a building in Shanghai. (Aly Song / Courtesy Reuters) 

For four decades, the Chinese economy has grown by between seven and ten percent each year. It is the envy of the world, despite its relatively sluggish recent performance. Visitors to Beijing, Shanghai, and other major Chinese cities are quickly awed by impressive skyscrapers, glittering shopping malls, new highways, and high-speed rail lines, all of which leave the impression that China is a developed economy -- or at least well on its way to becoming one. Even in some smaller cities in inland provinces, government buildings make those in Washington and Brussels appear meager. In an area of Anhui Province that is officially designated an "impoverished county," the government office block looks exactly like the White House, only newer and whiter. 

Underwriting the impressive facade, however, is an incredibly risky strategy. Governments borrow money using land as collateral and repay the interest on their loans using funds they earn from selling or leasing the same land. All this means that the Chinese economy depends on a buoyant real estate market to keep grinding. If housing and land prices fall dramatically, a fiscal or banking crisis would likely soon follow. Meanwhile, local officials' hunger for land has displaced millions of farmers, leading to 120,000 land-related protests each year. 

What we get wrong about China

By Bhaskar Chakravorti, Special to CNN 

Editor’s note: Bhaskar Chakravorti is senior associate dean of International Business and Finance and founding executive director of the Institute for Business in the Global Context at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.The views expressed are the author's own.

We now know who will be leading the two most important nations for the global economy – for the next four years in the United States’ case, and for a decade in China’s. By the time President Obama is ready to leave office, China will have passed the U.S. in GDP terms, at least according to a report by the OECD. But with GDP no longer Chinese leaders’ top concern, the country has its sights set on catching up with the U.S. in another area – innovation. 

On a recent to visit to speak at the World Economic Forum's Summer Davos in Tianjin, I was struck by the sense of urgency among Chinese leaders to close the gap when it comes to innovation. It was clear to me that it is time for the U.S. to pay close attention, because urgency in China is generally followed by execution. 

Aging Asia's Demographic Dilemma


27 November 2012 

By 2050, half of Japan's population will be over 52 and, according to the Economist, that country will be “the oldest society the world has ever known.” By the end of this century, the Japanese are expected to number 47 million, down from today’s 127.7 million. If there is any reason to be pessimistic about the future of the Land of the Rising Sun, it is its collapsing demography. 

Japan’s total fertility rate—generally speaking, the average number of births per female over her lifetime—is now estimated to be 1.39. That is well below the 2.10 TFR needed for a population to replace itself. 

Apart from instances of war, famine, and pestilence, Japan’s demographic decline will be unprecedented. Yet the country will not be unique for long. Other East Asian nations are sure to follow the Japanese trajectory. 

China, which everyone compares favorably to the island nation, claims to have a TFR of 1.80. That is Beijing’s official number, which has remained unchanged for more than a decade. In reality, the TFR is closer to 1.40. And the official Xinhua News Agency, in an unusually candid report, stated it may be even as low as 1.20. The high official figure of 1.8 is inconsistent with China’s census data and hard to believe in light of Beijing’s notorious—and strictly enforced—one-child policy. 

China ‘not to oppose’ India’s UN seat bid


New Delhi, November 28

 

China today said it doesn't have a policy to oppose India's claim for permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

“Reforms in UN Security Council is important as there should be more representation from developing countries. We welcome more positive and active role from India in the UN.

“China doesn't have a policy to oppose India to the permanent seat,” said Li Junru, former Vice President, Central Party School of the CPC and member of Standing Committee, National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

He said China values its neighbour and views it as a partner.

“In China, we have a saying that a neighbour is better than a far-off relative. Of course, some unfortunate incidents took place in the past but we believe we will add a new page in the history of China-India relations which is of over 2000 years of friendly existence,” Li said during a conference on ‘Implication of the change in leadership in People's Republic of China: Internal and External dimensions" organised by Observer Research Foundation’.

The Problem From Hell: South Asia’s Arms Race

November 29, 2012 

By Paul Bracken 

India has responded to Pakistan's nuclear build-up by innovating and adopting a controversial concept called "Cold Start." 

South Asia is going through what can be called the first bounce of the nuclear ball, an arms buildup. This is a time when Pakistan and India focus on acquiring fissile material and building weapons. This drives Pakistan’s plutonium mills and India’s commercial nuclear power deal with the United States. 

The second bounce of the ball may be quite different than the first. For example, it may see intense crises and shocks – aggravated by the enlarged nuclear forces. So it would be a mistake to assume the current environment will be the environment of the future. Like the first nuclear age, the Cold War, there are likely to be ebbs and flows in competition, with different problems and shocks developing over time, interspaced with periods of relative calm. 

India has mainly responded to Pakistan’s nuclear buildup not with one of its own, at least not yet anyway, but with strategy innovation, improved intelligence, missiles, and a nuclear triad. Strategy innovation is especially important because it is one of the great drivers of competition, and may transcend the political issues that are the original source of rivalry. 

Why Global Fuel Prices Will Spark the Next Revolutions


By Vivienne WaltNov. 28, 2012

 
Mohammad Hannon / AP

Protesters at al Baqaa Palestinian Refugee Camp confront riot police and chant anti-king Abdullah slogans during a demonstration against the end of government fuel subsidies in Baqaa, Jordan, Nov. 15, 2012. 

While the demonstrators that have mobbed the streets of Amman for two weeks now are demanding the overthrown of King Abdullah — a criminal offense in Jordan — it’s not the demand for democracy that sparked their protests. Instead, thousands of Jordanians have been spurred to act by a more basic issue: the rising price of gas after the government withdrew its subsidies. 

Jordanians are hardly alone in their anger. Governments across the world are attempting to wean their citizens off subsidized fossil fuels —a critical issue which environmentalists say is a big contributor to the output of carbon gases that contribute to global warming, and which have even more immediately burdened public finances the world over by an estimated total of $523 billion last year — a 30% increase over the previous year. “In a lot of emerging and developing countries you see fuel subsidies, where the government is picking up the tab,” says Helen Mountford, deputy director of the environmental directorate for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, in Paris, which represents the world’s biggest economies. “In many cases it has been put in place to help support the poor.” 

Cyberwar: A New ‘Absolute Weapon’? The Proliferation of Cyberwarfare Capabilities and Interstate War


Journal of Strategic Studies
Volume 35, Issue 3, 2012 

Free access
DOI: 10.1080/01402390.2012.663252Adam P. Liff

pages 401-428Version of record first published: 15 May 2012

Article Views: 1183 

Abstract

This article examines the implications of the proliferation of cyberwarfare capabilities for the character and frequency of war. Consideration of strategic logic, perceptions, and bargaining dynamics finds that the size of the effect of the proliferation of cyberwarfare capabilities on the frequency of war will probably be relatively small. This effect will not be constant across all situations; in some cases the advent of cyberwarfare capabilities may decrease the likelihood of war. On the other hand, the use of computer network attack as a brute force weapon will probably become increasingly frequent. 

Cyberpower in Strategic Affairs: Neither Unthinkable nor Blessed

Free access
DOI: 10.1080/01402390.2012.706970David Betz

pages 689-711Version of record first published: 07 Nov 2012
Article Views: 150 
Abstract

This article explores the effect of connectivity on strategic affairs. It argues that the effect on war's character is potentially, although not yet shown in practice, considerably large. Its effect upon the distribution of power among states in the international system is small, contrary to the claims of ‘cyberwar’ alarmists. All told, however, its effect upon strategic affairs is complex. On the one hand, it represents a significant advance in the ‘complexification’ of state strategies, understood in the sense of the production of intended effects. On the other hand, strategists today – still predominantly concerned with the conflicts and confrontations of states and organised military power – are generally missing the power which non-traditional strategic actors, better adapted to the network flows of the information age, are beginning to deploy. These new forms of organization and coercion will challenge the status quo. 


Cyber Power in Strategic Affairs: Neither Unthinkable nor Blessed


by DAVID BETZ on 28 NOVEMBER 2012

This is a crosspost with the just launched blog of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (of which I am a fellow) called Geopoliticus. I think that you should add it to your reading list. For any who don’t know, FPRI is a Philadelphia-based think tank notable, amongst other things, as the publisher of the estimable journal Orbis as well as a regular series e-Notes (short papers by leading analysts on major issues of the day). Theirwebsite appears to have been recently redesigned and is rich with defence and foreign policy goodness. 

Readers may be interested in a new article of mine just published in the Journal of Strategic Studies ‘Cyber Power in Strategic Affairs: Neither unthinkable nor Blessed‘ which the publishers have made free to access for non-subscribers.  
The War in the Air

It’s my attempt to broaden the discussion of ‘cyber’ beyond computer networks and to look at the effect of ‘connectivity’ (my preferred term) on strategic affairs more broadly. My view, in a nutshell, is that its effect on war’s character is potentially, although not yet shown in practice, considerably large; but its effect on war’s nature is small. The distribution of power among states in the international system is not reversed by cyber power, contrary to the claims of ‘cyber war’ alarmists. It makes strong states stronger and weak states weaker, not strong states weaker and weak states stronger–as is too often thought. Its effect upon strategic affairs is complex, however. One thing which I believe strategists today, still predominantly concerned with the conflicts and confrontations of states and organised military power, have not fully grasped is how non-traditional strategic actors, better adapted to the network flows of the information age, are beginning to deploy new forms of organisation and coercion that challenge the status quo. 

Crystal ball time: Top 2013 risks include cyber war, cloud and BYOD

28 November 2012

As the year draws inexorably to a close, it’s only fair and natural that we, as an industry, peer into the future to see what could await us in the New Year. The latest to tackle such prognostication is the Information Security Forum (ISF), which has ID’d the top five security threats businesses will face in 2013. 

The results are far from shocking: cybersecurity, supply chain security, big data, data security in the cloud and mobile devices in the workplace will be the top threats going forward, ISF predicts. 

“Organizations must prepare for the unpredictable so they have the resilience to withstand unforeseen, high-impact events,” said Steve Durbin, global vice president of the ISF. “We recommend thinking about threats in the context of the most valuable resources in your organization, consider which threats are most likely to create significant risk and which could have considerable impact.” 

He also pointed out that the top five threats identified by the ISF for 2013 are not mutually exclusive. They can combine to create even greater threat profiles and they are most certainly “not the only threats that will emerge over the course of the next twelve months”.

Pentagon strips collateral damage safeguards from cyberwar weapons


Published: 28 November, 2012


The Pentagon is implementing safety measures that should stop automated weaponry from going haywire, but those same precautions won’t be applied to the United States’ arsenal of potentially lethal cyber-warheads.

A US Defense Department directive [pdf] signed last week sets the stage for safeguards that would limit any collateral damage from dangerous robotic instruments of war, ideally to "minimize the probability and consequences of failures" in drones and other autonomous or semi-autonomous weapons "that could lead to unintended engagements.” 

The document, signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, outlines rules stating that those weapons must“be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force” by way of “rigorous hardware and software verification and validation.” When those weapons are attacking the cyber-grid, though, the Defense Department doesn’t necessarily seem to think the same precautions need to be put in place. 

India, China can rule waves together: Chinese media



Agencies Posted online: Wed Nov 28 2012

Beijing : As China unveiled its plans to become a maritime power after commissioning its first aircraft carrier, its strategic analysts say India and China can "rule waves together" by addressing contradictions in their "overlapping" maritime strategies.

"It is natural that China and India, as two regional emerging powers, will possess similar and even overlapping maritime interests," an article from an official think tank in the state-run Global Times said today.

Titled 'India, China can rule waves together', the article analysed how the two countries can reconcile competing maritime interests.

"However, does it mean that China and India are destined to be rivals? How should the two countries reconcile competing maritime interests? These questions are very important for both sides.

"As global political forces are undergoing realignment, the future of the Sino-India relationship will affect the entire international pattern," it said.

Outlining India's push into the Asia-Pacific where China has a host of maritime disputes as well as Chinese efforts to gain influence in the Indian Ocean region, considered as "India's pond", the article said together they can shape the security environment.

Marc Grossman steps down as envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan


By Jennifer Rowland  
November 28, 2012


Event Notice: Please join the New America Foundation's National Security Studies Program for a discussion with Patrick Tyler about his new book, Fortress Israel, TODAY, November 28, 2012, from 12:15pm - 1:45pm (NAF).

Stepping down

U.S. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman has resigned from his post, effective December 14, and will be replaced temporarily by his deputy David Pearce (Post, AFP, The News). And U.S. military officials at the Pentagon say they plan to present President Barack Obama by the end of year with recommendations on how many troops to keep in Afghanistan (Bloomberg).

A report commissioned by the International Monetary Fund into the Afghan government's investigation of the massive Kabul Bank fraud has found that President Hamid Karzai and his top advisors have been instructing prosecutors on whom to charge in the case and whom to leave out (NYT, AP). Karzai's direct role in the investigation is particularly troubling because many of those involved in the fraud were close associates of the president.

Four U.S. servicewomen, including two who won Purple Hearts in Afghanistan, are suing the Defense Department over a policy that prohibits women from engaging in direct combat (AFP, NYT, LAT, McClatchy, CNN, Reuters). The women are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which is arguing that the ban on women in combat on the sole basis of their gender is unconstitutional.

Amid Warming Ties, India May Give Helos to Myanmar



NEW DELHI — India is considering giving helicopters to Myanmar as part of an effort to build defense ties with its northeastern neighbor. The head of the Indian Air Force, Chief Air Marshal N.A.K. Browne, is likely to discuss the possibility during his Nov. 26-29 visit to Myanmar, sources in the Indian defense forces said.

No details are available.

India is reaching out to its maritime neighbors as part of a long-term strategy to secure its interests in the Indian Ocean Rim. China operates a military base in the Coco Islands on land leased from Myanmar, and India hopes to check Chinese influence in the region.

India has given Myanmar weapons and equipment, including maritime patrol aircraft, 105mm light artillery guns and grenade launchers.

Last year, Myanmar announced it was halting the $3.6 billion Chinese-aided Irrawaddy Myitsone hydroelectric dam project in Kachin state, a move that irked Beijing and pleased New Delhi. The announcement was made days before Myanmar President Thein Sein’s visit to the Indian capital.

The two countries have also agreed to undertake projects to meet Myanmar’s energy requirements — a move seen as a compensation for the loss of the proposed Chinese hydroelectric project The Indian states of Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, close to remote and inaccessible regions of Myanmar, have been plagued by insurgencies for decades.

Britain's New Armed Forces Covenant



Julian Lindley–French | November 27, 2012



Two weeks ago, General Sir David Richards, Britain’s Defence Chief said, “We have a whole load of tasks expected of us. Our political masters are quite happy to reduce the size of the Armed Forces, but their appetite to exercise influence on the world stage is, quite understandably, the same as it has always been”. Implicit in Sir David’s statement is a fear that the British Government could be about to make the greatest strategic error since the Suez fiasco in 1956, by implicitly and effectively abandoning Britain’s strategic partnership with the US through further defense cuts and insisting London can build a new defense relationship with Europeans, many of whom are cutting their armed forces to the point of extinction. It would be strategic illiteracy at its very worst reducing Britain to the third rank of defense actors and critically undermining wider strategic influence. Therefore, Britain needs a new Defence Covenant with a commitment from both major political parties to spend at least 2% of GDP (and that means real money) on defense for the next decade at least.

America's Geopolitical Gusher


Frederick Kempe | November 27, 2012



Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency’s chief economist, is not prone to hype. So industry executives listen when he calls the surge of U.S. oil and gas production “the biggest change in the energy world since World War II.”

“This is bigger even than the development of nuclear energy,” said Birol in an interview just minutes after he had briefed dozens of the world’s leading energy players and policy makers over breakfast at the fourth annual Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit here on the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2012. “This has implications for the whole world.”

Where Birol lingered longest in his briefing was on a slide, projected for dramatic effect on a giant overhead screen. It was history by PowerPoint, first showing U.S. energy production through 2030 from conventional sources. That scenario left America as a middling producer requiring imports as far as the eye could see. The next two overlays added shale gas and “tight oil” – products of hydraulic fracking, horizontal drilling and America’s God-given geology. According to IEA projections, the U.S. will overtake Russia as the world’s top gas producer by 2015 and will pass Saudi Arabia as the No. 1 global oil producer by 2017. By 2035 the U.S. is likely to be energy self-sufficient and an exporter of oil and liquefied natural gas. Experts are only now beginning to absorb a gusher of geopolitical consequences.

The Moral Corrosion within Our Military Professions


November 27, 2012 | Dr. Don M. Snider

We have now had several weeks of breathless punditry on the moral failure of David Petraeus. The press and online commentariat do love a scandal, and the more so when a deserving American hero tragically falls from grace.

The commentary has evolved from who (just the two of them?), to who else (well, maybe another general…), to why (well, of course, the Bathsheba syndrome!) and more recently to why not (nothing illegal, coerced, kinky, or paid off, so why did he resign?).

Fortunately, amid the frivolous clamor serious efforts at reform may be underway as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is very quickly conducting a review of the ethics training for generals and admirals. It is to be done in time for the Secretary of Defense to place it on the President’s desk by December 1st.

The intent and context was clearly stated by General Dempsey: “If we really are a profession – a group of men and women who are committed to living an uncommon life with extraordinary responsibilities and high standards – we should want to figure it out before someone else figures it out for us.[1]