6 October 2016

*** The new Modi Doctrine for the Armed Forces

By Maj Gen Rajiv Narayanan, AVSM, VSM
05 Oct , 2016

During a TV discussions about the new Modi Doctrine for the Armed Forces, for operations across the Line of Control, on 02 Oct, the major points mentioned were,

• No more ‘pacifism’.

• Make Pak Army pay.

• Make Indian Army Officers accountable.

• ‘0 Infiltration’ Plan.

• Armed Forces Upgrade

One Professor also wrote an article in the Sunday Guardian, on 02 0ct, ‘PM Modi scripts an Army Reset’.

This time, by openly declaring it and launching a coordinated heavy strike against terrorist camps, the discourse and ground rules have been redefined.

The main issues raised by the Professor are,
Greater accountability at highest levels of military echelons, including punishment.
Goes for character assassination of the Uri Brigade Commander, as being more into Golf, than operations.
Modi not pacifist like his predecessors.
Make Pak GHQ pay more.
Avoid cover-ups like during Kargil War.
Poor capital-revenue ratio, and delayed procurements during Manmohan Regime, leading to very low levels of War Wastage Reserves.
Top Army brass have resisted greater accountability.
Accepts that, ‘Babus’ delayed procurement.

** Uri, Surgical Strikes and International Reactions

By Vivek Chadha, Rumel Dahiya, Neha Kohli and Shruti Pandalai
05 Oct , 2016

The Uri Terrorist Attack

On September 18, 2016, four terrorists belonging to the Pakistani jihadi group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) struck at an Indian Army camp in Uri. The camp housed more than the usual number of troops, given the changeover between two infantry battalions. This had resulted in the creation of additional temporary accommodation in the form of tents. Unlike in the past, this was seen as an obvious vulnerability by the Pakistani terrorist handlers who decided to exploit this fleeting opportunity.

It can be argued that the terrorists were lucky and came across troops housed in tents when they struck the camp at Uri. This is, however, unlikely for three main reasons. First, terrorists are not known to carry incendiary ammunition as part of their regular arsenal, as is evident from terror strikes in the past. Further, the use of such specialised incendiary ammunition requires terrorists to carry under barrel grenade launchers. In the Uri attack, these launchers were carried by each of the four terrorists, which further reinforces the fact that it was indeed a carefully orchestrated attack. Second, terrorist groups do not have the intelligence and logistics wherewithal to detect, monitor and plan such a carefully calibrated strike, with a definitive focus on exploiting a fleeting opportunity. The terrorists who struck at the Uri camp did just that. Third, beyond the specific details related to the incident, it has been established over a period of time that the JeM has been funded, guided, trained and controlled by the Pakistan Army. Therefore, the circumstantial evidence presented by the attack only reinforces this premise.

Backdrop to the Surgical Strikes

* 1929, 1945, 1991...and 2008?

October 03, 2016

This piece was created in collaboration with Geopolitical Futures. George Friedman is the Founder and Chairman of Geopolitical Futures. The views expressed are the author's own.
The Crisis of Interdependence

The year 2008 is appearing to be a defining moment in history, like 1991, 1945, and 1929. It is a generational shift in the way the world works.

In 2008, the global economy underwent a massive shift away from extremely high growth that started in 1982. Part of the problem was simply the financial chicanery and miscalculations of the subprime crisis. But there was a deeper crisis. An economic boom creates vast inefficiencies, as huge amounts of surplus cash flow into the hands of people who don’t spend that money on food, clothing, and shelter, but rather invest it to make more money. Most of the time this works, as the investment, with decisions made by individuals rather than the state, generates wealth and jobs.

But toward the end of a cycle, two things happen. Opportunities for quality investment decline and productivity falls. The early advances that drove innovations (railroads, radio, the personal computer) lose their explosive growth capacity as they turn from game-changers into commodities with trivial value. At that point, the opportunities for prudent investment decline. Investors have a great deal of money, but money alone doesn’t generate high productivity.

The result is an intense search for investment opportunities. Since there are few, mere speculative opportunities that would usually get passed over start to appear as investment opportunities. The search for prudent investment created the subprime crisis. The assumption was that housing was an absolutely safe investment. Home prices always rise. Investing in mortgages was a conservative investment, and investing in the more exotic derivatives of mortgages was prudent and produced a handsome return. The core assumption -- that home prices would always rise -- proved incorrect. But at its root was not the financial snake oil salesman, but conservative investors wanting a place to invest safely in an environment where safe investments had become hard to find. The snake oil salesman simply took advantage of the natural greed in us all, promising vast riches at no risk.

Three shades of denial


Evasion and embellishment have been responses of choice from all quarters after news of the September 29 ‘surgical strikes’. They may sow the seeds of a larger crisis still

Denial seems to be everywhere these days. Sceptics profess a healthy instinct to question everything, not least the utterances of those in power. Others lament what they see as an increasingly post-factual age, where sowing doubt and spreading disinformation has become a strategic art in itself, mastered by Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Outlandish claims stand through sheer force of articulation, whether Donald Trump’s disavowal of his birtherism or, in my home country, Brexiteers’ wild promises of repatriated cash from Europe. But it may be worth unpacking the different flavours of denial witnessed in the past few days in India, for they have very different implications.

A week ago, on the morning of September 29, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) stated that the Indian Army had conducted “surgical strikes” on sites “along” — not across — the Line of Control (LoC). That remains the only explicit claim made by the government, though ministers have referred to troops crossing the LoC. Every other splash of colour, from the depth of penetration, to the calibre of rockets employed, to the use of satellites, lacks the imprimatur of a public statement whose withdrawal would cause serious embarrassment and a loss of credibility.

Why Army’s LoC raids aren’t ‘surgical strikes’

Mohan Guruswamy

The dictionary describes a “surgical strike” as an attack (usually without prior warning) intended to deal only with a specific target. In other words, it’s an attack intended to seize or inflict serious damage on or destroy an objective. It’s a swift and targeted attack with the aim of minimum collateral damage to nearby areas and civilians. The neutralisation of targets with surgical strikes also prevents escalation to a full-blown war. Surgical attacks can be carried out via airstrikes, airdropping special operations teams or by swift ground operations with commandos or even regular troops.

The great strategist, Sir Basil Liddell Hart. described a surgical strike as being akin to a single arrow shot by Paris (who seduced Helen, causing a war) at Achilles’ heel, which was the only vulnerable spot.

In modern times, a surgical strike is a single action that decapitates or significantly reduces enemy capabilities. The 1967 Israeli surprise air attack that destroyed most of Egypt’s Air Force on the ground was a surgical strike.

Another example is the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Seals in a helicopter-borne attack. The June 2006 US attack that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was by a single F-16C dropping two 500-pound guided bombs on a safe house at Hibhib village near Baqubah in Iraq’s Diyala province on very specific information; and the single Hellfire missile launched by a Central Intelligence Agency drone that killed Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the 5,000-strong Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in August 2009, were classic surgical strikes to decapitate enemy leadership to demoralise its forces.

India Brings Paris Climate Pact Close To Entry Into Force – Analysis

By J Nastranis 
OCTOBER 5, 2016

The ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change by India at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, has brought the treaty’s entry into force “tantalisingly” close.

The Agreement, which calls on countries to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, will take effect 30 days only after at least 55 countries, responsible for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification.

With October 2 action by India, which accounts for 4.1 per cent of the emissions, the Agreement only needs slightly more than 3 percentage points to reach the “55 per cent” threshold. The “55 countries” requirement had already been met.

India chose the International Day of Non-Violence and the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who led the country’s independence movement and pioneered the philosophy and strategy of non-violence, as an opportunity to join the climate accord on October 2.

“The country is embarking on a sustainable development pathway. Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi calls it ‘development without destruction,’” UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said after witnessing India becoming the 62nd country to deposit a legal instrument of ratification for the climate pact during a commemorative event on the International Day of Non-Violence.

“There is no better way to commemorate the great Mahatma Gandhi and his legacy of peace for people and planet,” Eliasson said.

Reliance Group gets an edge in defence play

JV with Dassault follows India’s Rafale Jet deal with France with an offset clause of 50%, valued at about Rs.30,000 cr.

The Anil Ambani led-Reliance Group signed an agreement with Dassault Aviation of France, the makers of Rafale fighter jets, for a joint venture in India to be named Dassault Reliance Aerospace, to execute offsets for the recently-concluded Rafale deal. The Rafale Jet deal that India signed has a 50 per cent offset clause to be executed by Dassault and its partners in India amounting to about Rs. 30,000 crore.

Defence focus

Deactivating the Permanent Indus Waters Commission

October 03, 2016

The Indus Waters Treaty (1960) has not been immune to the vicissitudes currently affecting India-Pakistan relations. In the aftermath of the attack by Pakistani terrorists on an Indian Army camp in Uri on 18 September 2016, the Government of India (GOI) has indicated its decision, at the highest level, to comprehensively review the functioning of the Treaty. India has been a scrupulous adherent to the Treaty over the past 56 years despite the periodic conflictual relations it has had with Pakistan. In the past, India has responsibly reacted to issues raised by Pakistan on India`s water usage in the Indus basin and tried to resolve them within the legal ambit of the Treaty.

GOI is reportedly contemplating the suspension of the mechanism of the Permanent Indus Waters Commission (PIWC) set up under Article VIII of the Treaty. The PIWC is intended to act as a first-tier bilateral review platform for the two signatories to monitor its implementation, exchange and evaluate data on water usage, works impinging on the water flows, drainage, storage, etc. of the Indus system (apropos Article IX) and deliberate on issues which may arise incidental to the Treaty’s functioning. India and Pakistan each nominate a senior technical expert in the realm of hydrology and water usage (normally not below the rank of chief engineer) as the Indus Commissioner. The Indus Commissioners constitute the PIWC. The PIWC meets at least once a year. The last meeting was held on 16 July 2016.

If the GOI were to implements its latest decision on deactivating its representation in the PIWC, that may be construed as a violation of the Treaty. It would in all probability make Pakistan invoke the dispute resolution mechanism which would involve a neutral expert to consider issues under Article IX (2) and, thereafter, even a reference to a Court of arbitration apropos sub-clause (5) of the said Article. This would likely be on the ground that India is impeding the observance of an in-built provision of the Treaty by obstructing the functioning of the PIWC – an integral operative institution within its fold. Pakistan has raised many issues against India in the past relating to the so-called excess storage proposed to be created by the latter under the Tulbul navigation project on the Jhelum river and adequacy of water discharge through the western rivers, among others.

The Midnight Surgery

Along with punitive measures against Pakistan—a diplomatic offensive, boycott of the SAARC summit and talk of an Indus waters offensive—comes the ‘surgical strike’ across the LoC. India awaits a response.

The spectre of another India-Pakistan war is a thought politicians, military chieftains, strategic thinkers and diplomats often ponder over warily—with a messy palette of sentiments. The scare scenarios associated with a nuclear event, and the wider domino effect of even a conventional war, ensures that they would rather keep it hypothetical. But with emotions running at fever pitch on both sides of the border after the Uri terror attack, events this week made that possibility look more real than ever.

On Thursday, a buzz of tense anticipation took hold of the subcontinent—and alarms went off in world capitals—as India announced it had carried out ‘surgical strikes’ across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir at Pakistani terrorist training camps. What exactly was the nature and extent of the strikes? Ground troops? Paradropped commandos? Drone-enabled cross-border fire? Different versions did nothing to stop the swirling speculation. The Indian army’s DGMO, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, spoke at a media conference of “surgical strikes along the LoC”. Sources in the security establishment supplemented this, saying seven terror launching pads were destroyed—mostly within a 2-5 km range across the LoC, with the farthest being seven km across.

Naturally, Pakistan’s versions were at some variance—but even in their qualified denials, there were enough signals that something serious had indeed happened. “We condemn this attack, we are ready for the safety and defence of our country,” prime minister Nawaz Sharif told journalists. The Pakistani military’s media wing ISPR said: “There has been no surgical strike by India. Instead, there has been cross-border fire by India...which is an existential phenomenon.” It added that the “illusion being deliberately generated by rebranding cross-border fire as ‘surgical strike’ is a fabrication of truth.”

“The operations may have been covert but we are not going to be coy about them,” says an official.

The Indus Waters Treaty: Can India Inflict Significant Damage By Abrogating It?

September 23, 2016

Several projects that India had planned for the western rivers had been stalled due to Pakistan’s objections. All these projects are in the state of J&K.

India’s proposed outreach, aimed at the ‘diplomatic isolation’ of Pakistan, is essentially codespeak for strategic inaction.

While abrogation of the IWT does not constitute an immediate existential crisis for Pakistan, it allows India to build infrastructure for storage on the western rivers.

To counter Pakistan’s constant support for anti-Indian terrorist activities, New Delhi has hinted that it plans to revisit the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).

“There are differences on the treaty. For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation. It can’t be a one-sided affair,” spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, was quoted as saying.

Noted strategic affairs expert, Brahma Chellaney, also exhorts in a recent article that Pakistan can be easily and effectively punished by India through the abrogation of the treaty.

Will the abrogation of the IWT help India inflict punishment on the rogue state of Pakistan for its continued export of Islamist terror?

A quick backgrounder of the treaty is in order.

Mining In Afghanistan: Scale Down To Reap More – Analysis

By Roshan Iyer* 
OCTOBER 5, 2016

The mining industry in Afghanistan holds the potential to completely revolutionise the country’s domestic economy. Afghanistan has around 1400 deposit sites of minerals worth between USD 1 and 3 trillion – according to the 2010 US Geological Survey, confirming previous Soviet reports which discovered that Afghanistan holds some of the largest reserves of iron, copper, cobalt, lapis lazuli and lithium. These resources provide a ready opportunity to set up an industry that can be licensed and taxed, and can provide significant revenue to the Afghan government. Today the mining industry is the most promising driver of growth and industrialisation in Afghanistan.

Despite initial enthusiasm after the announcements of the development of the Mes Aynak deposits by China in 2008 and the Hajigak deposits by India in 2011, both projects failed to take off amidst security concerns and the discovery of ancient Buddhist monuments at Mes Aynak. The episode also brought into focus the lack of transparency and corruption in government, in the mining rights allocation process and in the overall economy – factors that discourage high-value, long-term investments by foreign investors. Afghanistan’s unique situation of an economy failing to attract investment despite the vast quantity of existing opportunities requires a unique solution.

Mining in Afghanistan is a high-risk and capital-intensive industry. Kabul has repeatedly invited large government-backed consortia that promise billions of dollars purchasing the rights to mine fields while also promising to set up power plants and highway projects. Although this style of mega-projects promises to bring in the much-needed funds to a cash-starved Afghan government, the security threats in the country make investors jittery. Instead, the government should focus on attracting private mid-level investors looking to invest millions rather than billions for medium terms. Interestingly, small to mid-level sized mining operations have been undertaken in Afghanistan by the Taliban, who mined rubies and emeralds, and earned around USD 120 million in 2015.

15 Years in the Afghan Crucible

by Carlotta Gall
October 2, 2016

There is an end-of-an-era feel here these days. Military helicopters rattle overhead, ferrying American and Afghan officials by air rather than risk cars bombs in the streets. The concrete barriers, guarding against suicide attacks, have grown taller and stronger around every embassy and government building, and whole streets are blocked off from the public.

It has been 15 years since American forces began their bombing campaign against the Taliban and Al Qaeda on Oct. 7, 2001, and sometimes it feels as if we are back to square one, that there is nothing to show for it.

The recent American military drawdown has been drastic — from over 100,000 troops a few years ago to a force of 8,500 today. Thousands of Afghans have been made jobless as bases and assistance programs have closed. Meanwhile tens of thousands of Taliban are on the offensive in the countryside, threatening to overrun several provincial towns and staging huge bombings here in the capital.

Afghan forces have been bearing the brunt, suffering unsustainable casualties. Communities talk of hundreds of coffins returning from the front line. Civilians have suffered no less — thousands of families have been displaced anew by fighting, and aid workers warn that their access is deteriorating. Business executives have been leaving, selling off their property, and whole families have swelled the refugee columns heading to Europe.

The political mood is shifting, too, as Afghans sense the declining American influence and start casting around for new patrons or renewing old alliances. The politicking is intense: “Hot, very hot,” as a former minister described the political climate.

For Afghans, and for many of us who have followed Afghanistan for decades — I have been visiting the country since the early 1990s — the times are reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s withdrawal in 1989 after a 10-year occupation. The Communist government and army that the Soviets left behind survived only three years before they were overthrown by the mujahedeen in 1992…

Why the Brussels Donor Conference Should Recommit to Afghanistan

A stable and sustainable Afghanistan is in the interest of the United States.

This week, the European Union and the Afghan government will co-host thethird in a series of conferences in Brussels that will convene Afghanistan’s partners to discuss future foreign assistance commitments. At the 2012 Conference in Tokyo seventy international donors promised to mobilize $16 billion for Afghanistan in total foreign assistance over the subsequent four years, with the United States expected to cover about half of the amount. In Brussels, Afghanistan is hoping for a re-commitment to similar funding levels through 2020.

The donor countries and Afghan policymakers gather at a time when the security situation has deteriorated in the wake of the reduction of Western military forces in Afghanistan, attracting much media attention and concern. Security is certainly vital for success, but economic and social progress alongside good governance is also needed. Afghanistan’s partners seek determined leadership in Kabul and a consensus based on a process for achieving measurable progress. Afghanistan’s government and its people in return need partners that understand that progress will require another decade of engagement.

A stable and sustainable Afghanistan is in the interest of the United States, other international partners and the region. The costs of allowing a friendly government to collapse would be very high in a region that is volatile and susceptible to inroads by extremist groups. The 2014 reduction in foreign military support allowed a resurgent Taliban to gain control of at least one-fifth of the country, and some say more. The Brussels Conference is an opportunity to acknowledge the key role of development assistance in building a stable Afghanistan, since July’s NATO Summit in Warsaw focused on providing security assistance commitments of about $1 billion a year to the country through 2020.


Riverine Neighbourhood: Hydro-politics in South Asia

Rivers are the most visible form of fresh water. Rivers are ancient and older than civilizations a ‘mini cosmos’ spawning history, tales, spirituality, and technological incursions. Flowing rivers are the largest renewable water resource as well as a crucible for both humans and aquatic ecosystem. Rivers also have a habit of moving on and on from their source from where they gush with gay abandon to their mouth where they quietly disappear into the surroundings. That journey is now being interrupted. Since the age of industrialization, humans have increasingly exerted a pervasive influence on water resources. Rivers in particular have drawn humans to monumental engineering interventions such as dams and barrages often as chest-thumping dominance and seldom as an enduring bond between man and nature.

‘Hydro-politics’ or water politics is not a popular expression among water practitioners. In using hydro-politics, the book does not in any way negate hydro-cooperation rather the chapters argue that cooperation is hydro-politics. Since no water dispute, as history tells, has almost ever led to war, states have to ensure that sensible hydro-politics prevails so that the possibilities of water wars are unlikely in the future.

Transboundary rivers link its riparians in a complex network of environmental, economic and security interdependencies. Cooperation among South Asian riparians is undoubtedly high but that does not mean the absence of competing claims for water. Thus water will remain deeply political. Often water agreements are not always about water. History and hegemony play an important role in understanding the strategic interaction among riparian states and in the contextual framework under what circumstances politics interfere with cooperation or whether sharing of water acts as a neutralising factor in difficult political situations.

China: Perfecting Tibet Railway Network

By Claude Arpi
05 Oct , 2016

Grim news for India: according to Xinhua, the preliminary work on the Yunnan-Tibet Railway is being carried out.

On September 20, the Chinese news agency announced the beginning of the work on the Yunnan-Tibet Railway which will run through Shangri-La and Dechen County of Yunnan Province and Markam and Dzogang Counties in the Chamdo Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

In Bamda, a small township of Nyingchi Prefecture, the line will connect with the Sichuan-Tibet railway presently under construction.

The railway line will have a total length of 415 kilometers, with 265-kilometer railway in Tibet Autonomous Region, the rest in Yunnan.

The total investment is evaluated to be 43.6 billion yuan (some 7 billion US dollars), out of which the Tibet section’s comes to 27.8 billion yuan.

The preliminary work which includes surveys and line alignment, has started.

Xinhua says that the Tibet’s railway department “will accelerate relative work and strive to start its construction work during the 14th Five-Year Plan period [2020-2025].”

The One Part of China's Military That Everyone Forgets (At Their Peril)

September 30, 2016 

Studies of Chinese naval development have tended to focus of late on one of two possible extreme poles: a high-end fight involving missiles, fighter interceptors and submarines, or alternatively low-end “gray zone” coercion focusing on militia or coast guard units. That might leave out the crucial middle layers of Beijing’s maritime advance. It is well known that the PLA Navy has substantially improved its surface forces in recent years by deploying myriad new destroyers, frigates, and corvettes. Less well understood has been the incremental, but potentially significant improvement in China’s “gator navy”—the amphibious forces.

For decades, Chinese amphibious forces had been the butt of jokes by Western defense analysts. Why, for example, did the PLAN seem to keep around landing craft captured back in the Chinese Civil War (that had been built by the US during WWII and taken from the Nationalists)? A Chinese amphibious attack on Taiwan was derided as a “million man swim”—totally lacking in the appropriate lift capabilities. To be sure, the PLA Navy still lags far behind the U.S. Navy in amphibious warfare, but it is making rapid strides nonetheless and these steps must be tracked closely. This edition of Dragon Eye will take a closer look at a few of these recent steps—as reported in the Chinese language defense press, but not generally discussed in this forum.

China's Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay

October 2, 2016 

Chinese political elites engaged in collusion with private businessmen would have no difficulty understanding Willie Hutton, who reportedly said that he robbed banks because that was where the money was. By forming dense networks of connections (guanxi) with private businessmen, officials can generate lucrative profits by, as Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, points out, turning the public authority entrusted to them into instruments to seek private gains. The economics of collusion between political elites and private businessmen in a one-party regime is straightforward. The political power controlled by the officials in a one-party state can be converted into immense wealth quickly. However, this conversion is difficult to execute without colluding partners in the private sector. Most Chinese officials who have the ability to seize state-owned assets have also incurred considerable sunken costs—their lifelong investments in their political careers in the party. Abandoning a rewarding position inside the regime is unattractive. That is why family members of these officials, but not the officials themselves, are in the private sector. 

Chinese political elites have another disadvantage in converting monopolistic political power into economic wealth themselves: their lack of the entrepreneurial skills needed to realize the full market value of the state-owned assets under their control. Even for those who may have such skills, openly giving up a successful and promising political career carries enormous risks. From their own experience they will understand that private wealth unconnected with political power is inherently insecure under a predatory regime. More importantly, by exiting, they may also provoke the wrath of the party for displaying disloyalty. That is perhaps why only relatively few officials have opted for xiahai, or jumping into the sea of commerce. 

China Eyes Ending Western Grip on Top U.N. Jobs With Greater Control Over Blue Helmets

OCTOBER 2, 2016

China is believed to have its sights on the United Nations’ top peacekeeping job, a position that would place a country with an abysmal human rights record in charge of the world’s second-largest expeditionary force of more than 100,000 peacekeepers deployed in hot spots around the world.

While the race for a new U.N. secretary-general has for months grabbed most of the attention at Turtle Bay, behind the scenes a fierce political competition is underway to land top posts under the world body’s next chief. The outcome could shatter the monopoly that Western powers have held for decades inside the inner sanctum of U.N. leadership — and push peacekeeping operations in a direction human rights advocates may find worrisome.

What the Hell Just Happened in Colombia?

The government’s peace deal with the FARC rebel group just met a Brexit-style demise. Here’s why it went off the rails.

According to multiple U.N.-based officials, Beijing is angling to run the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, or DPKO, which has been headed by French nationals for nearly 20 years. Moscow, for its part, is said to be hankering after the Department of Political Affairs, or DPA, which former U.S. State Department officials have headed for the past decade.

“China is making a play for DPKO, and Russia is making a play for DPA,” one senior U.N. official said. “Are these just opening positions? Who knows.”

Sinositis Relap How are South China Sea and Balochistan connected? Via the dragon of course.se?

A Chinese destroyer fires a missile in the East China Sea after the UN tribunal’s ruling

Balochistan, where China has sunk in $46 billion to build the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, connecting Gwadar port with Xinjiang—a key infrastructural piece of President Xi Jinping’s one-belt-one-road project—is fast showing signs of bec­oming a new headache in the already uneasy Sino-Indian relations.

The Chinese leadership is busy battling a move by the US and its allies to keep a possible mention of the ongoing tension in the South China Sea at the G20 Summit in China’s Hangzhou on September 4-5. Beijing has been lobbying with member countries, including India, not to be a party to the West-initiated move. Balochistan was hardly an issue China expected India to raise—it not only adds fresh strains on the frayed India-Pakistan ties but also has the potential of drawing China into it.

“This will not help Pakistan to be a normal country. It will also disturb India-China ties,” says Chinese scholar Hu Shisheng.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi, had surprised most people with an unp­recedented reference to the appalling human rights condition in Balochistan and the plight of the Baloch people under Pakistan’s military might.

“This will not help Pakistan to become a normal country. And it will also further disturb India-China relations,” Hu Shisheng, director of South and South East Asia at the Beijing-based China Institute of Contemporary international Relations (CICIR) told the IANS news agency in a recent interview.


By Jon Solomon

The following article is part of our cross-posting partnership with Information Dissemination’s Jon Solomon. It is republished here with the author’s permission. Read it in its original form here.

There was a pretty lively debate in the comments to Chris Mclachlan’s post last month about the Combat Logistics Force. No one took issue with his observations that the CLF might be undersized for sustaining high-tempo forward U.S. Navy operations in the event of a major Sino-American war. Nor did anyone contest his argument that our replenishment ships lack the basic self-defense capabilities their Cold War-era predecessors carried. Instead, the debate focused on Chris’s assertion that CLF ships ought to be escorted during wartime by a small trans-oceanic surface combatant possessing medium-range anti-air and anti-submarine capabilities.

Needless to say, I agree with Chris’s view. Such an escort would be a necessary part of the overall combined arms solution set to protecting not only CLF assets but also the shipping that would surge reinforcements and materiel to embattled U.S. allies in East Asia, provide steady logistical sustainment to the U.S. and allied forces deployed to or based in those countries, and maintain the flow of vital maritime commerce to and from those countries. One rarely sees any of these four critical tasks acknowledged in discussions within the security studies community. I believe that represents a dangerous analytical oversight, as an American failure to adequately protect its own and its allies’ sea lines of communications in a war with China would be strategically disastrous. In today’s post, I’m going to outline China’s ability to threaten these lines in a notional major war. On Thursday, I’ll outline how the U.S. and its allies might offset that threat.

** If India and Pakistan Went to War: 5 Weapons Pakistan Should Fear

August 16, 2014 

If the unthinkable happened, India has quite the arsenal—including nuclear weapons—to cause Pakistan considerable trouble in a conflict.

Recently India alleged a series of ceasefire violations—in the form of automatic weapons fire—by Pakistan on the border between the two countries. According to India, it was the sixth attack in just five days. Such events are a reminder that tension remains high on the Indian subcontinent.

The nuclear arsenals of both sides—and the red lines that would trigger their use—have made conventional war much more risky to conduct. The 1999 Kargil War is considered the closest the world has come to a nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis. If India were to use its superiority in ground forces to seize a sizable amount of Pakistani territory, Pakistan could respond with nuclear weapons.

It’s distinctly possible that any future war between India and Pakistan would involve limited action on the ground and full-scale fighting at sea and in the air. India has the upper hand in both, particularly at sea where it would have the ability to blockade Pakistani ports. Pakistan imports 83% of its gasoline consumption, and without sizable reserves the economy would feel the effects of war very quickly. An economic victory, not a purely military one might be the best way to decisively end a war without the use of nuclear weapons.

With that scenario in mind, let’s look at the five Indian weapons Pakistan would fear most in a war.

INS Vikramaditya Aircraft Carrier

Time To Expand German-Iran Ties – OpEd

OCTOBER 4, 2016

Heading a large trade delegation, Germany’s Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel arrived in Tehran on Sunday, October 2, for a two day visit hoping to give a timely uplift to the post-sanctions German-Iran relations. But, a German newspaper, Die Welt, has called it a “mission impossible” in light of the existing US sanctions that deter the German banks and other corporations from engaging with Iran.

“The German banks are still restrained, and the issue of funding is therefore unfortunately still unresolved. This is a lengthy process and that this leads to disillusionment,” Rene Harun the head of German-Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce has told the press. This does not mean, however, that the situation is completely hopeless. Last month, Ilse Agner, the minister for the economic affairs of Bavaria was in Tehran and inked an agreement for three Iranian banks to open branches in Munich. While Germany’s two biggest banks, Commerzbank AG and Deutsche Bank AG, continue to avoid doing business with Iran, smaller banks such as the Europaeische-Iranische Handelsbank AG in Hamburg offer letters of credit, thus expediting business transactions between Iranian and German firms. According to Mohammad Khazaee, head of Iran Investment Organization, Iran’s cooperation with Germany’s Hermes Insurance Company is estimated to surpass 7 billion Euros, Already, there has been a 15 percent increase in German exports to Iran this year and, optimistically speaking, the trade volume could soon reach as high as 4 billion Euros.

The Spark That Lit the War on Terror

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 

The ill-fated U.S. intervention in Lebanon’s civil war fueled the rise of Islamist terrorism. And 34 years on, it still provides lessons about America’s failed Middle East policies. 

It all seemed so easy back then. When American Marines landed in Beirut 34 years ago this month, they came, as their commander put it, “to help our Lebanese friends.” The problem was, friends can be fickle. The Reagan administration saw white hats and black hats in Lebanon, when in fact, they all wore shades of gray.

Coincidentally, a man named Reagan was the first American casualty in Lebanon. Cpl. David L. Reagan of Chesapeake, Virginia, just 21 years old, was killed clearing ordinance left over from the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, which claimed at least 10,000 lives.

“It is our expectation that our people will not become involved in any combat that will result in loss of life,” White House Spokesman Larry Speakes told reporters after the fact. By the time the Marines humiliatingly withdrew 17 months later, 264 American servicemen and 15 diplomats and CIA employees were dead; the United States had fought, and effectively lost, a war. Instead of a Benghazi-style lynch mob, Congress carried out a thoughtful investigationand ultimately issued a set of recommendations to avoid such disasters in the future. But that was before the era of hyper-polarized politics and media.

Contrast that to the “Kill ‘em all and let God sort it out” approach to terrorist attacks these days.

Propaganda Techniques Of Empire – OpEd

OCTOBER 4, 2016

Washington’s quest for perpetual world power is underwritten by systematic and perpetual propaganda wars. Every major and minor war has been preceded, accompanied and followed by unremitting government propaganda designed to secure public approval, exploit victims, slander critics, dehumanize targeted adversaries and justify its allies’ collaboration.

In this paper we will discuss the most common recent techniques used to support ongoing imperial wars.
Role Reversal

A common technique, practiced by the imperial publicists, is to accuse the victims of the same crimes, which had been committed against them. The well documented, deliberate and sustained US-EU aerial bombardment of Syrian government soldiers, engaged in operations against ISIS-terrorist, resulted in the deaths and maiming of almost 200 Syrian troops and allowed ISIS-mercenaries to overrun their camp. In an attempt to deflect the Pentagon’s role in providing air cover for the very terrorists it claims to oppose, the propaganda organs cranked out lurid, but unsubstantiated, stories of an aerial attack on a UN humanitarian aid convoy, first blamed on the Syrian government and then on the Russians. The evidence that the attack was most likely a ground-based rocket attack by ISIS terrorists did not deter the propaganda mills. This technique would turn US and European attention away from the documented criminal attack by the imperial bombers and present the victimized Syrian troops and pilots as international human rights criminals.
Hysterical Rants

Misguided Perceptions On Nuclear Terrorism – OpEd

By Ahsan Ali Zahid and Hasan Ehtisham 
OCTOBER 4, 2016

Nuclear terrorism in real is a quite petrifying phenomenon, but there is no tangible study available that this threat is genuine in a world where nuclear technology is heavily regulated and secured. Since there is no terrorist incident have yet been reported which involves nuclear weapons, there is disagreement among the analysts that how serious the threat of nuclear terrorism could be. However, such arguments should not be a source of complacency.

Few states have played this threat up for political purposes as a lever against countries that are not likeminded. For example the same approach was used after 9/11, when terrorism was being used to achieve certain interests. The main aspect of Nuclear Security Summits started from 2010 and beyond was to highlight the nuclear dangers emanating from Iran and other countries were played up. While there was a narrative against these countries, none of the forums allowed them space to appear and give their perspectives on the issue.

The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies annual report of 2015 is a yard stick on the global incidents of nuclear theft or lost. The U.S. tops the rank in the world with 59.4% of negligence, loss or theft incidents followed by France 5.9%, Canada 5.9%, Ukraine 5.3%, and Russia 5.3%. For instance, in 2007, six American nuclear-armed cruise missiles were mistakenly transported from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base. There are innumerable such reported faux pas in this regard.

Similarly, a truck carrying a radioactive source which could be used in radiological dispersion device i.e., almost a dirty bomb was stolen near Mexico City in 2013. Likewise, Broken Arrow is known term for accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft or loss of the nuclear weapon. Since 1950, there have been 32 accidents of Broken Arrows in the U.S. among which disturbingly six nuclear weapons were never recovered.

Monitoring base security

Army planners say they are making strides toward developing a new generation of base protection capabilities. They’re aiming to give commanders a suite of sensors and other defensive tools that are easier to deploy and more sensitive to enemy activities.

Efforts have been underway for a couple of years to develop an Integrated Base Defense (IBD) capability to improve upon the ad hoc systems deployed across Afghanistan over the past 15 years.

Now the first half-dozen systems have been deployed, and a dozen more are either on their way out to the field or in the final stages of assembly, according to officials from the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare & Sensors (PEO IEW&S).

Aspects of security

Base camp security encompasses a range of capabilities intended to detect potential hostile activity approaching the unit, at the perimeter and within camp grounds. Key elements include:

Entry Control (EC): Controls vehicle and personnel access to expeditionary bases. 
Perimeter Security (PS): Provides dedicated surveillance to detect, locate, characterize, identify and track activities of interest. 
Persistent Surveillance (PSv): Provides persistent, integrated, networked, multi-spectral surveillance capabilities. 
Warning and Alert (WA): Provides a communication method and standardizes rapid warning alerts. 

Hackers for good: How Anand Prakash rescued Facebook

OCTOBER 3, 2016

In the first installment in an occasional series about ethical hackers, Passcode profiles one of India's most successful freelance cybersecurity researchers known for finding – and helping fix – serious flaws in Facebook. 

Anand Prakash is one of the tens of thousands of young Indians who have flocked here in the past several years chasing their fortunes in this city's teeming tech industry.

The deluge has transformed a once laid-back "pensioners' paradise" into a chaotic mélange of glass and steel buildings, office parks, and grinding traffic gridlock. Bangalore has become America's information technology back office, its help desk, and its customer hot line.

But unlike many of his peers working on engineering and development teams, Mr. Prakash is more comfortable breaking software. He's a hacker. In fact, he's one of the most well known in India, famous for hacking Facebook, Google, and many of the biggest tech companies in the world.

No, he's not a criminal, a digital prankster, or online miscreant. He's a hacker for good – a so-called "white hat hacker." In essence, Prakash serves as one-man technical help desk for some of the most powerful software companies in the world: He roots out software vulnerabilities, reports the bugs to tech giants, and is rewarded – handsomely.

Army’s ‘Multi-Domain Battle:’ Jamming, Hacking & Long Range Missiles

September 27, 2016 

An Army soldier sets up a highband antenna.

Days before the biggest defense conference of the year, one of the Army’s top thinkers is unveiling the service’s new push to expand its role beyond its traditional domain — land — to air, sea, space, and cyberspace. Even as the US defense budget shrinks, the Army is prioritizing new investments in downing drones, hacking networks, jamming transmissions, and even sinking ships at sea. Far from triggering inter-service rivalry, however, the Army’s ambitious concept seems to have buy-in from its sister services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Just look at the lineup for Tuesday’s panel on “Multi-Domain Battle” at the massiveAssociation of the US Army conference. Besides Army brass like Training & Doctrine chief Gen. David Perkins, you have the 
Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work, chief architect of the sweeping modernization scheme known as the Third Offset Strategy
head of US Pacific Command, Navy Adm. Harry Harris (via VTC); 
Navy Undersecretary Janine Davidson
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller
Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein and; 
Australia‘s Army’s head of modernization, Maj. Gen. Gus McLachlan;