9 November 2016

*** Isolating Pakistan Diplomatically

By Col (Dr) Tej Kumar Tikoo (Retd.)
07 Nov , 2016

India’s long delayed and eagerly expected surgical strike against Pakistan’s launch pads across the LoC, where militants of various Tanzeems are stationed just prior to their induction into India, has had its effect; more on the psyche of Indian people, who were demanding such an action, and less on Pakistan, which denied that any such surgical strike ever took place.

…it can be said that the decade of nineties was diplomatically a testing time for India. Kashmir was in turmoil; the world did not consider the breakout of insurgency there as being sponsored by Pakistan.

However, Pakistan Army, which took the brunt of this strike, both in real and psychological terms, should now onwards be under no illusion about India’s likely reaction any strike is launched by Pakistan-based militant groups on Indian assets across the IB/LoC.

Nevertheless, surgical strikes/ other military responses have their own limitations: most serious being the possibility of such responses cascading into a full-fledged war, which none of the adversaries wants in the first place.

According to an old adage, war is an extension of diplomacy, and all diplomacy centres on protecting a nation’s vital interests at all times and under all circumstances. It is, by its very definition, a dynamic process as the international situation keeps changing all the time.

Ever since independence, Pakistan has been at the core of India’s foreign policy focus. From independence to the late eighties, India and Pakistan were on the opposing sides of the cold war divide. The nineties were a period of flux as the breakup of Soviet Union and emergence of radical Islam as an international threat was just manifesting itself, though India had clearly become its victim, first in Punjab and then in Kashmir. Needless to say, diplomatically, India held its own, except during the nineties, when the breakup of Soviet Union left us friendless.

*** A Lt. General Explains Why The Armed Forces Need To Be Reformed, Not Politicised

Nov 07, 2016

The Indian military is today at the centrestage of national politics for more reasons than one. On one hand, the military is being lauded for the professionally executed surgical strikes across the Line of Control which took place on September 29. On the other, there is simmering discontent in the military and its large veterans’ community with regard to status, pay, pensions and allowances. The irony of the situation is hard to miss. A military put on the nationalism pedestal and eulogised as never before, is unhappy about its remunerations and status! Most importantly and disturbingly, both aspects are being exploited by political parties for politics. Post-surgical strikes, we saw bizarre political posters coming up in Uttar Pradesh allegedly by the ruling party at the Centre. The Opposition struck back by asking for proof of surgical strikes albeit to counter Pakistan’s denial, only to be branded as “anti-national”. Comical allegations and counter-allegations dominated the media for one month.

Ex-servicemen flash their badges during a rally for OROP | Source: PTI

This tamasha came to a head on November 2 with the suicide of a veteran allegedly for not receiving the “real” One Rank One Pension. Again, the Opposition came out with all guns blazing to berate the government for not giving the soldiers their dues, while riding on their operational performance. Protests, arrests, funeral processions and monetary compensation followed. The government fielded a former Chief of Army Staff and now a junior minister, who passed insensitive remarks on the “mental state” of his former comrade and labeled him a “Congress worker”.

*** How the US can push Pakistan to abandon its terror proxies

Washington must develop a coercive campaign that diminishes the advantages of Pakistan’s use of militant proxies under its nuclear umbrella

Despite the fascination with Pakistan’s feckless civilian leadership, it is the Pakistan Army that controls all levers of power that influence the country’s foreign and security policies as well as key domestic policies that inform the same. Civilian opposition to the army’s preferences is but a speed bump for the army drive to prosecute its preferred policies. The Pakistan Army has three enduring objectives. First, it aims to resist what it views as Indian hegemony in South Asia and beyond. Second, it aims to cultivate “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, both to vitiate any Afghan ill-will towards Pakistan and to deny India any space from which it can destabilize Pakistan from Afghan territory. Finally, it seeks to seize that portion of Kashmir currently administered by India. As I have argued elsewhere, these goals are driven mostly by Pakistan’s ideology (the so-called two-nation theory) and less by strategic imperatives. To secure these goals, Pakistan has two tools. First, it has cultivated a menagerie of Islamist (as well as non-Islamist) militant groups acting as proxies on behalf of the state. Second, it has developed an ever-expanding nuclear arsenal which includes battlefield nuclear weapons.

Pakistan successfully employs terrorism under its nuclear umbrella with impunity because it works to achieve Pakistan’s agenda of highlighting the “conflict” between Pakistan and India and inevitably provokes calls for dialogue to resolve “outstanding differences”. At the same time, Pakistan has incurred few costs that it believes to be disproportionate to the benefits it derives from this course of action. Even the sustained blowback of erstwhile proxies since 2004 has not persuaded Pakistan to cease using jihadis as tools of foreign policy.

** 1971 War: The Ganganagar Sector

By Maj Gen Sukhwant Singh
08 Nov , 2016

The presence in the general area of Montgomery-Okara-Bahawalpur of the Pakistan strike force, II Corps, consisting of 1 Armoured Division and 33 Infantry Division, and the possibility of building up this force with 7 Infantry Division, posed a potential threat to the sensitive Indian areas of Ganganagar-Suratgarh-Bhatinda, the southern flank, and Faridkot-Kotkapura in the centre. Up to 1965, the Pakistani strike force was known to consist only of 1 Armoured Division with one infantry division and was housed in the United States-made cantonment complex of Kharian.

Its employment was feasible only between the Chenab and the Ravi and the Sutiej. The conflict revealed that Pakistan had surreptitiously raised another armoured division, 6 Armoured, out of the US theatre reserve of tanks in the area. That endowed Pakistan with the capability of posing a threat on both sides of the Ravi. In the event, Ayub Khan used 1 Armoured Division in Khemkaran and 6 Armoured Division in the Sialkot sector. As a result, the Ferozepur-Fazilka-Ganganagar sectors were on a low priority up to 1965, and till then looked after by only one brigade group with some additional troops.

A threat could develop to his sector, using the narrow desert tract between the Sutlej and the Eastern Sadiqiya Canal running along the international boundary as a launching pad for a Pakistani offensive.

From 1965 to 1971, the positioning of the strike force in the area of Montgomery-Okara indicated its possible use south of the Sutlej between Ferozepur and Fazilka, and in the desert tract between Fazilka and Anupgarh, especially in wet weather when the countryside elsewhere is boggy and impassable by tanks and other vehicles. To fill the security gap in this open southern flank, it was considered necessary to raise a division worth of holding forces to look after this area. Within the manpower and financial restraints, it was decided to raise a sector headquarters under a major general to which loose formations lifted from the holding troops in the dormant sectors would be allot. ted as required.

** National Security India’s Need Of The Hour

S Ramsagar 
Nov 7, 2016 


India today is at the threshold of progress towards achieving higher standard of life for her citizens. At this juncture it is essential that the country evaluates its needs to ensure that this accelerated progress is not jeopardized. Especially now, when the Government in power is in a precarious position of working hard to prevent divisive forces affect its security.. My presentation today is to analyze these needs, without causing too much of changes in our planning and establish effective National Security to maintain our Nation’s progress.

Present threats to our Nation and Analysis of the Threats

Our country is the only Nation that has adopted and maintained the democratic government from the date of Independence. We are now the largest democracy, as regards population. Many of the nations surrounding us have had turmoil’s leading to military dictatorships or change of government systems. Even though the democratic system develops a nation's economic strength rather slowly, still it provides freedom of thought, speech and a benevolent form of governance. To ensure this system survives and progress is achieved, we will have to analyze the threats to our nation and take necessary counter measures to ensure the democratic form of government continues to exist.

1. Pakistan.

Our Neighbor Pakistan has never forgotten India, for separating East Pakistan from her by creating Bangladesh. We all are aware that Pakistan wants to break Kashmir from India. However friendly, we try to be with her, this mindset of Pakistan will be very difficult to change. We have already fought over Kashmir, but have not been able to bring about a final settlement. This festering problem will continue and India has to take this into consideration when planning any security strategy. Especially to day after the hanging of Afzal ganj, the situation is even more fragile, with whole of Kashmiries turned against India. This situation can be made use off by Pakistan. In fact this is the type of situation Pakistan has been waiting for. The next few years are critical period for India, where-in any thing may happen in Kashmir. Mainly the new government is unable to hold the youth of Kashmir from over reacting and prevent them supporting the terrorists and separators .Bold and positive action is necessary as has been done in Punjab

2. China.

India: Residual Disturbances In Manipur – Analysis

By Nijeesh N.* 
NOVEMBER 8, 2016

The Chief Minister (CM) of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh came under gun attack when suspected National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah faction (NSCN-IM) militants opened fire at him and his associates as they were getting out of their helicopter at the Pakshi Ground Helipad in Ukhrul District on October 24, 2016. Singh was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei, Commerce and Industries Minister Govindas Konthoujam, Forest Minister I. Hemochandra Singh, Deputy Speaker M.K. Preshow Shimray and Parliamentary Secretary Victor Keishing. Soon after the chopper landed, the militants started firing, which last for more than ten minutes and in which one Manipur Rifles (MR) trooper, identified as William Tarao, sustained severe injuries. The ambush on the CM and his team came amidst protests and a boycott call issued by the native Naga tribal group, Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL). Singh and his Ministers were on their way to inaugurate development projects in the Districts. With heightened security concerns, the Chief Minister and his team had to cancel their programme and fly back to Imphal. The Security Forces (SFs) could not apprehend a single militant involved in the attack.

Violent protests by Naga outfits had started in the late night of October 23, 2016, as suspected NSCN-IM militants triggered four bomb explosions in which two Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel were injured. Of the four explosions in quick succession, one occurred in the early morning of October 24, 2016, near the newly constructed Ukhrul District Hospital at Hungpung, The Hospital was supposed to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister. The attack completely destroyed the space where the public meeting was to be held.

India: SIMI’s Fatal Jailbreak – Analysis

By Ajit Kumar Singh*
NOVEMBER 8, 2016

Eight cadres of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) fled from the Bhopal Central Jail in Madhya Pradesh (MP) at around 2 to 3am in the morning of October 31, 2016, after killing a security guard, Head Constable Ramashankar, by slitting his throat with steel plate and glass after overpowering him. The escapees were identified as Mohammad Aqeel Khilji aka Abdullah, Sheikh Mehboob aka Guddu aka Malik, Amazad Khan aka Pappu aka Daud aka Umer, Zakir Hussain Sadiq aka Vicky Don aka Vinay Kumar, Mohammad Salik aka Sallu, Mohammad Khalid Ahmad, Mujeeb Sheikh aka Akram aka Wasim aka Nawed aka Nitin aka Faizan aka Chintoo aka Yusuf, and Abdul Majid.

Just hours later, between 10.30and 11.30am, all the eight escapees were killed in an encounter by the Security Forces (SFs) near Manikheda Pathar at Eintkhedi village on the outskirts of Bhopal. News media, opposition political parties and civil society organisations have raised questions about the genuineness of the encounter after the leak of a succession of videos showing stages of the alleged encounter. Suspicions were compounded by contradictory positions adopted by different Government agencies and officials. With mounting media furor, a judicial probe into the jailbreak and subsequent encounter was then ordered by MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in the night of November 3, 2016.

In the meantime, Sanjeev Shami, the head of MP’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), which led the encounter, asserted that the escapees’ killing was necessary because of the danger they posed. He added, without giving further details, that “the police has the right to use excessive force in some situations.”

Trade Vs Terror: Time For China To Choose – Analysis

By Sanjay Kumar Kar* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

India-China relations have been severely impacted by China’s open support for Pakistan on many fronts. One of the important areas where China seems to be least worried is cross-border terrorism affecting countries like India and Afghanistan. India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism for many years — the most recent being the September 18, 2016 Uri attack sponsored by its neighbouring country Pakistan.

China’s stand on terrorism is baffling and it pains India more than any other country. New Delhi has been pressing the United Nations (UN) to declare Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar — operating from Pakistan — as an international terrorist who poses serious threat to humanity and disrupts peace and tranquility in the subcontinent. Unfortunately, Beijing has consistently blocked the Indian move. On technical ground, China has succeeded twice in delaying the UN’s decision on Masood Azhar.

China’s deliberate tactics of blocking India’s progress in international fora is quite evident. In June 2016 at Seoul, Beijing successfully blocked New Delhi’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Pakistan may be China’s natural ally but India is one of the biggest trade partners of China. While China-Pakistan total trade stood at $12 billion in 2014-15, China-India trade was valued at $72 billion in the same year. During the period under consideration, China’s export value to Pakistan reached just $10 billion compared to export value of $60.4 billion to India. In short, for all practical purposes, India is 6 times valuable for the Chinese economy than Pakistan.

The Reality Of India-Pakistan: The Hyphen Can’t Go Anywhere – OpEd

By Minu Jain* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

One man, seven, maybe eight minutes of screen time and a society in thrall. It is a measure of the fraught equation between two neighbouring nations, bound by history, culture and animus, that Pakistani actor Fawad Khan and his very brief role in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil should have become the touchstone of frenzied patriotism for self-proclaimed nationalists on the Indian side of the border.

That the actor’s fleeting presence in the film, which released this week and is reportedly well on its way to becoming a hit, evoked barely any response from audiences other than a stupefied “is that it?” is further evidence of the Kafkaesque edge to anything, even the most minor of issues, related to India and Pakistan.

Because the clamour for action against the film – along with the still-in-the-making Raees starring another Pakistani actor Mahira Khan – should be as minor an issue as it can get given the troubled trough that the two countries again find themselves in. With LoC strikes, civilians being killed, allegations of soldiers being mutilated and six Pakistan High Commission staffers, including at least four diplomats, being recalled, this is a treadmill of ceaseless tension from which there’s no getting off.

Incidentally, and unnoticed by those same self-proclaimed nationalists, another Pakistani actor, Imran Abbas, slipped scrutiny with a brief role in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Clearly, some more homework needed to be done!

Controlling The News Agencies: Draconian Or Necessary? – OpEd

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has expressed “deep concern” over the one-day ban imposed on NDTV India by the interministerial committee set up by the Union information and broadcasting ministry. The NBA, which represents private television news and current affairs broadcasters in India, said the Hindi news channel had been “singled out when the rest of the media also did cover the (Pathankot) terror attack, and all such reports were available in the public domain”. The committee has ordered that the channel go off air for 24 hours from 00:01hrs on November 9 as it found its coverage of the January terrorist attack to be in violation of broadcasting norms.

The recent ban on NDTV, a private news channel in India over Pathankot terrorist attack coverage has received a lot of criticism from the journalistic fraternity. However when it comes to jeopardising National Security, the Government has the right to censor content shown on national television. The purpose of any censorship on the media should be pragmatic and not draconian in nature. Globally, the same set of parameters work for any censorship law, or body – Regulation of broadcast, print and all media services, creating acceptable code of conduct and ethics, ensuring complaint and feedback mechanism are in place, monitoring of digital spaces etc. Censorship does not mean suppressing all that is happening in the political arena, or the security arena or any arena for that matter. It simply means doing away with any kind of “Breaking News and Exclusives Phenomenon” which could create chaos and insecurity endangering National security. Whether it is an autocratic regime or a democratic establishment the currents and undercurrents in the media landscape are almost the same.

Have the Western Powers Decided to give up Afghanistan to the Taliban?

By EN Rammohan
08 Nov , 2016

I have been following the situation in Afghanistan for the last many years and I have written papers on the developing situation in Afghanistan from time to time. For the last few years, I had an uneasy feeling that the Western powers were going to concede the ground situation in Afghanistan to the Taliban. This feeling was confirmed after the surprise attack on Kunduz by the Taliban a year ago, when they overran the town. I think, that was a turning point, when the local people, who did not want an extremist group like the Taliban ruling them, lost confidence that the government could protect them.

Pakistan’s role in the Afghan Insurgency.

It is not that the West has reduced the aid to the Afghan Government. The Afghan Government has received one of the highest amounts of foreign assistance per capita on a par with the West Bank, Gaza and Liberia. The United States alone has spent five hundred billion dollars on its Afghanistan mission since 2002, most of it on military operations. About a fifth of this amount — one hundred and thirteen million dollars was on reconstruction. Yet, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world — more than ten million people live below the poverty line and three quarters of the population is illiterate, according to the World Bank.

In the beginning when operations started against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda, they fled in disarray. Thousands of both the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters surrendered in Northern Afghanistan. They had lost the support of the local population. All of them fled to Pakistan and there, they were allowed to regroup and the Pakistan Army trained the young Afghan men, in how to make pressure cooker bombs, filled with ball bearings and suicide belts and later truck bombs and sent them back to Afghanistan by the hundreds.

Can Shaking Hands With ‘Butchers’ Bring Peace To Afghanistan? – OpEd

By Chayanika Saxena* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

In the background of flaring violence and spiralling insecurity, peace in Afghanistan continues to be an elusive desire. However far it might appear from the reach of a country that has been at the centre of imperialist (Tsarist Russia and Imperial Britain), ideological (Communist USSR and Capitalist US) and regional (India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and China) ‘great games’, peace is a desire harboured by the common man and woman in Afghanistan nevertheless.

The recent signing of the peace deal between the National Unity Government of Afghanistan and the militant organization, Hezb-e-Islami (Gulbuddin Hekmatyar) (HIG) has been touted as country’s first step towards peace. However, many would like to disagree with the ring that has been given to this deal by the government and its (increasingly weary) international patrons. The people of Afghanistan have registered their protest against the deal which the government and the country stand to gain less from. Instead, it is being seen as a ‘sellout’; one that has given exceedingly high privileges (and amnesty) to ‘the butcher of Kabul’ and his coterie. Yes, that is what Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of HIG is called. Or, as the alternative goes, ‘Rocketyaar’ for the sheer number of rockets he had sent raining down on Kabul in the bid to capture it between 1992 and 1996.

The deal is being addressed as a ‘precedent setter’, however exactly what kind of ‘precedent’ it is supposed to set is yet to become clear. It needs to be considered that HIG was (is?) a relatively small militant organization, incomparable to the resources, strength and even the might Taliban enjoys. In this light, a peace deal with HIG might not create the desired domino effect. On the contrary, it has managed to miff the Taliban further which has declared the peace deal an ‘act of treachery’ to the ‘cause of jihad’. An unwanted precedent it has set, at least according to the people of Afghanistan, is that even the most heinous of atrocities and their perpetrators can be let off the hook.

Pakistan-Russia Joint Military Exercise Suggests New Windows Of Opportunities – OpEd

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

The diplomatic and bilateral relations between Pakistan and Russian Federation were first developed on May 1, 1948.

History has witnessed that the relationship between Pakistan and Soviet Union, and then with Russia, has been marked by many ups and downs. In the past, there were numerous disturbing issues that even for some time divided both the countries, but, a true diplomatic relationship has always been preferred because of the geographical proximity, historical linkages and common developmental interests in Asia. The recent initiative of Joint Pakistan-Russia Military Exercises is a new brick in the wall to strengthen the relations a bit more.

From the early years (1948 to the late 1950s), relations between the two countries were affable and of responsive nature. Nevertheless, due to some conflicting issues the ties between both the countries took a u-turn and deteriorated. However, in 1965 after President Mohammad Ayub Khan made numerous efforts relations between the two became warm again. Furthermore, in the mid-1970s Pakistan–Soviet ties improved and Mr. Bhutto influenced the then Soviet regime to establish steel mills in Pakistan and invest billions of dollars. Cultural, economic and trade ties were developed immensely between the two.

Pakistan was the first country to recognize Russia as a successor of the Soviet Union in the wake of the disintegration of the USSR. Nevertheless, economic and political ties were somewhat cold during the 1990s because of the internal issues of both the countries — Russia was busy in reshaping and managing its economic and political issues and Pakistan was also suffering from many problems including economic, political and social.

Terrorism In Pakistan And South Asia – OpEd

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

Pakistan is one of the worst victims of terrorism perpetrated by religious extremist groups claiming their adherence to what they call “pure” Islam. According to Global Terrorism Index the top 5 countries affected by terrorism include Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria accounting for 78 percent of global terrorism related deaths in 2015.

In fact, Pakistan is paying the price of fighting the US’ proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The madrasas established in Pakistan during 1980s for indoctrination of Afghan refugees to fight a ‘holy war’ against the ‘Soviet infidels’ who had started ruling the country through their puppets in Kabul have played a very important role in developing a cult of romanticized violence in Pak-Afghan region. The cult of gun and suicide bombings has significantly marginalized a vibrant progressive community in Pakistan and the country is on the verge of virtual collapse thanks to a sinister nexus between the ruling elite in the army and political circle on the one hand and the religious zealots on the other.

It is not only in Pakistan alone, but the rise of religious extremism in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar poses a real threat to minorities inhabiting these countries is a matter of concern for all peace-loving people of this region. It seems that if effective counter narratives to the religious extremist forces are not developed and strengthened, the region will become a hot bed of terrorism and violence resembling today’s Middle East. We should remember that the globalization has not only made the export of goods and services very easy, but it has also made it easier to export ideas and narratives, problems and grievances. Therefore, an ideology of hate and bloodshed near ones borders must ring an alarm bell for all.

The reign of terror unleashed in India by the self-declared cow protectors and other rightist groups, horrible attacks on minorities and independent bloggers in Bangladesh, the genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar by Buddhist extremists are all examples of marking the rise of the ‘Majoritarian Right’ in South Asia.

India Will Have To Fight Battle Against Pakistan-Backed Terror Alone – OpEd

By Gaurav Dixit* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

Ideological obligations had enormous impact on the foreign policy of many countries during the Cold War era and maintain their impact even today in some countries. It has been true for many countries, including Pakistan, which was born out of an ideology of the two-nation theory.

Underneath the excessive depth of impact ideological politics have on Pakistan’s policy lay the ideological superstructure of Islam and tendency to support Islamic militants which are perennial determinant of its policies. The Pakistan state has all the incentive to back terrorist groups acting against India as it serves a broader range of objectives — including domestic and ideological as well as international.

Pakistan’s identity, its existence and its survival are linked to India. An ideological nation, born on the idea of Islam, it sees India as an existential threat. Pakistan, South Asia expert Aparna Pande says, needs to threaten India and feel threatened by it to maintain its national identity. India has to remain the enemy — and Kashmir must continue to be the casus belli to mobilise Pakistani nationalism.

Its national security imperative is to bleed India through a thousand cuts.

China: Government Tightens Already Repressive Internet Restrictions

NOVEMBER 8, 2016

The Chinese government is set to adopt the Cybersecurity Law, a regressive measure that strengthens censorship, surveillance, and other controls over the internet, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Nov.7. China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee was expected to pass the law by the end of its Oct. 31-Nov. 7 session.

“Despite widespread international concern from corporations and rights advocates for more than a year, Chinese authorities pressed ahead with this restrictive law without making meaningful changes,” said Sophie Richardson, HRW’s China Director. “The already heavily censored internet in China needs more freedom, not less.”

While many of these measures are not new, most were previously only informally applied or defined in lower-level regulation. Elevating these powers in the Cybersecurity Law sends a signal that the government may enforce the requirements more strictly, leaving less leeway for tech companies to avoid implementation.

The Chinese government has a long record of tightly controlling online speech through censorship, harsh punishments, and the use of restrictive technologies. But internet control has reached new heights since President Xi Jinping assumed power in March 2013.

How The Next U.S. President Can Contain China In Cyberspace

OCT 31, 2016 

How The Next U.S. President Can Contain China In Cyberspace

This piece will appear in the Winter 2016 issue of the Journal of International Affairs. 

The next president should keep the pressure on China, but that requires following the Obama administration playbook. 

When transition planning gets underway in earnest this fall, one of the hardest memos to write will be the outbrief from the current National Security Council (NSC) team on what to do about China’s ongoing campaign of cyber espionage targeting the intellectual property of U.S. companies. While long a focus of both the president’s cyber and China teams, there is little chance that in the coming months the issue is going to be brought to any type of resolution. Instead, the next president will inherit a partially implemented plan that has produced positive results in the short term, but its long-term sustainability remains uncertain. He or she would be wise to follow the playbook left by the Obama administration, with a redoubled focus on the investigation and prosecution of cybercrime.

Critics of the administration on this topic generally fall into two camps. One, summed up nicely by the title of a book by Peter Kiernan, is the Becoming China’s Bitch camp.[1] In this view, the United States is so dependent on China that the Chinese can do what they want and there is little Americans can do to stop them. They hold U.S. debt, Americans can’t manufacture anything without them, Chinese students are leaps and bounds smarter than American students, and there are millions more of them studying science and math. The Chinese are strategic, looking around the corner of history and shaping it in their interests. They are playing three-dimensional chess and President Obama has been playing checkers. They put the blame on what they would characterize as Obama’s willingness to “lead from behind.” They then quote Sun Tzu, reference Unrestricted Warfare, and drop the mic.[2]

Report: China's Military Capabilities Are Growing at a Shocking Speed

November 7, 2016 

China’s military is developing ships, submarines, aircraft, intelligence systems and foreign bases in a bid to become a global military power, according to a forthcoming congressional China commission report.

The late draft of the annual report by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission contains a chapter on Beijing’s power projection development and warns that once fully developed, the weapons and forces could contribute to a regional conflict in places like the South China and East China seas.

“China is building military capabilities to deal with hostile air, surface, and subsurface operational environments in the ‘far seas,’” the report states, noting that the operations expand the focus beyond the two island chains off China’s eastern and southern coasts.

The new military capabilities will “expand or improve the ability of the People’s Liberation Army to conduct a range of externally focused operations, to include combat insertion, island landing operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations, noncombatant evacuation operations, and peacekeeping missions,” states the report.

The report also warns that expanded military power projection capabilities could “also strengthen China’s traditional war-fighting capabilities against weaker neighbors.”

“Given its enhanced strategic lift capability, strengthened employment of special operations forces, increasing capabilities of surface vessels and aircraft, and more frequent and sophisticated experience operating abroad, China may also be more inclined to use force to protect its core interests,” the report says.

Deep Web: The ‘Dark’ Side Of Islamic State – Analysis

By Shahzeb Ali Rathore*
NOVEMBER 8, 2016

The so-called Islamic State (IS) is the most innovative terrorist group the world has seen. In the backdrop of its loss on the ground, IS is expanding its cyber capabilities to conduct more cyber-attacks and hacking. This and its migration into the ‘darknet’ will make IS more dangerous than before.

Terrorist and non-state actors have used different modes and mediums to spread their message and communicate with their comrades. The dawn of the Internet has also provided such groups with unparalleled opportunities to establish communications and operational links that were not possible before. Starting from websites, terrorist groups moved to more interactive mediums like chatrooms and forums. It was social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter that truly revolutionised how militants, terrorists and non-state actors communicated with each other, recruited sympathisers and supporters and disseminated their propaganda.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) perfected the use of social media, which became the preferred source for the so-called ‘jihadists’ or ‘soldiers of the Caliphate’. In response, tech companies have been compelled to take down Facebook and Twitter accounts affiliated with IS. The unintended cost of this policy is that supporters, sympathisers and members of jihadist groups have moved into the deep web and the darknet.
What is Deep Web and Darknet?

ISIS Can be Contained

Containment would place the burden of statehood on ISIS—forcing it to either moderate itself or risk implosion from within.

Two years in, the Obama administration’s strategy to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been criticized for its overall failure to articulate an ideal end state, especially for Syria. Despite a kill-ratio of “15,000-to-1,” tactical gains have not translated into strategic success. Critics contend that current efforts to defeat ISIS are unsustainable and ill-conceived given the half-measures employed. Yet, the more salient but neglected issue is what happens after the group’s demise. Even if ISIS is defeated, the cost of stabilizing former ISIS-controlled areas promises to outweigh the current commitment to destroy the group both in blood and treasure.

Indeed, in a region rife with sectarian conflict and poor governance, the rise of ISIS is a manifestation of state-failure in Syria and Iraq. This reality presents policymakers with a stark dilemma. Dislodging ISIS from Syria would only reopen a power vacuum that could possibly be filled by worse alternatives, but vacillating on ISIS would result in the caliphate's institutions becoming more entrenched and a rogue state more likely. With the growing certainty of Mosul’s liberation, the world optimistically anticipates Raqqa to be next.

But can Raqqa be the second Mosul? Given the complexity of the Syrian conflict, it is all the more necessary to reevaluate this strategy of annihilation which has dominated the policy discourse. Instead, a strategy of containment would seek to contest the fundamental nature of ISIS’ worldview by throwing down the gauntlet of de facto (but not de jure) statehood. Paralleling George Kennan’s 1947 formulation, containing ISIS in the Middle East today would recognize the multi-generational nature of this conflict and patiently maintain the territorial status quo against the group. Contra the preferred goal of driving ISIS out of Raqqa, containment challenges the group’s ideology by permitting it to run its full course and be found wanting in its areas of control. Two pathways are possible under this strategy. Licking its battle wounds, ISIS would either seek to re-consolidate its territorial control and moderate itself, or it would, in its revolutionary fervor, continue the struggle, thereby putting it at risk of implosion.

NATO Needs Realistic Goals Toward Russia

November 08, 2016

The next U.S. administration needs to recognize that the lack of consensus in Europe vis-à-vis Russia remains a key obstacle to crafting a workable strategy.

These days, Europe is a place where uncertainty seems to be the norm. Regional differences over how to deal with Russia are fast becoming enduring rifts, with fissures emerging across Europe’s political map. While this fragmentation could be blamed in part on the renationalization of politics across the continent, the most potent external factor is the resurgence of Russia and Europe’s inability to reach a consensus on how to respond to Moscow’s ambitions.

Russia’s pressure along NATO’s Eastern flank has generated different threat perceptions across Europe, and it continues to test the limits of allied solidarity. NATO’s response has so far addressed only partly the military dimension of this challenge, and absent a larger strategy, the current regime of rotational exercises and deployments may prove to be a temporary fix.

Europe’s internal divisions over how to respond to Russia’s challenge have stoked national resentments and reawakened historical narratives thought by many to be a thing of the past. This is bad news for NATO, for if this trend accelerates, there is a risk that the larger commitment to collective defense will be called into question.

So far, the debate over how to deal with Russia has not moved beyond the immediate need to augment deterrence and strengthen NATO defenses, and even this has been constrained by competing priorities and limited resources. NATO has not fully articulated the political dimension of its Russia strategy, for condemnations and expressions of outrage do not make it any more likely for Russia to return Crimea, which it annexed in March 2014, to Ukraine or terminate its operations in Syria.

Education In India: Skill Development Is The Key – Analysis

By Sudip Bhattacharyya* 
NOVEMBER 7, 2016

According to Hindu philosophy, everyone is born with the duty and obligation of ‘Pitririn’, ‘Rishirin’ and ‘Devarin’. The first means obligation to the family and ancestry, the second means obligation to the heritage and tradition and the last, formulated in modern terms, will boil down to obligation to the environment. The overall obligation is to repay more than what one has got so that the family, the heritage and the environment get more rich. And to be able to repay adequately, individuals need to be imparted required education and skill.

To the Western educated, the undertaking of education is necessary in a society to make a person productive so as to be useful to society and thereby earn his or her livelihood.

True education is one that is experienced, tasted and digested so that it becomes one with the blood, and not an external establishment. The central purpose of all education is that the nation as a whole should become self-sufficient in clear thinking and appropriate skills.

Most definitions of education essentially speak of building of character comprising sincerity, honesty and integrity and then acquiring skill in order to earn livelihood. It is really the parental education that can teach and help character-building whereas the institutional education does skill building. Responsibility towards the state and the nature are to be learnt in both the platforms.

‘Realists’ On Russia – Analysis

NOVEMBER 7, 2016

In the US, the establishment Foreign Policy.com (FP) isn’t as realist geared as its establishment counterpart The National Interest, which is affiliated with the Center For The National Interest (CFTNI).

The Thomas Graham-Matthew Rojansky October 13 FP article “America’s Russia Policy Has Failed“, is a prime example of US foreign policy establishment articulated realism. Ideally, realists don’t engage in hypocritically negative and inaccurate characterizations, that can be easily thrown back at the other party to an issue.

In their FP article, Rojansky and Graham highlight Russia as “undemocratic” and characterize “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine…”, while sidestepping the cavalier Western foreign policy establishment attitude towards the overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, followed by a series of anti-Russian acts, that are opposed by a sizeable number on the territory of the former Ukrainian SSR. (On a comparative point, imagine FP accepting an article, that wrote of US aggression against Yugoslavia.)

The US government’s support for regimes less democratic than Russia puts into question the emphasis of portraying Russia as being undemocratic. For the better, (in terms of overall human rights) post-Soviet Russia isn’t the Soviet Union or Saudi Arabia. The democratic USA sees a mass media that regularly gives negatively inaccurate impressions of Russia. Those opposing that reality are subject to being caricatured and kept out of high profile situations.

Water scarcity Liquidity crisis

As water becomes ever more scant the world needs to conserve it, use it more efficiently and establish clear rights over who owns the stuff Nov 5th 2016 

“NOTHING is more useful than water,” observed Adam Smith, but “scarcely anything can be had in exchange for it.” The father of free-market economics noted this paradox in 18th-century Scotland, as rain-sodden and damp then as it is today. Where water is in ample supply his words still hold true. But around the world billions of people already struggle during dry seasons. Drought and deluge are a costly threat in many countries. If water is not managed better, today’s crisis will become a catastrophe. By the middle of the century more than half of the planet will live in areas of “water stress”, where supplies cannot sustainably meet demand. Lush pastures will turn to barren desert and millions will be forced to flee in search of fresh water.

Where water is available, when and in what condition matters hugely. About 97% of the water on earth is salty; the rest is replenished through seasonal rainfall or is stored in underground wells known as aquifers. Humans, who once settled where water was plentiful, are now inclined to shift around to places that are less well endowed, pulled by other economic forces. 

Climate change is making some parts of the planet much drier and others far wetter. As people get richer, they use more water. They also “consume” more of it, which means using it in such a way that it is not quickly returned to the source from which it was extracted. (For example, if it is lost through evaporation or turned into a tomato.) The big drivers of this are the world’s increased desire for grain, meat, manufactured goods and electricity. Crops, cows, power stations and factories all need lots of water.

Army assesses emerging tech to meet critical gaps

By: Mark Pomerleau
October 25, 2016

Part of the Army's planning to adapt to an increasingly contested and congested battle space involving a wide array of actors involves testing and evaluating how emerging technologies integrate with units. This was the thinking behind the Army Warfighting Assessment (AWA) 17.1, which began earlier this month.

Maj. Gen. Terry McKenrick, commander of the Army's Brigade Modernization Command, told C4ISRNET that AWA exercises seek to meet three key objectives or focuses — training for joint and multinational partners, improving interoperability with them, and continuing the assessment of concepts and capabilities for future forced development for the Army.

The exercise came out of the Network Integration Evaluations (NIE), which are focused on fielding and developing the mission command network out to the divisions and brigades across the Army over a number of years. McKenrick said the NIEs were somewhat of a restrictive environment as they don’t include joint or multinational partners given that their capabilities might be different and thus skew test results.

Understanding that the Army's joint deployments will always be relevant, McKenrick said they had to devise a training exercise with allies, in this case one focused more on innovation as opposed to integration, test and evaluation, as is the case with NIE. AWA, by contrast, will be examining innovative technologies and how they interoperate with units and partners in scenarios.

Army general: Don't just focus on 'the network'

By: Mark Pomerleau, 
November 2, 2016

The Army has been undertaking a significant effort focused on modernizing its information network, which provides a variety of services in the way of communication and online services, among others. The assistant program executive officer for operations, readiness and fielding at PEO C3T cautioned against taking a binary view of “the network.” 

“Let’s not talk just about 'the network,' " Gen. Karl Gingrich said, as the Army doesn’t view it as “the network.” 

Speaking during a panel discussion at the annual MilCom conference in Baltimore, Maryland, on Tuesday, Gingrich said the vision for PEO C3T is dominance through seamless mission command. By solely focusing on the network, it becomes a binary discussion — it’s either the network or not the network; the network’s on or the network’s up — he said, calling this a simplistic view. 

His shop ensures commanders at all echelons on the operational or tactical level all the way down to the squad leader have the ability to seamlessly execute mission command, he said, whether in involves air-ground, satellite-based terrestrial, voice or data. 

Gingrich said this is a joint effort and joint challenge, explaining that his team works tirelessly with the joint community to partner on numerous programs. 

Army's IT must be more maneuverable across domains

November 2, 2016 

Army's IT must be more maneuverable across domains

The Army's taking notice of the changing operational landscapes emerging. Part of this recognition involves the new push toward a multi-domain battle concept, one that recognizes the force must move beyond its traditional air-land battle to fight in air, land, littoral space and cyberspace.

This notion and recognition is where Army’s top leadership believes warfare is headed, William Lasher, deputy chief of staff, G6, Army Forces Command, said during a panel at the annual MILCOM conference in Baltimore Nov. 2. Lasher was referencing the rollout of the new battle concept at the annual AUSA conference in October. Multi-domain battle is substantially more complicated than air-land battle, he said.

The Army previously took steps toward such a construct as it recognized the need to build cyber capacity, Maj. Gen. John Morrison, commanding general of the Cyber Center of Excellence and commanding general at Fort Gordon, said at the same panel. The cyber forces provide organic cyber capabilities to enhance unified land operations.

Lasher explained that in the future adversaries will intentionally and frequently try to take down Army networks as an asymmetric means to undermine combat power. “We’re watching our adversaries do this in other areas,” he said.

The Dark Web isn’t all dark

NOVEMBER 2, 2016

Researchers who combed through the Dark Web, a portion of the internet masked by anonymizing software, found that a majority of the content there is legal. 

While the so-called Dark Web is often characterized as the digital domain for drug bazaars and illegal black markets, a new study indicates the majority of content available on this hidden portion of the internet is legal.

An analysis from from cybersecurity firm Terbium Labs that monitors Dark Web sites for stolen intellectual property or customer's personal data found that much of the Dark Web consists of ordinary sites, including graphic design services, personal blog posts, and Scandinavian political parties.

While criminals do take advantage of the Dark Web's cloak of anonymity, the study underscores its value for people and organizations that want to communicate without the risk of monitoring by government agencies on the open web.

The most commonly used tool for accessing Dark Web sites is the Tor anonymous web browser, which masks users' specific internet protocol addresses to hide their identity. Many of the hidden sites that Terbium analyzed aren't any less legal than destinations on the open web, which is much larger than the Tor network. 

According to the Tor Project, the nonprofit that manages the network, there are roughly 60,000 active Tor hidden services (or websites and chat services available only through the anonymous browser) as of Nov. 1. Terbium Labs analyzed 400 randomly chosen sites in its survey.

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