10 June 2015

Cross-border strike: Army enters Myanmar to hit Naga Militants

Pranav Kulkarni , Sushant Singh
June 10, 2015 

In a press conference, Army officials said, "We today inflicted significant casualties on militants along Indo-Myanmar border who were involved in Manipur ambush recently."

Days after militants killed 18 Armymen in Manipur, the special forces of the Army today conducted military operations inside Myanmar inflicting what it called “significant casualties” on the groups behind that ambush, the NSCN (K) and the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL).

While the Army’s statement said that the operations were at two locations along the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur and Nagaland, sources said special forces had gone across the border and were in “constant communication with Myanmar authorities”. Later tonight, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said that it was a cross-border operation, “unprecedented and extremely bold.” All Army men are said to have returned safe.

Army, Assam Rifles kill 50 ‘ultras’ on Myanmar border

June 10, 2015

In the aftermath of the Manipur ambush last week, Indian agencies said on Tuesday that the Army and the Assam Rifles killed over 50 insurgents in two operations along the India-Myanmar border in Nagaland and Manipur.

Top government sources said most of the killings took place in encounters in Ukhrul and Chandel districts of Manipur. Along the Nagaland border, eight insurgents are believed to have been killed.

In another incident, three insurgents were reported killed as an improvised explosive device they were carrying went off.

“We are yet to receive the exact details of those killed in the encounters. Operations are still under way,” said a Home Ministry official.

Giving a briefing, the Army said it had engaged two groups of insurgents and “inflicted significant casualties”.

Manipur’s moment of resolution

Jun 10, 2015

Popular support for insurgencies in Northeast India has waned... With insurgent outfits split between leaders who have a foothold in India and those in Myanmar, a historic opportunity exists to bring resolution to conflicts that have lingered for decades.

Indian Army’s Special Forces taking out the militants who ambushed an Indian Army convoy in Manipur is a rare show of resolve, and a warning to those who think they are safe in hideouts in Myanmar. It changes the game completely, and opens the path for a final resolution of conflicts that are decades old.

On the day the Armymen were ambushed, there was confusion. Was the attack in which 18 Armymen died the handiwork of Meitei insurgent groups, People’s Liberation Army and United National Liberation Front? Or was it, as some reports suggested, the handiwork of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland’s Khaplang faction, with support from other groups that are part of a new umbrella grouping of north-eastern insurgent outfits? The answers only led to harder questions.

Can there be a “moderate” Islamist terror group?

Robert Fisk
Jun 10 2015 

The Middle East''s wars — the real horrific ones with blood and gore — will generate forests of books and PhD theses in years to come. Exactly whose side the US thinks it is on in Syria will be the theme of many of them

For years, the CIA’s weapons have been pouring into Syria and they have inevitably ended up in the hands of Isis and al-Nusra
Al-Nusra's PR campaign began on al-Jazeera, which just happens to be funded by Qatar. Al-Nusra is pitching for US backing. It's an obvious pitch. Just when the Americans are frothing around for something sane to say about their non-existent policy in the Middle East, along comes the al-Nusra Front Al- Qaida beheaders and sectarian killers — to suggest that they are just the “moderates” Washington wants to fight the Assad regime in Syria. The word comes from the boss himself. Is al-Nusra anxious to attack the West? Think not of it. An enemy of the Christians, Alawites and other minorities in Syria? Perish the thought. Syria's minorities can come “into the bosom of Islam”. And al-Nusra believes the “Islamic State/Islamic Caliphate/Isis/Isil/Daesh” is “illegitimate”.

Ukraine’s troubled geography

S. Nihal Singh
Jun 10, 2015

Western support has led the rhetoric of Kiev to a stridently pro-Western and anti-Russian pitch... Yet a glance at the map of Ukraine and the adjoining Russian Federation will highlight the absurdity of these two countries living as enemies.

The crisis over Ukraine is worsening, but it is far from clear at this point whether it will lead to a Western rethink on integrating the country into its sphere of influence. The outcome of the two-day summit of Group of Seven (from which Russia was excluded for the second year) stuck to its familiar tough formulation. But in some academic circles in the United States and Europe, there is a growing trend that peace can only come if the West recognises the divided nature of Ukraine’s leanings. The country is greatly dependent on Russian goodwill, given the pro-Russian inclinations of roughly half its population in the East and its geographical location. Forcing Ukraine to sign on to a Western agenda does not make sense.

A next step called Teesta

Farooq Sobhan
June 10, 2015

For now, Bangladeshi sceptics are silent. But Delhi and Dhaka will soon need to take stock of the unanswered questions and necessary follow-up measures for the agreements signed.

I came, I saw, I conquered. This seems to be the theme of Narendra Modi’s record-breaking travels around the world and in the neighbourhood. Was it any different in the case of Bangladesh? He certainly seems to have won the hearts of a lot of people, including, it would appear, Begum Khaleda Zia and the Jamaat. For the time being, the sceptics have been silenced or mesmerised by Modi’s rhetoric, his masterly handling of the media, in particular, the social media. In the midst of all the hoopla, razzmatazz and cut-outs of Modi around Dhaka and the hype surrounding the visit, most people were reluctant to ask some of the hard questions that have plagued India-Bangladesh relations over the past four decades. Now that the visit is over, both sides need to sit down and take stock of it and the multiple follow-up measures required.


June 9, 2015 

Several weeks ago, the Pakistani armed forces accused India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing, or RAW, of fomenting terrorism.

A statement issued by the military’s media wing after a Corps Commanders conference on May 5 minced no words. “The Conference…took serious notice of RAW’s involvement in whipping up terrorism in Pakistan.”
RAW Emotion

Accusing Indian spies of subversive and nefarious activities in Pakistan is an age-old practice. Such charges afford Pakistani officials a means of shielding themselves from blame for their country’s ills. They also convey a reassuring Muslims-cannot-be-responsible-for violence message that plays well among the general population. Yet, these accusations go well beyond terrorism. Pakistanis have constantly conjured up conspiracies that deposit blame for all manner of misfortune — from floods to fraud scandals — on India’s doorstep.

Pakistan Ups its Defense Spending

On Friday, Pakistan unveiled its new defense budget for the next fiscal year. The budget stands at 780 billion rupees—approximately $7.7 billion—for Pakistan’s “Defense Affairs and Services,” marking an 11 percent increase over last year’s spending. The increase is roughly in line with Pakistan’s year-on-year defense budget increases, which amount to roughly 3.5 percent of its GDP.

The Pakistani finance minister, Ishaq Dar, made the announcement in the country’s parliament that 780 billion rupees had been allocated for defense spending through next year. “The defense budget is being increased from the 700 billion rupees [approximately $6.87 billion] for 2014-15 to 780 billion rupees for 2015-15, which is an increase of about 11 percent,” he remarked.

EU-Pakistan Relationship: Looking Beyond The Trading Partnership – Analysis

By Ana Ballesteros-Peiró
June 7, 2015

The relationship between the EU and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has grown in recent years in the fields of politics and development. However, although the EU is regarded as a strong economic player it is still seen as a weak political power. The EU intends to change that view by using its position as a development and aid donor as its main strategy to foster democracy and strengthen Pakistan’s institution-building. The main areas of cooperation are development, trade, humanitarian assistance and sectoral co-operation on energy, environment, health, transport, migration and climate change. The challenge for both partners is to get to know each other and build up mutual trust as the intention is to develop a long-term relationship.

China floats dangerously over troubled waters of South China Sea

By Claude Arpi
09 Jun , 2015

Some watchers have predicted a ‘crack’, others a ‘collapse’, all might be wrong, but the fact remains that the Middle Kingdom has entered troubled waters, not only in the South China Sea.

Chinese-language Radio Free Asia (RFA) recently reported about a meeting between three foreign scholars and Wang Qishan, the all-powerful head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the organisation responsible for chasing the ‘tigers’ and the ‘flies’ and enforcing the Communist Party of China’s rule and discipline over the country.

Guess what? The ‘scholars’ were Japanese, a nation not always on best terms with the Chinese leadership.

The meeting took place in Zhongnanhai, the Party’s secluded headquarters, on April 23. The Japanese scholars were Stanford University academics: renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama, economist Masahiko Aoki, and former CITIC Securities’ head, Tatsuhito Tokuchi.

Is Asian Tourism Too Dependent on China?

Last Friday, MasterCard released the 2015 version of its Global Destination Cities Index which tracks the most visited cities around the world.

Unsurprisingly, Asia does remarkably well when it comes to the number of international visitors. If we look at just the 2015 projected numbers, eight of the twenty top cities are based in Asia – Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai. Looking across the past few years, four of the five fastest-growing cities in the world over the 2009-2015 period are located in Asia – Taipei, Tokyo, Bangkok and Seoul – with all of them still expanding by double-digits annually (the lone non-Asian city here was Istanbul).

Will All Roads in Central Asia Eventually Lead to China?

June 09, 2015

In 2000, China’s trade with Central Asia was about $1 billion. By 2013, when Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative while in Kazakhstan, trade had ballooned to $50 billion. China’s insatiable need for raw materials and natural resources has fueled its push into the region that locals view with both fascination and fear.

A recent roundtable arranged by RFE/RL picked through the methods and reasons for China’s engagement in Central Asia. The director of RFE/RL’s Turkmen service, Muhammad Tahir moderated the discussion. He was joined by Reid Standish of Foreign Policy, Bruce Pannier, of RFE/RL, Galym Bokash of RFE/RL‘s Kazakh Service, and RFE/RL intern Bradley Jardine, a graduate student at Glasgow University.

Malaysia Responds to China’s South China Sea Intrusion

June 09, 2015

Malaysian and US ships on an exercise around the Strait of Malacca.

Last week, The Borneo Post reported that China had once again encroached into Malaysian waters in the South China Sea.

According to the June 2 report, confirmed by Malaysian officials, a Chinese Coast Guard ship had been detected intruding into Malaysian waters at the Luconia Shoals – which Malaysia calls Beting Patinggi Ali. In this case, the vessel was not just passing through, but had been defiantly anchored just 84 nautical miles from the coast of Sarawak, well inside Malaysia’s exclusive economic zone and on the southern end of China’s nine-dash line which covers about ninety percent of the South China Sea.

Can This Chinese Tank Beat Russia’s T-14 Armata?

June 09, 2015

Chinese tank maker Norinco claims that its VT-4 is superior to Russia’s deadliest armored fighting vehicle. 

Last week, China Daily reported that China’s biggest developer and manufacturer of land armaments, China North Industries Group Corporation, is aggressively promoting its products on WeChat, a social networking app with more than 500 million users.

During Norinco’s latest marketing drive on WeChat, the company claims that its VT-4 tank boasts superior automation, mobility, and fire-control systems to Russia’s T-14 Armata (see: “Putin’s New ‘Wunderwaffe’: The World’s Deadliest Tank?” ). Additionally, the article claims that the VT-14s technology is in general more reliable than that of the T-14.

China's Silk Road in Europe: Not Just Hungary

June 09, 2015

Hungary became the first country to sign a Silk Road MoU, but various other European states are already on board. 

Hungary has become the first European country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, China media report. The MoU was signed on Sunday, during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Budapest, where he met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In a statement on the occasion, Wang said he hopes more European countries will join in.

Hungary may be the first country in Europe to officially sign an MoU relating to China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy, but the subject has cropped up repeatedly during Chinese interactions with Europe. When Xi Jinping toured Europe in April 2014, with stops in The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium, he urged the EU and China to work togetherto combine EU policies with China’s Belt and Road. When Li Keqiang attended the China-Central and Eastern European (CEE) Leaders’ Meeting in Serbia in December 2014, he also highlighted the role Europe has to play in the Belt and Road – and the role China can play in completing infrastructure and energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe under the aegis of that initiative.

China’s Impressive Performance on HIV/AIDS

By Jaime Santirso
June 09, 2015

Sex is a controversial yet evolving issue in China. In this field, like many others, the country’s economic boom and opening to the world are clashing with traditional values. China has become a destination for international immigration, which has resulted in more interactions between locals and foreigners, the latter often more liberal in their lifestyles. This contact is one of the factors that have fuelled what has been labeled aslow sexual revolution.

This still nascent revolution has a great many obstacles to overcome. One of them is how rigorously the social sphere is protected in China against any sexual manifestations – pornography is a good example. Researchconducted by experts from Harvard University in 2013 showed how, along with censorship itself, pornography is the only issue that is systematically censored in Chinese social media. This suppression is done on a scale even greater than that against posts critical of the state, political leaders, or public policies. The reason is that, according to Chinese officials, pornography violates public morality, damages the health of young people, and encourages disorder and chaos. It is noteworthy that this conservative attitude takes place in a country not driven by religious values, where most citizens profess no religion at all.

Why China Wants Aircraft Carriers

Despite trying to negate U.S. aircraft carriers, Beijing is building its own. Why?

China’s recent release of its first strategic white paper signals its official emergence as a maritime—and therefore global—power. Little in the document should surprise those who have monitored China’s rise, though it remains to be seen whether China watchers will discern nuance and inscrutability instead of taking Beijing at its word. Simply put, China views the United States as Asia’s hegemon, and its strategy seeks to deprive the United States of this role. 

In its quest to eject the United States from a position of power and influence in the region, China has embarked upon a naval building and modernization program. At first, this program seemed aimed at rendering U.S. wartime support to Taiwan moot after the 1996 Taiwan Straits crisis. The effort included weapons and platforms designed specifically to target U.S maritime power projection capability—primarily resident in the air wings of its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier force. Early on, some assigned non-threatening motives for the buildup given the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue to Beijing. Yet over time, China began to develop weapons and sensor architectures far beyond those necessary or even useful for Taiwan scenarios. The Chinese naval program began to lay the foundation for regional maritime dominance and global influence by building modern multi-purpose destroyers, nuclear attack submarines, amphibious vessels, and an improved logistics force.


June 9, 2015 

Turkey’s election, held last Sunday, will go down in history as one of the most consequential for the young democracy. After months of listening to candidates and pundits, millions of Turkish citizens flocked to the polls to cast their votes in an election many saw as a foregone conclusion. Despite widespread fatalistic perceptions going into the vote, Turks seemed to have surprised themselves, not just by the 86% turnout of eligible voters, but by the results, which show a vibrant and strong democratic culture in spite of the many recent challenges.

Unlike the dramatic story of David Cameron’s surprise triumph in Britain or the renewed mandate for Shinzo Abe in Japan, where expectations were kept low, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) were handed only a tepid victory. Erdoğan was not on the ballot but was a ubiquitous force throughout the campaign with his apocalyptic rhetoric denouncing the other parties and the ruin they would bring for Turkey. But most voters were unconvinced. For the first time in its 13 years of governance and after four national elections, the AKP was unable to win a simple majority, meaning that a coalition will be needed to form a government and Erdoğan is unlikely to get a presidential system — which would have increased his powers even more — through the parliament. Still, breathless pronouncements that the AKP is finished and Erdoğan has been soundly defeated are premature.

In Terror Fight, Australia Debates Revoking Citizenship

A controversial proposal would strip would-be terrorists of citizenship. Will that help? 

Australians make up one of the largest per capita cohorts of foreigners fighting for ISIS. More than100 citizens are currently fighting in Syria and Iraq and approximately 30 have been killed in fighting. Another 150 have been identified as supporting ISIS from within Australia and a further 400 high priority cases are being investigated by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. With the memory of the Lindt Café siege late last year still looming large in Australian government and intelligence circles, and as Australian troops are deployed to fight ISIS, the government has taken a tough line approach to try to stem the trend in radicalization. Yet many in policy circles and the Australian Muslim community argue that the current approach is counter-productive. They may well be right.

No, Iran Isn't Destabilizing the Middle East

June 8, 2015 

As the nuclear negotiations with Iran enter what may be their final lap, diehard opponents of any agreement with Tehran have been leaning more heavily than ever on the theme that Iran is a nasty actor in the Middle East intent on doing all manner of nefarious things in the region. Insofar as the theme is not just an effort to generate distaste for having any dealings with the Iranian regime and purports to have a connection with the nuclear agreement, the idea is that the sanctions relief that will be part of the agreement will give Iran more resources to do still more nefarious stuff in the region.

Several considerations invalidate this notion, just on the face of it, as a reason to oppose the nuclear agreement. The chief one is that if Iran really were intent on doing awful, destructive things in its neighborhood, that would be all the more reason to ensure it does not build a nuclear weapon—which is what the agreement being negotiated is all about.

Sorry, Hardliners: Iran Wants a Nuclear Deal

Despite Iranian hardliners' best efforts, the country remains firmly in favor of a deal.

It is no secret that Iran’s political elites are divided over many issues involving a final deal Iran might strike with the West over its nuclear program. But public opinion favoring an agreement could be a major factor in reaching a positive outcome by the deadline at the end of this month.

Just as a video was leaked on May 27 showing a hardline lawmaker, Mehdi Kouchakzadeh, in a nasty exchange with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who leads the nuclear negotiations with six Western powers, a public opinion survey—yet to be made public—indicated public opinion favors a comprehensive nuclear deal.

Turkey's Elections: A Blow to Islamism?

June 9, 2015 

"The United States should support efforts of the new Turkish government and civil society to ensure a healthy balance between piety and pluralism."

The outcome of Turkey’s parliamentary elections: a veto of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s proposed presidential system. What fate then for the longer-term goal Erdoğan so often invoked: raising a pious generation? Will Islamicization—the injection of measures informed by Islamic law into public life—proceed in Turkey if Erdoğan is sidelined?

With only 258 seats, the ruling Justice and Development Party can only form a coalition government, a far cry from the 367-seat mandate needed to make Erdoğan executive president. The game-changer was pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP). HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş was the first politician able to harness energies unleashed by protests across the country since the Gezi park protests of 2013. Doubling its votes since the last national elections to 13 percent, the HDP soared across the country’s ten percent electoral threshold. Its message: pluralism, not Erdoğan, is the answer to Turkey’s problems.

Ron Paul: Soros Pushes US Bailouts And Weapons For Ukraine – OpEd

By Ron Paul
June 7, 2015

If you look at the track record of the interventionists you might think they would pause before taking on more projects. Each of their past projects has ended in disaster yet still they press on. Last week the website Zero Hedge posted a report about hacked emails between billionaire George Soros and Ukrainian President Poroshenko.

Soros is very close to the Ukrainian president, who was put in power after a US-backed coup deposed the elected leader of Ukraine last year. In the email correspondence, Soros tells the Ukrainian leadership that the US should provide Ukraine “with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force.” In other words, despite the February ceasefire, Soros is pushing behind the scenes to make sure Ukraine receives top-of-the-line lethal weapons from the United States. Of course it will be up to us to pay the bill because Ukraine is broke.



The Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center was bustling with military personnel. Tall, broad-shouldered soldiers donning masks and sunglasses had their guns at the ready, and a mini-drone built at Ariel University, an Israeli school located in the occupied West Bank, went up in the air, flying high as the press snapped photos.

This was not war, but one of the many demos held at the ISDEF expo, an annual June event that attracts thousands of security officials and professionals interested in weapons. Arms fairs in Israel showcase the latest products the profitable Israeli weapons industry manufactures — and the demos are the perfect place to show those products off.

Powering Cambodia’s Economy

By Paul Pryce
June 08, 2015

The country needs innovative solutions to make good its energy deficit. 

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the greatest obstacle to foreign investment in the Cambodian economy is the country’s deep energy shortfall. In 2002, 80-85 percent of rural households were without power in Cambodia, and rice millers were forced to import electricity from Vietnam and Thailand at significantly marked-up rates. According to Cambodia’s Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy, the situation has not improved much in more than a decade, with only 26 percent of households nationally supplied with electricity and the capital of Phnom Penh accounting for approximately 80 percent of consumption.

America Sends Nuclear Bombers to Russia's Doorstep

June 8, 2015 

America is sending three nuclear-capable bombers to Russia’s borders to participate in a military exercise near the Baltics and Poland.

On Friday, U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) announced that three B-52 Stratofortresses were being sent on a short-term deployment to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Fairford, United Kingdom. They will be joined by two B-2s.

During the deployment, however, the three B-52 bombers will “conduct training flights with ground and naval forces around the region and participate in multinational Exercises BALTOPS 15 and SABER STRIKE 15 over international waters in the Baltic Sea and the territory of the Baltic states and Poland,” STRATCOM said in a press release.

Why South Korea Is So Obsessed with Japan

June 8, 2015 

Last month I wrote about the possibility that 'Korea fatigue' – a Japanese phenomenon arising from Korea's relentless criticism of Japan over its World War II conduct—might be coming to the U.S. It was one of my most-read posts on The Interpreter, and I received a lot of comments and retweets regarding my suggestion that South Korea's 'anti-Japanism' flows from its debilitating national legitimacy contest with North Korea. So I thought I would flesh out that argument.

It is immediately obvious to anyone who has spent substantial time in South Korea that its people and its elites have an extraordinary, and negative, fixation with Japan.

Could China Spark the Next Global Financial Crisis?

June 9, 2015 

Are we heading toward a "global financial crisis with Chinese characteristics" thanks to a property market collapse?

China’s slowing property market has forced Beijing to put its foot on the policy gas pedal, worried as it is by the effects of a deepening slump. For a government whose legitimacy is based on economic growth, the consequences of the property bubble bursting could be far-reaching, threatening not only China, but the region and beyond.

Fuelled by cheap credit and a lack of alternative investments, China’s property market enjoyed a massive boom during the past decade that has only recently cooled. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, property prices increased by 60 percent from 2008 to August 2014 in forty Chinese cities, with residential property prices in prime locations in Shanghai now only about 10 percent below levels in New York and Paris.

With 89,000 developers, China’s property industry now accounts for 15 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and 28 percent of fixed-asset investment.

SCO-BRICS: A Big Summit in Ufa

By Greg Shtraks
June 08, 2015

The summit next month will reveal much about the future of Russia’s Eurasian dream. 

Since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis there has been a clear shift in the tectonic plates of global geopolitics. An increasingly assertive Russia and China are challenging the U.S.-dominated order in a myriad of ways, but the actual contours of the emerging multipolar world are still hazy. On the one hand, as Huiyun Feng describes in her recent article forThe Diplomat, the two opposing sides seem to be set. The Russia-China Entente and its coterie of Eurasian autocracies seems to be a genuine, lasting phenomenon. Meanwhile, the G-7 is unified in its opposition to Moscow, while the United States has reinforced its Pacific alliances with Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. On the other hand, the path of middle powers such as India, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, and Indonesia remains uncertain. Despite prodding from the United States none of these countries joined Washington in imposing sanctions against Russia and all are interested in profiting from China’s evolving “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Here's why most companies fail but Google won't: Eric Schmidt

8 Jun, 2015

The land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh is a milestone in bilateral ties between them, writes Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty 

A rally by Indo Bangladesh Chhitmahal Binimoy Sammanay Committee, Coochbehar, 2013

The author is former secretary in the ministry of external affairs and a former High Commissioner to Bangladesh. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Delhi

The recent successful passage of the Constitution amendment bill through both houses of Parliament has cleared the way for the implementation of the land boundary agreement between Bangladesh and India. This is clearly a landmark development and a momentous achievement for the government of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, showing a clear and unambiguous preference for re-energizing India's neighbourhood policy. It not only removes all hurdles for the final settlement of India's longest border with any neighbour, but also paves the way for the exchange of enclaves and the merger of adverse possessions by re-drawing the international boundary, also known as the Radcliffe Line. This line was drawn in much haste by a British civil servant, as the date for India's Independence and Partition approached. Radcliffe had never travelled to India and consequently had no experience of serving in India. The British brought him with a purpose - to do this hatchet job which left enclaves, adverse possessions and undemarcated boundaries on the ground. The Radcliffe line passed through villages, dividing communities and villages and in some cases putting the kitchen area on different sides of the line from the rest of a village hut. Radcliffe drew the line based on maps, making no effort to relate it to ground realities. India has struggled with this legacy during the days of East Pakistan and thereafter, Bangladesh. It is this legacy of Partition that has been finally put to rest.

Does cyber breach illuminate a $3B DHS failure?

Amber Corrin

The massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management made public on June 4 exposed personal information of roughly 4 million current and former federal employees. But the attack also revealed that despite the extensive resources sunk into network defenses and confident talk of high-level officials, the government's data remains poorly defended.

U.S. officials quickly identified China as a possible source of the attack, a charge thatChina quickly criticized.

The cyber attack on OPM – or more specifically, on Interior Department data centers that house OPM data –occurred despite government-wide cybersecurity efforts led by the Homeland Security Department that include continuous diagnostic monitoring and the $3 billion Einstein network monitoring program.

Dusting for Beijing’s Digital Fingerprints


Washington says China is behind the biggest hack of U.S. government servers in history. Proving the case will be much harder.

American officials are still trying to calculate the damage from a massive hack of the Office of Personnel Management that resulted in the loss of the personal data of millions of federal workers. It’s the second time in a year that the OPM has been attacked by hackers. And it’s the second time in a year that U.S. officials are pointing the finger squarely at China.

Anonymous officials speaking to the New York Times and Washington Post said they believed the attack was launched from China, though those two reports were marked by an important distinction: the Post said that U.S. officials believed the attack was state-sponsored; the Times said it was unclear whether the breach had been orchestrated at the behest of Chinese authorities.

Here's why you shouldn't take US-China hacking tensions too seriously

S. Kumar
JUNE 8, 2015

The U.S. might consider China to be an eccentric and very flawed business partner, but its certainly not an enemy. 

Last week, it was revealed that Chinese hackers launched a massive cyber attack on the U.S. government, affecting 4 million current and former federal employees. The blackmail potential of such information, and the harm to U.S. national security, should be obvious. And the connection with China should not be surprising since the U.S. has been fighting this war for some time. A senior Chinese government official even stated recently that the country is assembling an “online army,” which means that the cyber war between the U.S. and China is bound to heat up.

And given that this comes in the wake of aggressive Chinese military posturing over disputed islands in the South China Sea, you would think the two nations really are at the brink of war.

We should be very clear: China is at virtual war with the United States

JUN 5, 2015

Last month's massive breach of federal employees' data at the hands of the Chinese, made public Thursday, indicates a treacherous new reality in the global cyber game.

"It's very serious indeed," geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer, the founder of Eurasia Group, told Business Insider.

"China's offensive cyber capabilities have consistently surprised the United States in terms of breadth and sophistication of attacks.

"The latest attacks revealed yesterday show millions of existing and former US government employees with their private data now in the hands of the Chinese state."

The Obama administration has refrained from making any official statements about China's role in the attack on the Office of Personnel Management, since it is still so difficult to trace a data breach back to its original source.

An unnamed official told Reuters that information taken includes security clearance information and background checks going back decades.

America's growing cyber threat: Seven things we must do right now to protect US interests

By Van Hipp
June 05, 2015

Make no mistake, the United States has never been more unprepared for a conflict than it has been against the cyber war.

Our enemies are consistently inflicting damage on the American economy.

In fact, every year we lose more intellectual property on government, university, and business networks than all of the intellectual property in the Library of Congress.

Just this week, we saw a massive cyberattack that may have compromised the personal data of at least four million current and former federal employees.

China is the likely culprit.

Recently, we’ve also seen reports on how automobiles, which are being run more and more on computer technology, are vulnerable to cyberattack.


June 6, 2015 

Denial And Deception Operations Were Critical To The Successful Normandy Invasion, And The Ultimate Defeat Of Germany — Could Western Intelligence Agencies Repeat That Feat Today (2015)? Probably Not

Denial and deception operations have been employed in combat since the dawn of mankind; and this particular form of warfare is at least 3,500 years old — dating back to ancient China. Denial and deception operations became a staple of Persia’s back of tricks some 2,000 years ago; and, the Russian’s have been perfecting this particular art for at least several centuries. In the early 1900’s, Russia established the TRUST, to subvert dissident groups — which it did very effectively, and to the detriment of many a Russian dissident who ended up in the Gulag, or worse. Today, the Russian Security Service is utilizing the Edward Snowden fiasco to their benefit and skillfully manipulating the young and clueless Mr. Snowden. More worrisome, renowned scholars such as Michael Pillsbury, make a compelling argument that China is currently employing several different forms of deception — to keep Washington focused on the ‘wrong’ issues, while Beijing continues to build her economic and military might. And, what of Iran and their pursuit of nuclear weapons? Is Tehran employing a clever denial and deception campaign — until we recognize too late that they already have a nuclear weapon or weapons?

Beyond Google Earth, How One Company Wants to See the World in 3D

June 5, 2015

Vricon offers a new way to map the world

NASA Releases Space Nuclear Power Study

NASA has released a long-awaited Nuclear Power Assessment Study that examines the prospects for the use of nuclear power in civilian space missions over the next 20 years.

The Study concludes that there is a continuing demand for radioisotope power systems, which have been used in deep space exploration for decades, but that there is no imminent requirement for a new fission reactor program.

The 177-page Study, prepared for NASA by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, had been completed several months ago but was withheld from public release due to unspecified “security concerns,” according to Space News. Those concerns may have involved the discussion of the proposed use of highly enriched uranium as fuel for a space reactor, or the handling of plutonium-238 for radioisotope power sources.

Nuclear power can be enabling for a variety of space missions because it offers high power density in compact, rugged form. Radioisotope power sources (in which the natural heat of decay is converted into electricity) have contributed to some of the U.S. space program’s greatest achievements, including the Voyager I and II probes to the outer solar system and beyond. But development of nuclear reactor technology for use in space has been dogged by a repeated series of false starts in which anticipated mission requirements failed to materialize.

The World's Biggest Danger: Debt

June 8, 2015

In an interview on Bloomberg last month, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President Jim Bullard admitted that the central bank has only recently begun to focus on how the functioning of credit markets affects the U.S. economy. He went on to note that the United States was the only nation with developed "markets" for credit. This recent occurrence, he opined, made it understandable that economists would only have begun to think about the effects of credit market functionality on things like growth and job creation.

Listening to Bullard’s startling confession, it becomes clear why former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was so careful while building the consensus behind the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) response to the 2008 crisis. Despite the evidence provided in his brilliant 1983 essay on the importance of credit spreads to the functioning of the U.S. economy, Bernanke rarely mentioned his desire to see the FOMC maintain low rates so that credit spreads would fall. As my co-author Fred Feldkamp and I wrote in our 2014 book, Financial Stability: Fraud, Confidence & the Wealth of Nations, Bernanke’s fellow academic economists were way behind him in understanding the importance to the economy of restoring function to the bond markets.