18 April 2017

*** China's "Belt and Road Initiative": Underwhelming or Game-Changer?

By Nadège Rolland

Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative has received little U.S. attention, seriously underestimating its potential implications for the Eurasian continent. It is an essential component of China's grand strategy to realize the "China Dream" and solve its fundamental geopolitical challenge: how can China rise without pr
ovoking a countervailing response?

*** A Disruptive Nuclear China and India’s Imperatives

By Bharat Karnad

The United States policies and nuclear security literature have been the model and set the precedent for other countries to follow in the nuclear realm. Washington has striven to delegitimize the possession of nuclear weapons by less developed countries, to sustain a global nuclear order based on the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and to control nuclear developments especially in the subcontinent. By using different metrics of security the concerns and motivations of the five NPT-recognized nuclear weapon states (NWS) – US, Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China, the so-called P-5, have been de-linked from those of the non-NWS and the NPT non-signatories, such as India and Pakistan. This unhelpful tendency is beginning to be mended. A recent ‘Threat Assessment Brief’ by the influential Arms Control Association in Washington, DC, the leading non-proliferation lobby, for the first time expressly concedes the connection between what the US does as the leading nuclear weapons power, and how – by way of response calculi — it shapes the thinking of the Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani governments and determines the quality, quantity, posture, deployment patterns, and growth of their nuclear assets.[1]

This admission of the action-reaction effects of US nuclear policies on other nuclear weapon states is a good start. But there’s another, more important, reality that remains in the shadows — the collusive arrangements among the P-5 to not just overlook but actually condone each other’s past and continuing policies of deliberate nuclear proliferation. It served their respective national interests while imperilling the disarmament goal the P-5 publicly swear by.

The Obama Administration, contrary to its “weapons free world” rhetoric, earmarked one trillion dollars over the next 30 years to modernize and upgrade the US strategic triad, with a new strategic bomber, a more silent and lethal nuclear-powered ballistic nuclear missile firing submarine (SSBN) and a land-based advanced inter-continental range ballistic missile (ICBM).[2] Indeed, the US has spent some $8.25 billion in just improving one B61-12 atomic bomb.[3] To neutralize US and NATO conventional military superiority, Russia has emphasized a beefed up strategic muscle with induction of technologically impressive weapons and delivery platforms, including the new Topol-M ICBM, the Yassen-class SSBN, and the refurbished Tu-180 ‘Blackjack strategic bomber.[4] China’s strategic arsenal is, likewise, undergoing rapid growth and technological updating, inclusive of the DF-41 ICBM with multiple warheads, the Jin-class SSBN, and the H-6K bomber.[5] The British and French nuclear forces are alike in that, while smaller in size than during the Cold War years, feature advanced platforms and thermonuclear warheads for their attack systems (such as the British Trident SSBN).[6] This short summary of the state of the modernization of the P-5 strategic forces is to suggest that the Bomb will remain, for a very long time, the final arbiter of international relations. This is the context in which China’s unbridled nuclear proliferation policy abetted by Washington’s power politics considerations will be examined and India’s strategic imperatives located.

*** Don’t Forget Your Base

Respectfully, what the fuck are you doing? TheShadowBrokers voted for you. TheShadowBrokers supports you. TheShadowBrokers is losing faith in you. Mr. Trump helping theshadowbrokers, helping you. Is appearing you are abandoning “your base”, “the movement”, and the peoples who getting you elected.

Good Evidence:

#1 — Goldman Sach (TheGlobalists) and Military Industrial Intelligence Complex (MIIC) cabinet

#2 — Backtracked on Obamacare

#3 — Attacked the Freedom Causcus (TheMovement)

#4 — Removed Bannon from the NSC

#5 — Increased U.S. involvement in a foreign war (Syria Strike)

The peoples whose voted for you, voted against the Republican Party, the party that tried to destroying your character in the primaries. The peoples who voted for you, voted against the Democrat Party, the party that hates, mocks, and laughs at you. Without the support of the peoples who voted for you, what do you think will be happening to your Presidency? Without the support of the people who voted for you, do you think you’ll be still making America great again? Do you be remembering when you were sitting there at the Obama Press Party and they were all laughing at you? Do you be remembering when you touring the country and all those peoples believed in you and supported you? You were those peoples hope. How do you be thinking it will be feeling when those people turn on you? Will they be laughing at you, hating you, and mocking you too?

*** The Islamic State Loses An Important Ideological Weapon

Last week, the Islamic State released the eighth edition of its Rumiyah monthly magazine. Its cover story: an article lionizing Rumiyah's former editor, Ahmad Abousamra, who was killed in January by a U.S.-led coalition airstrike near Tabqa, Syria.

Graphic above: The Rumiyah magazine profile of Ahmad Abousamra reads "Among the Believers Are Men." But though there are still many men associated with the Islamic State, fewer and fewer of them are as gifted a propagandist as Abousamra. (Rumiyah)

Other experts have already done a commendable job of retracing Abousamra's steps as he transformed from a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston's computer science program to a propagandist of terrorism. (I encourage readers interested in his past to look at the profiles compiled by CNN's Paul Cruickshank and the Long War Journal's Thomas Joscelyn.) Rather than repeating their good work, I'd like to use Abousamra's case to look at the importance of propagandists to extremist groups such as the Islamic State - and the impact their removal from the battlefield can have in the fight against terrorism.
Spreading the Word

As I noted a few weeks ago, propagandists have always played a crucial role in terrorist groups' recruitment and radicalization efforts. In fact, early anarchists viewed terrorism itself as a form of propaganda, spread with the help of the media. Advances in the printing press and telegraph enabled anarchists to transmit their messages worldwide; decades later, jihadists became the early adopters of the internet. The Islamic State is no exception, and it has used social media to give its propaganda an unprecedented global reach.

But technology is a tool that is only as effective as the message it conveys. Many different actors have tried to use social media to promote their ideologies or sell their products, but very few have seen the success that the Islamic State has. Part of the group's appeal can be attributed to the apocalyptic nature of its beliefs and the excitement it has generated by telling followers they can help bring about the final battle between good and evil. Yet such claims are hardly unique: There are plenty of other cults with similar views, some of which have even tried to bring about the end of days. What set the Islamic State apart were its dramatic victories on the battlefield in 2014, which lent credibility to the group's promises to conquer the world. But even so, those wins were greatly amplified by the skill of the propaganda team the Islamic State had assembled under Abu Muhammed al-Furqan, the man in charge of the group's media diwan, or department.

** How America and China Could Stumble to War

Graham Allison

WOULD A Chinese leader barely in control of his own country after a long civil war dare attack a superpower that had crushed Japan to end World War II five years earlier by dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? As American troops pushed North Korean forces toward the Chinese border in 1950, Gen. Douglas MacArthur could not imagine so. But Mao Zedong did. MacArthur was dumbstruck. Chinese forces rapidly beat American troops back to the line that had divided North and South Korea when the war began. That thirty-eighth parallel continues to mark the border between the two Koreas today. By the time the war ended, nearly three million had perished, including thirty-six thousand American troops.

Similarly, in 1969, Soviet leaders could not imagine that China would react to a minor border dispute by launching a preemptive strike against a power with overwhelming nuclear superiority. But that is precisely what Mao did when he started the Sino-Soviet border war. The gambit showed the world China’s doctrine of “active defense.” Mao sent an unmistakable message: China would never be intimidated, not even by adversaries that could wipe it off the map.

In the years ahead, could a collision between American and Chinese warships in the South China Sea, a drive toward national independence in Taiwan or jockeying between China and Japan over islands on which no one wants to live spark a war between China and the United States that neither wants? It may seem hard to imagine—the consequences would be so obviously disproportionate to any gains either side could hope to achieve. Even a non-nuclear war conducted mostly at sea and in the air could kill thousands of combatants on both sides. Moreover, the economic impact of such a war would be massive. A 2016 RAND study found that, after just one year, American GDP could decline by up to 10 percent and Chinese GDP by as much as 35 percent—setbacks on par with the Great Depression. And if a war did go nuclear, both nations would be utterly destroyed. Chinese and American leaders know they cannot let that happen.

7 RAW rules that prove Kulbhushan Jadhav is not an agent; straight from the mouth of former sleuth A former officer of the Research and Analysis wing explains why former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav could not have been an 'asset' of R&AW. Prabhash K Dutta New Delhi, April 14, 2017 | UPDATED 20:04 IST A +A - Kulbhushan Jadhav Advertisement A diplomatic tug of war has been raging between India and Pakistan over death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. A military court in Pakistan has pronounced Kulbhushan Jadhav guilty of espionage and sponsoring terrorism in that country. Pakistan has claimed that its security agencies arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav while he was trying to enter the country in March last year. Pakistan has also claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a spy of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). Indiatoday.in spoke to a former R&AW officer, who handled important field operations in 'frontier' regions to verify Pakistan's claim on Kulbhushan Jadhav.The former R&AW officer, who did not wish to be named, said that Pakistan's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav was an Indian spy sent by its external intelligence agency was 'doubtful'. "Kulbhushan Jadhav can't be an R&AW asset," asserted the former officer. WHY KULBHUSHAN CAN'T BE R&AW AGENT: 7 REASONS The R&AW, usually, doesn't send 'outsiders' to Pakistan. As a matter of rule, only 'assets' living in bordering areas are sent across the border as they know the language and practice the same culture. They easily mix up with the local population. Kulbhushan Jadhav is from Maharashtra and had served in the Indian Navy. It is a disqualification for R&AW for any assignment in Pakistan. If the R&AW is to send an 'outsider' to Pakistan, the person must have almost super-human abilities and intellect. The 'asset' must be an extremely keen observer and quick learner, who can assimilate new social behaviour and adopt new practices seamlessly. Such persons are sent on short and extremely vital operations. Kulbhushan Jadhav does not fit the requirements. Also, Kulbhushan Jadhav remained in the region for too long. The R&AW does not send its 'assets' carrying Indian passport and that too through a third country. Kulbhushan was holding an Indian passport and tried to enter Pakistan illegally through Iran. This is not the way R&AW carries out its operations. The R&AW sends its 'assets' to a country only when it has 'source' in that country. The process is always smooth. It is highly unlikely for an R&AW agent to be caught while crossing the border. The R&AW operations are foolproof. What Pakistan counts as evidence in the video of Kulbhushan Jadhav released by its agencies last year, doesn't match with hard facts. Pakistan claimed and Kulbhushan allegedly confessed to have named an R&AW joint secretary by the name Anil Kumar Gupta. There has been no officer bearing the name on that position in the R&AW. Pakistan's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav had links with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, whom he met briefly can't be true. NSA does not meet field operatives. Moreover, the video released by Pakistan has glaring discrepancies. Kulbhushan Jadhav gives two dates for his retirement from Indian Navy. At one point of time, Kulbhushan Jadhav says that he left Indian Navy in 2001. Later, he says that he is still serving the Indian Navy and will retire in 2022. The video has many such instances giving impression that Kulbhushan Jadhav is in 'unstable state of mind' - possibly due to torture or under the influence of some drug. Businessmen operating in conflict zone, at times, offer to share information with the R&AW. This is especially done by those who don't do well in their businesses. This works on case to case basis with R&AW accepting some offers while rejecting others. But, such persons are never given longer and critical assignments. Kulbhushan Jadhav had small scale business in Iran. It was not possible for him to have 'deep' contacts. It is improbable that Kulbhushan Jadhav was an R&AW 'asset' of any significance.

Prabhash K Dutta

A diplomatic tug of war has been raging between India and Pakistan over death sentence awarded to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav. A military court in Pakistan has pronounced Kulbhushan Jadhav guilty of espionage and sponsoring terrorism in that country. 

Pakistan has claimed that its security agencies arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav while he was trying to enter the country in March last year. Pakistan has also claimed that Kulbhushan Jadhav is a spy of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). 

Indiatoday.in spoke to a former R&AW officer, who handled important field operations in 'frontier' regions to verify Pakistan's claim on Kulbhushan Jadhav.The former R&AW officer, who did not wish to be named, said that Pakistan's claim that Kulbhushan Jadhav was an Indian spy sent by its external intelligence agency was 'doubtful'. 

"Kulbhushan Jadhav can't be an R&AW asset," asserted the former officer. 


The R&AW, usually, doesn't send 'outsiders' to Pakistan. As a matter of rule, only 'assets' living in bordering areas are sent across the border as they know the language and practice the same culture. They easily mix up with the local population. Kulbhushan Jadhav is from Maharashtra and had served in the Indian Navy. It is a disqualification for R&AW for any assignment in Pakistan. 

If the R&AW is to send an 'outsider' to Pakistan, the person must have almost super-human abilities and intellect. The 'asset' must be an extremely keen observer and quick learner, who can assimilate new social behaviour and adopt new practices seamlessly. Such persons are sent on short and extremely vital operations. Kulbhushan Jadhav does not fit the requirements. Also, Kulbhushan Jadhav remained in the region for too long. 

How India Can Help in Afghanistan

By Alyssa Ayres

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani inspect the guard of honour in Herat province, Afghanistan June 4, 2016. (Omar Sobhani/Reuters) 

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will head to Afghanistan, and reportedly Pakistan and India as well, this weekend. In the wake of Thursday’s Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb drop in Afghanistan, targeting Islamic State cave-and-tunnel hideouts on the border with Pakistan, McMaster will have much to discuss with his Afghan interlocutors on the security front. 

The Donald J. Trump administration will need to reach a decision soon about the size of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Worrying trends in Afghanistan, like the fall of Sangin to the Taliban just weeks ago, underscore the need for a reassessment. The presence in Pakistan of internationally-proscribed terrorist groups like the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network undermine efforts to secure Afghanistan. Challenges to political stability, governance, and economic growth make it harder for Afghanistan to deliver opportunities for its citizens. The country could use assistance from all its partners on its economic growth and prosperity agenda. 

Once he arrives in New Delhi, McMaster should have in-depth discussions with his Indian interlocutors on regional stability. He will likely find that Indian officials view the situation very similarly to American officials, but may have different prescriptions due to their regional position and difficulties with neighbor Pakistan. He should use the opportunity to discuss how India—the fifth-largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan, and a power with deep expertise on governance, development, infrastructure, and commerce—could be a larger part of the international efforts to assist Afghanistan. 

Incredible Rush To Exceptional India

Lakshman Achuthan,

Powered by a rush of foreign investment, Indian stock prices surged to a new high last week. Posting double-digit returns year-to-date, Indian equities have outperformed stocks in the other BRIC economies, as well as the U.S. Also - while declining globally - foreign direct investment into India spurted to an eight-year high in 2016, exceeding India’s current account deficit for the first time since economic liberalization a quarter-century ago.

Back in September, in the face of a less hopeful consensus about India’s prospects, ECRI presented a contrarian report titled “Exceptional India." The report noted that, “bucking the [global] trend … Indian export growth prospects continue to improve," according to ECRI’s Indian Leading Exports Index.

Lights for the Enlightened: An Engineering Trek in the Himalayas


Photo: Paula BronsteinTibetan Buddhist monks celebrate the electrification of the prayer hall at Lingshed Monastery, in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas. The LED lights are connected to solar direct-current microgrids, installed by volunteer engineers from the IEEE Smart Village initiative.

At the Lingshed Gompa, a Buddhist monastery high in the Indian Himalayas, the prayer hall is dark. Of course it’s dark: The sun set 2 hours ago. On any other night, an apprentice monk would have hurried to light kerosene lamps and candles, virtually the only source of artificial illumination in this remote spot. Tonight, though, the lamps and candles remain unlit, and in the hushed murk of the prayer hall, monks and engineers sit in close quarters on the floor and wait, not making a sound, not moving a muscle.

Suddenly a voice booms. “Lingshed Gompa! Great switch on!” Dazzling white light floods the room, as the gathered crowd bursts into applause and a drummer beats out a celebratory tattoo. The lights reveal a knot of monks standing in the center gazing up, their eyes and broad smiles a tableau of wondrous joy.


Paras Loomba is founder of Global Himalayan Expedition, a nonprofit that has deployed solar microgrids in 15 remote villages that had no access to the power grid. GHE partnered with IEEE Smart Village on the Lingshed project. Photo: Paula Bronstein

Importance of being Tawang

Written by Varinder Bhatia 

The Dalai Lama’s visit has turned the spotlight on a region beset by the lack of basic amenities. The Indian Express explains the gaps in infrastructure, from poor connectivity, shoddy healthcare to power woes, and the way ahead

 Located at 10,000 ft above sea level, Tawang is on the edge of India’s eastern border. (Photo: Varinder Bhatia)

IT TOOK the Dalai Lama four days on a treacherous 500-km road, after his helicopter couldn’t take off due to bad weather, to get to Tawang. He was in the hill town for four days (April 7-10). As the dust settles on his trip, Tawang, a district on the edge of India’s eastern border, will again slip back into off-the-radar, genteel negligence, to be stirred back into life only when India and China joust.

Most of that tussle rests on conflicting bids to bring the world to Tawang, located at 10,000 ft above sea level. China has launched a big infrastructure push: the government last year announced that it will build a second railway line to Tibet linking capital Lhasa with the south-western city of Chengdu. In November 2013, China opened an all-weather road linking Medog County in the Tibet-Autonomous-Region (TAR), close to the border in Arunachal Pradesh, with the rest of its counties.

With this, every TAR county is connected to a highway network in China. In July 2013, the Chinese government announced that it would spend about 200 billion Yuan (approximately 32.3 billion US dollars) to build a road network centered around Lhasa and extend the combined length of the TAR’s highways to over 1,10,000 kilometres.

Changing behaviour of smaller states in the Indian subcontinent

India shouldn’t be overly worried about the vacillating nature of its neighbours

The Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina is on a four-day official visit to India, starting today. Thus, now is a good time to ask these tough questions: why is India’s neighbourhood engagement important? Is there a need to revaluate India’s benevolent policy towards small states in its neighbourhood? And finally, should India oppose the growing Chinese presence in the Indian subcontinent?[For an analytical definition of the term small states, refer to this paper.]

Kathmandu, SAARC Summit 2014 [Image courtesy: Flickr, User: anantablamichhane, Licence: CC BY 2.0]

In reality, a lot of India’s “benevolence” is motivated by old, misguided notions like India’s Monroe Doctrine—an idea that perceives small, sovereign states in vicinity as “India’s own backyard”. Such a view underplays the agency of these states as independent actors and is thus obsessed with India’s own presence in these countries. This view is outdated. These false notions impede a realist assessment of India’s neighbourhood policy.

Now, returning to the big question: if the most fundamental aim of Indian foreign policy is to ensure peace and prosperity for all Indians, in what ways can small states in the neighbourhood achieve this aim? I contend that the role played by these small states has changed, and substantially so. Until about a decade back, India’s challenger in the subcontinent was Pakistan, China was barely interested. In those days, a benevolent small state policy — one that went beyond strict reciprocity — served India well. It was necessary to ensure that small states did not turn a blind eye or support Pakistan’s terrorist agenda on their respective territories. Even without the Pakistan angle, cooperation with small states on the eastern front was important for eliminating terrorists operating along India’s north-eastern borders.

‘Military strategy alone won’t solve Afghan crisis’


Sound advice: The fundamentals of India-US ties are strong, says former U.S. assistant secretary Nisha Biswal 

U.S. should join hands with stakeholders, says ex-diplomat

The U.S.’s policy on Afghanistan must combine a military strategy with a diplomatic and economic plan, former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal, has said. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is travelling to Kabul, Islamabad and New Delhi even as the Trump administration is reviewing the U.S policy on Afghanistan. In a show of strength, the U.S. used its most lethal non-nuclear bombs on an Islamic State target in Afghanistan last week.

In an interview before the bombing of the IS target, Ms. Biswal told The Hindu. “There are some indications that there is a willingness (of the Trump administration) to increase the level of troops in Afghanistan. That would be welcome. But a security strategy that is not paired with a diplomatic and economy strategy has limitations. I would urge there must be a comprehensive strategy, working with the countries in the region, as the durable way forward.”

The U.S commander in Afghanistan has recently asked for troops increase to break what he described as a stalemate in the military conflict.

360 Degree: Balochistan — Pakistan’s Kashmir

Sushant Sareen

While dealing with Pakistan, instead of being hot headed, India should be cold-blooded and ruthless.

The outrage in India over the death sentence pronounced on the alleged spy and former Indian Navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, by a kangaroo court held by the Pakistan army is entirely understandable.

Jadhav could not have fallen into Pakistan’s clutches at a more opportune time for Rawalpindi, handing no better stick to beat India with on the Baloch insurgency. With Jadhav’s death sentence making peace talks highly unlikely — even if US’ Nikki Haley flags it — India’s counter can only draw blood if it truly makes Balochistan, Pakistan’s Kashmir.

He outrage in India over the death sentence pronounced on the alleged spy and former Indian Navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, by a kangaroo court held by the Pakistan army is entirely understandable. But it is also quite counterproductive because it creates a commitment trap which could weaken India's bargaining position vis-à-vis Pakistan.

While dealing with Pakistan, instead of being hot headed, India should be cold-blooded and ruthless. Diplomatic niceties, protocols, procedures and mechanisms that normally guide the functioning of both the front and back channels, have extremely limited utility when it comes to dealing with an inveterate enemy country like Pakistan.

Myanmar by Elections: Has Suu Kyi lost her sheen?

By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan

A year after a resounding victory of NLD in the general elections, the recently held by elections have some lessons for Suu Kyi.

Elections were held for 19 seats- 8 in Shan State, 5 in Yangon and one each in Chin, Mon, Karenni, Arakan, Pegu and Sagaing regions. The vacancies were caused mainly by seats vacated by the ministers and death of a few members. It is important to note that the seats were held mostly by the NLD led by Aung San Suu Kyi and were geographically and ethnically well spread.

Of these the NLD won 9, the Shan Nationalities League for democracy 6, the USDP 2, the All Nationalities’ Democratic Party 1 and the Arakan National Party 1.

In the Shan State, the NLD lost 7 of the 8 states and some analysts have described NLD’s defeat as a “rout.” What has been unsaid is that the NLD retained most of its seats in the majority Bamar regions.

The current election is different from the last general elections in many respects.

* For the NLD, the last elections were fought on the premise NLD first and the candidate second. In the present case the candidates, their ability and performance did matter.

* While there was a massive turn out for the general elections, the enthusiasm of the people was noticed, the turn out this time particularly in the majority Bamar areas was not so enthusiastic.

* This leads to the view that the last elections as one analyst had said- was a kind of referendum with the choice between the old regime and the new one led by Suu Kyi. People obviously threw out the old regime decisively with high expectation from Suu Kyi and her NLD. The results showed that while the NLD was not rejected- people had shown their disappointment even from the majority Bamar areas.

How Beijing Could Squeeze Taiwan A Test for Cross-Strait Relations

By Charles I-hsin Chen

Ever since the 2016 election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, whose ruling Democratic Progressive Party rejects the one-China policy, Beijing and Taipei’s relationship has been rocky. A few months after Tsai took office, Beijing paused bilateral talks with Taipei. Relations grew tenser after U.S. President Donald Trump took a call from her a month following his election, after which Beijing cautioned U.S. officials not to speak to the Taiwanese president. Cross-strait relations are now set to face yet another dramatic test: the World Health Organization is currently considering whether to invite Taiwan to its annual World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva in May. Pressure from Beijing could lead them to pull back an offer should Taiwan refuse to comply with China’s terms—namely, attend the WHA formally recognizing the one-China Policy.

The controversy extends beyond this particular meeting. Since Tsai’s election, Beijing has used international conferences to check Taiwan’s stature, nearly blocking it from attending the WHA last year, and successfully pressuring the International Civil Aviation Organization last September to revoke its invitation to Taiwan for a triennial assembly on aviation safety. Such international conferences are important for Taiwan because they grant the territory some sort of international status, even if it is usually only allowed to attend as an observer. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s increasing participation in international events, particularly the WHA since 2009 (which was possible thanks in part to efforts by former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to cultivate ties with Beijing), is a sign of warming relations between Beijing and Taipei. 

China’s Brinkmanship on Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh

By Bhaskar Roy

China has periodically raised the issue of Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed territory, and linked it to the resolution of India-China border issue. It has always protested visits by senior leaders to Arunachal Pradesh, especially to Tawang, where the Galden Namgyal monastery is located. 

When former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh visited the region, China protested in a shrill tone. They realised that they had crossed the line and the matter was let to rest when Chinese premier Wen Jiabao met Manmohan Singh at a regional meeting in Thailand.

This time, the Chinese assertion on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tawang, and the disputed nature (according to the Chinese) of Arunachal Pradesh has been hard and much more aggressive than in the past. This appears to be in line with China’s tough position on territorial issues like the South China Sea where artificial islands have been created and militarized. There has been a barrage of Chinese official media propaganda bolstered by hardening official statements from the Chinese foreign ministry.

Repeated warnings came from the Chinese foreign ministry, saying that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh would seriously damage bilateral relations. India’s ambassador, Vijay Gokhale was summoned and a sharply worded demarche read out to him. Beijing warned that it would take “necessary measures” to preserve its territorial sovereignty and legal interests, and added that the visit, “could severely damage peace and stability in the region”, that “India-China relations stand damaged and “tensions fuelled”. Strong words indeed!

Russian President Putin’s Stern Message to Russian Muslim Minorities

By Dr Subhash Kapila

President Putin’s stern message to Russian Muslim minorities in an address to the DUMA (Russian Parliament) received a standing ovation for nearly five minutes, as per reports. The Russian President is quoted to have sent an unambiguous message to Russian Muslim minorities as reproduced below.

“In Russia, live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian and respect Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law and live the life of Muslims, then we clearly advise them to go and live in those places where that’s the State law.”

“Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’.”

“We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture. We had better learn from the suicides of so-called democracies---America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Muslims are taking over these countries and they will not take over Russia.”

A Discussion on National Security with CIA Director Mike Pompeo

JOHN J. HAMRE: Thank you. I rarely get applause when I come out. I’m sorry, no, I – (laughter). Welcome. Thank you. We’re delighted to have all of you here. 

My name is John Hamre. I’m the president at CSIS. I told the director that we’ve got standing room only, and I said let’s not wait another 15 minutes to watch the clock come; let’s get going. And he said of course, let’s do that. And typical of his character, he’s always getting at it. And I want to say thank you for coming, sir. 

When we have events like this, we always start with a little safety announcement. I am responsible for your safety, so follow my instructions if I ask you to do anything. I’m not worried about the director. He’s got guys with guns here, so we’re going to take it that’s going to be OK. (Laughter.) But I am worried about you. And if I have to ask you to leave the room, the exits are right behind us. These three are exits. The stairs closest to the – or to the stairs going down is right through here. We take two left-hand turns. We’re going to go over to the courtyard of National Geographic, I will order ice cream, and we’ll sing a song of praise for our salvation, OK? (Laughter, applause.) 

Anyway, everything’s going to be fine. Just follow me if I have to ask you to do something. 

We’re very honored that Director Pompeo has chosen to come. When his people called and said he wants to come on Thursday afternoon before Easter weekend, I said, what the hell? Who is going to come to this, you know? (Laughter.) And lots of people are here, obviously, because this is an enormous opportunity to hear the director. We’re very privileged to have him here. 

I would say that we’re very fortunate as a country that Director Pompeo is willing to serve at this time. His life has been about service. He was the highest-ranking cadet at West Point when he graduated from West Point, and his entire life, career has been about service. He’s been in and out of government and private sector. Fortunately, at this hour he’s willing to serve all of us as the director of the CIA. 

+ How to think like a futurist

Ari Wallach

Want to reframe your view of what lies ahead? Innovation consultant Ari Wallach shares three transformative ways of thinking that could help us tackle our toughest problems.

I’ve been a futurist for 20 years, working with businesses and nonprofits to try to anticipate and meet impending challenges. When I first started out, I’d sit down with people and say, “Hey, let’s talk 10, 20 years out,” and they’d reply, “Great.” But gradually I’ve seen that time horizon get shorter and shorter, so much so that I recently met with a CEO and he said, “I want to talk about the next six months.” I call this kind of thinking “short-termism,” and it has pervaded every nook and cranny of our society, from our homes to our businesses to our government policies.

We are facing huge problems in the world today, civilizational-scale problems. However, we cannot solve them using short-term thinking. Short-termism prevents a CEO from buying expensive safety equipment because it will hurt the bottom line, so we get the Deepwater Horizon tragedy (TEDxMidAtlantic Talk: Short-termism is killing us). Short-termism prevents teachers from spending quality one-on-one time with their students, so students drop out of high school. Short-termism prevents us from putting money into shoring up national infrastructure, so what we get is the I-35 bridge collapse over the Mississippi River. If we want to move forward into a different future, we must adopt what I call the “longpath.” We need to shift over to using three ways of thinking to approach the major problems we’re tackling.

India's Puzzling MiG Deal With Malaysia

By Daniel Darling

Some defense agreements make strategic sense from a long-term view, and some make sense from an immediate stop-gap perspective.

Then there are others that are head-scratchers.

On April 5 reports emerged in Malaysian media indicating that India seeks to acquire Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) 1990s-vintage MiG-29 fighters as part of a larger military cooperation agreement between the two countries.

As per Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the proposal would involve a quid pro quo whereby Malaysia would then accept spare parts from India for its Sukhoi Su-30 fighters. Whether these spare parts would be sourced from cannibalized Indian Air Force (IAF) Su-30MKI fighters or, more likely, from a Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) storage hub remains unclear.

The comments made by the Malaysian Prime Minister regarding such a proposal are notable for the questions they raise.

Why would India want to add fighters of a type it plans to retire from operational service in the coming ten years?

More to the point, why would it wish to add fighters that must first undergo upgrades before entering IAF service - thus requiring capitalization funding that could otherwise be allocated elsewhere - and do little to upgrade existing IAF capabilities? 

Are Small Wars Just Big Wars That Are Smaller?: Why Our Conventional Wisdom About Small Wars Leaves Us Learning Little

By Grant M. Martin

A Small Wars Journal and Military Writers Guild Writing Contest Finalist Article

Are Small Wars Just Big Wars That Are Smaller?: Why Our Conventional Wisdom About Small Wars Leaves Us Learning Little

Supposedly there are some lessons we should have learned in the recent small wars within Afghanistan and Iraq. The conventional wisdom is that these lessons are mostly different in degree from “big” wars, that small wars are not fundamentally different from big wars. I assert, however, that small wars are different from big wars in kind, and therefore the lessons we learn must likewise be different in a very fundamental way. Instead of taking our usual big war conceptual construct of “tactical, operational, and strategic” levels of war, I propose instead that during small wars military personnel are involved in three activities: tactical actions, theoretical attempts to make the tactical actions meaningful, and policy prioritization. Before I offer a defense of this concept, I will investigate the terms “tactical” and “operational,” prior to offering a theory and logic for small wars that will differentiate them from big wars.

Tactical and Operational Lessons Learned

"Small wars are operations undertaken under executive authority, wherein military force is combined with diplomatic pressure in the internal or external affairs of another state whose government is unstable, inadequate, or unsatisfactory for the preservation of life and of such interests as are determined by the foreign policy of our Nation."[i]

U.S. needs to stop Russian electoral interference, NSA’s top civilian leader says

By Ellen Nakashima 

The U.S. government has not figured out how to deter the Russians from meddling in democratic processes, and stopping their interference in elections, both here and in Europe, is a pressing problem, the top civilian leader of the National Security Agency said.

The NSA was among the intelligence agencies that concluded that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin ordered a cyber-enabled influence campaign in 2016 aimed at undermining confidence in the election, harming Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and helping elect GOP nominee Donald Trump.

“This is a challenge to the foundations of our democracy,” said NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett, 58, who is retiring at the end of April, in an interview at Fort Meade, Md., the agency’s headquarters. “It’s the sanctity of our process, of evaluating and looking at candidates, and having accurate information about the candidates. So the idea that another nation state is [interfering with that] is a pretty big deal and something we need to figure out. How do we counter that? How do we identify that it’s happening — in real time as opposed to after the fact? And what do we do as a nation to make it stop?”

The lack of answers, he said, “as an American citizen . . . gives me a lot of heartburn.”

Ledgett, known as a straight-shooting, unflappable intelligence professional, began his NSA career in 1988 teaching cryptanalysis — how to crack codes — and rose to become the agency’s top civilian leader . The NSA, with 35,000 civilian and military employees, gathers intelligence on foreign targets overseas through wiretaps and increasingly by cyberhacking. Its other mission is to secure the government computers that handle classified information and other data critical to military and intelligence activities.

Air Force wants contractors to defend space systems from cyberattacks

By: Mark Pomerleau

The Air Force is looking for defensive cyber operations contractor support to protect space weapon systems.

In a request for information issued at the end of March, the 50th Network Operations Group, which falls under the 50th Space Wing, is soliciting industry cyber defense capabilities to enable protection, detection, response and sustainment of 50th Space Wing cyber defense missions.

The notice was sure to note that 50th Space Wing Space Mission Systems “are distinct from general purpose communications systems such as the NIPRNet and the SIPRNet; the subject of this acquisition is Cybersecurity and DCO for 50 SW Space Mission Systems.”

While the Air Force has its own organic cyber force, this cadre is focused solely on the Air Force portion of the DoD’s information network.

Given that AFCYBER serves as the Air Force or service cyber component to Cyber Command, it has a responsibility to ensure the defense of all Air Force information networks to include, but not limited to Air Force NIPR and SIPRNet, a spokesman from Air Force Space Command told C4ISRNET via email.

Symantec says CIA tools found across 16 countries

LONDON (AP) — The CIA’s cyberespionage toolkit made public by WikiLeaks has been linked to 40 spying operations in 16 countries, an early public assessment of the intelligence agency’s global hacking operations, computer security company Symantec said Monday.

In a blog post published , the California-based Symantec Corp. said the tools in WikiLeaks’ recent releases have been linked to the electronic infiltration of international, financial, energy and aerospace organizations across the world. Like many security firms, Symantec draws on data supplied by its clients. Researcher Dick O'Brien declined to provide further details, saying might prompt speculation as to the identity of the people or organizations involved.

“I will say, in terms of the regions, the largest region represented in terms of those targets was the Middle East,” O'Brien said in a telephone interview.

The word “CIA” was mentioned nowhere in Symantec’s post, but few if any doubt that that’s where the tools come from. When WikiLeaks began releasing them in early March, it gave an unusually explicit account of how the tools had been taken from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. The U.S. government has since all but publicly accepted the embarrassing claim; about a week later, President Donald Trump told a television host: “I just want people to know the CIA was hacked, and a lot of things taken.”

O'Brien said that while Symantec didn’t dispute that assessment, pinning the tools on a specific government agency was “straying outside our area of expertise.”

Intriguingly, O'Brien said one CIA tool was discovered breaking into an U.S. computer — only to uninstall itself almost immediately afterward.

“That, to us, smacks of an accidental compromise,” we said. “Our assessment is it was likely a mistake.”


With no bids, hacking group leaks NSA surveillance tools

By Tom Brant, PCMag

This Thursday, June 6, 2013 file photo shows the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) 

Unable to attract the millions of dollars for which they were hoping to sell their trove of purported government surveillance tools, the hacking group Shadow Brokers released it online for free this week.

In a rambling post on Medium using broken English, the group said that after failing to auction their findings, their dislike of President Donald Trump motivated them to leak the tools for free.

The trove apparently includes software exploits that the National Security Administration developed for electronic surveillance, according to experts who have reviewed it. It includes a list of NSA targets and the specific implants installed, including their IP addresses, according to security consultant Kevin Mitnick.

This is interesting. A list of NSA targets and the specific implants installed (IP address included). https://t.co/d0A950lD3t#ShadowBrokers

— Kevin Mitnick (@kevinmitnick) April 9, 2017

Arrigo Triulzi, co-founder of security firm K2 Defender, noted on Twitter that some of the tools are antiquated and were targeted at obscure computer configurations. They include some DEC Alpha-powered machines, he said, an HP computing architecture that hasn’t been sold since 2007.

Shadow Brokers leaked some details of their trove last fall, including NSA-style code names like “Jackladder” and “Dewdrop.” The source of their trove appears to be the Equation Group, a separate hacking organization with ties to the NSA.

Named after its penchant for encryption algorithms, Equation Group has hacked targets in more than 30 countries — including Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and China, according to security firm Kaspersky. Its focus is on government, nuclear research, military, and nanotechnology organizations, as well as companies developing cryptographic technologies.

The Shadow Brokers group tried to auction their catalog of exploits for more than $7 million in bitcoin, but the most the group received was a $9,000 offer earlier this year, according to CyberScoop.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.