9 October 2017

Lull at Doklam: Time for a Holistic Strategic Review

By Maj Gen GG Dwivedi

The recent standoff at Doklam had raised genuine concerns about the situation escalating, given that the opposing troops stood ‘eye ball to eye ball’ for over 10 weeks. While the crisis has been defused for the time being, the probability of a future flare up cannot be ruled out. Post the disengagement, Chinese troops have fortified their positions in the Doklam Plateau with the declared intent of resuming the road construction activity at an appropriate time. The military build-up, which had been undertaken by the two sides in the wake of the crisis, remains in place. The current period of lull is, therefore, a tactical pause. In all prudence, Doklam should be taken as a nudge to initiate a holistic strategic review.

From Drug Trafficking to Cultivation: A Global “Unchallenged” Nexus

By Anant Mishra

In the light of growing “intense” nexus between transnational organized crime factions, sex traffickers, gun runners and money launderers, today, drug trafficking has become one of the most “complex yet diverse” issue in the world with an ability to seriously cripple socio-politico-economic architecture of a country while seriously damaging its legislative institutions.

Two King Cobras Named Ravi Dhir

By Dr Krishna S Dhir, PhD

In the Indian Armed Forces there are two Cobra Squadrons, both engaged in reconnaissance, albeit in different Services, and, amazingly, both had a Ravi Dhir for their Commanding Officers … yes, two different individuals with the same name! One Cobra Squadron is with the Indian Navy and the other with the Indian Air Force. On 21st of March in 1961, INAS (Indian Naval Air Squadron) 310 was created in Hyeres, France, with 12 newly acquired Breguet 1050 Alizé aircrafts, which were later augmented by two more in 1968. The Squadron was named Cobra.

Birth of the Indian Air Force (IAF)

By Air Vice Marshal AK Tiwary

“Preparation for war is an expansive, burdensome business, yet there is one important part of it that costs little – STUDY.” 
— Field Marshal Slim

The IAF was created on paper on 8th Oct, 1932 by the Indian Air Force Act of 1932 and on that fateful day six Indian officers were granted the King’s Commission. The IAF actually took to Wings on 01 Apr, 1933 when it was equipped with four Wapiti aircraft.

Fighter Squadron Strength IAF’s Top Priority - Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa

By Lt Gen (Dr) JS Bajwa

Augmenting our fighter squadron strength is our top priority. To achieve this, the IAF is looking at new inductions and mid-life upgrades. If all the inductions take place as planned, the IAF is expected to achieve its authorised strength of fighter squadrons – Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa

Indian Defence Review (IDR) had the unique privilege to interview the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, prior to the Air Force Day on 8th October 2017. Details of the candid response of the Chief of Air Staff to the IDR’s pointed questions are given below:-

Afghanistan: U.S. Offers Pakistan yet Another 'Last Chance'

By Hussain Nadim

Following US President Donald Trump's address on Afghanistan policy in August, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing that the US is willing to work with Pakistan 'one more time' in Afghanistan. In another hearing, General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, alleged that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) maintains links with terrorist groups.

For Pakistan, neither calls for 'one last chance' nor allegations of ISI links with terrorist groups are anything new. As such, the same old US policy repackaged by a new administration is likely to get the same old response from Pakistan.

The Chinese Communist Party: Candid and Transparent?

By David Gitter

As the upcoming Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 19th Party Congress brings new changes to China’s elite politics and national development, foreign observers will be searching for authoritative Chinese publications to follow new trends. Just as state media outlets sponsored special webpages to report on the 17th and 18th Party Congress, we can expect the same for the 19th.

The Chinese Dream in Peril: Xi Jinping and the Korean Crisis

By Anthony Miller

With tensions escalating rapidly again on the Korean peninsula, the attention of the world invariably has returned to the question of whether or not the solution to the crisis lies in Beijing. After months of continuing missile tests by North Korea despite sanctions and global condemnation, Kim Jong-un’s regime claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb and once again launched an intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan. North Korea’s march toward wielding a nuclear arsenal against its neighbors and far off enemies, like the United States, is nearing completion. For Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), North Korea’s obstinate drive toward becoming a nuclear force has dealt Beijing a critical challenge at a moment when the party would prefer to focus on other matters seen as as essential to its rise as a regional and world power.

An expert's assessment on US options over North Korea

As the doomsday rhetoric intensifies between two untested and inexperienced leaders in Pyongyang and Washington, the risk of actual combat is rising.

At the United Nations, U.S. President Donald Trump shocked most of the U.N. General Assembly by threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea to end the "suicide mission" of its "Rocket Man" leader. North Korea has threatened to create a "sea of fire" in both South Korea and the U.S. On Sept. 23, U.S. B-1 bombers flew close to North Korea's east coast on what the Pentagon said was a mission to demonstrate the military options available to Trump. The U.S. president warned that Kim Jong Un and his foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, "won't be around much longer" if they continue their rhetoric.

Russian Robots: Fear Jammers, Not Terminators


Despite a few grandiose claims and snazzy videos of robots shooting guns, Russia remains behind “the Chinese, Iranians, and the Turks” in developing armed unmanned systems, let alone the United States, CNA expert Samuel Bendett said this morning. The bad news, Bendett said, is that Russia’s notoriously bureaucratic military-industrial complex is finally getting its act together on robotics, with massive new investment and significant innovation. Worst of all, the one area where Russia isahead is the invisible high ground the US Army ceded 20 years ago: electronic warfare.

Against North Korea, Deterrence of a Different Kind

By Omar Lamrani

Since the turn of the millennium, war between nuclear powers has never loomed so near. As North Korea sprints toward the finish line in its race to build a credible nuclear deterrent, the window of opportunity to stop it is shrinking. With time running out, the United States may yet launch a preventive strike against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs, convinced that military intervention is the only way to halt its smaller adversary in its tracks.

The Las Vegas Attack Will Inspire Copycats from STRATFOR

by Scott Stewart
"The Las Vegas Attack Will Inspire Copycats" is republished with permission of Stratfor.

As the closing act of the three-day, open-air Route 91 Harvest Music Festival took the stage the evening of Oct. 1 on the Las Vegas Strip, a 64-year-old man used a sledgehammer to smash out two windows in his suite at the adjacent Mandalay Bay hotel. His perch on the 32nd floor gave him a clear field of fire on the 22,000 or so concertgoers below. He took aim with one in the arsenal of guns in his room and opened fire. The shooter's intent was clear - he wanted to create as much carnage as possible. The crowd below remained oblivious to the threat 100 meters (328 feet) above and 400 meters away until bullets began raining down.

Understanding the Threat Posed by Hypersonic Weapons

By Robert Farley

A new RAND study has detailed the threat posed by the development and diffusion of hypersonic weapons, and has proposed a solution: multilateral arms control. The report, authored by Richard Speier, George Nacouzi, Carrie A. Lee, and Richard M. Moore, sets out the technical challenges and implications provided by hypersonics, and from these develops strategic implications regarding the most appropriate international response.


Kim Zetter

THE GROWING PROPENSITY of government hackers to reuse code and computers from rival nations is undermining the integrity of hacking investigations and calling into question how online attacks are attributed, according to researchers from Kaspersky Lab.

In a paper set for release today at the Virus Bulletin digital security conference in Madrid, the researchers highlight cases in which they’ve seen hackers acting on behalf of nation-states stealing tools and hijacking infrastructure previously used by hackers of other nation-states. Investigators need to watch out for signs of this or risk tracing attacks to the wrong perpetrators, the researchers said.

What Will US-Philippines Military Exercises Look Like in 2018?

By Prashanth Parameswaran
October 07, 2017

Last week, the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) disclosed to reporters in Manila that the United States and the Philippines had decided to boost the level of exercises and engagement between them for 2018 following a recent meeting between the two sides.