24 November 2017

*** The Other Indian National Army

By Lt Gen H S Panag

It is well-known that the Indian National Army (INA) was first proclaimed in April 1942 after the fall of Malaya and Singapore with Indian Prisoners of War (POW) and the Indian diaspora. This volunteer force known as INA 1 was disbanded in December 1942 due to differences with the Japanese, but later merged with INA 2 raised under Subhas Chandra Bose in July 1943. What is less known is that similar forces at a smaller scale were also raised by Italy and Germany. At the outbreak of World War II, the struggle for freedom in India had been on for over five decades. Hence, it was logical for the Axis powers to capitalise on the anti-British sentiments by attempting to recruit a military force from disaffected Indian POW captured while serving with the British Indian Army.

*** In Afghanistan, The U.S. And Pakistan Fight A Conflict Of Interests

by Faisel Pervaiz

The ravages of a seemingly endless war have kept the United States mired in South Asia for over 16 years. In August, U.S. President Donald Trump proposed a new solution to the intractable conflict in Afghanistan. The new strategy would focus not on meeting a specific deadline but rather on achieving the conditions necessary to bring peace to the war-torn country. To that end, Trump urged India to play a greater role in Afghanistan's economic development. He also had a few choice words for Pakistan.

India and the 12th East Asia Summit

By Rupakjyoti Borah

The recently-held 12th East Asia Summit (EAS) in the Philippines was crucial for India in many ways. With the Trump administration and many other countries increasingly veering towards the use of the terminology “Indo-Pacific,” many in India and outside see it as proof of India’s growing importance in the region. This Summit was important for India in many ways.

How hypersonic flight could transform air combat

By Gareth Evans

Although the concept of hypersonic flight has been around for a surprisingly long time, it is no simple matter to turn that idea into a functioning reality capable of travelling at more than five times the speed of sound – over 3,836 miles per hour, or a staggering 1.7 kilometres a second. The physics of the airflow alone places massive demands on airframe design, not least the generation of temperatures in excess of 1,500oC that will melt conventional aircraft materials. At relatively low hypersonic speeds, the molecular bonds in the air itself vibrate, changing the aerodynamic forces acting on the surface of the aircraft; faster and those bonds are torn apart, producing an ionised, electrically-charged plasma envelope around the vehicle. It is clearly not a design-challenge for the faint-hearted, but in the light of the announcement of a recent major test success, the hypersonic air force may no longer be quite so far away.

Uighur Foreign Fighters: An Underexamined Jihadist Challenge

Dr. Colin P. Clarke, Dr. Paul Rexton Kan

Uighurs, specifically individuals of Turkic decent from China’s northwest province of Xinjiang, have become a noticeable part of the constellation of globally active jihadist terror groups. Uighur jihadists first came to the world’s attention when the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001. While continuing their cooperation with the Taliban under the banner of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Uighur jihadists have now spread to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. ETIM’s members are part of the Turkestan Islamic Party fighting with the Al-Qaeda umbrella group in Syria, but other Uighurs have joined IS in Syria and Iraq, and still others have joined local terror groups in Indonesia. However, Uighurs are currently underexamined as active participants in jihadist organisations. Publications about Uighurs have been piecemeal – focusing on their struggles against the Chinese government or narrowly describing the specific groups in which Uighurs have been participants. This Policy Brief explores the scope and scale of Uighur Foreign Fighters (UFF) activity in various locations, its implications and how their participation in global jihadist groups may evolve.

Initial batch of J-20s may be deployed in western China

The J-20 all-weather stealth jet fighters – the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s ace warplane aimed at grabbing air supremacy – are one of the few fifth-generation fighters said to have entered service among the world’s militaries. Three J-20s are seen in a PLA massive parade in July. 

Three J-20s debuted in a high-profile flyover during the PLA’s 90th anniversary parade held at the end of July in Inner Mongolia, setting into motion a nationwide media puffery about how a Chinese super fighter will give a huge lift to PLA’s combat capacities and in turn change geopolitics, though scant details have been revealed about the deployment of the J-20s.

Is Islamic State losing control of its 'virtual caliphate'?

By Charlie WinterKing's College London

For years, a utopian vision of life under so-called Islamic State (IS) was at the heart of the propaganda it pumped out online. As it loses vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, is it also losing control of its "virtual caliphate"? In Syria and Iraq, Islamic State is on the brink of collapse. Just days ago, it lost the city of Deir al-Zour, its last major stronghold in Syria: a defeat that followed those in Mosul, Tal Afar and Raqqa.

America Shouldn’t Take Sides in the 1,400-Year-Old Sunni-Shia Conflict


On November 1, CIA Director Mike Pompeo released thousands of files found by SEAL Team Six in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Many documents detailed ties between al-Qaeda and Iran. Ned Price, former CIA analyst and de factoObama administration official, accused Pompeo of releasing the documents to torpedo the Iran deal and drum up support for regime change in Iran. In rushed The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes to claim the documents show how the Obama administration—Ned Price included—covered up the Iran and al-Qaeda ties for political purposes.

Social Media Field Manual: The Iraqi Ministry of Defense Learned to Take the War to Facebook

by Caroline Bechtel

Since the Islamic State (ISIS) swept through northern Iraq in the summer of 2014, many observers have examined efforts by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Security Forces (ISF) to learn and adapt. Such conversations typically revolve around battlefield inputs and effects—the number of recruits, training programs, soldier skills, and territorial gains--and have generally concluded that while the ISF has improved in terms of combat lethality, the force must work still to professionalize. Few, however, have discussed the Iraqi government’s efforts to adapt in the digital domain. But the Iraqi MoD’s presence on social media--and Facebook in particular--has been a crucial element of its military learning process since 2014. This adaptation demonstrates that the MoD has co-opted one of its enemy’s most valuable weapons: social media.



During the tense days of the Cold War, the United States deployed many kinds of small-yield nuclear weapons in the field. The “logic” of the ladder of escalation led Washington to field nuclear landmines, anti-ship demolition mines to be attached to the hulls of ships by atomic frog men, and even close-range rocket-propelled nuclear weapons. We managed to avoid all-out nuclear war at each rung on the ladder through a combination of luck and careful efforts to avoid miscalculation.

Sharing economy: creating opportunities in the digital era

Arindam BhattacharyaRajah AugustinrajJudith Wallenstein
The economic and business rationale for sharing is strong, both for start-ups and incumbents Companies around the world are developing a wide variety of platforms that permit users to gain temporary access to assets. Urban Indians have become increasingly familiar with ride-sharing applications in recent years. It’s hardly a surprise to see people of all ages hailing an Ola or an Uber to get them across town. The dramatic growth of such services coincided with the profusion of smartphones across diverse segments of age and income. The phenomenon of “sharing” assets is however, not confined to urban India. Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), the well-known maker of transportation equipment, sensed a large untapped opportunity in India’s vast countryside. Only around 15% of India’s 120 million farmers used mechanical equipment because they either could not afford to buy it or because renting options are too difficult.

The ‘Combination’: An Instrument In Russia’s Information War In Catalonia – Analysis

By Mira Milosevich-Juaristi*

The principal objective of this paper (which serves to complement a previous work on ‘disinformation’)1 is to: (1) analyse the facts of Russian interference in the illegal referendum in Catalonia, along with the motives and objectives which guided the actions of the current Russian regime; (2) show how Russian interference in Catalonia forms part of an information war, an asymmetric military method which Russia employs in the US and Europe; and (3) evaluate the response of the West (the US, the EU and NATO) and determine whether or not it has been up to the challenge of Russia’s information war.

How Did North Korea's Missile and Nuclear Tech Get So Good So Fast?


Shortly after North Korea launched the Hwasong-12 in May, the scientists who developed the intermediate-range ballistic missile were honored on the streets of Pyongyang as national heroes. “The buses carrying them went through the streets of the capital full of flowers of welcome,” KCNA, the state-run news agency, reported at the time. “Citizens warmly congratulated them, waving flags of [North Korea], red flags and bouquets.” Among those offering his congratulations was Kim Jong Un. KCNA reported that the 33-year-old North Korean leader “hugged officials in the field of rocket research, saying that they worked hard to achieve a great thing.”


By George Friedman

Note from George: I wanted to let you know about a slight change that you may have already noticed. Beginning this week, Friedman’s Weekly is now the GPF Weekly. I am the founder of Geopolitical Futures, but this company is much more than just me. When I’m out traveling the world and our publication proceeds without a hitch, that’s because of their hard work. I believe our flagship product should reflect as much. On Nov. 19, 1942, the Soviet Union launched Operation Uranus. Its goal was to envelop and destroy the German army fighting in the city of Stalingrad. Uranus closed the noose on the Germans a few days later

Protecting the innocent from cyber warriors

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 —In new warnings about cyberattacks by foreign entities, Britain and the United States have lately left the impression that innocent civilians, and not just governments, might become victims on a digital battlefield. On Nov. 15, for example, the US said North Korea is targeting banks, airlines, and telecom firms. And Britain claimed Russian hackers have targeted energy networks and the media. Prime Minister Theresa May accused the Kremlin of a campaign of cyber “disruption.”

In the Era of Virtual Terrorism, All Cyber-Enabled Nations are Equal

Daniel Wagner

Governments spy on one another, and on their people―that is what governments do. They always have and they always will. But in the era of Virtual Terrorism, spying has been taken to a whole new dimension, wherein access to other nations’ secrets, their businesses, and their people have intersected with the promotion of state interest as a new art form. Intrusion and theft beyond the reach of the law have made deception all the more possible because of anonymity. Those nations with the greatest financial, military, and cyber resources are naturally the most prolific at perpetrating Virtual Terrorism. The countries which are the most adept at this, and have been the best documented as such, are China, Russia, and the US.

Technology helped fake news. Now technology needs to stop it

John Cook

Heavily criticized for their role in spreading lies that influenced the 2016 US presidential election, the social media giants have begun to acknowledge what happened. In October, representatives of Google, Facebook, and Twitter testified before Congress and pledged to improve their response to the problem. The companies have even taken action to flag misinformation when it appears on their sites.

We’re at cyberwar. And the enemy is us.

By David Von Drehle 

The United States and its allies are under attack. The cyberwar we’ve feared for a generation is well underway, and we are losing. This is the forest, and the stuff about Russian election meddling, contacts with the Trump campaign, phony Twitter accounts, fake news on Facebook— those things are trees.  We’ve been worried about a massive frontal assault, a work of Internet sabotage that would shut down commerce or choke off the power grid. And with good reason. The recent exploratory raid by Russian hackers on American nuclear facilities reminds us that such threats are real. 

$63 Trillion of World Debt in One Visualization


In an ideal situation, governments are just borrowing this money to cover short-term budget deficits or to finance mission critical projects. However, around the globe, countries have taken to the idea of running constant deficits as the normal course of business, and too much accumulation of debt is not healthy for countries or the global economy as a whole. The U.S. is a prime example of “debt creep” – the country hasn’t posted an annual budget surplus since 2001, when the federal debt was only $6.9 trillion (54% of GDP). Fast forward to today, and the debt has ballooned to roughly $20 trillion (107% of GDP), which is equal to 31.8% of the world’s sovereign debt nominally.


In today’s infographic, we look at two major measures: (1) Share of global debt as a percentage, and (2) Debt-to-GDP.

Let’s look at the top five “leaders” in each category, starting with share of global debt on a nominal basis:

In the era of virtual terrorism, all cyber-enabled nations are equal

By Daniel Wagner

A victory in information warfare can be much more important than victory in a classical military conflict. Although bloodless, the impact can be overwhelming and can paralyse all of an enemy state’s power structures. Governments spy on one another, and on their people that is what governments do. They always have and they always will. But in the era of Virtual Terrorism, spying has been taken to a whole new dimension, wherein access to other nations’ secrets, their businesses, and their people has intersected with the promotion of state interest as a new art form. Intrusion and theft beyond the reach of the law have made deception all the more possible because of anonymity. Those nations with the greatest financial, military, and cyber resources are naturally the most prolific at perpetrating Virtual Terrorism. The countries which are the most adept at this, and have been the best documented as such, are China, Russia, and the United States.

Army Looks To Replace $6 Billion Battlefield Network After Finding It Vulnerable


The U.S. Army has concluded that its $6 billion battlefield communications system would likely be breached by Russia or China in the event of a big-power conflict, rendering it all but useless against sophisticated foes. The Army says it needs at least two years to come up with a new, more resilient system that can provide the tactical networking that soldiers have come to rely on in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite the vulnerabilities and flaws that the Army has identified in the program in recent months, the service will still finish fielding the system to the entire force over the next two years, officials said, while trying to quickly patch in upgrades where they can while they search for a new solution. Meanwhile, Congress is prodding the Army to find fixes for the communication system and is only offering half the $420 million the Army requested to finish deploying it in 2018.