13 December 2017

QUAD is the flavor of the month.

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

QUAD is the flavor of the month.

I have already attended three seminars on the subject. I bet there will be more in the offing. Where it is in the interest of Uncle Sam there will be no dearth of sponsors. Who says there is no free lunch. There are some free dinners also thrown in between !

Yesterday I attended a seminar on Indo-Pacific Security in India – In an Era of Transition organized by Forum for Strategic Initiatives and Konrad – Adenauer- Stiftung in collaboration with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies. I was there for the last session starting from 3 PM. The session was chaired by Dr. Arvind Gupta. The panelists were Shri K C Singh, Dr. Mohan Guruswami and Shri Pramit Pal Chaudhary of Hindustan Times. It was an interesting session. Normally after lunch in last session there are not many in the audience. I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number.

Shri K C Singh spoke about enhancing the geographical boundary of Indo Pacific to Israel as West Asia and Middle East cannot be kept out. The world has to deal with China as it is leading in AI, Biotechnology and other sunshine technologies. China’s share of Global Commons is 42% and global unicorn is 34%. India has no benefit in joining BRI as our posts are sufficient and the Japanese assisted freight corridor would hasten transportation of cargo from Mumbai upwards. There will be large number of groupings like G2, G8, BRICS, et al. Lot of groups would lose relevance as ASEAN is showing. Except trade there is no uniformity in ASEAN. The nations are not on the same wavelength on issues like South China Sea. USA under Trump has already yielded space there. TPP has been cancelled. If USA has to regain its previous position it would be interesting to see how the increasingly belligerent China would react. India has to negotiate with such groups at different levels. Foreign Minister of Russia and China are already in Delhi for talks.

Dr Mohan Guruswami spoke on economy. In his inimitable style he brought out it is economy, Stupid. Whether one likes or not USA, the big elephant will always be there. As Shri K C Singh said, USA is neighbor to every country in the world. MG with his meticulous statistical table brought out that on PPP terms Chinese economy is $ 22 trillion whereas India’s is $9 trillion. Asia is growth leaders with 5.5 % growth, USA is growing at 2.4%. Asia is vulnerable to decline in global trade. Problem of advanced countries is Asia including China are aging population, slow productivity. Asian risk of growing old before becoming rich. China has a trade balance over US in $350 billion. Almost all countries including India has a trade balance with USA.

China is the biggest exporter, it is going up the chain is value addition. India is also there. In IT software you produce from nothing!

China and Japan hate each other tremendously. However, look at their trade figures. They are second biggest importer/exporter to each other. It is economy, Stupid.

IT. IT sector is seeing a slow down. Indian IT sector growth has come down from 40% to 15%. Indian IT sector employs 3.5 million people out of which 1.2 million are women. These are well paid blue colour jobs. IT sector provides 9.5% of Indian GDP. India’s IT expert is $120 billion, out of which 65% goes to USA. If Donald Trump tightens the screw, Indian IT sector is in serious trouble as also Indian economy.

There are talks of banning of Chinese imparts. It is not Ganesh moorthy. Look at the trade. We export iron ores, Bellary bothers made a killing. India’s pharmaceutical industry will be severely affected as the raw material comes from China. India export to China is miniscule in terms of % of GDP.

China’s capacity to manufacture at such high scale with such quality is unmatched. There is hardly any FDI investment from China to India. China is cash rich. We have to get China to invest in India.

Pramit Pal Chaudhary was to speak on Indian Strategic Concern. This did not figure much in his talk. He spoke about a recent paper WHOSE RULES, WHAT RULES? A CONTEST FOR ORDER IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC. As luck would have it. I read the same paper yesterday and had put in my blog Interested people can read it at http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2017/12/whose-rules-what-rules-contest-for.html

It was an interesting session. I hope CLAWS/ FSI will publish the summary of the discussions held during the seminar.

India's Eurasia Policy Gets a Boost With Long-Awaited Trade Corridor

By Martand Jha

After 17 long years, since the inception of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) agreement between India, Iran, and Russia, the first consignment of goods is ready to be transported from Mumbai to St. Petersburg during mid-January 2018. The regular transport of the goods would start a few months later. The ambitious INSTC project was conceived way back in September 2000 and later came into force in the year 2002 after being ratified by the three countries. Since then, 11 more nations joined the project: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria (observer status), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Controversial Indian Salafist a Litmus Test for Malaysia on Counterterrorism

By Joseph Hammond

Controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik is vowing to fight an extradition request sent to Malaysia regarding terrorism-related charges. India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed terrorism charges against Naik accusing him of influencing Indian Muslims to join the Islamic State (ISIS). It also declared his Mumbai-based NGO, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), an unlawful organization.  “Naik is accused of a number of offenses including spreading communal hatred,” said Animesh Roul, executive director of the New Delhi-based Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict.

The US census is finally counting how many people speak Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali

BY Preeti Varathan
Source Link

As of last week, the US Census Bureau is taking stock of just how many people in the US speak Tamil—along with Punjabi, Telugu, and Bengali. Historically, the way the US census tracked South Asians was messy and often inaccurate—not tracking them at all or confusing them for white. But their ranks in the US have been growing. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, was born to parents from Punjab, India. The CEOs of Adobe (Shantanu Narayen) and Microsoft (Satya Nadella) are both from Hyderabad, where Telugu is the primary language. Comedian/actor Aziz Ansari’s parents speak Tamil, as does Ansari, to a degree, per the travel log of his trip to India.



President Ashraf Ghani looks set to mobilize a new 20,000-strong militia to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. The story of militias loyal to his former running mate and current vice-president, Abdul Rashid Dostum, should give him pause. Many of Dostum’s former commanders, who were armed to fight the Taliban, are now joining both the Islamic State and the Taliban. Such defections are hardly the exception. Militias, once mobilized, are hard to disarm. When resources dwindle, they often seek new patrons and switch sides. By mobilizing a new force Ghani risks reinforcing, over time, the ranks of the very enemy he hopes to defeat. Today’s allies risk becoming tomorrow’s insurgents.

Private War: Erik Prince Has His Eye On Afghanistan's Rare Metals

Aram Roston

BuzzFeed News is publishing the slide presentation by the founder of Blackwater to privatize the Afghan war and mine Afghanistan's valuable minerals. He pitched the proposal to the Trump administration. Prince told BuzzFeed News, "You're a fucking hack." Controversial private security tycoon Erik Prince has famously pitched an audacious plan to the Trump administration: Hire him to privatize the war in Afghanistan using squads of "security contractors." Now, for the first time, Buzzfeed News is publishing that pitch, a presentation that lays out how Prince wanted to take over the war from the US military — and how he envisioned mining some of the most war-torn provinces in Afghanistan to help fund security operations and obtain strategic mineral resources for the US.

Diverging Trajectories in Bangladesh: Islamic State vs al-Qaeda

By: Nathaniel Barr

Al-Qaeda and Islamic State have adopted divergent strategies in their competition for dominance in Bangladesh. Al-Qaeda has sought to build popular support by exploiting the grievances of the country’s political Islamists, and by employing targeted violence against secularists, atheists and those who are perceived to be advancing Western values, an approach that analysts have noted mirrors the Maoist insurgency model. [1] The group has also pursued a deliberate and cautious growth strategy, refraining from behavior that would expose its clandestine activities. IS, on the other hand, has adopted a more aggressive and confrontational approach, carrying out high-profile attacks against religious minorities, Westerners and security forces in an effort to sow sectarian tensions and destabilize the Bangladeshi state.

China-Maldives FTA among 12 agreements penned during Yameen’s visit

A controversial Sino-Maldives free trade deal was among 12 bilateral agreements penned during President Abdulla Yameen’s three-day state visit to China. The FTA was signed by the Maldivian economic development minister and the Chinese minister of commerce at a ceremony held Thursday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing as President Xi Jinping looked on with President Yameen. The opposition cried foul after the country’s first FTA was rushed through parliament last month but the government says it will open up the world’s largest consumer market for tariff-free fish exports. The Maldives also committed to waive import duties for Chinese goods.


By: Van Jackson, Senior Lecturer,

What will govern predictable and peaceable interaction among states in the Asia-Pacific? The answer depends on the character of the region’s increasingly contested order. China’s rise has led to what some call a “dual-hierarchical” order: [1] an uneasy pattern whereby China became central to the region’s economic prosperity while the United States remained central to the region’s security. For decades, US policy has implicitly encouraged this bifurcated order. So too did Asia’s secondary states. It allowed them to engage China with minimal fear of domination while simultaneously avoiding overdependence on the United States.

China’s foreign influence operations are causing alarm in Washington

By Josh Rogin

Washington is waking up to the huge scope and scale of Chinese Communist Party influence operations inside the United States, which permeate American institutions of all kinds. China’s overriding goal is, at the least, to defend its authoritarian system from attack and at most to export it to the world at America’s expense. The foreign influence campaign is part and parcel of China’s larger campaign for global power, which includes military expansion, foreign direct investment, resource hoarding, and influencing international rules and norms. But this part of China’s game plan is the most opaque and least understood. Beijing’s strategy is first to cut off critical discussion of China’s government, then to co-opt American influencers in order to promote China’s narrative.

Digital China: Powering the economy to global competitiveness

By Jonathan Woetzel, Jeongmin Seong, Kevin Wei Wang, James Manyika, Michael Chui, and Wendy Wong

China, already a global force in digital technologies, is set to experience huge shifts in revenue and profits as businesses digitize, boosting the economy’s international competitiveness. China has become a force to be reckoned with in digital technologies at home and around the world. As a major worldwide investor in digital technologies and one of the world’s leading adopters of the technologies, it is already shaping the global digital landscape and supporting and inspiring entrepreneurship far beyond its own borders.

Jerusalem: A Decision of Regional Consequence

Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will give jihadist groups a rallying cry to galvanize supporters and recruit new members. By dimming the prospects for a two-state solution, the move will push Israelis and Palestinians alike toward a one-state model, however reluctantly. Though the change in Jerusalem's status will present a challenge for most countries in the region, Iran and Turkey could turn it to their advantage. 

The Bloody Split Within ISIS Inside the Group's Crackdown on Ultra-Extremists

By Vera Mironova, Ekaterina Sergatskova, and Karam Alhamad

In 2014, as life in the Islamic State (ISIS) began to stabilize, many of its foreign fighters adopted an almost civilian routine. They spent their time reading, discussing religion, and giving lectures on their visions of a utopian Islamist state. But not all of these fighters’ ideas matched ISIS’ official positions. Many began to disagree with the group’s interpretation of Islam. Even by ISIS’ standards, these dissidents were extreme. They denounced some of their leaders and fellow militants as kaffirs, or infidels—in ISIS’ thinking, a charge that merits death. By doing so, several thousand fighters turned ISIS’ strongest weapon—its ideology—against the organization itself.

Erdogan: No Moderate Islam

by Burak Bekdil

"Islam cannot be either 'moderate' or 'not moderate.' Islam can only be one thing," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) said last month, two weeks after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (right) pledged to promote a "more moderate Islam" in his kingdom.
Turkey's strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have exhibited all possible features of political Islam since he came to power fifteen years ago, but at least he has been bold and honest about his understanding of Islamism: There is no moderate Islam, he recently said again.

Moving Westward: The Chinese Rebuilding of Syria

By Gideon Elazar

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: As the Syrian civil war enters its final stages, China appears determined to take on a central role in Syria’s reconstruction. One factor motivating China’s involvement is the presence of a large number of Uighur jihadists among the anti-government forces. Another is the “One Belt-One Road” initiative – a planned attempt to establish and control a modern day Silk Road connecting China, the Middle East, and Europe. The increasingly active role China is playing in Syria might mark a shift in the geostrategic reality of the region. 

Why North Korea Sanctions are Failing in Africa

By Merve Demirel

After eight rounds of UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or simply North Korea, the country’s nuclear weapons program accelerated over the past years. The sanctions have not yet had the intended impact and, in some areas, certain ties with North Korea have threatened their effectiveness. Various countries in the African continent are among those who have been dealing with the Kim regime for decades. The lack of enforcement mechanisms for UN sanctions and the global power dynamics concerning the continent explain why UN sanctions on North Korea have been falling short in Africa. This becomes more critical as North Korea hopes to reduce its dependence on China, since China has been increasingly vocal about starting to enforce the sanctions.

Fooling all the people all the time

By Lucien Crowder

Amy Zegart, a Stanford University expert on intelligence and national security, makes a simple but compelling point in a short, gripping Atlantic article called “The tools of espionage are going mainstream.” Once upon a time, Zegart argues, national leaders employed military deception and espionage techniques to trick the leaders of other countries. Now, deception has become a weapon that targets civilians. “We are moving to a world,” Zegart writes, “where the tip of the spear isn’t a soldier or a spy, but everyday citizens on their smart phones. ... Russia may be the first to embrace massive online geopolitical deception, but it is unlikely to be the only one.”

Duke's Peter Feaver on the president and US nuclear command and control

John Mecklin

Peter Feaver is a political science and public policy professor at Duke University who has served on the National Security Council for two presidents and is an expert in the sub-field often known as civil-military or political-military affairs. From mid-2005 to mid-2007, he was special advisor for strategic planning and institutional reform on the National Security Council staff in the George W. Bush White House. In 1993­–94, he was director for defense policy and arms control on the National Security Council in the Bill Clinton administration.

US foresaw a costly victory in war with NKorea _ in 1994 before Pyongyang had nuclear weapons

In a nuclear standoff with North Korea more than two decades ago — long before the reclusive government had atomic weapons that could threaten America — U.S. officials planned for war. Declassified documents published Friday show the United States believed its military and South Korea’s forces would “undoubtedly win” a conflict on the divided Korean Peninsula, with the understanding it would cost many casualties. The Pentagon estimated at the time that if war broke with Korea, some 52,000 American service members would be killed or wounded in the first three months. South Korean military casualties would total 490,000 in that time. And the number of North Korean and civilian lives claimed would be enormous, according to “The Two Koreas” by Don Oberdorfer, a definitive modern history of Korean Peninsula.

14 UN peacekeepers killed, 53 hurt in Congo attack

In the deadliest single attack on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in recent memory, rebels in eastern Congo killed at least 14 peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in an assault on their base that was launched at nightfall and went on for hours. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “outrage and utter heartbreak” and called the attack a war crime, urging Congolese authorities to swiftly investigate. The peacekeepers killed were from Tanzania. At least five Congolese soldiers also were killed in the attack Thursday evening that has been blamed on one of the region’s deadliest rebel groups.

Anyone Can Build Their Own NSA Eavesdropping Empire

Cortney Weinbaum, Steven Berner, Bruce McClintock

This Perspective examines and challenges the assumption that signals intelligence (SIGINT) is an inherently governmental function by revealing nongovernmental approaches and technologies that allow private citizens to conduct SIGINT activities. RAND researchers relied on publicly available information to identify SIGINT capabilities in the open market and to describe the intelligence value each capability provides to users. They explore the implications each capability might provide to the United States and allied governments. The team explored four technology areas where nongovernmental SIGINT is flourishing: maritime domain awareness; radio frequency (RF) spectrum mapping; eavesdropping, jamming, and hijacking of satellite systems; and cyber surveillance. They then identified areas where further research and debate are needed to create legal, regulatory, policy, process, and human capital solutions to the challenges these new capabilities provide to government.

Three military ideas for dealing with North Korea

As Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un continue to hurl insults across the broad Pacific, military planners need to be exploring innovative answers for dealing with the rising threat from North Korea. At the heart of the problem is the ability of Kim's regime to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles perhaps as far as 8,000 miles as demonstrated by the latest launch of the Kwasong 15 missile.

#BalticBrief: Propaganda Threatens Russian Engagement…Militarily

An open-source analysis of Kremlin propaganda spread about the Baltic states

On November 29, Russian political scientist and international journalist Aleksandr Nosovich wrote an article in pro-Kremlin media outlet Rubaltic.ru entitled, “Russian will be forced to engage in the Baltics.” He meant engage militarily. The article went on to posit that the Baltic states provoke Russia, which leaves the Kremlin no choice but to turn military attention toward the region on its western border.

The article used many techniques and messages employed in pro-Kremlin propaganda.

Global Militarization Index 2017

English (5.05 MB)

Compiled by BICC, the Global Militarization Index (gmi) presents on an annual basis the relative weight and importance of a country's military apparatus in relation to its society as a whole. The GMI 2017 covers 151 states and is based on the latest available figures (in most cases data for 2016). The index project is financially supported by Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The ten countries that have the highest levels of militarization for the year 2016 are Israel, Singapore, Armenia, Russia, South Korea, Kuwait, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece and Brunei. These countries allocate particularly high levels of resources to the armed forces in comparison to other areas of society. For some countries that are included in the top 20 militarized countries in the world, the sharp decline in the price of oil has led to a reduction in military expenditures: Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia but also Azerbaijan.

“As much death as you want”: UC Berkeley's Stuart Russell on “Slaughterbots”


Not many films advocating arms control will get hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube. But not every film advocating arms control comes with a title such as “Slaughterbots.” At 7 minutes and 47 seconds, “Slaughterbots” is fast-moving, hyper-realistic, anxiety-laden, and deeply creepy. If you’ve never heard of swarming drones before, this is just the short film to turn you against them forever. If you never dreamed that those toy-like drones from off the shelf at the big-box store could be converted—with a bit of artificial intelligence and a touch of shaped explosive—into face-recognizing assassins with a mission to terminate you—well, dream it.

Welcome to the Age of Digital Warfare

by Abby Norman

In the months running up to the 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee was hacked. Documents were leaked, fake news propagated across social media — the hackers, in short, launched a systematic attack on American democracy.

Whether or not that’s war, however, is a matter for debate. In the simplest sense, an act of cyber warfare is defined as an attack by one nation on the digital infrastructure of another.

These threats are what Samuel Woolley, research director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at Institute for the Future, calls “computational propaganda,” which he defines as the spread of disinformation and politically motivated attacks designed using “algorithms, automation, and human curation,” and launched via the internet, particularly social media. In a statement to Futurism, Woolley added that these attacks are “assailing foundational parts of democracy: the press, open civic discourse, the right to privacy, and free elections.”

U.S. officials warn of ISIS' new caliphate: cyberspace

Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The collapse of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate has not diminished the militant group’s ability to inspire attacks on Western targets via the internet, U.S. national security officials told senators on Wednesday.

The Sunni Muslim extremist group has been building its external operations over the past two years and has claimed or been linked to at least 20 attacks against Western interests since January, said Lora Shiao, acting director of intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center.