3 January 2018


--  Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM(Retd)

It is very important to understand, what Captain Sir B. H. Liddell Hart had said, the "Other Side of the Hill" thinks.

We must see how the Chinese look at the world events of last year.

Lin Zhiyuan, the deputy director of the Foreign Military Branch of the Institute of War under the PLA Academy of Military Science wrote a paper on Overview of world military situations in 2017 in China Military Online.

Here is the Chinese observations on World Military Situation.

The world landscape has changed at a faster pace in 2017. Inter-power cooperation and competition coexisted, with the latter becoming more prominent. Major countries paid more attention to contention for regional dominance, for buffer zones and “strategic strongholds”, and for emerging fields. But be it confrontation or standoff, all sides remained restrained below the traditional “threshold of war”.

Some countries, while focusing on the “gray zone” contest, updated their military theories and developed disruptive technologies and equipment to improve cross-field combat strength and prepare for winning the “high-end conflicts” in the future.

China’s military has increasingly become a staunch force safeguarding world peace. 

China announced in September the completion of registration for an 8,000-strong peacekeeping standby force in the United Nations, which covered 10 professional categories in urgent need for United Nations peacekeeping tasks, such as army, navy, air force and medical support units. The troop is expected to be organized into peacekeeping troop units as per the invitation of the United Nations for overseas missions.

The hospital ship “Peace Ark” of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy visited Angola for the first time in October. During its port-visit there, the ship saw a 100-meter queue at the pier formed by visiting patients every day.

The 28th Chinese naval escort taskforce has started to take on escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off the Somali coast in December. Since the first escort mission in 2008, Chinese escort taskforces have rescued, picked up and helped more than 60 Chinese and foreign ships in trouble, and verified and expelled around 3,000 suspected pirate ships.

Contests among great powers and geopolitical rivalries got bitter. But all parties stressed using “hybrid war” means to cultivate a strategic posture in their own favor, which managed to sustain the strategic balance.

The Trump administration stressed “America first” and the determination of restoration of America’s global leadership. Its national security strategy returned to traditional geopolitical gambling with major powers and Trump positioned China and Russia as “strategic competitors”.

The US military continued to reinforce its front-line deployment and launched four “freedom of navigation” vessel sailing operations in the South China Sea in the year. These moves fully exhibit the US government’s Cold War mentality.

Eyeing to “restore the dominance of the world”, Russia placed more emphasis on flexibly employing military power to gain strategic benefits. Russia’s military operations in Syria have successfully shifted the concerns of the United States and other western countries on the Ukrainian issue, consolidated the status of Bashar al-Assad’s regime and fundamentally changed the strategic containment on Russia.

The United States used NATO to keep squeezing the strategic survival space for Russia and enhanced troop deployment against Russia. As a result, the United States and Russia have been mired in structural antagonism with intensified tensions. There are no signs of a thaw in their relations.

Shinzo Abe’s government in Japan, relying on the United States, continued to create troubles on such issues as the Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea.

In short, great powers paid more attention to long-term military competition this year. They scrambled for regional presence and discourse power. They sought ground for military operations and stopped before going too far to avoid head-on conflicts.

Hot and knotty issues continued but within a controllable range. The issues were eased to some extent through political negotiations and compromise. 

Two major issues have challenged regional security and stability in the year. First, the Syria issue, which, to a certain extent, can be regarded as a “war of agents” between Russia and the United States. The year-end turnabout of the war situation provided an opportunity for a political solution to the issues.

Second, DPRK’s nuclear issue. After Trump came into power, he explicitly asserted to put an end to the “strategic patience” policy, and highlighted military deterrence as evidenced by the repeated escalation of US-ROK joint exercises.

The DPRK responded with an even tougher attitude to the toughness of the United States and ROK. The risk of chaos and war on the Korean peninsula increased dramatically.

Anti-terrorism fights reaped important progress, but terrorist threats were still spreading. The international community faces a new round of challenges.

The Islamic State, entrenched in Syria and Iraq for many years, retreated in defeat again and again, with vast areas of land lost and military might severely weakened and dispersed, under joint attacks by the United States and Russia, among other countries. However, the global anti-terrorism effect was not obvious overall.

Islamic State will probably linger on for many years as a terrorist organization. Some of its members will hide underground fighting in Syria and Iraq. Some foreign “holy warriors” may secretly return to their home countries or move to Africa to carry out “lone wolf” terrorist attacks.

It needs the international community to establish and improve the anti-terrorism cooperation system to aid the international fight against terrorism and to eradicate the conditions that breed terrorism.

Some countries promoted plans to “build up” or “expand” military forces in active preparation for winning the information-based and intelligent wars of the future. 

The Trump administration pursued “force to promote peace”, and proposed to rebuild the U.S. military and expand its scale.

The U.S. recently signed a defense authorization bill involving a value of nearly $700 billion, continued to expand nuclear arsenals, and comprehensively enhanced the “Trinity” global strike capability. It also stressed the development of unmanned systems and artificial intelligence to ensure the military technical superiority.

Trump also put forward the “multi-domain warfare” concept and re-designed future wars. The U.S. Congress demanded that a major reform of “national security space” be carried out to create conditions for the formation of an independent “space force” in the future.

Russia stepped up its armament construction following asymmetrical thinking and is about to issue a new edition of the State Armaments Program. Russia plans to spend $320 billion focusing on the development of a nuclear deterrent system, with special attention paid to high-precision weapons and hypersonic and laser weapons.

Japan’s military spending increased for five consecutive years with a focus on strengthening naval and air forces in the “southwest areas”. India emphasized joint operations of the army, navy and air force and is now transforming to a network-centered army building and combat mode.

It is evident that outdated ways of thinking, such as the Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game, remained flourishing in 2017. At the same time, all countries vied for the development of new military technologies.

Technology and philosophy are in fact very close to each other. For old conceptions, such as the Cold War mentality, advanced technologies can be an “accomplice”. But for new concepts of peace maintenance and others, technology can also play a catalytic role.

Muddy Waters and Information Warfare

An excellent article ('Muddy Siang is sign of danger ahead, wake up call for Indian authorities') on the recent developments on the Yarlung Tsangpo/Siang/ Brahmaputra has been published by the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP). It is worth reading. Two important questions have been raised. Why China kept quiet if it was ‘only’ a earthquake and why India remained ‘unaware’ when it was not too difficult to ‘know’ the facts with remote satellite imagery.

Make jobs the priority in 2018

Source Link
Manas Chakravarty

Demonetisation and the goods and services tax have led to disruption in the informal sector and the performance of the industrial sector has been lacklustre. 

It’s a trend that has happened in every developing economy. As the economy develops, the number of persons employed in agriculture drops, with people migrating to the towns to take up better jobs. Productivity improves, wages go up and the economy prospers. That’s the optimistic take on the trend. There’s also another side to it, when farm plots become smaller and unviable as they’re subdivided among a growing population. Industry is unable to absorb the surplus and destitute people crowd city slums searching for work. The “Lewisian Transformation”, the trend of underemployed labour moving out of agriculture into more productive jobs, named after economist Arthur Lewis, has in many Third World countries become the “Lewisian Trap”, with most workers stuck in precarious low-wage jobs. India is no exception.

Election Year in Pakistan: Key Dynamics and Prospects

Rana Banerji

Despite several hiccups, on 19 December, the Senate of Pakistan passed the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2017 - resulting in the amendment to Article 51 (5) of the Pakistani constitution - which will enable elections to the National Assembly (NA) to be held on the basis of the 2017 provisional census results. Under the newly demarcated constituencies, of the 342 NA seats, Punjab will have 141 General seats and 33 Women seats (7 General and 2 Women seats fewer); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will have 39 General and 9 Women seats (4 General and 1 Women seat added); Baluchistan will have 16 General and 4 Women seats (2 General and 1 Women seat added); and the Federal Capital Area will have 3 General seats (1 General seat added). The existing 61 General and 14 Women seats in Sindh and 12 General seats in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain unchanged. The term of the present parliament ends on 31 May 2018. After the Election Commission implements these changes, elections could be held, after Ramadan, sometime in mid-August 2018.

China to bring paramilitary police force under military's wing

Since taking power five years ago, President Xi Jinping has overseen a sweeping modernization of the People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest military, laying off troops, streamlining its organization and investing in advanced weapons.In a brief report, the official Xinhua news agency said that from midnight on Jan. 1 the People’s Armed Police would no longer fall under the purview of the State Council, or cabinet, and instead report to the Central Military Commission. Xi heads the Central Military Commission in his role as armed forces chief and commander in chief. Xi has steadily consolidated his power over the military, and has appointed allies to key positions of power in the armed forces.

China lashes out at German ambassador over cyber security

China’s foreign ministry lashed out at the German ambassador on Wednesday after he said Beijing failed to respond to requests to discuss Chinese internet controls foreign companies worry will disrupt business. Ambassador Michael Clauss told the South China Morning Post newspaper of Hong Kong the two governments agreed in 2016 to set up a group to discuss cyber issues but it “has yet to see the light of day.” He said requests for a “meaningful dialogue” about Chinese curbs on virtual private networks, which are used for encrypted communication and can evade Beijing’s web filters, have “regrettably not yet received a positive response.”

China Is Pushing Its Luck With the West


Beijing has baited some of America’s leading corporations with offers of access to its giant consumer market. In return, the likes of Apple and LinkedIn have agreed to play by China’s rules and submit to what amounts to censorship. On American college campuses, accepting money from the Beijing-backed Confucius Institute has come at the price of academic freedom: There are mounting concerns that the language and cultural centers financed by the institute prohibit discussion on issues that place China in a critical light. Elsewhere, Beijing has been accused of pulling the strings of Western democracies. In Australia, Chinese businessmen with ties to the Chinese Communist Party have donated millions of dollars to the country’s two leading political parties in an effort to shape domestic and foreign policy. A rising political star, Sam Dastyari of the opposition Labor Party, announced his resignation from the Senate in the face of allegations that he was peddling Beijing’s positions for financial support.

China’s Education Boom

By Dmitriy Frolovskiy

During the Chinese Communist Party’s recent 19th National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the role of education as a driving force for the country’s development in the future. He suggested that education should play a leading role in spearheading China’s domestic transformation, boosting its international recognition and soft power. These goals are expected to be achieved by 2049, while according to Education Minister Chen Baosheng, available data already marks substantial achievements in the field during the past years.

China’s underwater surveillance network puts targets in focus along maritime Silk Road

Stephen Chen

A new underwater surveillance network is expected to help China’s submarines get a stronger lock on targets while protecting the nation’s interests along the maritime Silk Road, from the Korean peninsula to the east coast of Africa. The system, which has already been launched, works by gathering information about the underwater environment, particularly water temperature and salinity, which the navy can then use to more accurately track target vessels as well as improve navigation and positioning.

Putinism with Chinese Characteristics

By Kevin Carrico

Since 2012, Chinese Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping has consolidated more power than any Chinese leader since at least Deng Xiaoping. This consolidation of power has coincided with a growing cult of personality, which portrays Xi as “the right leader at the right time” for China. Analyses of this cult often make comparisons to that of Mao Zedong, modern China’s founding figure, which dominated political culture in China until the late 1970s (China Brief, March 6, 2015). A reexamination of the evolution of the cult of personality around Xi, however, suggests that a far more appropriate point of comparison is with a more recent figure: Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Can China Internationalize the RMB?

By Saori N. Katada

The jury is still out on whether the Chinese renminbi (RMB) will displace the U.S. dollar in the foreseeable future. What is clear, however, is that challenging a hegemonic currency is not simple. For the RMB to eventually reign supreme, not only would the Chinese leadership, particularly the country’s monetary authority, need the political will to prioritize the internationalization of its currency over concerns with domestic stability, it would also have to gain the support of the financial markets and other economic and political players. All that is easier said than done.

Making China Great Again

By Evan Osnos

When the Chinese action movie “Wolf Warrior II” arrived in theatres, in July, it looked like a standard shoot-’em-up, with a lonesome hero and frequent explosions. Within two weeks, however, “Wolf Warrior II” had become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time. Some crowds gave it standing ovations; others sang the national anthem. In October, China selected it as its official entry in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards. The hero, Leng Feng, played by the action star Wu Jing (who also directed the film), is a veteran of the “wolf warriors,” special forces of the People’s Liberation Army. In retirement, he works as a guard in a fictional African country, on the frontier of China’s ventures abroad. A rebel army, backed by Western mercenaries, attempts to seize power, and the country is engulfed in civil war. Leng shepherds civilians to the gates of the Chinese Embassy, where the Ambassador wades into the battle and declares, “Stand down! We are Chinese! China and Africa are friends.” The rebels hold their fire, and survivors are spirited to safety aboard a Chinese battleship.

In 1969, Nuclear War Almost Broke Out Between Russia and China

Kyle Mizokami

On the minus side, a nuclear strike against China would have earned the Soviets worldwide condemnation. An attack into Manchuria would have also played to China’s “People’s War” strategy of slowly dissolving invading forces with a combination of Chinese army forces and peasant militias. China’s leadership, which had already proven itself bloody minded against its own people, would have had little compunction in sacrificing millions in a war against the Soviets. From the Soviet perspective, a grinding, never-ending war with China had no clearly defined ending. A Soviet attack against China would have been a tactical success but a strategic failure—or worse, an open-ended strategic commitment that would have dwarfed the invasion of Afghanistan.

Where ISIS Gets Its Weapons

by Niall McCarthy

Some of the hardware was U.S.-made and the group subsequently attracted headlines for using American M4 and M16 rifles in its propaganda videos as well as humvees in suicide bombings. In 2015, the Iraqi prime minister said that ISIS managed to capture 2,300 humvees when the group took over the city of Mosul. Despite its seemingly impressive haul of western weaponry after its conquests in Iraq, about 90 percent of all weapons and ammunition deployed by ISIS are of Warsaw Pact calibers, mainly originating in China, Russia and Eastern Europe. That was the result of an extensive analysis of 40,000 items of ISIS weaponry recovered in Syria and Iraq, conducted by Conflict Armament Research between 2014 and 2017.

Reform or Revolution? Iran’s Path to Democracy

By Haleh Esfandiari

Iran has often seemed to be on the brink of democracy. During the twentieth century, the country experienced three major political upheavals: the Constitutional Revolution of 1905–11, the oil nationalization movement of 1951–53 and the Islamic Revolution of 1978–79. Each differed from the others in important ways, but all constituted a reaction to corruption, misrule, and autocracy. They all reflected the spread of literacy, the rising expectations of a growing middle class, and the impatience of a wealthy business community with official mismanagement. They were all characterized by an aspiration for some form of democratic government. Yet each time, that aspiration was disappointed. 

Its dreams of a caliphate are gone. Now ISIS has a deadly new strategy

Hassan Hassan

Its much-vaunted caliphate has gone, crushed by the might of Russian, Syrian and US warplanes, Iran-backed militias, Kurdish forces and armies launched by Damascus and Baghdad. But while 2017 might have seen the end of Islamic State’s dream of ruling over its twisted vision of an ideal society, the year ended with an ominous sign that its deadly international campaign against the many people and faiths it sees as spiritual foes has gathered new energy. Last Thursday, dozens of civilians in Kabul were killed in a suicide attack that targeted a Shia cultural centre in the Afghan capital. The assault was the latest in persistent attacks by an affiliate of Isis, which has proved to be resilient despite a relentless campaign against it in recent months.

America Would Benefit from a Balance of Power in the Persian Gulf

Doug Bandow

President Donald Trump once was skeptical of the totalitarian dictatorship commonly known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). He complained, correctly, that Saudis had funded terrorism against America and wondered why the United States subsidized the protection of a wealthy petro-state. After taking office the president, perhaps affected by abundant flattery judiciously employed by people highly skilled in the art, acted like just another Westerner hired by the Saudi royals to do their bidding. After his visit, highlighted by his uncomfortable participation in the traditional Sword Dance, he added the KSA to America’s pantheon of “special relationships.” Riyadh’s wish seemingly became Washington’s command. The result has been a steady assault on American interests and values.

6 European elections to watch this year


Europeans have barely had time to draw breath after a big year of elections in 2017. But it won’t be long before much of the Continent heads for the polls in 2018.Some of Europe’s political big hitters will be in action. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán are seeking re-election while Silvio Berlusconi is campaigning to get his party back into power in Italy. What’s at stake: The provocative and blatantly politically incorrect incumbent Miloš Zeman is hoping to win another term after becoming the first Czech president to be directly elected in 2013. If Zeman succeeds and fellow populist Andrej Babiš manages to form a stable government as prime minister, it is likely to be even more difficult for the European Commission to make the Czech Republic fall in line on issues like immigration and gun control.

How solid is Donald Trump’s Asia strategy?


President Donald Trump’s tweet on Saturday on the US support of anti-government demonstrations in Iran has underscored America’s continued course of regime change in Asia, and everywhere else where the country’s politics do not follow the US scripts. This echoes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s earlier statement of the US support of “those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of government.”  Iran has long been a thorn in America’s side, up to the point of Trump’s insistence in October on using the term “Arabian Gulf” in place of “Persian Gulf” while announcing plans to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. The hostile rhetoric had actually helped hardliners in Iran to close ranks even while escalating tensions in the region.

Peace, War or Chaos?: The 5 Big National Security Challenges of 2018

Daniel R. DePetris

If, before Election Day 2016, you predicted Donald Trump would win the presidency, that a special counsel would be appointed to investigate potential collusion between Trump campaign officials and the Kremlin, and the U.S. military would take military action against the Syrian government, there’s a good chance that your family or friends would call you crazy. If you happened to add that provocateur Marine Le Pen would qualify for the French presidential runoff and that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un would threaten to bombard the U.S. territory of Guam, your loved ones might have tried to arrange an appointment with a psychologist.

Nobody's Ready for the Killer Robot

By Tobin Harshaw

It was another busy year for everybody's favorite automotive-industry disruptor, space-travel visionary and potential James Bond villain Elon Musk. Tesla surpassed Ford and General Motors in market capitalization; the Gigafactory began churning out lithium-ion batteries; his neighborhood roofing company began installing solar panels that aren't crimes against architecture; he's sending two rockets to Mars; he started digging a giant tunnel under Los Angeles; and he dissed President Donald Trump over the Paris Climate Accord. (OK, he had a few misses too; just ask anybody on the Model 3 waiting list.)

Cybersecurity review of 2017: The year of wake-up calls


Fresh from peering into our crystal ball and outlining some of the trends that we expect to dominate the cyber-landscape in the coming year, we will now offer a snapshot of 2017. In a way, this year may be seen as a ‘year of wake-up calls’. Alarm bells barely stopped ringing as we kept waking up to the reality of a rash of fresh cyber-incidents. Striking far and wide, such incursions provided everybody who goes anywhere near the Web with abundant fodder for reflection on how unsafe our online worlds can be. Rather than ‘sit back and relax’, it is now often ‘sit up and take notice’.

What U.S. Enemies Stand to Gain – and Lose – in Cyber War

Those two actors are very different in their motivations and how they proceed. The Iranians view their cyber activities as proportional responses to things being done to them, things related to sanctions of various kinds. They also view their activities as part of their goal to be a regional dominant player, and so cyber is an important component of that. The North Koreans, on the other hand, use cyber as a means to also avoid sanctions, but in a very different way. They’re using them for overtly criminal activities, like their theft of funds from the Bank of Bangladesh, other bank robbery-sort of things that they’ve done, and their use of the WannaCry tool to attempt to get ransom payments from people. And then their alleged activities in the theft of bitcoin as well.

Can't Kill Enough to Win? Think Again

When is the United States going to do the killing necessary to beat its terrorist enemies or eliminate them entirely?

Those given the awful task of combat must be able to act with the necessary savagery and purposefulness to destroy those acting as, or in direct support of, Islamic terrorists worldwide. In 2008, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen said, “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Ever since, many have parroted his words. But what if Admiral Mullen was wrong? The United States has been at war with radical Islamists four times longer than it was with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. And those previous enemies were far more competent and aggressive than the terrorists. It is time to kill a lot more of them.

For the U.S. Army, the Future Is Robots

Kris Osborn

Not only have robots been able to use GPS waypoint technology to travel from one location to another, but the systems have slowly learned how to maneuver independently around other objects or obstacles in real time. Systems like the well-known Packbot progressively leveraged technology to use different software packages for different sensing or detection missions with greater levels of autonomy. The Army is transforming its fleet of transportable robots to a common set of standards to expedite modernization, interoperability, autonomy and mission flexibility.