17 January 2018

Nobody cares for internally displaced people for whom Aadhar Card is of great value.

Five years after the first petition was filed challenging the validity of Aadhaar, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will begin final hearing of the petitions against it today. In August, a nine-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice of India J S Khehar had ruled that privacy was a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution. Now the government has to convince the Supreme Court that forcing citizens to give a sample of their fingerprints and their iris scan does not violate privacy. The petitioners are challenging the nature of information collected, which includes biometrics, and its alleged unlimited use by government agencies. A recent report in The Tribune had exposed how access to the Aadhaar database could be bought on the internet only for Rs 500.

Today Nandan Nilekani, the father of Aadhar has written an excellent article in Times of India. It should clarify lot of cobwebs in the mind of doubting Thomases.

It would be most beneficial to a large number of our poor people who are internally displaced and move to cities/ J&K or Punjab for livelihood. There is no ration card or other identity cards for them to access the benefits government gives them. In this cacophony it is these poor people of our country who are getting sidelined. 

There are some excellent schemes of the government for the marginalized people. I request you to check, for example from your domestic helps: whether they have Aadhar card, ration card. Bank account in jan dhan yojana, Insurance and other benefits the government gives. The domestic helps are in better position then the others.

While the NPAs of banks are in thousands of crores courtesy Anil Ambani, Ruia. Aggarwal and host of other big wigs ask any of these poor people hoe the banks treat them if they want loan. What is the accountability of these bank officers who have sanctioned theses NPA loans.

My country cries.

              ---- Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

We’re all in this together: Aadhaar isn’t building a surveillance dystopia, it asserts your individual identity vis-à-vis the state

John F Kennedy popularised an important idea from one of GK Chesterton’s books, known as Chesterton’s Fence. Imagine a fence in the middle of a road. Chesterton postulated that the modern reformist who sees no point of the fence, must first figure out why it is there, before proposing to destroy it. If you don’t know why the fence exists, you should be humble enough to admit you don’t know enough to change it. Self-regulating communities such as Wikipedia uphold Chesterton’s fence as a way to temper ugly debates and encourage empathy for opposing views.

When we started the Aadhaar project in 2009, we had a clean slate. Instead of jumping right in, we spent a lot of time understanding how ID systems work around the world, the trade-offs between a central database and a smart card, how ration cards are being used in India, models for enrollment, etc. We recruited some of the brightest in the world to help us research the possibilities, challenges and opportunities of building Aadhaar. In other words, we studied the fence. The quality of the debate on Aadhaar today would be a lot better, if all of us could do the same.

First of all, the need for Aadhaar arose because Indians did not have a universally acceptable, portable, unique identification. Ration cards, the most popular ID before Aadhaar, varied from state to state. Many included a photo only of the head of the household. This meant dependents didn’t have their own individual ID. This particularly impacted women and minor children. Aadhaar promised to be a unique, individual identification to empower every individual – woman, child or man – and who were increasingly migrant and mobile.

Second, getting an ID and its associated entitlements was rife with corruption. The state relied on the use of BPL (below poverty-line) cards issued by its own offices. Since these cards became the de facto passport to many entitlements, they also became a focus point for corruption. To get a BPL card usually meant a bribe of Rs 5,000 or more. In India, the sad irony was that you had to be rich enough to get a BPL card. Aadhaar promised to be free for every individual, and enrollments would not be restricted to government operators only.

Third, Aadhaar was designed for inclusion – it included transgender as an option, did not ask women for their husband’s or father’s name, it didn’t need an address proof in case you were homeless or even a proof for your age. The express objective was to give an ID to as many residents as possible. Enrollment could be done anytime, anywhere. The inclusion mandate has driven many decisions within UIDAI. The latest fusion face matching authentication demonstrates UIDAI’s continued commitment to evolve solutions that include, not exclude.

Fourth, inclusive IDs serve no purpose if they are not verifiably unique. India’s many ID systems before Aadhaar were plagued with fake records and duplicates. Developed nations have a robust birth registry system, predicated on the fact that almost all their births take place inside a hospital. India, unfortunately, does not have this. Hence, centralised biometrics was the only option to deduplicate and increase trust in Aadhaar. The use of the yes/no only biometric authentication through registered devices, provides a safe and privacy protecting way of authenticating identity.

Fifth, not just inclusion, privacy by design was another guiding tenet for Aadhaar. We built this into the architecture, and to this day, UIDAI will only know that you used your Aadhaar for authentication. It won’t know why or where. Linking to Aadhaar is not a two-way process. When you link your bank account to your Aadhaar, for example, UIDAI gets no data back from your bank. Further, UIDAI responded to the needs of the public and introduced mandatory tokenisation and Virtual IDs. This is a first for any national ID system, and a giant leap for protecting user privacy.

Sixth, the government’s push to link Aadhaar is often oversimplified as simply removing ‘ghosts’ from the system. Most experts wrongly project their simplistic understanding of Aadhaar on to the UIDAI’s intention. Aadhaar is not just about removing ghosts, it is the backbone of digitisation of old systems, that brings numerous benefits. Consider a ration shop. If every end transaction is linked to an Aadhaar number and verified by authentication, suddenly the entire backward supply chain becomes transparent and auditable and rations are accessible from any shop. Neither the shopkeeper nor the wholesaler can fudge the digitally signed authentication from UIDAI.

The problem with the discourse today is that some modern reformists either don’t or don’t want to understand the history and context within which Aadhaar was conceived. Moreover, they are eager to paint UIDAI as either thoroughly incompetent – unable to keep its ship from leaking – or alternatively, a sinister organisation eager to build a surveillance dystopia.

I want to emphasise that it is neither. UIDAI is a hard working group of committed individuals doing their best to evolve an empowering identity solution for 1.3 billion Indians without compromising user privacy or excluding them from services. Aadhaar is not a surveillance tool by the state, on the contrary, it is an assertion of your individual identity vis-à-vis the state. Like it or not, we’re all in this together to achieve opportunity, development and empowerment of our billion people, even if we disagree on how exactly to get there.

Gamechanger: The Digital Payment Boom In India

What does a shoe shiner in India have in common with central bankers and finance ministers? They both can appreciate the digital-payment boom. It’s sweeping the world but has accelerated in India, where last November the government demonetized - declaring that 86 percent of the country’s currency in circulation would cease to be legal tender. Mobile payment platforms like Paytm, stepped in to fill the void left by demonetization, and in the process­- are bringing more people into the banking fold. In this podcast, Paytm Chief Financial Officer Madhur Deora says he was not all that surprised when the invitation came to speak at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings.

Sheer Stupidity Almost Led to the Sinking of India’s Only Ballistic Missile Submarine

Jared Keller

The modern submarine is not a simple machine. A loss of propulsion, unexpected flooding, or trouble with reactors or weapons can doom a sub crew to a watery grave. Also, it’s a good idea to, like, close the hatches before you dive. Call it a lesson learned for the Indian navy, which managed to put the country’s first nuclear-missile submarine, the $2.9 billion INS Arihant, out of commission in the most boneheaded way possible. The Hindu reported [4] yesterday that the Arihant has been out of commission since suffering “major damage” some 10 months ago, due to what a navy source characterized as a “human error” — to wit: allowing water to flood to sub’s propulsion compartment after failing to secure one of the vessel’s external hatches.

Teen Murti street renamed after Haifa: All you need to know about the historical battle

Unlike most British battles in the region, the one at Haifa was fought by cavalry regiments of the Indian Maharajas and not the British army.  The Teen Murti Chowk and the Teen Murti Marg will henceforth be known as the ‘Teen Murti Haifa Chowk’ after the Israeli city of Haifa. The move has been made few months ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July and is an effort to pay tribute to a lesser known aspect of the history of India-Israel relations. The three statues that is the focal point of the Teen Murti Chowk, often misinterpreted as having connections with Mahatma Gandhi, are in fact a symbol of tribute to three famous Indian state forces who were part of the British imperial service cavalry brigade during the First World War, and had played a crucial role in overcoming Ottoman rule in Israel. The battle to conquer Haifa is commemorated every year in Israel and special homage is paid to the Indian soldiers without whom the modern state of Israel would never have come into existence.

Russia is Looking to Engage the Taliban. Here’s Why.

By Samuel Ramani

In December, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Indian diplomats that Moscow supported diplomatic engagement with the Taliban. Lavrov’s justification for this bold pronouncement? He argued that no Afghan peace settlementcould proceed without the Taliban’s participation — and that dialogue with the Taliban would reduce the risk of terrorism diffusing from Afghanistan to Central Asia. That’s just part of the story, though. My research on Russia’s Afghan strategy suggests that Moscow’s diplomatic engagement with the Taliban actually aims to challenge internationally accepted rules of engagement with the Islamic extremist organization.

Why Pakistan won’t share intelligence with the US

Pakistan’s defence minister Khurram Dastgir Khan has announced that he has suspended intelligence sharing with the US - the latest twist in the US-Pakistan row. But how much does it matter? Relations between Washington and Islamabad have been in the spotlight since US President Donald Trump’s New Year’s Day tweet, where he accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit”. Since then, Washington announced it would halt all security assistance to Pakistan, and Pakistani politicians have been quick to express dismay - with the foreign minister saying that the two aren’t allies anymore, and the army chief saying he feels “betrayed”. But behind the rhetoric, both sides are actually responding more cautiously than you might expect. US officials have said that the suspension in security assistance is temporary, and that funds may still be reimbursed on case-by-case basis, depending on measurable co-operation extended by Pakistan.

Pakistan pits CENTCOM commander against Trump administration

In a conversation with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, the Pakistani military claimed CENTCOM commander General Joseph Votel said the idea that the Taliban uses Pakistan as a safe haven is “undermining … Pakistan’s contributions in war against terrorism” in Washington. Pakistan’s characterization of the conversation would seemingly pit General Votel directly against the Trump administration, which has decided to take a hard line against Pakistan for its ongoing support of jihadists in Afghanistan. CENTCOM declined to comment to FDD’s Long War Journal on Pakistan’s view of Votel’s conversation but said it remains “in continuous communication with the Pakistan military.”

A More Radical Way for Trump to Confront Pakistan

By David Rohde

Last week, President Trump conducted an extraordinary week-long public rebuke of a country that he has previously ignored. At 7:12 a.m., on Monday, January 1st, Trump made Pakistan the focus of his first tweet of the New Year, accusing that nation’s leaders of giving the United States “nothing but lies & deceit” in return for thirty-three billion dollars in aid since 2001, and of providing “safe havens for the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.” He added, “No more!” On Friday, at 11:19 p.m., he ended the week with a retweet of a proposal by Senator Rand Paul, calling on the United States to cut off all aid to Pakistan and to spend that money on building roads and bridges in this country. “Good idea Rand!” Trump wrote.

Cyber Security In Pakistan: Myth Or Reality

By Zaheema Iqbal*

Over the last few decades, the exceptional innovation and use of the cyber space has taken place, giving rise to a inter-connected world and brought people together from all spheres of life on one platform. The majority of modern nations have ridden themselves of manual systems of infrastructure vital to their national economy and shifted to enhance their systems to digitization. But this huge development and progress has a cost to pay. The nature of digital systems are vulnerable to cyber-attacks by malevolent groups, or individuals, with enhanced and serious repercussions for nations of all over the world.

Pentagon maintaining close ties to Pakistan, despite harsh White House sanctions

Carlo Munoz

U.S. military leaders are continuing to maintain close contact with their counterparts in Pakistan despite the White House’s latest round of harsh economic sanctions against the South Asian nation. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, head of Pakistan’s Army have remained in “continuous communication” in the weeks following the Trump administration’s announcement of plans to block millions in foreign aid and military support to Pakistan“We value mutual understanding of interests and concerns that we need to consider and might lead to a positive path forward,” command spokesman Col. John Thomas told Reuters Friday, regarding the current state of relations between the Pentagon and Islamabad.

China’s Creditor Imperialism

Just as European imperial powers employed gunboat diplomacy, China is using sovereign debt to bend other states to its will. As Sri Lanka’s handover of the strategic Hambantota port shows, states caught in debt bondage to the new imperial giant risk losing both natural assets and their very sovereignty. Unlike International Monetary Fund and World Bank lending, Chinese loans are collateralized by strategically important natural assets with high long-term value (even if they lack short-term commercial viability). Hambantota, for example, straddles Indian Ocean trade routes linking Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to Asia. In exchange for financing and building the infrastructure that poorer countries need, China demands favorable access to their natural assets, from mineral resources to ports.

China’s Evolving Nuclear Strategy: Will China Drop “No First Use?”

By: Nan Li

The PLA Rocket Force is continuing to upgrade its missile forces and shift its emphasis from a posture of immobile and vulnerable positions hidden deep in mountains to a highly mobile and more survivable mode. A new CCTV documentary also reveals that China’s multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV)-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) DF-41 will begin active service in 2018 (PLA Daily, December 25, 2017; People’s Daily Online, November 28, 2017). While China’s strategic nuclear capabilities are changing, there is still a high level of uncertainty among analysts about the specifics of China’s nuclear strategy. Though China vigorously censors information about its missile forces, examination of a body of relatively authoritative military texts provides useful context to help understand China’s nuclear strategy beyond the more visible changes in equipment. Importantly, it is evident that as China modernizes its nuclear forces, it is also debating a shift in strategy, including the abandonment of its No First Use (NFU) policy.

Russia and China’s Alliance of Convenience

China and Russia conducted a six-day military exercise last week. The exercise simulated attacks on both countries from ballistic and cruise missiles. The Chinese Ministry of Defense declined to identify which country was the simulated aggressor in the exercise, but it’s not hard to figure out that it was the United States. A few days into the exercise, the Trump administration published its National Security Strategy. The document is 68 pages long, but one line in particular from the second page has been quoted endlessly in the media: “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests.” These two developments raise the same question: Is a Sino-Russian alliance emerging?

The Early Returns of China’s Military Reforms

By Ying Yu Lin

Mainland China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has grown stronger since the 2016 military reforms, which have gradually been expanded to cover units “from the neck down.” The PLA’s reforms were aimed at streamlining units with overlapping functions and re-organizing components into a force with integrated joint operations capabilities, a goal yet to be reached. Despite that, the integration of units has gradually shown its impact, which can be seen in the PLA’s extension of reach beyond borders.The transformation of the former army-centric seven military regions into the current five theater commands to reach a balance of power between services is especially meaningful and so is the integration of militia forces through the National Defense Mobilization Department (NDMD) of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of Communist Party of China (CPC).

China’s Hybrid Warfare and Taiwan

By Ying Yu Lin

Former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Vincent R. Stewart notes that modern war has entered the age of fifth-generation warfare, which entails a combination of military and non-military means and the employment of information and public opinion control to achieve strategic high grounds. From this emerges a new term: hybrid warfare. Russian operations in the Crimea campaign in 2014 are a typical example, in which the combined use of non-conventional methods (subversive activities and cyberattacks) and conventional forces was applied to achieve geopolitical strategic goals.

Cambodia and China: Rewriting (and Repeating) History

By Alex Willemyns

Now entering his 34th year in power, 65-year-old Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has had more than half his life to refine and update the canonical story of how he and a ramshackle squad of Khmer Rouge defectors helped overthrow Pol Pot in January 1979. Many elements have remained the same, while others have slowly drifted over time. Then, as now, the story goes, Hun Sen fled to Vietnam in June 1977 to avoid Pol Pot’s purges; then, but not now, a large share of the responsibility for the evils of the regime lay with China.

Income And Living Standards Across China

by Yi Wen

There are many ways to measure income and cost of living. In this post, we’ll look at a few of them to analyze income and living standards across China. A common measure for gauging the living standard of a nation is real per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Real per capita GDP is the average amount of goods and services produced per person in a nation in a given year at constant prices.The figure below shows real per capita GDP across the world in 2014 in terms of the dollar in 2011 at chained purchasing power parities.

Robots, AI, Quantum Computing: How China Is Preparing for a New Generation of War


WASHINGTON, DC — China has developed a plan to “overtake” the United States in the race to militarize artificial intelligence, robotics, and quantum computing, an expert from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) warned lawmakers, noting that the communist nation is “rapidly closing the gap” with America. In written testimony prepared for a hearing held Tuesday by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, William Carter, the deputy director for CSIS’ technology policy program, said:

Clausewitz Takes Down the Caliphate: The Center of Gravity in the Destruction of the State of the Islamic State

by Michael J. Mooney

On June 29, 2014, the spokesman for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, proudly announced to the world that the “the sun of jihad has risen…the flag of the Islamic State…a dream that lives in the depths of every Muslim believer,” now represented more than an arcane, ideological underground movement. “Our caliphate” he said, “has indeed returned with certainty.”  1,206 sunrises later, on October 17, 2017, another announcement was made to the world. However, this one was not from al-Adnani. The target of a coalition air strike, al-Adnani had been dead almost 14 months. Issued by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the message was simple: the city of Raqqah, Syria, had been liberated from the Islamic State (IS). The Commanding General, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) was more definitive with his words: “Today… Raqqa is free. The ISIS caliphate has crumbled. Their capital is lost.” 

Jihadism and Information Warfare beyond Daesh

By Dounia Mahlouly for European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed)

Dounia Mahlouly argues that social-media based propaganda may have been essential in the development of the so-called Islamic State’s (ISIS) transnational recruitment efforts and successes. However, she also points out that the reach of ISIS’ propaganda had decreased significantly since 2015, meaning we should broaden our focus when it comes to information warfare strategies in the Middle East. For instance, Mahlouly contends it’s now essential to recognize the potentially negative implications of regional political elites’ current information strategies, which are capitalizing on the fear of terrorism and radicalization.

President Trump's "Ultimate Deal:" Is Israeli-Palestinian Peace Possible?

Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes took part in a January 11 panel discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, appearing alongside Rep. Ron DeSantis, former Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams, and Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow James Phillips. In reply to the above question, my answer is yes. But I propose a completely different approach from the current one to achieve it. The existing approach of a "peace process," which goes back 30 years, is not working. It can be improved, which the Trump administration is doing, but it ultimately will crumble because it depends on Palestinian acceptance of Israel, which has not come about, and is not coming about. And that is the problem that needs to be addressed, a problem that cannot be addressed by diplomacy. It needs to be addressed in a very different way.

The Lingering Dream of an Islamic State


It was inevitable, a young lawyer in Tunisia told me, that the first attempts at a modern Islamic state would flounder. Young Muslims had grown up under the paradigms of nationalism, European racism and harsh police states, he said. They carried these inherited behaviors into the caliphate formed by the Islamic State, a place that was supposed to be just and colorblind but instead reveled in violence and was studded with mini neocolonial enclaves, where British Pakistanis lorded over local Syrians, and Saudis lorded over everyone. It would take one or two generations to unlearn these tendencies and deconstruct what had gone so wrong, he said. But he remained loyal to the idea — partly because the alternative he currently lives under is worse. “When the police become the state itself,” he said, “it is truly terrifying.”

Behind North Korea´s Olive Branch: An Alternative View

By Graham Ong-Webb

IN A televised New Year speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivered a two-prong message of trepidation and hope. He warned the United States of the “reality” of North Korea’s nuclear deterrent. He also called for peace on the Korean peninsula, adding that his representatives should start talks with their South Korean counterparts “as soon as possible”. The purpose would be to discuss sending a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics, to be hosted in South Korea next month.

Military Quietly Prepares for a Last Resort: War With North Korea

Across the military, officers and troops are quietly preparing for a war they hope will not come. At Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month, a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets. Two days later, in the skies above Nevada, 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion. Next month, at Army posts across the United States, more than 1,000 reserve soldiers will practice how to set up so-called mobilization centers that move military forces overseas in a hurry. And beginning next month with the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang, the Pentagon plans to send more Special Operations troops to the Korean Peninsula, an initial step toward what some officials said ultimately could be the formation of a Korea-based task force similar to the types that are fighting in Iraq and Syria. Others said the plan was strictly related to counterterrorism efforts.

Who's Got The Biggest Nuclear Button?

At the top of the list, as compiled by the Federation Of American Scientists (FAS), are of course Russia and the U.S. With a combined arsenal of over 13,000, this particular hangover from the Cold War is still plain to see. Up to now the two have been undergoing programmes of disarmament - of this 13,400, over 5,000 are officially retired and awaiting dismantlement. In Kim Jong-un's New Year's Day speech, he claimed that North Korea's nuclear forces are now "completed", stating that the nuclear launch button is always within his reach. The FAS does indeed estimate that the country is in possession of between 10 to 20 warheads. In response to the claim, U.S. President Trump fired back, pointing out that his button is "much bigger & more powerful" - something which can not be disputed, as our infographic shows.


Source Link

Every day, the Defense Department thwarts 36 million emails full of malware, viruses and phishing schemes from hackers, terrorists and foreign adversaries trying to gain unauthorized access to military systems. Extrapolated over one year, the Pentagon’s receives 13 billion such emails, which are automatically scanned for suspicious content and other telltale signatures and “dumped on the floor” before they ever reach an inbox, according to David Bennett, director of operations for the Defense Information Systems Agency.