17 February 2018

India´s Response to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative

By Christian Wagner and Siddharth Tripathi 

According to Christian Wagner and Siddharth Tripathi, the threat posed by China’s Belt and Road Initiative has induced significant shifts in India’s foreign policy. For instance, India has now adopted a willingness to cooperate with other states like the US within South Asia, meaning it has dispensed with its policy of viewing the region as its natural sphere of influence. Further, India is also addressing China’s challenge by intensifying its efforts to cooperate with other states across its extended neighborhood in Asia, something that could create new opportunities for Germany and Europe.

Relations between Washington and Islamabad? It’s Complicated

Bottom Line: Current U.S.-Pakistan relations remain strained as the U.S. maintains that Pakistan’s security and intelligence services are doing the minimum to hunt America’s militant enemies within its borders. Pakistani officials have told The Cipher Brief that they have been searching for a way to restart relations despite public humiliation by President Donald Trump earlier this year. Each side wants to keep the other from seeking alternative support – with China wooing Pakistan, and the U.S. growing closer to India.

India warns Pakistan that it will pay for a deadly militant attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR,India (Reuters) - India has warned Pakistan that it would pay for a deadly militant attack on an Indian army camp in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, the latest violence in the disputed region to stoke tension between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan responded by saying it was “fully committed and capable of defending itself against any act of aggression” and India had unfairly blamed it for the attack “without a shred of evidence”.

Saturday’s attack on the camp near Jammu, in the Indian-controlled part of the Muslim-majority Himalayan region, was the worst in months with six soldiers and the father of a soldier killed. At least three militants were killed, according to Indian officials.

Pentagon thinks China could be a partner in Afghanistan

By: Kyle Rempfer 

As bombing in Northern Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province dials in on a little known terror group called the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), U.S. officials are eyeing a potential partnership with China.

ETIM operates near the Afghan border with China and Tajikistan, and has been highlighted as a security concern by the Chinese government.

In a series of U.S. airstrikes, Taliban training camps and fighting positions that supported terrorist operations inside Afghanistan, as well as ETIM operations across the border, were destroyed, according to a press statement from NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

How should India deal with Pakistan?

'We need to be in a perpetual state of aggression, and able to swiftly change the goal posts to keep Pakistan in a state of imbalance,' argues Sanjeev Nayyar.

Over the weekend, terrorists attacked the Sunjwan army cantonment in Jammu, and six army personnel made the supreme sacrifice. Soon after, on Monday, February 12, the CRPF camp in Srinagar was attacked, in which one one jawan was killed.

Chinese Envoy Says It's ‘Dangerous’ for U.S. to Confront Beijing

By Keith Zhai

China’s ambassador to the U.S. warned the Trump administration against adopting a confrontational approach to the world’s second-biggest economy.

“It’s certainly paranoid to fear that a China that follows its own path of development would be confrontational to the United States,” Cui Tiankai told a gathering of more than 700 people at the embassy on Tuesday, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency. “And it’s dangerous to advocate any strategy for confrontation.”

What does China’s declassification of patents reveal about its defence strategy?

China's release of thousands of national defence patents in early 2017 was intended to spur innovation in the civilian sector and forms part of a bold military modernisation drive. But can such moves realistically bring China closer to achieving its strategic goals? A new research report offers a detailed analysis.

During the 19th Party Congress in October 2017, China’s President Xi Jinping outlined a bold set of reforms designed to mould the People’s Liberation Army into a ‘world-class’ force by 2050.

Where Is Rural Rejuvenation Leading China?

By Xinling Wang

Rather than addressing market distortions, China’s government is turning to a more comfortable strategy. 

The Chinese Communist Party recently rolled out a long-term policy on rural and agricultural developments, sending mixed signals for the economy. Calling for rural rejuvenation, the policy unveils the Party’s plan to repair the severely damaged and long neglected sector. The government seems ready to expand infrastructure investments from urban to rural China as part of its emphasis on equal development for the countryside.

A Weapon Without War: China’s United Front Strategy

June Teufel Dreyer

“United Front Work is an important magic weapon for the victory of the party’s cause.” – Xi Jinping, October 2017

Less headline-grabbing than China’s military advances and expanding economic reach is China’s united front activities, which have become an increasing cause for concern among countries in Asia, particularly U.S. allies. Not as benign as the name might sound, united front work aims to influence the policies of foreign states toward Chinese ends, through means that may be legal, illegal, or exploit gray areas. The term has a long history, going back to Vladimir Lenin’s desire to unite all enemies of colonialism and imperialism as an intermediate stage toward the ultimate triumph of communism, after which the colonialists and imperialists could be discarded. In his successor Joseph Stalin’s colorful phrase, they would have been squeezed out like lemons and dropped into the dustbin of history.

China at the gates: A new power audit of EU-China relations

Since 2009, the time of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ first Power Audit, China has become more present and influential within Europe. This is no longer only about a massive trade surplus; it is also about investment, lending, and financial power which serves China’s public diplomacy. What has not changed is the asymmetry claimed by China as a developing economy, even as it reaches the first rank among global economies. And it explains the increasing quest for reciprocity by Europeans.

Pulling Back the Curtain on China’s Rocket Force

By David C. Logan

What can we learn about China’s most secretive military branch by examining the career paths of its senior officers? 

The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force is both one of China’s most important military organizations and, regrettably for scholars of Chinese security issues, one of its most opaque.

The PLA Rocket Force commands China’s conventional and nuclear land-based missiles. Some have even speculated that the organization could eventually control all legs of a future Chinese nuclear triad, including the long-range bombers and ballistic missile submarines (though a review of official documentssuggests this is unlikely).

Putin Is Struggling to Keep His Wars Separate

Source Link
Leonid Bershidsky

The troops who died in Syria are called mercenaries, not heroes. Will the Russian people buy that?

Late on Feb. 7 and early on Feb. 8, U.S. forces in Syria likely killed the greatest number of Russians since the end of the Cold War -- more than 200 soldiers. There will, however, be no international repercussions, nor will any of the Russians get posthumous medals like Roman Filipov, the fighter pilot who was shot down over Syria earlier this year and resisted capture until he was forced to blow himself up with a hand grenade.

In 1992, a Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine Crashed into a U.S. Sub

Source Link
Sebastien Roblin

The Russian submarine would also have had little chance of detecting the quieter Los Angeles–class submarine. More powerful fixed antisubmarine sensors might only have been effective at ranges of three to five kilometers in such conditions, too short to reach the Baton Rouge’s position. Submarines can also deploy towed sonar arrays behind them to increase their sonar coverage, but these are difficult to control in shallow waters and were therefore not in use during the incident.

Bloody Noses and Black Eyes: What's in a Limited Strike on North Korea?

By Rodger Baker

Support is building within Washington for a limited strike against North Korea over its pursuit of nuclear arms.

A U.S. strike could have serious ramifications but inaction is not without its risks.

Because of the lack of firm knowledge on North Korea's inner workings, it is impossible to deduce how Pyongyang would react to a so-called bloody nose strike.

Turkey and Iran Push and Pull Over Syria

With its military operation in Afrin and its deployment in Idlib, Turkey has ramped up its involvement in the Syrian conflict.

This greater Turkish push into Syria will drive Iran to retaliate, intensifying the countries' proxy war in Syria.

But given wider strategic considerations, Iran will pursue a pragmatic and compartmentalized approach toward its relationship with Turkey, cooperating with Ankara in several domains even as it pushes back in others.

Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria

What’s new? A new phase in Syria’s war augurs escalation with Israel. As the Assad regime gains the upper hand, Hizbollah probes the south west and Iran seeks to augment its partners’ military capacities, Israel has grown fearful that Syria is becoming an Iranian base.

Why does it matter? “Rules of the game” that contained Israeli-Hizbollah clashes for over a decade have eroded. New rules can be established in Syria by mutual agreement or by a deadly cycle of attack and response in which everyone will lose. A broader war could be one miscalculation away.

What should be done? Russia should broker understandings that bolster the de-escalation agreement distancing Iran-backed forces from Syria’s armistice line with Israel; halt Iran’s construction of precision missile facilities and its military infrastructure in Syria; and convince Israel to acquiesce in foreign forces remaining in the rest of Syria pending a deal on the country’s future.

All Guns, No Butter Trump’s budget is a return to the let-’er-rip era of defense spending.


U.S. Marines prepare themselves before going training with Afghan National Army soldiers in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on July 6. 

Back in 2013, when Gen. James Mattis was head of the U.S. Central Command, he told the Senate, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.”

On Monday, President Trump proposed cutting this year’s State Department’s budget by 26 percent. Fulfilling his own prediction, Secretary of Defense Mattis is proposing a 28 percentincrease in spending for missiles and munitions—a 50 percent increase over the sum for those items in President Obama’s last budget.

Global Trade: Looking at the Big Picture

By Mark Fleming-Williams

Global trade is in flux after the United States has made clear that it is no longer willing to take the lead.

While the United States wants to shake up international commerce, China wants to preserve the status quo, and Europe wants to continue on the post-war path.

The divergent interests of other countries and blocs, including China, Japan and the European Union, will make substantial alignment without the United States difficult.

The World's Busiest Air Routes

by Niall McCarthy

When most people think about the busiest air routes around the world, New York to Los Angeles or London to Paris spring to mind.

Russia by Cyber, North Korea by Nuke: A New Batch of Grim Warnings from US Intel

Questioning on Russian election interference and how the Trump White House handles staff clearances dominated the worldwide threat hearing Tuesday, as the Senate intelligence committee grilled leaders of the FBI, CIA, NSA, DNI, DIA and NGA over the contents of the 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

Cipher Brief experts who used to contribute to, compile or testify on the annual threat assessment weigh in below.

The global space race, 2.0

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan 

NEW DELHI — The recent launch of the SpaceX rocket Falcon Heavy is a good illustration of the entry of efficient and innovative private players into an arena long considered the preserve of national governments. But this does not mean that national competition in outer space is disappearing. If anything, it is actually accelerating in Asia. China’s growing space prowess is leading to a space race with India and Japan, which are beginning to pool their resources to better match Beijing.

US government can't compete in information war, warns RAND Corporation

By Tamlin Magee 

The RAND Corporation's Dr Rand Waltzman speaks with Techworld on the state of 'cognitive security' in the world and the 'democratisation of weapons of mass disruption'

"Every asshole on the face of the planet has complete and open and unrestricted access to our public social media data – everybody except the United States government." 

That's the verdict of senior information scientist at the RAND Corporation, Dr Rand Waltzman, speaking about the state of 'cognitive security' in the world, amid all the controversy on 'fake news', machines weaponised to spread disinformation, and the resulting flak that has deeply permeated media, politics and society. 

261 M1 Tanks Getting Trophy Anti-Missile System As Army Reorients To Major Wars


PENTAGON: The Army’s 2019 budget will upgrade 261 M1 tanks, enough for three brigades, to carry Israeli-made Trophy Active Protection Systems (APS) to guard against anti-tank missiles, service officials said this morning. That’s just one of many funding changes — from buying more howitzer shells to intensifying training exercises — meant to reorient the Army from its counterinsurgency-era focus on light infantry and helicopters to “great power competition” to deter a potential Russian blitzkrieg.

The future of war

IN THE PAST, predictions about future warfare have often put too much emphasis on new technologies and doctrines. In the 19th century the speedy victory of the Prussian army over France in 1870 convinced European general staffs that rapid mobilisation by rail, quick-firing artillery and a focus on attack would make wars short and decisive. Those ideas were put to the test at the beginning of the first world war. The four years of trench warfare on the western front proved them wrong.

The theory and practice of war termination Assessing patterns in China's historical behavior

Whether China will rise peacefully is hotly debated in both academic and policy communities. Power transition theory presents the possibility of conflict as largely dependent on relative power, with the most dangerous stage emerging when the rising power is approaching parity with the dominant power. Conflict can erupt then either because the rising power is dissatisfied with the current system and seeks to change it in its image, or because the declining power launches a preventive war as a last-ditch attempt to hold onto its position in the international system (Organski and Kugler 1980, Gilpin 1981, Copeland 2000). Offensive realism focuses on balance of power more broadly, and how increased power—and the expanding military capabilities that tend to accompany it—will inevitably encourage revisionist and expansionist behavior (Mearsheimer 2001). Scholars have tried to understand Chinese behavior through these theoretical lenses, most recently by evaluating the degree to which China harbors revisionist intentions, with a particular focus on its assertiveness in territorial disputes (Johnston 2013, Mastro 2014). Leveraging international relations theory on how crises escalate to war has also been a fruitful avenue for evaluating the likelihood of conflict between China and the United States (Goldstein 2013, Swaine and Zhang 2006).