20 February 2018



NEW DELHI (AP) — India and Iran said Saturday that they would step up cooperation in combatting extremism, terrorism and drug trafficking in Afghanistan in an effort to restore peace and stability to the war-wracked country.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, right, talks to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, during later's ceremonial reception at the Indian presidential palace in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. Rouhani, who is on three days state visit to India has strongly criticized the Trump administration's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and urged Muslims to support the Palestinian cause. Hassan Rouhani also lashed out at the United States for imposing a ban on travelers from six largely Muslim countries. 

What ISRO will spend Rs 107.83 billion on

ISRO needs next generation launchers and new facilities to manufacture and launch them, including a new launch pad at the Sriharikota spaceport.

T E Narasimhan reports.

The Centre has allocated Rs 107.83 billion for the Department of Space for the financial year 2018-2019, against Rs 91.55 billion in the revised estimates for 2017-2018.

The allocation includes about Rs 89.63 billion for various space-related projects of the department, and also the targets to be achieved in the next fiscal year.

While the general perception is that the allocation should be more, considering the fact that the Indian Space Research Organisation is trying to increase its launches, experts pointed out this should be looked at in the backdrop of ISRO's efforts to form partnerships with private companies and the growing revenue of Antrix, the commercial arm of the government space agency.

Pakistan borrows $500 million from China to shore up its reserves

In January, the country took a total of $704 million worth of new loans, taking foreign borrowings to $6.6 billion in just seven months of this fiscal year

Pakistan has contracted another foreign commercial loan of $500 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to shore up its depleting reserves.

The Express Tribune reported that with the new borrowing the Chinese financial institution's contribution to supporting a strong rupee against the US dollar increased to $1 billion in just three months.

Concerns voiced over ‘hybrid wars’ in region

PESHAWAR: Speakers at a session here on Monday expressed concerns over the ongoing ‘hybrid wars’ at the behest of superpowers in the region.

“No arms, ammunition, tanks and missiles etc are used in hybrid wars by the warring parties but they try to keep each another off-balance,” said Dr Khalilur Rehman.

The in-house discussion on the topic was held at Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar. Dr Khalil said that the idea of hybrid war resided in the grey-zone between black and white, which meant neither war nor peace. He said that it was a low intensity, multidimensional and fifth generation conflict designed to weaken the opponent.

The Backlash to Belt and Road

By Andrew Small

When Beijing announced its One Belt, One Road initiative five years ago, the global reaction was immediate and pronounced. OBOR, as it became known, was hailed as a transformative effort to deploy China’s economic might in service of its strategic goals. By going out of their way to reject analogies to the United States’ Marshall Plan in Europe, Chinese leaders in fact invited the comparison. Chinese ports, pipelines, roads, and railways would expand commercial, investment, and infrastructure linkages from Asia to Europe. They would build new markets, integrate poorly connected regions, and stabilize the Chinese periphery. Ultimately, they would lay the groundwork for a Sinocentric global order.

China’s Rising Profile in South Asia 2018

by Dan Southerland

China has expanded its presence in the Indian Ocean, causing India to respond with a military build-up and far-reaching diplomatic contacts with potential allies.

During and after the time that Indian troops ended a more than two-month-long Himalayan standoff with Chinese soldiers in the remote kingdom of Bhutan’s Doklam Plateau last August, nationalistic feelings have been running high in India.

In what some Indians refer to as “Post-Doklam Development,” India has been ramping up infrastructure projects along its long and poorly demarcated border with China.

Are China’s Arctic endeavours walking on thin ice?

Over the past two decades, the intensification both of Arctic regional relations and of Beijing’s efforts to be recognised as a ‘near-Arctic state’ has generated concern about Chinese intentions in the region. 

On 26 January 2018, Beijing released China’s Arctic Policy — a White Paper that outlines China’s views of the Arctic region, its role within it and the goals and principles underpinning its Arctic activities. China issued the Policy in part to alleviate some of the concerns about Chinese Arctic involvement (namely, that China will undermine Arctic states’ sovereignty, will disregard the livelihoods of those who reside there and will threaten environmental stability in its quest to secure greater access to the Arctic’s resources and shipping routes). 

China vs. America - Uniformity vs. Diversity

by Frank Li

China and America are diametrically different, from history to ideology. In this post, I will highlight a key difference between them: China's uniformity vs. America's diversity.

1. The Roman Empire vs. the Chinese Empire

The image below highlights the key difference between the Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire.

Simply put, while the Roman dream of uniformity was always elusive, the Chinese successfully implemented their uniformity rule of ruling more than 2,000 years ago. As a result, not only was the Chinese Empire at least as powerful as the Roman Empire, including the Byzantine Empire (aka "the [Eastern] Roman Empire"), it also lasted much longer.

Chinese Government Gave Money to Georgetown Chinese Student Group


A statue of John Carroll, founder of Georgetown University, sits before Healy Hall on the school's campus August 15, 2006 in Washington, DC. Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and it is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the U.S. 

Founded in the early 2000s, the Georgetown University Chinese Students and Scholars Association hosts an annual Chinese New Year gala, organizes occasional academic forums, and helps Chinese students on campus meet and support each other. The group has also accepted funding from the Chinese government amounting to roughly half its total annual budget, according to documents and emails obtained by Foreign Policy.

China Isn't America's Enemy, at Least Not Yet

James Stavridis 

In HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” the most impressive single force on a very complex battlefield is the trio of dragons mastered by Queen Daenerys Targaryen. As she says, “We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!” The symbol of China, of course, is the dragon. The U.S., whose symbol is the eagle, will need to learn to fly in uneasy company of the dragon in the decades ahead. These metaphors can fly independently, but they are going to have to deconflict the airspace.

China’s ‘New Silk Roads’ reach Latin America

Source Link

A sharp, geoeconomic shift took place last month in Santiago, Chile at the second ministerial meeting of a forum grouping China and the 33-member Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. 

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, told his audience that the world’s second-largest economy and Latin America should join efforts to support free trade. This was about “opposing protectionism” and “working for an open world economy,” he said.

Can Airstrikes Alone Tackle Islamic State in Libya?

By: Avery Plaw, Allan Pilch

In the last four months of 2017, the United States resumed bombing Islamic State (IS) targets in Libya. On September 24, 2017, U.S. African Command (AFRICOM) announced it had conducted airstrikes against an IS training camp on September 22 at 7:06 PM, killing 17 militants and destroying three vehicles (U.S. African Command, September 24, 2017). According to AFRICOM, the training camp, located 150 miles southeast of the city of Sirte, was hit by a half-dozen “precision strikes” launched from B-2 bombers and Reaper Drones. It also claimed that the terrorist group was stockpiling weapons at the camp, hosting foreign fighters and plotting more attacks in Libya and elsewhere.

Taking the Temperature of the Ukraine Conflict

As highlighted in the 2018 Annual Forecast, progress toward a deal to deploy U.N. peacekeepers to intervene in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine is distinctly possible. Recent signs of compromise over other aspects of that conflict, such as prisoner exchanges, indicate that the forecast is on track.

The idea of deploying U.N. peacekeepers to Eastern Ukraine was broached several months ago amid growing intensity in diplomacy surrounding the conflict between Russian-backed separatists and pro-government forces there. This weekend's Munich Security Conference will offer a chance for more talks over the issue, but given the differences of opinion over the size, scope and mission of any U.N. force, there's no guarantee that an agreement will be struck. But some signs of compromise over the peacekeepers issue — and the opportunity offered by the security gathering that will attract representatives from key powers — make real movement on the issue a possibility.

Iran, Russia, and China's Central Role in the Venezuela Crisis

by Joseph M. Humire

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just completed, by most accounts, a successful visit to Latin America. He began his five-nation tour by invoking the Monroe Doctrine and suggesting the Venezuelan military could manage a "peaceful transition" from the authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro. This reminded several regional observers of President Trump's suggestion last year of a possible "military option" for Venezuela, hinting at possible U.S. or multilateral intervention to stop the country's collapse.

Russian lost 300 mercenaries killed or wounded during battle in Syria last week: sources


MOSCOW (Reuters) - About 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or injured in Syria last week, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

A Russian military doctor said around 100 had been killed, and a source who knows several of the fighters said the death toll was in excess of 80 men.

The timing of the casualties coincided with a battle on Feb. 7 near the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor where, according to U.S. officials and associates of the fighters involved, U.S.-led coalition forces attacked forces aligned with Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin’s Pocket Army? The Rise of Russian Mercenaries in Syria

By David Isenberg

Russia is taking America’s use of privatizing war to the next level–hired guns who are off the books and unaccountable to the people.

If you think the media has been saturated with news about Russia think again. While thoughts might run to Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Russian collusion with the Trump election campaign, I refer to something possibly far worse: the development and expansion of Russia’s private military companies (PMC) and its implications for the global spread of armies for hire by great powers and multinational corporations alike.

U.S.-Turkish Relations Continue to Rapidly Deteriorate

Robbie Gramer
Foreign Policy

The Trump administration appears to have pulled relations with NATO ally Turkey away from a “crisis point” after a slew of high-level meetings over the past week. But sharp disagreements on everything from the war in Syria to Russia’s role in the Middle East make it unlikely that the United States can restore warm ties any time soon with a country long seen as the southern flank of the Western alliance in Europe.

“We’re not going to act alone any longer. We’re not going to be U.S. doing one thing and Turkey doing another,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said at a press conference on Friday in Ankara after meetings with Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan .

Admiral warns US must prepare for possibility of war with China

Ben Doherty

Harry Harris says China’s military might could soon rival US power ‘across almost every domain’, and warned of possibility of war. 

The navy admiral nominated to be the next US ambassador to Australia has told Congress America must prepare for the possibility of war with China, and said it would rely on Australia to help uphold the international rules-based system in the Asia-Pacific.

In an excoriating assessment of China’s increasingly muscular posture in the region, Harry Harris said Beijing’s “intent is crystal clear” to dominate the South China Sea and that its military might could soon rival American power “across almost every domain”.

Navy Sees ‘Difficult Times’ With Recruiting Goals for Nuclear, Cyber Sailors

By: John Grady

Sailors stand watch in the Fleet Operations Center at the headquarters of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.

A previous version of this post contained a story that had previously run in USNI News last month. It now contains the correct story from the Feb. 14 hearing before the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee.

Having struggled last year to meet its recruiting goals, the Navy’s personnel chief sees “difficult times ahead” in attracting and keeping sailors and officers as the sea service expands the fleet in the coming years.

Ethical hackers discover 100 vulnerabilities in U.S. Air Force systems


So-called white-hat hackers discovered more than 100 vulnerabilities in Air Force networks in the second round of the service’s "bug bounty" program, according to figures released on Thursday.

The program, called Hack the Air Force, invited security researchers to find and report vulnerabilities in the service’s government systems and rewarded them for doing so.

More than two dozen hackers from around the world discovered 106 vulnerabilities in Air Force networks, which earned them nearly $104,000 combined, bug bounty platform HackerOne announced on Thursday. 

Defeating Digital Discombobulation: Options in Countering Online Disinformation Campaigns

“Fake news”, “disinformation”, “misinformation”; since the 2016 US presidential elections, these terms have exploded into the public lexicon, bringing awareness to a longstanding problem of online communication: when anyone can publish anything, how do we know anything is true?

Focusing on the main types of audiences for disinformation is perhaps the cleanest way to approach solutions to the problem of disinformation. There are three audience types for disinformation: those who’ll buy the message, those who may not buy the message but can be temporarily convinced or confused by it, and those who refuse to believe. In short, they are the Convinced, the Confused, and the Skeptics.


John Amble

Artificial intelligence. Quantum computing. Nanotechnology. The Internet of Things. Blockchains. Neuroscience. Biotech.

We live in a world of rapid technological development, in these and many other areas. Frontiers are being pushed further and further at a faster and faster pace. And there’s a broad consensus that, in a military context, the way we fight and the environments we fight in will change as a result. But that’s where the consensus stops. We simply don’t know the degree to which war will change. And yet, success in future wars might ultimately hinge on our ability to meaningfully explore those complicated questions today. That’s what we do in this episode of the MWI Podcast, which features two guests who have studied these issues deeply. Retired Maj. Gen. David Fastabend and Mr. Ian Sullivan have been heavily involved with efforts to conceptualize the future of warfare, undertaken largely by the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, where Sullivan is the assistant G-2 for ISR and futures.

Reconnaissance, Raids and Sabotage: Employment of reconnaisance in future land warfare

by James Lewis

As the most adaptable, robust and reliable Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) source of the battalion commander, Reconnaissance and Sniper Platoon (RS PL) has the primary mission of providing information on the enemy and battlespace environment in order to support infantry operations. Primarily conducted Forward of the Forward Edge of the Battlespace Area (FOFEBA), these operations have a critical shaping effect on the entirety of the battlespace. The actions of those force elements operating well forward of any friendly positions, and quite often behind those of the enemy, will continue to have a disproportionate effect to what can be achieved by an element from the fighting echelon of the same size. This disproportionate effect will only be multiplied with the implementation of Plan KEOGH.

The Revolution in Civil-Military Affairs

By Anthony Cordesman

The U.S. has learned many lessons in its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria—most of them the hard way. It has had to adapt the strategies, tactics, and force structures designed to fight regular wars to conflicts dominated by non-state actors. It has had to deal with threats shaped by ideological extremism far more radical than the communist movements it struggled against in countries like Vietnam. It has found that the kind of “Revolution in Military Affairs,” or RMA, that helped the U.S. deter and encourage the collapses of the former Soviet Union does not win such conflicts against non-state actors, and that it faces a different mix of threats in each such war—such as in cases like Libya, Yemen, Somalia and a number of states in West Africa.

An app to keep paratroopers glued to their phones

By: Kelsey Atherton 

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, descend onto Juliet Drop Zone in Pordenone, Italy, during an airborne operation from a U.S. Air Force 86th Air Wing C-130 Hercules aircraft Jan. 18, 2018.

A parachute is a carefully engineered mess of cloth and string, gently lowering its occupant to the ground. A paratrooper is a person who takes that same trusted parachute, and then jumps out of a plane into a combat zone, and, in theory, is ready to fight as soon as he hits the ground.