16 March 2018

The incorporation of Artificial Intelligence in Indian IT

Vivek Wadhwa
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Infosys Ltd says that Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies “are already being broadly deployed, producing real results, and impacting business strategy” in at least 73% of companies across the globe. Along with other Indian IT companies, Infosys fancies itself a leader in AI. The reality, though, according to MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group, is that hardly one in 20 US companies has extensively incorporated AI into its offerings or processes. Businesses understand neither what AI is nor how to realize its amazing potential. The only significant player in the AI enterprise market is IBM Global Services, with IBM Watson technology, and its take-up has been slow due to these limitations.

The ancient wisdom the Dalai Lama hopes will enrich the world

Justin Rowlatt
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It isn't often you meet the leader of a world religion - rarer still that he tweaks your cheek. But that's what happened when I met the 14th Dalai Lama last month. You know when he has entered a room. First there is a hush and, almost immediately after that, a ripple of infectious laughter. Next, there he is, his face creased into a mischievous smile, his eyes twinkling behind his tinted spectacles. I met his holiness in Bodh Gaya, the northern Indian town where Buddha himself is said to have attained enlightenment. It is an auspicious place to meet the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and it was also an auspicious day.

Al-Qaeda’s Resurrection

While the self-proclaimed Islamic State has dominated the headlines and preoccupied national security officials for the past four years, al-Qaeda has been quietly rebuilding. Its announcement last summer of another affiliate—this one dedicated to the liberation of Kashmir—coupled with the resurrection of its presence in Afghanistan and the solidification of its influence in Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, underscores the resiliency and continued vitality of the United States’ preeminent terrorist enemy.


Data and assessments from SAIR can be freely published in any form with credit to the South Asia Intelligence Review of the South Asia Terrorism Portal. Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya on March 6, 2018, stated that the Naga ‘political issue’ would be resolved within six months. He further asserted that if Nagaland and the Northeast were to progress, then the Naga issue should be brought to a conclusion and the welfare of the Nagas should be on the agenda. On March 3, 2018, the Election Commission of India (ECI) declared the results of the Nagaland Assembly Elections held on February 27, 2018. The Naga People’s Front (NPF), leading constituent of the erstwhile ruling coalition, 

China's Massive Government Overhaul: What You Need to Know

When the National People’s Congress of China formally passed a series of constitutional amendments on Sunday, it would have been the highlight of most annual sessions. But this year’s NPC was just getting started. Next on the agenda: an extensive overhaul of a laundry list of government agencies. Through mergers and setting up new offices, Beijing hopes to make policymaking more efficient – and the changes thus offer insights into the areas where China’s government is most interested in boosting its performance.

How Chinese Experts Are Preparing for the Next Korean War

Lyle J. Goldstein

Good news from the Korean Peninsula has been rare in recent times, so the Olympic truce and the possibility of a genuine breakthrough pioneered by Seoul should not be taken lightly. On the contrary, now is the time to pull out all the stops to form up a substantive and stable negotiating process. President Donald Trump’s bold decision, revealed on March 8, to meet with Kim Jong-un before the end of May is an exceedingly positive development, and reflects a statesmanlike gesture that leans toward taking certain risks in order to secure the peace.

China Unveils Overhaul of Government Bureaucracy

By Chun Han Wong

BEIJING—China unveiled plans for overhauling its government bureaucracy, combining some financial, markets and business regulators, as part of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to strengthen Communist Party control over levers of power. Presented Tuesday to China’s legislature, the proposal calls for merging the banking and insurance regulatory commissions, consolidating bureaus that regulate business and pricing into a new market supervision agency and creating a new ministry to manage land, ocean and other resources.

How Iran Secured a Supply Route Through Iraq

Iran’s activities in Syria get a lot of press, but less attention is paid to what Iran has done in Iraq to make those activities manageable. Iran operates a Shiite foreign legion that over the years has trained 200,000 fighters in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. One part of that foreign legion is the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. The militias of the PMF all but control northern Iraq, which Iran has transformed into a land bridge to supply its other proxy groups in Syria and Lebanon.

Is Turkey Going It Alone in the Middle East?

Jacob L. Shapiro

Turkey and the United States are no strangers to disagreement. In recent years, Ankara has accused the U.S. of tacitly supporting an attempted military coup in Turkey and of openly supporting a Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, that is hostile to Turkey’s interests. The U.S., for its part, has complained that Turkey has not done enough to combat the real terrorist threat – the Islamic State – and it has criticized Turkish policies that increase the power of the president and curtail freedom of expression. Things got so bad at the end of last year that the two sides briefly suspended visa services after a U.S. Consulate employee was arrested on suspicion of espionage.

Through it all, one topic has always been mo

Military Spending: The Other Side of Saudi Security

By Anthony Cordesman 

The shifts in Saudi Arabia's power structure that have taken place since King Salman came to power in January 2015 have created a new set of Saudi priorities for shaping Saudi Arabia's future. These new priorities have led to major changes in Saudi Arabia’s national security structure and leadership, and to calls for major social and economic reform. They have changed the leadership of the Saudi Ministry of Interior, National Guard, and Foreign Ministry. These new priorities have led to participation in a major war in Yemen, efforts to isolate Qatar that have broken up an already weak and divided Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and deeper tensions with Iran over its military build-up and efforts to expand its regional influence. 

There’s a new secretary of state. Who cares?


Rex Tillerson’s sudden departure as secretary of state — alongside that of Gary Cohn last week as head of the National Economic Council — removes from the White House two of the only remaining pragmatists trusted by the rest of the world. With their departure, America’s credibility has taken another big hit. So too has the deeply held view in Washington that only American leadership can prop up global stability, so if America’s leadership wobbles, so too does the world.

Size And Composition Of Nuclear Arsenals Around The World

by Dyfed Loesche

It calls for the introduction of new and smaller nuclear weapons. Critics argue, this might set off a Cold War-era escalation, as Russia, China and North Korea are named as possible adversaries. In his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump vowed to build a nuclear arsenal "so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression." Though the United States and Russia have dismantled many weapons since the height of the Cold War stand-off, their arsenals remain formidable compared to the other seven nuclear armed nations - and they've actually got many of them on stand-by, called strategic deployment in military lingo. Those warheads are ready to be delivered by ballistic missiles or bombers. (The ones that would drop first if Donald Trump pressed his huge red button.)

America’s Military Is Nostalgic for World Wars

“Great-power politics is back,” is a mantra civilian and military officials have repeated with increasing frequency over the past half-decade. The diagnosis has now been formally enshrined in the Trump administration’s National Defense Strategy, a summary of which was published by the Pentagon in mid-January. That strategy document proclaimed that “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.” This means that China and Russia are now the top priority for defense planners, not the Islamic State, al Qaeda, or self-directed terrorists living in the United States.

It’s Never Been a Better Time to Study IR

International affairs education finds itself in an uncertain time. On the one hand, it is easy to be pessimistic. It would be understandable if the extraordinary divisiveness of this present moment of American politics, and the scorn poured upon public servants and members of the so-called “blob” or “swamp” — including by the president of the United States — chilled young people’s interest in pursuing studies that might lead to a career in government or diplomacy. This effect is much worse for students coming from abroad, an increasingly large pool of potential candidates for American schools of international affairs. Moving from your home country to study for a year or two in the United States involves sacrifice, and no doubt young people from Beijing to Bogota to Berlin must wonder how they will be welcomed in the United States in this current political environment.

When Shall We Overcome?


In 1968, the year after riots erupted in cities throughout the US, the Kerner Commission, established by President Lyndon B. Johnson, famously concluded that the country was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal.” Sadly, it is a conclusion that still rings true.  In 1967, riots erupted in cities throughout the United States, from Newark, New Jersey, to Detroit and Minneapolis in the Midwest – all two years after the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles exploded in violence. In response, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed a commission, headed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner, to investigate the causes and propose measures to address them. Fifty years ago, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (more widely known as the Kerner Commission), issued its report, providing a stark account of the conditions in America that had led to the disorders.

Deterring Russian First Use of Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons

By Mark B. Schneider

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review concluded that the U.S. must deploy a small number of low-yield nuclear warheads on its Trident missiles to deter Russian first use of low-yield nuclear weapons for limited nuclear strikes in conventional warfare. It states, “Russia’s belief that limited nuclear first use, potentially including low-yield weapons, can provide such an advantage is based, in part, on Moscow’s perception that its greater number and variety of non-strategic nuclear systems provide a coercive advantage in crises and at lower levels of conflict. Recent Russian statements on this evolving nuclear weapons doctrine appear to lower the threshold for Moscow’s first-use of nuclear weapons. Russia demonstrates its perception of the advantage these systems provide through numerous exercises and statements. Correcting this mistaken Russian perception is a strategic imperative.”[1]

Solve the Baltic's Geography Problem

With Putin’s Russia on the near horizon, Baltic countries must organize in anticipation of a threat. But the area’s complex geography creates a challenge beyond the Great Bear. Central Europe’s geopolitical profile has changed significantly over the past 30 years, most noticeably as its frontier shifts eastward. During the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact occupied most of the eastern and southern coasts, closing the Baltic Sea to Western powers, while Denmark and Norway constituted the northwestern flank. Today, Russia holds just seven percent of the Baltic coastline, with its maritime stance stretched between the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and an isolated enclave in Kaliningrad. With enlarged alliances, the north should be considered as two sub-theaters—Arctic and Baltic—because although very interconnected, the Scandinavian Peninsula acts as a shield covering both the Kola Peninsula and the Baltic Sea.1

Life in Vladimir Putin's Russia explained in 10 charts

Vladimir Putin has dominated Russian politics as its undisputed leader for almost two decades.Over successive terms as president and prime minister he has overseen an economic boom, military expansion and the re-establishment of Russia as a major power. Living standards for most Russians improved, and a renewed sense of stability and national pride emerged. But the price, many say, was the erosion of Russia's fledgling democracy. How has life changed for ordinary Russians during this time?

Rand Paul: It's Time for a New American Foreign Policy

Rand Paul

What kind of job can you have where you are consistently wrong, yet get to still go on TV talking endlessly and making more wild predictions that will no doubt lead to the same failed result? If you guessed “TV Weatherman” you’re close…but the job I’m referring to is “Neocon Foreign Policy Expert” Being a neocon means never having to say you’re sorry, even trillions of dollars and decades into doomed wars.


Space, the next frontier for capitalism

Sandipan Deb
Jeff Bezos, the richest man on earth, has said that he has been funding his space technology firm Blue Origin at the rate of $1 billion a year and will continue to pump in his “Amazon lottery winnings into a much lower price of admission so we can go explore the solar system.” He can afford it — with a net worth of $131 billion, he is richer than two-thirds of the countries of the world. And, along with Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, he is the face of the next giant leap of capitalism — into space.

IMF's Lagarde: Track Cryptos with Blockchain to 'Fight Fire with Fire'

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has said regulators should use blockchain technology to curb the "peril that comes along with the promise" of cryptocurrencies. "The same innovations that power crypto-assets can also help us regulate them. To put it another way, we can fight fire with fire," Lagarde wrote in an IMF blog post on Tuesday. Lagarde warned that cryptocurrencies could create financial instability, as well as facilitate terrorism and money laundering, arguing that distributed ledger technology and cryptography could be used in internationally coordinated regulatory efforts. Distributed ledger technology, she claimed, "can be used to speed up information-sharing between market participants and regulators."

Artificial intelligence is going to completely change your life

Just as electricity transformed the way industries functioned in the past century, artificial intelligence — the science of programming cognitive abilities into machines — has the power to substantially change society in the next 100 years. AI is being harnessed to enable such things as home robots, robo-taxis and mental health chatbots to make you feel better. A startup is developing robots with AI that brings them closer to human level intelligence. Already, AI has been embedding itself in daily life — such as powering the brains of digital assistants Siri and Alexa. It lets consumers shop and search online more accurately and efficiently, among other tasks that people take for granted.



The “Russia story” is big news here in Washington, rightly consuming a lot of the oxygen around town, but there are also some important subtexts at work in the Russia plot line. Like, what should be the ground rules for any future confrontation in the cyber domain?  Three weeks ago, in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers easily joined consensus with the rest of America’s intelligence leadership that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election and were expected do so again this year and in 2020. The collective intelligence leadership also conceded that they had not been given specific presidential direction to do much about it.

Marines’ Love Affair With 3D Printing: Small Is Cheap, & Beautiful


WASHINGTON: Why are the Marines in love with 3D printing? Like most romances, it starts with the small things, things too small for the conventional supply system to manage, like a two-cent plastic button that preempts a $11,000 repair. Big defense contractors, take notice. “There’s an intercom in most helicopters,” said Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps. Ground-pounders like him tend to hit the buttons too hard and break them. But the Pentagon supply system doesn’t deal in replacing individual buttons. “You’ve got to buy the whole faceplate of the intercom,” Neller said. “It costs $11,000.”

Special Operations for Strategic Effect: Protracted Campaigns, rationale and implications

This article argues that special operations forces (herein SOF) achieve optimal strategic effect as part of a protracted special operations campaign. Understanding this link unlocks force structure and employment considerations. Knowledge of the logic that underpins the relationship between special operations campaigns and strategic effect is essential for policymakers and military practitioners, (within and external to the special operations community) if SOF are to achieve the return on the taxpayers’ investment that their existence implies. Indeed, the consequences for misunderstanding this relationship will ultimately be paid in wasted blood and treasure as a result of missed opportunities or the misuse of a valuable military asset.