31 March 2018

Rare images show Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons that may be used against Indian troops


Pakistan has decided to deploy its tactical nuclear weapons in specially prepared garrisons just about 60-80 km from the international boundary.

New Delhi: Pakistan thinks it has compelled India to abandon the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine, i.e. the sudden and swift launch of large scale military action, and has foreclosed all options for a conventional war by operationalising tactical nuclear weapons – nuclear bombs with limited yield that may be used against advancing Indian military columns.

But its calculations may just be flawed.

India has a very clearly drawn out nuclear policy of “No First Use” or NFU. However, details of that policy have been left ambiguous — such as what would be construed as first use. This could be something like Pakistani preparation to launch nuclear weapons, an actual launch of nuclear weapons, or even a crossing over into Indian air space.

Pakistan does not have any written policy on nuclear weapons use, although its leaders have often threatened to use nuclear weapons on the Indian Army’s advancing IABGs (integrated armoured battle groups), either in concentration areas or after crossing the border.

India's healthcare: Private vs public sector

Shakeeb Asrar

In August, at least 386 children were reported to have died at a public hospital in the north Indian city of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. This sudden rise in fatalities at the Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Hospital placed India's healthcare system under scrutiny. Authorities attributed the increase to a seasonal encephalitis outbreak, but others have placed the blame on corruption within India's public healthcare system. According to the United Nations, in India, about 48 out of every 1,000 newborns die before reaching the age of five. It is one of the highest under-five child mortality rates in South Asia (behind Afghanistan at 91 and Pakistan at 81). In terms of numbers, India has the largest share of global under-five deaths at 1.3 million annually.

India spends a fortune on defence and gets poor value for money

The country’s millions of men and women in uniform wield mainly Soviet weapons

IN FEBRUARY India quietly passed a milestone. The release of its annual budget showed that defence spending, at $62bn, has swept past that of its former colonial master, Britain. Only America, China, Saudi Arabia and Russia lavish more on their soldiers. For nearly a decade India has also been the world’s top importer of arms. In terms of active manpower and the number of ships and planes, its armed forces are already among the world’s top five.

Why India’s Millionaires Are Seceding: Both Pull And Push Effects Are At Work

by R Jagannathan

Despite a quarter-century of deregulation, India has not done enough to make ease of doing business or ease of living a reality. We must reform faster and get the corrupt bureaucracy off the backs of both our businesspersons and our citizens. Recently, Ruchir Sharma, head of Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets, gave us a stunning figure – some 23,000 millionaires have left India since 2014, the year Narendra Modi came to power. Some 7,000 of these millionaires emigrated in 2017 alone. This means some 2.1 per cent of India’s rich left the country for greener pastures, far higher than France’s 1.3 per cent and China’s 1.1 per cent.

India’s Military Budget Challenge

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Despite the rising security threats it faces, India’s defense budget now stands at the lowest since the 1962 Sino-Indian border war, leading India’s Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Sarath Chand, to lash out in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defense last week about the difficulty this causes the Indian Army. The Parliamentary Standing Committee report highlights the continuing deficiencies that the three services face in terms of military modernization, including the “Make in India’ initiative. The Army vice chief, in his unusually candid comments, made a case for capability upgrades by emphasizing the changing threat perception within the country as well as in the neighborhood. In his statement, Chand pointed to increasing “external strife and internal dissidence,” including Doklam. “China has become increasingly assertive,” he stated. On the western border, he pointed to the increased cross-border firing as well as terrorist attacks, asking that defense forces should therefore “get their due.”

Is Trump Ready to Dump Pakistan?


The White House is talking tough, but previous U.S. presidents never managed to persuade Islamabad to fight Afghan militants.

As U.S. ambassador to Pakistan more than a decade ago, Ryan Crocker spent much of his time trying to convince the government in Islamabad to take action against militants moving freely inside the country and plotting attacks on U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

In 2007, toward the end of his three-year tenure, Crocker spoke with the head of the Pakistani army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who explained why Islamabad was not ready to reverse course.

The United States had a short attention span, the general said, according to Crocker. “How long are you staying this time? Because you come and you go,” Kayani told Crocker.

Trump’s ‘Very Soon’ Withdrawal From Syria Is Exactly What Many Troops Feared

What the president said is exactly what some special operations forces worried would happen — under President Hillary Clinton.
Trump just stepped into dangerous waters.

When the president said on Thursday that the U.S. would pull out of Syria “very soon,” in another apparently off-handed (and definitely off-script) quip, it struck to the very heart of why some American troops had said they voted for him — and why they had said they would never vote for Hillary Clinton.
Back during the campaign, more than one special operator said to me privately that they were worried Clinton “would get us killed.” That’s not hyperbole. That’s a quote.
What they meant was that they expected a trigger-happy President Clinton would increase their missions, while the more-isolationist President Trump would not.

On Thursday, Trump said: “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon … we’re going to be coming out of there very soon.”
That has to send chills down the spines of a lot of Green Berets and other elite coalition forces who have fought, bled, and died to win back that territory — and who are saying the U.S. needs to stay until a peace is settled, just like Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command, said as recently as January.

US-China trade war will have no winners

By Ajit Ranade

One of the significant global trends these days is the rise of protectionism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had identified this as one of three major global challenges in his speech at Davos earlier this year. The rise of protectionism is closely identified with the trade policies articulated, and now implemented, by President Donald Trump. His government’s latest move to impose high import duties on aluminum and steel is but the latest in a series of protectionist measures, and more may follow. These recent duties are squarely targeted against Chinese exports to the USA amounting to 50 billion dollars. The Chinese embassy in Washington DC instantly reacted by warning that China would not hesitate to defend its legitimate interests, and would not recoil from a trade war. The usage of “war” is purely metaphorical, but does convey the potential impact.

Why Did Kim Jong Un Just Visit China?


For months, China seemed to be a side player as relations improved between North Korea and South Korea. Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, kicked off the year with an address celebrating the completion of his nuclear deterrent after months of boasting about his increasing nuclear capability. In his speech, he also expressed interest in North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics. That, in turn, provided Moon Jae In, the president of South Korea, with the diplomatic opening he sought. What followed: an exchange of conciliatory gestures at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which set the stage for a meeting in Pyongyang between Kim and a team of South Korean envoys. Those same envoys then presented an invitation from Kim to meet with President Donald Trump, who had threatened North Korea’s total destruction; Trump immediately accepted. Seoul, it seemed, was in control of the fate of the Korean Peninsula.

A Few Words on China’s Holdings of U.S. Bonds

by Brad W. Setser

China’s reported desire to slow its Treasury purchases briefly generated a lot of attention (China subsequently denied the report). China’s Treasury holdings have basically followed its reserves, so if reserves were likely to more or less stay stable in 2018, there was no particular reason for China to be a significant (net) buyer of Treasuries—China’s 2017 purchases reflected, in my view, a desire to rebuild its Treasury portfolio after it had been depleted by China’s need to sell its more liquid assets when its reserve were under pressure in 2016 rather than anything more fundamental.

10 Takeaways from the Fight against the Islamic State

By Michael Dempsey

Nearly three years on from the Islamic State’s high water mark in the summer of 2015, there are several lessons that the United States and its allies can discern from the terrorist group’s meteoric rise to control large parts of Iraq and Syria to the loss of its physical caliphate late last year. The steady decline in ISIL’s fortunes is striking given the palpable fear its rise in the summer of 2014 sparked across Washington, when a common question circulating within the policy community was whether Baghdad itself might fall. Many of these takeaways will be relevant to U.S. policymakers as they attempt to prevent the group from reconstituting itself in the coming months.

Expulsions of Russians are pushback against Putin's hybrid warfare

Patrick Wintour 

The expulsions of Russian diplomats on Monday reflect how widely Vladimir Putin has attempted to wage his brand of hybrid warfare and how many leaders and their intelligence agencies he has angered in the process.

Even before the Salisbury poisoning, many governments had lost patience with Vladimir Putin’s grey war for domestic reasons of their own. Their response is not just an act of solidarity with the UK but a collective pushback.

Their citizens may not have been poisoned, but their elections have been disrupted, their cyber networks attacked and, time after time, their UN resolutions condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria vetoed.

A New Cold War Is Not Inevitable

James Stavridis 

When I served as Supreme Allied Commander at NATO from 2009 to 2013, I developed a friendly relationship with the head of the Russian armed forces, General Nikolai Makarov. He was a short, barrel-chested man with a congenial personal style, and given my own somewhat compact physique, I could at least tell my boss, Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, that I literally saw things “eye to eye” with my Russian counterpart. Our meetings occurred both in Moscow and several times in Brussels at NATO headquarters. I also had him over to my official residence in Mons, Belgium, where too much vodka was drank but we continued to have meaningful conversations (at least in the early parts of the evening).

How (Not) to Fight Proxy Wars

C. Anthony Pfaff Patrick Granfield

Iran’s proxies are running roughshod over America’s allies and interests in the Middle East. Hezbollah is dictating the terms of Lebanese politics and preparing for war with Israel. In Yemen, Houthis indiscriminately launch missiles into Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, in areas of Iraq that Iranian-backed militias have liberated from the Islamic State, hundreds of men and boys have disappeared; scores of others have been executed.

U.S. War With Russia Would Leave American Forces With No Air Support in Europe for Weeks, Expert Warns

David Brennan,

U.S. and NATO forces would be without air support for “several weeks” in the event of a European war with Russia, as Moscow’s advanced anti-aircraft systems could close European airspace to NATO warplanes.

Army officials and defense experts told the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium that the U.S. must therefore upgrade its artillery forces in order to degrade Russia’s cutting-edge anti-aircraft capabilities, Military.com reported.

Apple Has Plenty To Lose In Potential Trade War With China

by Felix Richter

Having announced tariffs on steel and aluminum imports last week, the Trump administration is reportedly getting ready to has hit China with more tariffs in response to the country's alleged intellectual property theft. According to people familiar with the matter cited by Reuters, Trump aims to impose tariffs on Chinese goods worth $60 billion a year, predominantly targeting the technology and telecommunications sector. Those tariffs were announced today. Experts are certain that such drastic measures would provoke retaliatory action from Beijing which could have disastrous consequences for U.S. industries and companies doing business in China. The agricultural and automotive sectors are just two examples of industries relying heavily on exports to China.

Trump sticks two thumbs in China's eye

By David A. Andelman

David A. Andelman, visiting scholar at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School and director of its Red Lines Project, is a contributor to CNN and columnist for USA Today. Author of "A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today," he formerly was a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Asia and Europe. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own.

The Trouble With PESCO: The Mirages of European Defense

The creation of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in December 2017 crowned a series of recent debates and actions aimed at strengthening the EU’s common security and defense policy. However, Justyna Gotkowska argues that the compromise around PESCO has revealed strategic divergences among France, Germany and Poland related to the perceptions of threats, EU security and defense policy, and trans-Atlantic relations. Further, the debates on PESCO have highlighted the growing gap between European political narratives and the realities of European military capability deficiencies as well as the US’ military presence on the continent. (Image courtesy of the European Parliament/Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Nightmare Avoided: Did Israel's Air Force Stop Syria from Getting Nuclear Weapons?

Robert Farley

On September 6, 2007, Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed a mysterious installation near the Euphrates River in the Deir-ez-Zor region. The strike incurred curiously little response from Damascus. A cyber-attack reportedly pre-empted a defensive Syrian military mobilization, and even the diplomatic outcry was muted. No other Arab governments commented on the attack, and even the Israelis did not acknowledge the operation for quite some time. Destroying the facility was not regarded as a slam-dunk decision, either in Israel or the United States. Anxiety over the strength of the intelligence in the wake of the Iraq debacle stayed the hand of the latter, while concern about international blowback, not to mention a Syrian military response, worried the former. What if cooler heads had carried the day, and Israel had never undertaken the strike?

Why Central Banks Could Mint Their Own Digital Currency

Only 8 percent of global financial transactions today involve cash, but that figure will diminish even further as digital currencies gain prominence.

Faced with the growth of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, central banks around the world will continue their research into introducing their own digital currencies.

By entering the market for cryptocurrencies, central banks could pose a profound threat to the commercial banking business model.

NATO's Unified Vision to Exercise ISR Interoperability

When NATO first envisioned a joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability following a 2012 summit in Chicago, alliance members were not at all sure exactly what that meant, says Matt Roper, the chief of joint ISR within NATO’s Communications and Information Agency. “It’s fair to say at that point that joint ISR was an emerging construct for NATO. We all knew what ‘joint’ meant. We all knew what ‘intelligence’ meant. We all knew what ‘surveillance’ and ‘reconnaissance’ meant as individual commodities, but putting them together and calling it “joint ISR” wasn’t necessarily clear,” he says. “I think it would be fair to characterize the efforts in NATO ISR as being truly transformational.”

Why digital strategies fail

By Jacques Bughin, Tanguy Catlin, Martin Hirt, and Paul Willmott

Most digital strategies don’t reflect how digital is changing economic fundamentals, industry dynamics, or what it means to compete. Companies should watch out for five pitfalls. The processing power of today’s smartphones are several thousand times greater than that of the computers that landed a man on the moon in 1969. These devices connect the majority of the human population, and they’re only ten years old. In that short period, smartphones have become intertwined with our lives in countless ways. Few of us get around without the help of ridesharing and navigation apps such as Lyft and Waze. On vacation, novel marine-transport apps enable us to hitch a ride from local boat owners to reach an island. While we’re away, we can also read our email, connect with friends back home, check to make sure we turned the heat down, make some changes to our investment portfolio, and buy travel insurance for the return trip. Maybe we’ll browse the Internet for personalized movie recommendations or for help choosing a birthday gift that we forgot to buy before leaving. We also can create and continually update a vacation photo gallery—and even make a few old-fashioned phone calls. 


Sam Biddle

INTERNET PARANOIACS DRAWN to bitcoin have long indulged fantasies of American spies subverting the booming, controversial digital currency. Increasingly popular among get-rich-quick speculators, bitcoin started out as a high-minded project to make financial transactions public and mathematically verifiable — while also offering discretion. Governments, with a vested interest in controlling how money moves, would, some of bitcoin’s fierce advocates believed, naturally try and thwart the coming techno-libertarian financial order.

How to Fix Facebook

By Adrian Chen, Nathan Heller, Andrew Marantz,and Anna Wiener

Last weekend, a pair of exposés in the Times and the Guardian revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the U.K.-based data-mining firm that consulted on Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, not only used Facebook to harvest demographic information on tens of millions of Americans—something we’ve known since 2015—but also may have acquired and retained that information in violation of Facebook’s terms of service. The harvesting was reportedly carried out in 2014 by Aleksandr Kogan, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Cambridge, using a Facebook app, which was downloaded by about three hundred thousand users. At the time, Facebook’s data-sharing policies were far more permissive than they are now: simply by authorizing an app, users could give developers access not only to their own data—photos, work histories, birthdays, religious and political affiliations—but also to the data of all their friends.



The Trump administration indicted members of an Iranian hacker network on Friday, claiming that the group was responsible for “one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns” the U.S. has prosecuted. Officials said the hackers allegedly targeted dozens of U.S. universities, companies and government agencies—as well as the United Nations—and stole around 31 terabytes of data and intellectual property from entities worldwide. The group was allegedly hired by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a small division of Iran’s military tasked with defending the country’s Islamic Revolution. The IRGC is controlled by Tehran’s most hardline religious leaders, and often collects information on foreign entities. Nine of the 10 people named in the indictment were connected to the Mabna Institute, an Iranian tech firm that allegedly hacks on behalf of the IRGC.

How the U.S. Can Play Cyber-Offense

By Michael Sulmeyer

The United States has been the victim of repeated cyberattacks by foreign powers, and it seems to have little power to stop them. During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, Russian hackers broke into the Democratic National Committee’s e-mail servers and made more general efforts to influence the election’s outcome, as detailed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russians and three Russian entities. In February, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials warned that the Russian government would again try to use cyber-operations to interfere with midterm elections in November. That same month, the White House publicly blamed Russia for “the most destructive and costly cyberattack in history,” the 2017 NotPetya malware campaign, which crippled the government of Ukraine before spreading to multinational corporations such as FedEx and Maersk, causing billions in damage.

U.S. Military Admits Its "Helpless" Against a Hypersonic Missile Strike by China or Russia

Asia Times

The United States defense establishment has not stopped ringing alarm bells on what they say are rising threats posed by Russia and China, and their warnings are prompting fear among members of Congress.

Last week, US military officials and lawmakers highlighted hypersonic missiles as a particular area of concern.

“Right now, we’re helpless,” Republican Senator James Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was quoted by The Hill as saying in advocating for more funding for hypersonic missiles.