16 July 2018

India in a changing global order

BY Neelam Deo

The world order we live in was created in 1944-45, the post-World War II period, to deal with the problems confronting the United States and its Western European allies. That order is crumbling and we have to examine whether the changes work for or against our interests since the earlier construct was designed to maintain western domination. While the changes underway can be disruptive at the micro, sectoral or industry level, at the macro level, they can serve as an opportunity to participate in the shaping of the emerging new order.

Considering the ramifications of India’s exclusion from the British “Low-Risk” visa list

Recently, the government of the United Kingdom decided to exclude Indian students from a new list of twenty-five countries categorised as posing ‘low-risk’. This move, designed to expedite the visa process for students of countries on the list, brings no change to the Indian visa experience – leaving out Indian students entirely. As a result, it has invited flak from the Indian media and various stakeholders across the globe. Several analysts across the UK have actively spoken against this policy, a British think tank describing the exclusion as ‘an act of self-harm’ that threatens to push more applicants away. The British Labour Party has also been an active voice in the matter, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemning the stand and calling it “deeply offensive” towards Indian students. Labour Party’s Diane Abbott on Twitter called (the move of exclusion) “discriminatory and counter-productive” while appealing the ministry end the hostility instead of extending it. In this piece, we discuss the economic and academic aftermath of this move.

The Indus Waters Treaty: an exemplar of cooperation

The Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 shows how international mediation can be instrumental in reaching an agreement between India and Pakistan. With this in mind, India and Pakistan should use the treaty as a model to negotiate, cooperate and resolve other ongoing issues as well, writes Saud Sultan. With the partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947, the Indus basin was also divided into two parts, with the upstream riparian (the area surrounding the river and its banks) belonging to India and the downstream belonging to Pakistan. Although the Boundary Commission Awards of 1947 demarcated the boundary between Pakistan and India, it did not define how the waters of the Indus system of rivers would be used by the two new dominions. Therefore, it was left to the governments of India and Pakistan to decide how this water would be shared. (see Gulhati, 1973, p.56-57)

Pakistani Taliban: Mullah Fazlullah’s Death Revives Mehsud Clan Fortunes

By: Farhan Zahid
Mullah Fazlullah, the notorious Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) emir, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in June, along with four of his commanders, in the Marawar district of Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan (Tolo News, June 15). With Fazlullah gone, the group will likely change direction under the leadership of its new emir, Noor Wali Mehsud. Since taking over as TTP leader in 2013, Fazlullah has planned a relentless series of terrorist operations in Pakistan from his base in neighboring Afghanistan. Under his command, however, the group was unable to remain the efficient terrorist organization it had been under the previous two emirs, Baitullah and Hakimullah Mehsud. While Fazlullah was known for a series of ruthless acts of terrorism in Pakistan—including instigating the 2007 and 2009 Islamist insurgencies in Pakistan’s Malakand Division, ordering the attempted assassination of Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012 and masterminding the shocking killing of school children at the Army Public School in Peshawar in December 2014—on his watch, factions splintered from the group and a series of TTP commanders joined with Islamic State’s (IS) Afghan chapter, IS-Khorasan.

Why America Should Let Its Rivals Play the Great Game in Afghanistan

By Jim Kane

Afghanistan has long occupied a contentious position between larger powers across South Asia. According to General John Nicholson, the Commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Russian government is arming the Taliban insurgency. Pakistan, too, arms the Taliban to ensure Afghan weakness and limit Indian influence. Iran, for its part, arms the Shia Hazara and western Taliban in Afghanistan and cooperates closely with the Russians to undermine U.S. interests. China has gained a foothold in Afghanistan through mining operations and military operations on Afghan soil while working closely with Pakistan to build an overland trade route to the Arabian Sea.

Is China Influencing Pakistan’s Elections?

By Muhammad Akbar Notezai

As an emerging power in the region, China is closely watching the developments taking place in the South Asia region. It is in China’s best interests to have friendly governments in neighboring countries, and to a large extent, Beijing is succeeding. China has been meticulously working to attract South Asian countries, big and small alike, by all means. One of China’s friendliest neighbors is Pakistan. When al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was assassinated by U.S. forces on May 2, 2011 in Pakistan’s garrison city of Abbotabad, Pakistan put all its eggs in China’s basket. As a result of this paradigm shift, Pakistan has put the highest priority on its friendship with China. For Pakistan, whether China can replace the United States or not is a separate debate, but one thing is sure: since 2011, China has increased its presence in the country, as seen most readily in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the multibillion-dollar project announced in 2014.

Bangladesh: Demand for Elections under Caretaker Government

Dr Sreeradha Datta
Source Link

Election times are quintessentially interesting, more so when some of the South Asian countries are involved. The element of unpredictability and host of other varied considerations surrounding any election in the region, makes these events an analysts delight to piece together the various issues and possibilitiesand come up with plausible answers. In the context of elections in Bangladesh, added confusion arises out of the long list of unresolvable issues including demand for holding elections under caretaker governments.

How Rare Earths (What?) Could Be Crucial in a U.S.-China Trade War

By Alexandra Stevenson

KUANTAN, Malaysia — Amanda Lacaze grabbed her iPhone and rattled off the names of the special minerals needed to make it. The screen was polished with lanthanum and cerium. The inside has a magnet made with neodymium and praseodymium. Those minerals almost certainly came from China. Ms. Lacaze’s job is to give the world an alternative source, in case a global trade war spirals out of control and China cuts off supply. Right now, she can’t. Her company, Lynas Corporation, can provide only a fraction of the minerals — known as rare earths — that China produces. And even that source isn’t a sure thing: The work is so volatile, complex and expensive that Lynas once came close to collapsing.

Welcome to the modern military: China’s new combat units prepare for electronic warfare

Minnie Chan
The war games, which started on Monday and test reconnaissance, electronic communication, cybersecurity, air strikes and other battle skills, are aimed at increasing ground troops’ understanding of modern warfare, and fostering new strategic ground force commanders after a sweeping PLA overhaul. More than 50 combat units involving about 2,100 officers are taking part at five training bases. They include airborne troops, special forces and electronic warfare experts from ground forces from the Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central command theatres, according to official social media accounts.

Who the US and China have trade disputes with

John McKenna

Not long after US tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods kicked in, the Chinese government has responded by imposing its own 5% tariff on 545 US products, also worth a total of $34 billion. Trade disputes are nothing new for the two economic superpowers, and they are not confined to targeting each other. In total, China and the US have more than 300 disputes with different countries and trading blocks.

US-China Trade: China Is Building Bridges With The World While The US Puts Up Walls

by Yuka Kobayashi

China first built its famous Great Wall in the Qin dynasty during the third century BC. Never has there been a greater symbol of protectionism. But today China is outward facing to protect its national interests. It is building bridges, as well as railways, roads and infrastructure, and embedding itself at the heart of the global trade systemThe unfolding trade dispute between the US and China follows a scramble for influence by both countries to set the rules, regulations and standards for trade and investment. The crux of the US-China trade dispute lies in the declining power of the US, which is reacting to the fact that China has been catching up and closing the gap with it over the past decade.

China & Russia In The Arctic: Axis Of Ambivalence

So are Chinese ambitions racing ahead of Arctic realities? "It seems the chickens are being counted before the eggs are hatched," Sun admitted, "but the Chinese position is, 'if the eggs are going to hatch, we want to make sure we're there to collect the chickens.

Samvad: the Fourth Symposium held in Tokyo - A Report

Arvind Gupta
Source Link

In 2015, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Abe of Japan had mooted a unique idea of a holding a regular dialogue on ‘Samvad’ amongst Asians to discuss conflict avoidance, and philosophical and cultural heritage of Buddhism and Hinduism, the dominant religions in Asia. Four conferences have been held within the Samvad framework since in New Delhi (2015), Tokyo (2016), Yangon (2017), and Tokyo (2018). The Japan Foundation, in collaboration with Hajime Nakamura Institute, the foreign office of Japan and Nikkei Corporation hosted a symposium titled ‘Shared Values and Democracy in Asia’, on 05th Jul 2018 in Tokyo, under the Samvad series of dialogues.

NATO: Pushing Boundaries for Resilience

By Tim Prior

Tim Prior argues that addressing the security vulnerabilities created by global connectivity and interdependence is at the heart of the Alliance’s current push to increase its resilience. However, this push presents a challenge to NATO, contends Prior, as it will require a cultural change within the Alliance that recognizes 1) the need for strong cooperation with civilian organizations and the private sector; and 2) support for the building of resilience beyond NATO’s territorial borders.

Brexit, Defence, and the EU’s Quest for ‘Strategic Autonomy’

By Nick Witney

There is more joy in heaven (or so we are told, on the best available authority) over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine already-righteous folk. On that basis, fatted calves in the vicinity of Brussels should have been keeping a very low profile as the British, after long years decrying and obstructing European defence integration, have rediscovered an unconditional commitment to Europe’s security, and pressed for the closest possible post-Brexit partnership.

The growing power and influence of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU

Andrew E. Kramer

MOSCOW — The Russian intelligence officers indicted on Friday by the United States special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, served in a branch of the Russian military formerly known as the G.R.U., which has been linked in recent years to a number of increasingly bold, even reckless operations abroad. The organization is Russia’s largest military intelligence agency and is one of several groups authorized to spy for the Russian government, alongside successor agencies to the K.G.B. Though the G.R.U. has been the target of sanctions by the United States government numerous times, including in connection with hacking in the 2016 presidential election, the indictments filed by Mr. Mueller’s office are the first criminal charges leveled against Russian government officials for election meddling.

Why The NATO Summit Could Deal A Major Blow To The International Order

by Trine Flockhart

While most of Europe heads off on holiday, NATO heads of state and government will gather in NATO's brand new headquarters in Brussels for their 2018 summit. The outcomes of these meetings are usually known in advance, meaning they aren't usually all that exciting - but this time, there's real trepidation in the air. The Western foreign policy community is worried that Donald Trump may repeat his petulant behaviour at last month's G7 meeting and turn against his allies in public, thereby bringing the unity and credibility of the alliance into question.

Major Shipping Routes for the Oil Trade

Profiling Russia’s S-400 Missile Defense System

Turkey is set to acquire the Russian-made missiles, causing a rift with its NATO allies.

Global manufacturing scorecard: How the US compares to 18 other nations

Darrell M. West and Christian Lansang

Manufacturing is enjoying a resurgence in the United States. After years of falling output and a diminishing percentage of the labor force, the last few years have seen renewed growth. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the catalysts for this revival include factors such as the strengthening economy, workforce quality, tax policies, the regulatory environment, and transportation and energy costs. Yet in order to move forward, it is important to see how American manufacturing compares to that of other nations. In this report, we develop a global manufacturing scorecard that looks at five dimensions of the manufacturing environment: 1) overall policies and regulations; 2) tax policy; 3) energy, transportation, and health costs; 4) workforce quality; and

Cyber War – And Nobody Will Come?

By Myriam Dunn Cavelty

When a cyberattack has been orchestrated by a state actor, people may be tempted to call it “war”. After all, it’s an attack waged on national infrastructures by a foreign power. But the term “cyber war” has been used so often for dramatic effect that I don’t just want to warn against hype. It’s also time to dampen expectations regarding the scope of governmental intervention.

TCS May Have Achieved Escape Velocity From Traditional Indian IT Services Business Model

by R Jagannathan

The recent performance of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s biggest software services company with revenues that could top $20 billion this fiscal, suggests that it has broken out of the straitjacket of a pure labour-arbitrage-based business model. In April-June 2018, TCS has put behind memories of the slowdown in growth over the last few quarters with double-digit (10 per cent) revenue increases, breaching the $5 billion consolidated turnover mark, netting a billion dollars in income ($1.081 billion), and a mouth-watering 25 per cent share for digital revenues in the overall business mix. The fact that operating margins were still a healthy 25 per cent shows that TCS has managed to balance its legacy manpower-based businesses with new value-added businesses. TCS also hit the four-lakh figure in terms of employee strength.


Scott Kendrick 

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford publicly and frequently expresses his frustration with the legacy joint phasing construct (Phases 0–V) for organizing joint force actions across theaters. Gen. Dunford’s comments echo other national security officials’ conclusions, but a deeper problem beyond the notion of phasing resides within professional joint literature. Doctrine misses the art of connecting the use of force with the force’s use in competitive and wartime statecraft. To a casual reader, joint doctrine presents an imposing, seemingly comprehensive and authoritative expression of joint force principles and processes. In general, doctrine’s characterizations of employing military force throughout its primary publications are thematic. While much of the content is indeed worthwhile, joint literature is not necessarily precise or sufficient in explaining utilization of the force. Most of these doctrinal themes reinforce sound principles, but a few perpetuate incomplete and obsolete ideas from the early 1990s. One case in point is doctrine’s overlapping articulation of campaigns and major operations, as well as their associated objectives. These shortfalls weaken our professional methodologies and models for attaining outcomes.

A Dynamic Field Of Defence Against Terrorist Weapons Options

Christopher Flaherty


A dynamic field of weapons options available to terrorist, extremist or violent attackers, represent a spectrum. The use of highly complex weapons to the use of simple weaponization of common, and everyday items. The defence against these varied threats needs to follow an elastic set of options rather than a lineal progression from the simple to the complex external hardening of inner-city massed public events. Organised by community groups, these events involve differing levels of security, between which a gap can develop between policing and security workers, and the vast number of public volunteers used to organise the event. Viewed in terms of tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) analysis, this article reviews the problem of how gaps in security occur during inner-city massed public events and explores a possible solution by augmenting established security with a dynamic defence approach.

Army: New Command Won’t Piss Away Billions On Bad Technology


With the establishment of its new Futures Command, the Army pinky swears that the problems that doomed its $18 billion Future Combat Systems program in the last decade will not recur. On Friday, senior Army leaders announced the service was consolidating its modernization efforts in a single command that will be located in Austin, Texas. The city was selected based on a number of factors, including the availability of talent from the private sector, access to top-tier academic institutions, and quality of life. Task & Purpose asked Army officials how the new command will prevent a repeat of the Future Combat Systems debacle — an eight-year Army effort to develop revolutionary new vehicles, communications networks, drones, and other technology that bled cash until it was mercifully put to sleep by then-defense secretary Robert Gates in 2009. The failure was so colossal that the Army has still not recovered, nearly a decade later.