29 August 2018

India-Myanmar: NSCN-K Coup – Analysis

By Giriraj Bhattacharjee*

The Myanmar-based Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-Khaplang) in a ‘party emergency meeting’ held on August 17, 2018, at its ‘council headquarters’ in Myanmar’s Sagaing region, ‘elected’ Yung Aung, a Myanmarese national, as the new ‘acting chairman’ of the outfit. The NSCN-K in a release announced, “The National Socialist Council unanimously elected Mr. Yung Aung as the new Acting Chairman of the party by a majority vote on this day of 17th August 2018… effective from today he shall exercise his powers, functions….”

Yung Aung replaced the incumbent ‘chairman’ ‘lieutenant general’ Khango Konyak (an Indian national) who was ‘impeached’ during the ’emergency meeting’, in absentia. A NSCN-K statement reportedly released to the media read,

The status of public sector banks in India today

Tamal Bandyopadhyay
Source Link

Media reports say the parliamentary committee on estimates, headed by Murli Manohar Joshi, has invited former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan to brief it on the mounting non-performing assets (NPAs) of Indian banks. The invitation follows former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian’s praise for Rajan’s role in identifying the problem and taking steps to address it, before the committee. It is seeking Rajan’s views on the “crisis” —how it has been created and how it should be tackled.

ASEAN Security ‘Centrality’ And The South China Sea

By Mark J. Valencia

Leaders of ASEAN member countries have consistently proclaimed and promoted the bloc’s “centrality” in the guidance, mitigation, and mediation of regional security issues. Since its founding in August 1967, ASEAN has had some successes — like playing a role in averting war or major crises between its members, including over territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the South China Sea. ASEAN also hosts the most meaningful official multilateral security forums in the region. But the grouping has become ever more divided in regards to the South China Sea disputes. Indeed, for ASEAN, resolving or even mitigating the South China Sea issues between China and the United States may be a bridge too far. The contest between China and the U.S. for dominance there and in the region has exposed the reality that ASEAN is not sufficiently politically and militarily unified to be “central” to the region’s security when it is threatened by a clash between major powers.

Playing Politics With Religion: Imran Khan Puts Himself Between Rock And Hard Place – Analysis

By James M. Dorsey

Less than a week in office, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has made blasphemy one of his first issues, empowering militants and initiating international moves, long heralded by Saudi Arabia, that would restrict press freedom by pushing for a global ban.

Mr. Khan, in his first address as prime minister to the Pakistani Senate, said he intended to raise the blasphemy issue in the United Nations and would work to achieve a common stand within the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Mr. Khan spoke after the Senate adopted a resolution condemning a plan by Geert Wilders, a militantly Islamophobic, far-right Dutch opposition leader, who heads the second largest faction in parliament, to hold a competition for cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed. Many Muslims see visual depictions of the prophet as blasphemy.

Afghanistan: Terrorists Gaining Ground?

By R.M. Panda

The situation in Afghanistan is confusing with the interference of all major powers who pursue their own agenda and their strategic interests. The beleaguered Afghan Government that has been legitimately elected has been fighting on all fronts and doing its best. 

The ground situation in Afghanistan has dramatically changed with the ISIS entering the fray on the one hand and with terrorists sponsored from other outfits also joining in. Besides the Taliban that is fighting with support from across the border, the entry of other Pakistani terrorist organizations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba has resulted in a dangerous situation.

In the last one month, there have been very many serious incidents by various actors that gives the impression that the Government in power is not in control in most of the areas inside Afghanistan.

Philippine president says buying US F-16 jets ‘utterly useless’

By: Jim Gomez

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president is opposing an offer by the U.S. defense chief and other top American officials to buy F-16 fighter jets, saying such an acquisition would be “utterly useless” because his country needs lighter combat aircraft to fight insurgents.

President Rodrigo Duterte scoffed Thursday night at the offer he said was made in a letter by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, which came after the president was slammed by the U.S. for his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs.

After he took office in mid-2016, Duterte immediately took steps to revive once-frosty relations with China while often taking an antagonistic stance toward U.S. security policies. He had lashed out at former President Barack Obama, who raised concerns over human rights under Duterte. The Philippine leader, however, has cozied up to President Donald Trump.

China's Air Force Is Powerful. But There Is One Giant Problem.

by J. Tyler Lovell Robert Farley 

The Chinese defense industrial base is infamous for its tendency to “borrow” from foreign designs, particularly in the aerospace industry. Almost the entirety of China’s modern fighter fleet have either borrowed liberally from or directly copied foreign models. The J-10 was reputedly based on the Israeli IAI Lavi and by extension the United States’ General Dynamics F-16; the J-11 is a clone of the Russian Su-27; the JF-17 is a modern development of the Soviet MiG-21; the J-20 bears an uncanny resemblance to the F-22, and finally, the J-31 is widely believed to rely heavily on technology appropriated from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Appropriation saves China time and money on research and development, allowing it to modernize the PLAAF at a fraction of the cost of its competitors. However, the appropriation strategy remains constrained by bottleneck technologies due to lack of testing data and industrial ecology. This problem is starkly illustrated by China’s ongoing difficulty in producing a high-quality indigenous jet engine.

Is China Repeating Germany's World War I Mistakes?

by John Maurer

At a recent show of Chinese naval might in the South China Sea, President Xi Jinping called for China to acquire a world-class navy, declaring to the assembled officers and crews that there has never been a more urgent need for the country to possess a powerful fleet. This demonstration of naval power was the largest ever put on display by the People’s Republic of China: forty-eight surface warships and submarines, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, along with seventy-six aircraft, all paraded on review before the Chinese leader.

The U.S. is overly paranoid about China’s tech rise

By Fred Hu

BEIJING ­— After decades of deriding China as a lousy copycat, the United States now fears China’s rapid rise as a technology powerhouse and sees it as a major — even existential — threat to U.S. dominance. The Trump administration has waged an escalating trade war against China under the pretext of punishing Chinese transgressions such as forced technology transfers, predatory licensing practices, cyber theft of intellectual property and the state-sponsored acquisition of American tech companies.

To counter China, US needs to invest in superior technology


China is using its Belt and Road Initiative as a cyber espionage platform to spy on countries along BRI’s route. And its Made in China 2025 initiative calls for heavy R&D spending on information and digital technology. China is challenging the US as the world’s technology leader and is likely to become the world’s dominant player in crucial technologies, including technology with military applications. Donald Trump’s plan to win the technology race with China won’t work.

Measuring the status of Chinese military modernization


Economics remains the guiding linchpin in measuring the broad status of China’s military modernization efforts, but this effort should not be performed in isolation. If US combat commanders want to measure the strength and reach of China’s military power, they will need to assess three interlocking components of Beijing’s strategic mindset. First, proper characterization of Beijing’s current military strategy reveals a China interested in regional power projection. Its force-modernization efforts are guiding transformation efforts into a professionalized force with technologically advanced air and naval capabilities for sustained engagements. Initially aiming to project and protect regional national interests, Beijing invariably seeks to shape the decisions of competitors, parlaying with regional actors while shaping regional security architecture favorable to itself. This objective is achieved by fielding C4ISR (command, control, communication, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities.

Infographic Of The Day: US China Trade War

The global markets had one recurring nightmare - a trade war between the world's two largest and most influential economies.

The drones that have become part of China’s military strategy

Kristin Huang

China’s PLA, or People’s Liberation Army, is actively trying to make advances in military robotics and unmanned systems. It now has a range of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in use across its army, navy, air force and rocket force – the military’s strategic and tactical missiles unit. Here are some of them. The PLA ground force has a number of UAVs that are primarily smaller, more tactical models and are often used for battlefield reconnaissance and targeting artillery fire to improve precision strikes. A significant proportion of these are part of a series produced by the Xian Aisheng Technology Group. The fixed-wing drones have a conventional design with a mid-wing configuration and are used to support the artillery.

Toward A Smaller, Smarter Force Posture in the Middle East


The National Defense Strategy’s turn toward Russia and China requires the U.S. military to alter its Gulf assets. 

A meaningful review of U.S. force posture in the Middle East is long overdue.

We explored why in the first article in our series for Defense One, noting challenges with Iran, competition with Russia and China, counterterrorism imperatives, and domestic political and budgetary realities. This assessment has only been reinforced by the subsequent release of the Trump Administration’s National Defense Strategy, or NDS, with its focus on strategic competition with China and Russia, as well as the administration’s hard-line approach to Iran.

In our second article, we examined a range of Middle East scenarios and identified four factors to consider when reshaping regional force posture. Now, we offer some recommendations about gradually changing that posture to reflect evolving priorities and challenges.

Burden-Sharing within NATO: Facts from Germany for the Current Debate

By Rachel Epstein, Donald Abenheim and Marc-André Walther

Professor Rachel Epstein’s interview with Professor Donald Abenheim of the Naval Postgraduate School and Lieutenant Colonel (General Staff) Marc-André Walther of the German Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Hamburg.

1. The President of the United States had some tough words for America’s NATO’s allies at the recent summit in Brussels. Is this sort of brinkmanship normal in the history of the Alliance?

Burden sharing is often described by experts as the problem older than the alliance itself. The tasks of mutual aid and self-help for collective defense in Article III of the Washington Treaty lie entangled in the domestic politics among allies. In the present case, the 2% of GDP spending goal pivots on US and German internal policymaking. The last time alliance cohesion manifested itself with this vitriol was in the 2011 NATO air campaign in Libya, to say nothing of the Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz “New Europe/Old Europe” episode in 2002-2003 prelude to the Iraq War, where a divergence of policy and strategy tore open the wound in allied ministries and editorial pages left over from the 1999 NATO Kosovo campaign.

Navigating the Syrian endgame

Carl Bildt

After a suspiciously sudden conversion, Russian President Vladimir Putin now claims to be worried about the fate of millions of refugees who have fled the carnage in Syria. In last weekend’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin expressed his hope that the European Union would help to rebuild Syria so that its displaced people could start to return home. And in recent weeks, Russian diplomats have been hawking the same message across European capitals.

To be sure, now that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has reclaimed most of the country’s territory, Syria’s civil war is clearly winding down. But that outcome was not inevitable. On the contrary, the Syrian army was very close to collapsing at one point. Only with the crucial help of Iranian-backed militias and Russian air support did Assad manage to turn things around.

The desire for recognition, Fukuyama argues, is an essential threat to liberalism.

By Louis Menand

In February, 1989, Francis Fukuyama gave a talk on international relations at the University of Chicago. Fukuyama was thirty-six years old, and on his way from a job at the rand Corporation, in Santa Monica, where he had worked as an expert on Soviet foreign policy, to a post as the deputy director of policy planning at the State Department, in Washington. It was a good moment for talking about international relations, and a good moment for Soviet experts especially, because, two months earlier, on December 7, 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev had announced, in a speech at the United Nations, that the Soviet Union would no longer intervene in the affairs of its Eastern European satellite states. Those nations could now become democratic. It was the beginning of the end of the Cold War.

Brazil Considers the Nuclear Option

Brazil will revive its nuclear energy program as part of a proposal that the government expects to present before Congress later this year. In the absence of any grave threats in South America, Brazil's nuclear program will largely focus on energy, medicine and agriculture, but the country will leave the door open to developing nuclear weapons by mastering atomic technology. The fate of Brasilia's nuclear plans could hinge on October's presidential elections, as one of the leading candidates, Marina Silva, vociferously opposes the atomic program.

The culture of respect for religion has gone too far

Polly Toynbee

The pope has flown home after a roughing-up in Ireland. Just a few years ago it was unimaginable that a gay taoiseach would dare berate a visiting pontiff face-to-face about the “dark aspects” of Ireland’s history and “brutal crimes perpetrated by people within the Catholic church”. Leo Varadkar’s magnificent assault eviscerated his country’s past cultural capture by the church. “The failures of both church and state and wider society created a bitter and broken heritage for so many, leaving a legacy of pain and suffering,” he said. “It is a history of sorrow and shame.” The sorrow is not just for victims of monstrous priestly abuse, but the abuse of an entire society in thrall to clerical oppression: lives crimped, warped and blighted, no escape from the church’s domination of everything. The best Irish literature breathes that pernicious incense.

Cloud computing: the invisible revolution

For most people, the move to cloud computing has been an almost invisible transition from local storage and processing to network-based services. For many, it is akin to some magic that makes everything available, all the time, no matter where you are. For businesses and network architects, it is the biggest game changer since the advent of networked computers and has allowed companies at any scale to gain access to secure, affordable and incredibly powerful infrastructure. It has also fostered the “everything as a service” business model that many organisations and individuals rely on for income, and it has also created an astounding amount of wealth for the infrastructure owners.
What is Cloud Computing?

Former NSA, CIA director on cyber, Facebook and hacking back

By: Justin Lynch  
Former head of the NSA and CIA Michael Hayden sat with with Fifth Domain Aug. 20 to discuss cyber in the Trump administration, threats from Russia and China, Facebook and the issue of hacking back.

The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

FIFTH DOMAIN: I first wanted to ask about America’s cyber strategy. What are the things that you see the Trump administration doing right in cyberspace, and what are the things they are doing wrong and need to work on?

Infographic Of The Day: 5G - The Next Generation Of Mobile Connectivity

As true broadband connectivity shaped the mobile experience, the phone is no longer just a phone - it was transformed into a seamless hub for any and all digital activity. In the coming years, the newest generation of mobile connectivity - 5G - will roll out and change what is possible again. With maximum speeds up to 1,000x faster than 4G, this new technology will again shift consumer behavior, as well as how we view smartphones, communications, IoT, gaming, and AR/VR.

Revolutionary Future Ahead

by John Mauldin

Back in 1936, in Esquire magazine of all places, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote something profound"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." 
As someone privileged to have met some of the world's greatest thinkers, I know what first-rate intelligence looks like. I am not in their league, but I think I'm pretty good at holding opposing ideas. It's why I'm often called the "muddle-through guy." When I consider contradictory scenarios, I figure reality will be somewhere in between. That's right more often than you might suspect.

The U.S. Trade War Is Spreading From Goods To Services

by Dan Steinbock

Trump tariff wars are entering a new, far more dangerous phase. As the White House is expanding its tariff wars, collateral damage is about to spread from goods to services - much of it in the U.S. After months of trade threats, the Trump administration announced its 25% tariff on $34 billion of Chinese imports effective in early July, while threatening levies on another $16 billion of imports. To defend its sovereign interest, China responded with 25% tariffs on $34 billion of US imports and recently imposed an additional tariff of 25% on $16 billion of US imports effective on August 23. Last year, Trump threats caused Chinese investment in the US to plunge

Infographic Of The Day: World Population Growth Visualized 1950-2100

The graph is on a logarithmic scale, which ultimately groups together most growth rates even though they would be much further apart on a linear scale. This means the places outside of the middle range are the true outliers, gaining or losing many multiples of their original populations. These are the stories that are worth looking at in more depth. World Population Growth Outliers How the population grows in any particular country is a function of fertility, mortality, and migration rates, and these outliers each have something anomalous happening at least one of these factors.

The Future of Warfare is Irregular

by Seth Jones

Among the Trump administration’s most significant national security decisions has been the shift from counterterrorism to inter-state competition. The United States is increasingly engaging in global rivalry with “revisionist” states like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. To do this well, some U.S. policymakers have argued that the United States needs to develop capabilities to fight—and win—conventional and possibly even nuclear wars against these states if deterrence fails. As the National Defense Strategy argues, “The surest way to prevent war is to be prepared to win one. Doing so requires a competitive approach to force development and a consistent, multiyear investment to restore warfighting readiness and field a lethal force.”

In Cyber Warfare, the Front Line Is Everywhere the U.S. Government Isn’t

By Christopher Porter

Cyber warriors in the United States are preparing for a digital Cold War, deterring cyberattacks against specific critical infrastructure—when what is most urgently needed is a counterinsurgency (an “e-surgency”) strategy to beat back the everyday cyberattacks that individually never rise to the level of acts of war. On their own, these strikes may not directly threaten national security. But taken together, they target this country’s civic center of gravity and pose a clear danger to U.S. values. Despite increased government attention and private-sector focus, cyberattacks are increasing along every dimension. No longer confined to the traditional major threats—Russia, China, North Korea and Iran—world-class cyber threat groups have emerged in southeast Asian developing economies, Sunni Gulf monarchies, and Latin American regional powers. The degree of damage has increased too, possibly topping $100 billion in costs to the U.S. economy alone in 2016, according to White House estimates. Damage to trust, privacy and freedom from fear have been growing at least as fast.



Last fall, when lawyers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google were summoned to Capitol Hill to account for the companies’ manipulation by Moscow during the 2016 election, lawmakers were ready to teach the new masters of the universe a lesson in humility. “I must say, I don’t think you get it,” California Senator Dianne Feinstein told representatives for the companies, which had dispatched lawyers in lieu of their C.E.O.s. “What we’re talking about is a cataclysmic change. What we’re talking about is the beginning of cyber-warfare.” Nearly a year later, however, with the midterm elections fast approaching, bipartisan fury has yielded to the realities of Washington. The Honest Ads Act, a bipartisan bill that would force companies like Facebook to disclose information about political ads, remains stuck in committee. The Republicans who control both houses of Congress have stonewalled legislation that would help safeguard U.S. elections, reportedly over objections by the White House. And so Silicon Valley, which arguably bears the most responsibility for failing to identify or address foreign propaganda campaigns during the last election cycle, has become something of a last line of defense for the next one.

2 Old Army Reformers Advise, ‘Don’t Do It’—But Offer Advice In Case You Insist


Editor’s note: The Long March will be closed for inventory the month of August. We regret any inconvenience this causes our loyal customers. In an effort to keep you reasonably content and focussed, we are offering re-runs of some of the best columns of the year. We value your custom and hope you will stick around for . . . the Long March. That’s the advice from retired Lt. Cols. John Nagl and Paul Yingling, who both have made post-Army careers in education. If you want to make a career in the Army, they counsel, just lay low. “If you want to advance, go along and get along: Attend the unit barbecue, laugh at the boss’s jokes and for God’s sake never write for publication.”



Kenny Rogers’ country classic Coward of the County portrays advice from an old man who spent his life fighting. The advice was simple: Don’t do it. The intended recipient was a young man who ignored that advice. We are old men who spent the better part of two decades fighting on the battlefields of the Middle East and in the halls of the Pentagon. In the Middle East, our enemies were insurgents. In the Pentagon, we were the insurgents: pushing the Army to adapt to the challenges of irregular warfare. Our goal here is not to refight those old battles. Instead, in the great tradition of Kenny Rogers, we’d like to offer some advice to young leaders who are considering fighting the battle for defense reform.