5 September 2018

Review Of India-Japan Defence Technology Cooperation – Analysis

By Titli Basu*

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman invited Japan to participate in the two defence industrial production corridors1 in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh during the Annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue held in August 2018. These corridors are aimed at boosting the defence ecosystem and reinforcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature Make in India initiative. The Make in India campaign intersects with the unfolding reorientation in Japan’s post-war security posture and its easing of the arms export policy exemplified by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s outlining of the Three Principles on Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology2 in April 2014. Since then, India and Japan have engaged in complex deliberations on the prospects of sourcing Japanese defence technology, joint development and production of defence equipment.

The Four Problems With Economic Data in India

Ashutosh Datar

If accurate economic data was available in a timely and accessible way, India would benefit enormously. Bureaucratic lethargy and arrogance stand in the way. We live in a world where ‘data’ is the buzzword. Data is considered by many to be the new Oil — a source of riches. Big data and data analytics are attracting tremendous attention from investors as well as researchers. And yet, when it comes to economic data, which is essential for effective policymaking, India is remarkably poor. Our policies are often made in the dark – we don’t know whether the policies employed are the right ones, and we cannot judge the efficacy of those that we choose to implement. Worse, we often do not even know what is happening in the economy currently. And the problem is not just about the availability of data, though that is an important problem. As I see it, there are four distinct problems regarding economic data in the country.

Trump’s Rougher Edge Complicates Trip by Pompeo and Mattis to India

By Gardiner Harris

WASHINGTON — There have always been irritants in relations between India and the United States. But few have been as perplexing to New Delhi, or left as bitter a taste, as President Trump’s tendency to mock Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accent in English. “There’s a general understanding here that Modi is not sure he can do business with Trump,” said Suhasini Haidar, foreign affairs editor of The Hindu. “India is just now coming to terms with the idea that Trump will not treat India with the same kind of benevolence that previous presidents have.” This is the diplomatic headache that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will confront when he arrives in the Indian capital on Wednesday with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Tiptoeing around the president’s indiscretions is one in a suddenly long list of challenges to a relationship that, according to senior State Department officials, Mr. Pompeo would very much like to preserve — and even improve.

If Washington wants to be New Delhi’s most ‘reliable strategic partner’, it must shun coercive approach

As we approach the inaugural high-level dialogue in New Delhi between India and the US in 2+2 format, it’s worth taking a close look at the nature and structure of the bilateral relationship that is arguably at its strongest than any other time in the past. This closer embrace is driven by a strategic and geopolitical logic. The seeming irrefutability of that logic — China’s meteoric and aggressive rise —has raised expectations that the trajectory will remain steady and linear. That said, the strength of the partnership cannot be taken for granted, neither can be the trajectory. It isn’t just the political turbulence caused by a mercurial White House. For all of Donald Trump’s disruptions, his administration has built on the foundation laid by successive US presidents (starting with Bill Clinton) to place India at the front and centre of US national security and South Asia policy.

Why Not Show Pakistan The Same Consideration Shown To China?

by Bharat Karnad

The strikingly silly hoo-ha on Indian television over the non-event of the quip-a-second cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu – a rank made-for-television entertainer and Punjab government minister, embracing the Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the swearing-in ceremony of a fellow cricketer, Imran Khan, as Prime Minister – only reveals how easily something so trivial can be transformed into jingoistic excess. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter to his incoming Pakistani counterpart, has welcomed Khan’s assuming power as an opportunity to reset bilateral ties.

Inflection point in US-India ties

By Minhaz Merchant

United States Defence Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in New Delhi on September 6 to kick off the first annual 2+2 India-US dialogue with their counterparts Nirmala Sitharaman and Sushma Swaraj. The US administration has been preoccupied with a host of domestic and foreign policy issues. So the inaugural 2+2 dialogue, initially scheduled to be held in Washington, was postponed twice and relocated to New Delhi. 

The tight and flowing structure of the Maoists

Sumit Bhattacharjee

Lifting the lid on the ground-level organisation of the extremists, who the police allege are forging links with activists. Though the Naxalite movement was started by Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyaland Jangal Santhal in West Bengal in 1967 under the banner of Communist Party of India (Marxist), the movement has changed many banners over the past four decades and is now called the CPI (Maoist), which is a banned organisation in the country. The CPI (Maoist) was formed in 2004 with the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War, commonly known as the People’s War Group, and the Maoist Communist Centre of India. And it has been functioning under this banner since then.

Are Russia and China Sabotaging American Policy in Afghanistan?

By Anthony Cordesman

… To the extent there is any United States strategy, it seems to lie in the hope that peace negotiations will begin with the Taliban, that the Taliban is exhausted enough to make concessions, and the United States will then be able to leave with something close to victory. No one seems to want to remember how such a seeming “victory” played out in Vietnam, or how peace talks ended in giving political victory to elements of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia and to the Maoists in Nepal.

Trade, War, and the South China Sea

By Roncevert Ganan Almond

When crossing the expanse of the Pearl River Delta, from Macau to Hong Kong, at one point you lose sight of the mainland; before you is nothing but the sea. On this day in August, during typhoon season, a veil of rain moves swiftly across the bay falsely suggesting a void, where in fact rests the most densely urbanized region in Asia – the industrial machine driving China’s rise, one of the globe’s great entrepôts. Large container ships, modern day camels, pass by. From the starboard of the high-speed ferry, somewhere in the distance, lies a series of contested islands, islets, and reefs – guardians of the sea lanes connecting the world beyond.

China's New Soft Power Showdown

by Matt Marietta

The concept of soft power in international relations was put forward by theorist Joseph Nye in the heady days following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The concept was set against hard power—military might—and represented the ability of nations to guide international affairs through something less than force. In a recent article in Foreign Policy , Eric X. Li asserted that the concept of soft power has gone through decline, but that the emerging Chinese model may be poised to step into the vacuum created by the apparent faltering of the Western democratic-neoliberal paradigm.

Taiwan Is Not a Bargaining Chip With China

I first visited Taiwan in the 1970s as a young officer serving in an American destroyer assigned to the Pacific Fleet. A small, dynamic nation at the northern edge of the strategically crucial South China Sea, the Republic of China (as Taiwan prefers to be known) was locked in a Cold War duel of geopolitics with its vastly larger cousin across the Taiwan Strait, the People’s Republic of China. I returned to Taiwan this week for meetings with senior officials — President Tsai Ing-wen, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and the national security adviser, David Lee — and enjoyed seeing the extraordinary progress. At the time of my first visit, I had my doubts about how long the Taiwanese could hold out against the mainland Chinese. But I came away with a deep respect for the courage, ingenuity and independent spirit of the Republic of China.

Rethinking Belt-And-Road Debt – Analysis

By Philip Bowring*

China has launched a new publicity drive to promote the benefits of its Belt and Road Initiative – and the surprise is that a publicity campaign is necessary at all. BRI was unveiled in late 2013 to build infrastructure in Asia, Africa and Europe, strengthening trade linkages via new versions of old land and sea routes between east and west, showing China as a strong global payer, financing viable projects and not projecting strategic power. Soon afterward, the initiative was widely seen as a propaganda masterstroke, providing badly needed investment in roads, railways, power and ports to countries in dire need of such infrastructure while showing China’s commitment to open trade.

Sinicisation Under Xi Jinping: Key Features Of The Implementation Strategy

By Palden Sonam*

In July 2018, China issued an order banning underage Tibetan students from engaging in religious activities during their summer holidays. Although Beijing’s consistent effort to assimilate minority regions through demographic change and language imposition has been ongoing for decades, this particular ban points to a larger and more sophisticated attempt to strip the so called national minorities like Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians off their cultural identity. More importantly, the current implementation strategy reflects a more insidious effort to reduce the cultural influence of religion, and includes a specific focus on children. It is therefore important to understand the issue through the wider logic and politics of Beijing’s cultural colonialism in these politically sensitive and strategically valuable regions even as China pushes its One Belt One Road initiative forward.

All is not well in China’s PLA

The atmosphere of suspicion in the People’s Liberation Army is an indicator of the troubles within. Whether these are serious issues or just to ‘scare the monkeys’, is another matter. India must be cautious An important event took place during the last week of August: India hosted China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe for four days. The visit was important for several reasons. One, it was the first encounter at the highest level of the military after the Doklam episode; Gen Wei is also a State Councilor and a member of the all-powerful seven-member Central Military Commission (CMC), chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

ISIS Isn't Dead Yet In fact, they're planning attacks on the West.

by Robert G. Rabil 

The battle for the Syrian Idlib province has begun, and its ramifications for U.S. national security are critical. Bordered by Turkey in the north, the Assad regime in the south, and the U.S.-supported Kurds in the northeast, Idlib province, whose airspace is controlled by the Russians, is the last rebel-held and contested area in Syria. Turkey, Russia and Iran have been holding senior level meetings to prevent another tragedy affecting more than 2 million Syrians. An estimated 100,000 or more rebels, including a majority of Salafi-jihadis, have entrenched their military presence in Idlib. Led by al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and ISIS, these Salafi-jihadis have launched a concerted propaganda campaign to terrorize the West—especially the United States—into panic, mayhem and grief. The Trump administration should disabuse itself of the belief that ISIS and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq have been defeated. Evidently, al-Qaeda affiliate Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, ISIS and other Salafi-jihadi organizations are not only preparing to defend their terror haven but also to foster wide-scale terror attacks on the West.

'Sword and Scimitar' Offers In-Depth Study of Landmark Battles Between Islam and the West

by Raymond Ibrahim

Editor’s note: Middle East Forum director Gregg Roman recently interviewed Raymond Ibrahim, formerly the associate director of the Forum and currently the Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow. Ibrahim’s new book, Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West—a featured selection of the History Book Club and current best seller in several Amazon categories—was released earlier this week and is available at a variety of book distributorsRoman: Welcome to this MEF interview, Raymond. Tell us a little bit about your new book, Sword and Scimitar.

The Complex Threat of Islamist Radicalism Around the World

Islamist radicalism is a threat that spans the globe, from tropical islands to major European cities. The experience of different countries and regions in fighting extremism illustrates the need for solutions well-tailored to local conditions. In late 2014, Mauritian intelligence services discovered that a handful of Mauritian Muslims had traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Many of those jihadi recruits were swayed and enabled by the Islamist radicalism of a small yet troubling network of ideologues in the tropical island nation, which is located in the Indian Ocean some 1,200 miles east of mainland Africa. Intelligence gathered by Mauritian field officers identified one individual in particular, a radical preacher named Javed Meetoo, as the network’s leader. 

Russia to buy frigates from China

In a remarkable turnabout, Moscow is going to purchase specially modified naval frigates from Beijing, the result of Russia’s declining ability to produce ships at home and its inability to buy them in the West because of sanctions and China’s growing arms production especially in the naval sector Profi-Forex’s Elena Tarakanova reports on this remarkable turnaround. “Already a long time ago, the Russian state in fact lost the ability to produce major vessels,” she says, and had to purchase them abroad, first from the West and now from China, which only became a naval power recently. At the Moscow arms show ten days ago, China showed off drawings for four universal descent vessels with displacements of 40,000 tons, exactly the kind of ship Russian military planners are now focusing on to defend their coastal areas [and annexed Crimea – Ed.] and to project power in Russia’s neighborhood [such as in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in its war against Ukraine – Ed.]

How Russia Would Strike Back if America Launches "Dollar" Sanctions

by Josh Cohen

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the United States has instituted numerous sanctions on Moscow. Russia typically ignores or even mocks these American sanctions. That recently changed though. In response to proposed Senate legislation that would target Russia’s state-controlled banks by freezing their access to dollars—a step which could genuinely damage the Russian economy—Moscow issued a new threat. “If we end up we end up with something like a ban on banking activities or the use of certain currencies, we can clearly call this a declaration of economic war,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated , emphasizing that Moscow would “respond to this war. By economic means, by political means and if necessary by other means.”

Examining the State of German Identity

By Sebastian Hammelehle

Six years ago, back in 2012, things weren't all that different than they are today. Angela Merkel was chancellor and Joachim Löw was the head coach of the German national football team. That year, though, a novel was published called "Look Who's Back," a white-covered tome with a swatch of dark, parted hair across the top and the letters in the title arranged in a perfect rectangle, almost like a small moustache. The face was familiar, and everyone knew who the title was referring to: Adolf Hitler. The book imagined him reawakening in Berlin in the year 2011 -- and picking up where he left off.

In Nigeria, Politics and Militancy Go Hand in Hand

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, whose political coalition and party have suffered dozens of defections in the National Assembly, will face a significant election test in February, when he hopes to win a second term. The country's main opposition alliance will select a northern presidential candidate to match Buhari; the two sides could split votes in the northwestern areas, making competition elsewhere the deciding factor. Militancy will play a critical role in next year's elections as Nigeria's various stakeholders try to exploit the country's insecurity for political gain. Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2018 Fourth-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis on key developments to watch in the coming quarter.

Labor Protests: A Visual Anthology

A country's labor force can be one of its greatest attributes. As a united front, it can also come together to force the hand of governments on policy and wages. As we stand on the frontier of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, when the careers of our children today may not even exist, we take a look back at the employment conditions and movements of our forefathers.

The Real Reasons Behind Russia’s Massive Military Exercises


Russian President Vladimir Putin would never invade western Europe.

Lets game it out, just for fun. Russia invades with thousands of tanks, aircraft, and infantry. Europe, beholden to years of low defense budgets, folds. Shortly afterwards, Russia’s economy collapses due to the massive cost of mobilizing it’s military and occupying now refugee-filled, and probably insurgency filled European states. China won’t help anyone because all of this could leave them as the sole superpower. The United States, rising to meet its NATO obligations, possibly retaliates with limited nuclear strikes; Russia does the same. Maybe things escalate from there, although it’s hard to conceive as to why; but even if it doesn’t, the death toll from both war and starvation would become mind-numbingly high — and, to any sane strategic thinker, an impossible price to pay in the interest of a territorial accession.

The Strategic Thinking That Made America Great

By Melvyn P. Leffler

In the last few weeks, U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized key allies, called the European Union a foe, and labeled Russia a friendly, respectable competitor. By coddling Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump seeks to appease Russia’s leader, who is not only working systematically to expand Russia’s influence around the globe but also trying to support a growing number of authoritarian leaders who spurn liberal democratic values and free market practices. Trump’s strategy for advancing U.S. greatness is an “America first” agenda: minimizing obligations to allies, treating everyone as a competitor, freeing the United States from the restrictions imposed by multilateral institutions, seeking trade advantages through bilateral negotiations, building up military power, befriending dictators if they support him, and acting unilaterally in a zero-sum framework of international politics.

Secular Stagnation


Those responsible for managing the 2008 recovery found the idea of secular stagnation attractive, because it explained their failures to achieve a quick, robust recovery. So, as the economy languished, a concept born during the Great Depression of the 1930s was revived. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, some economists argued that the United States, and perhaps the global economy, was suffering from “secular stagnation,” an idea first conceived in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Economies had always recovered from downturns. But the Great Depression had lasted an unprecedented length of time. Many believed that the economy recovered only because of government spending on World War II, and many feared that with the end of the war, the economy would return to its doldrums.

Prevailing in Today’s Cyber Battlefield Requires Strategic Consensus

by Annie Fixler 

In 1953, the United States stood at a precipice. After the death that year of Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin, senior U.S. cabinet officials could not agree on how to contain and confront Soviet expansion and aggression. So President Eisenhower devised an exercise to “ analyze competing national strategies ” to check the Soviets where possible and roll back their advances where feasible. The White House convened three teams of leading scholars and practitioners to analyze and craft distinct strategies so that the president could review the strongest arguments, reach consensus among his advisors, and determine the direction of U.S. policy. The exercise, Project Solarium , influenced U.S. national security policy for decades.

The rising importance of data as a weapon of war

By: Adam Stone  

As Navy Cyber Security Division director, Rear Adm. Danelle Barrett casts a wary eye over the rising importance of data as a weapon of war. Data is an ever-more-critical battlefield asset, given the rising internet of things, including a rapidly growing inventory of unmanned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets across the Navy. Protecting all that data from enemy exploitation represents a potentially massive cyber challenge. This spring, the Navy announced “Compile to Combat in 24 Hours,” a pilot project to leverage web services and a new cloud architecture in the service of data security. C4ISRNET’s Adam Stone spoke to Barrett about the potential there, and about the emerging IT security landscape in a data-centric military.

Emoji: The World’s First Global Language

Marcus Swan

Emoji are cute. It’s easy to think they’re just for teenagers whose phones are permanently glued to their hands. But, as ever with the humble emoji, there’s so much more beneath the surface — in form, function, history, and future.
Emoticon vs. Emoji

Emoticon? Emoji? 🤔

The words emoji, smilies, and emoticons are often used interchangeably — but they mean very different things.

The figure below, representing a smiling face, is an emoticon: a pictographic representation created by combining different typographic characters.

A Quantum Future

All we as humans had as tools for hundreds of thousands of years were sticks, stones, and our brains… and eventually fire. Arguably the greatest tool we’ve ever invented, though, is the computer. In the tiny span of time extending from the mid-20th century to now, we’ve entered a realm of exponential progress as processing power roughly doubles every few years. However, this rule, known as Moore’s Law, is getting close to its limit, since computer parts are getting closer and closer to atomic-size.

The Problem with Free & Open Source Software

This same freedom is identified in article five of the Open Source Definition. The point of that discussion was about the moral position of free and open source software as it related to proprietary software. My counterpart proposed that any software that was not free or open source was morally evil, while I defended the rights of creators to determine the bounds of their software’s use. I still stand by my position and will not retread it here. Any software developer has the right to define how and by whom their software can be used. But, I also believe that free and open source software is superior to proprietary software for many reasons and in many circumstances. The most important of those reasons is freedom.
Freedom Is Not Free