5 January 2019

Managing Connectivity Conflict: EU-India Cooperation and China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Jagannath P. Panda and Maaike Okano-Heijmans

Connectivity initiatives are the latest geopolitical tool for advancing influence in international relations and diplomacy. Against the backdrop of an emerging connectivity conflict, the responsibility is on likeminded countries and organizations to promote initiatives that embody transparency and universalism in connectivity projects and that benefit citizens in the long term. The EU and India are two important actors in this regard.

This paper analyzes the scope of cooperation in the field of connectivity between the EU and India, arguing that they are two important strategic poles of the current world order with shared interests. Europe and India are key actors of the western and non-western democratic liberal, both aiming to strengthen an “open, transparent and rules-based system of international politics and economics.” Realizing this potential requires candid and engaged strategic and economic exchange between the two sides. Responding to the need for both hard and soft infrastructure systems, many governments have factored connectivity as the lynchpin of their foreign policy. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is only one of these, but it is the most developed of these initiatives by far. It could become the arch of the 21st-century world order. What is clear, is that this Chinese initiative challenges the current open and transparent rules-based system of international politics and economics advanced in the 20th century. Seen as a “manifestation of China’s re-globalization ambitions,” the BRI raises expectations of economic and political opportunities at one level while inviting skepticism and doubt over its operational mode at another.

India’s Land Warfare Doctrine 2018: Hoping for the Best, Preparing for the Worst

By Joy Mitra

The Indian Army (IA) first came up with its declassified official doctrine in 1998, and then again with a revised version in 2004. Subsequently, the IA came up with a sub-conventional warfare doctrine in 2006. The latest iteration of the IA doctrine has been christened the Land Warfare Doctrine (LWD)-2018, and is a follow up to the first-ever Joint Doctrine of the Indian Armed Forces (JDIAF) released in 2017.

The doctrine for the first time discusses emerging technologies in the context of future warfare. It also aims to institute deterrence though punitive strikes at the tactical level, although this is more of a palliative cure. Despite some internal incoherence and ambiguous signalling on limited conventional warfare to the adversary, the value of the LWD lies in the clarity with which it identifies the threat spectrum. The LWD’s official acknowledgment of the combined threat from China and Pakistan strongly indicates that future force posture of the IA will be planned on the assumption of the worst-case scenario and marks a clear shift from single-front centric threat planning that has dominated military strategy in India towards a dual-front threat perception.

India: First S-400 Air Defense System Delivery By October 2020

By Franz-Stefan Gady

India will begin receiving its first regimental set of Russian-made Almaz-Antei S-400 Triumf air defense systems (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) in October 2020, according to a senior Indian defense official. Delivery of all five S-400 air defense squadrons (regiments) from Russia is expected to be completed by April 2023.

“The deliveries will commence from October 2020 and will be completed by April 2023,” Indian Minister of State for Defense Subhash Bhamre said earlier this week in response to a parliamentary question about the $5.5 billion defense contract. “The system will provide a very capable air defense coverage to vulnerable areas/vulnerable points,” the junior minister added.

The S-400 deal was signed in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 19th India-Russia bilateral annual summit held in New Delhi on October 5, 2018. India is persisting in its decision to purchase the S-400s despite strong opposition from the United States. 


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.

Two school going children, Ritu Raj Moran and Mantu Moran, hailing from Pensheri area of Tinsukia District, who had gone missing since December 4, 2018, are reported to have joined United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I).

In November 2018, a 16-years-old girl, Karishma Mech, hailing from the Lekhapani area in Tinsukia District reportedly joined ULFA-I.

In the same month, 24-years-old Munna Baruah, a nephew of ULFA-I ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah, originally hailing from Dibrugarh District, reportedly joined the insurgent formation. Baruah went missing from the Digboi town of Tinsukia District where he was working as an apprentice at the Digboi Oil Refinery.

In November, 27-year-old Abhijit Gogoi, originally hailing from Tinsukia District, reportedly joined ULFA-I to “save the Assamese community”.

How Trump Can Challenge China

Reihan Salam

President Donald Trump has good reason to denounce China’s tolerance of intellectual-property theft and various other trade abuses, as even his harshest critics will acknowledge. And there are tentative signs that U.S. negotiators are securing concessions from Beijing on market access for U.S. firms and the protection of their intellectual property. But a face-saving deal along these lines won’t really change China’s behavior. To do that, Trump ought to play against type by championing the interests of ordinary Chinese workers. That would pressure the Chinese party-state right where it is most vulnerable—and drive home the point that our quarrel is not with the Chinese people, but with the Chinese party-state.

World region for world region

by Christoph Hein

How China is also progressing in the Indian Ocean

The advance of China into the Indian Ocean is without precedent. India is being constricted, Europe is touching. With the New Silk Road, Beijing is creating facts that will determine this trading space. But the reaction is helplessness and waiting. Yet there is still time for Europe to represent its interests on the basis of its own geo-strategy.

China’s Atlantean ambition for the South China Sea


As Southeast Asian nations look ahead to 2019, competition for control of the South China Sea looms large on the horizon. That strategic contest could enter a new destabilizing phase if China introduces as reported a new Atlantis-like deep-sea submarine base in the already volatile maritime area.

The proposed new base, which could in theory be operated 24/7 through usage of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology, would dramatically bolster China’s quest for superiority in a largely unseen underwater struggle for one of the world’s most important waterways.

China Shaken By Foreign Investment Slowdown – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

Based on the latest official figures, it appears that investors may be holding back until the outcome of the trade war with the United States becomes known.

As with much of the official data in China, the evidence is clouded, fragmented and inconclusive.

Yet, despite the uncertainties over Chinese statistics, it seems clear that foreign investment growth has fallen far below the double-digit rates of a decade ago.

Some reports have been quick to cite a “sharp deterioration in business confidence” among China investors following a steep drop in November’s foreign direct investment (FDI), reported by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

Weak Economic Data Out Of China & Europe Overnight Sends Stock Futures Into The Red By +300 Points — To Start The New Year

Weak economic data out of China and Europe overnight prompted a selloff in equities in Asia and across the pond; and U.S. stock futures are sharply lower this morning by more than 300 points as I type out this short note. December factory activity in China contracted – just barely, but down — for the first time in 19 months. The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), fell to 49.7 in December from 50.2 in November. Any number above 50 indicates economic growth, while a number less than 50 denotes contraction. A Reuters poll of leading economists expected a reading of 50.1, so the number was weaker than expected. While the manufacturing number was only slightly lower than 50, signaling contraction, the data is raising concerns not only about China’s external/global revenue and spending; but, domestically as well. New orders, and new export orders both shrank in December, leading to some concerns about the entire China economic story coming into 2019. Indices across Asia were down between one and about 2.5 percent.

Jimmy Carter: How to repair the U.S.-China relationship — and prevent a modern Cold War

By Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, is founder of the nonprofit Carter Center.

Forty years ago, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and I normalized diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States, putting an end to three decades of hostility. This led to an era distinguished by peace in East Asia and the Pacific region. China’s spectacular economic growth , in conjunction with its continuing integration with the much larger U.S. economy, has enabled the two countries to become engines of global prosperity. Scientific and cultural exchanges have blossomed, and the United States has since become the top foreign destination for Chinese scholars and tourists. The 40th anniversary of this relationship is a testament to the ability of countries with different histories, cultures and political systems to work together for the greater good. Yet, today, this critical relationship is in jeopardy.

In a post-James-Mattis South China Sea, can the next US defence chief do what needs to be done to prevent war?

Mark J. Valencia

The South China Sea is one of the world’s major flashpoints. But it takes two to tango – or tangle. So it is critical for regional stability that the United States gets its South China Sea policy right. Although former US defence secretary James Mattis was tough on China, he was seen by many as reliable and measured. He was not unnecessarily confrontational, unlike more bellicose voices in and outside the administration.

Amid the deterioration of overall US-China relations, he provided some stability in military-to-military relations. Now pundits are pondering the implications of his abrupt departure. The views and style of his eventual successor will be a crucial factor in US-China military relations. With regard to the South China Sea, the US’ strategic and political interests remain more or less the same, but may present problems requiring policy decisions.

The US-China tensions in the South China Sea spring from a deeper contest over the future of the Asian regional order and the two countries’ roles in it. To put it simply, the US wants to remain the leading strategic power in Asia, and China wants to replace it.

The future might not belong to China

China has had a hugely impressive four decades. After their triumph in the cold war, both the west and the cause of liberal democracy have stumbled. Should we conclude that an autocratic China is sure to become the world’s dominant power in the next few decades? My answer is: no. That is a possible future, not a certain one. The view widely held in the 1980s that Japan would be “number one” turned out to be badly mistaken. In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev, then first secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union, told the west that “We will bury you!” He proved utterly wrong. 

The examples of Japan and the Soviet Union highlight three frequent mistakes: extrapolating from the recent past; assuming that a period of rapid economic growth will be indefinitely sustained; and exaggerating the benefits of centralised direction over those of economic and political competition. In the long run, the former is likely to become rigid and so brittle, while the latter is likely to display flexibility and so self-renewal. Today, the fiercest political and economic competition is between China and the US. A conventional view is that by, say, 2040, China’s economy will be far bigger than that of the US, with India far smaller still. But might this view be mistaken? 

Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Here to Stay


Only two years to go before Inauguration Day 2021! There’s a good chance the next U.S. president’s name won’t be Trump, which is to that person could be a Democrat. Take heart, Blue America.

But it’s time to ask: How much will it matter? That is, how much of what President Donald Trump will have wrecked by that time, at least in regard to America’s relationship with the world, can be put back together? How much, by contrast, will have so deeply altered pre-existing reality as to constitute a new and intransigent reality?

Fortunately, at least from the point of view of prediction, the United States carried out a similar experiment only a decade ago, when Barack Obama succeeded George W. Bush. We can, then, start our forensic exercise by asking how much of Bush’s bellicosity, unilateralism, and self-righteous chest-thumping did Obama manage to exorcise?

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and the Art of Ambivalence

By Maya Jasanoff

At the beginning of 1962, a tall, thin-lipped thirty-three-year-old named James Ivory and a charming, cleft-chinned twenty-five-year-old named Ismail Merchant turned up on the doorstep of a bungalow on Delhi’s Alipur Road. Ivory was a budding film director, Merchant a budding film producer. Together, they were hoping to adapt a novel called “The Householder,” a social satire of contemporary Delhi, and had decided to approach the author to ask if she would help them turn it into a film. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, diminutive and dark-haired, did not imagine herself to be a budding screenwriter. When they first telephoned her, she pretended to be her mother-in-law to put them off.

“I told them I’ve never done anything like this before,” she later recalled. “But they said, ‘It doesn’t matter. We haven’t, either.’ ” The film made from her screenplay, which appeared the following year, was the first feature for all three, but far from the last. In a partnership spanning more than forty years, Merchant Ivory Productions made more than twenty films written by Jhabvala, who won Oscars for her adaptations of “A Room with a View” and “Howards End.”

Are the Bad Old Days Coming Back in the Balkans?

Andrew MacDowall

On Dec. 14, Kosovo’s parliament took a step that the Serbian government had warned could lead to military intervention: It voted to form an army. Months after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his counterpart in Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, shared a stage and discussed ongoing negotiations to bring lasting peace to the Balkans, the region seems to be tipping back to the bad old days.

An outbreak of war is very unlikely in the near future, but it is increasingly apparent that Western policy toward the region is losing traction, compounding past missteps and leading to the weakening of the Euro-Atlantic project in a swath of Europe. ...

2018: The Year in Jihadism

By Lorenzo Vidino

2018 represented a sharp departure from previous years in terms of the sheer number of jihadist attacks in the West. Though attacks in Western Europe and North America were on a steady rise prior to this year, in 2018 they plunged, and jihadist attacks in the West in 2018 were fairly unsophisticated and significantly less lethal. Meanwhile, declines in other indicators traditionally used to assess the strength of the jihadist movement—numbers of arrests and individuals departing for conflict zones to fight alongside jihadist groups—point to an overall stagnation in jihadist activities in Western Europe and North America.

That is not to say that the threat is gone. Officials in most Western countries continue to monitor large pockets of support for the Islamic State and, more broadly, jihadist ideology. From the perspective of European and American law enforcement, many of these pockets, which range from isolated fanboys to structured networks, could be potentially ready to activate themselves and carry out attacks. And, despite efforts by major social media providers, jihadism still thrives online and as a subculture among some disenfranchised Western Muslims.

5 Big National Security Predictions for 2019

by James Holmes

Winston Churchill once wisecracked that the politician’s job is to predict what will happen—then explain why it didn’t. More to the point, George Orwell mocked “the unsinkable Military Expert” who keeps venturing strong predictions about martial affairs, keeps getting forecasts wrong, and keeps drawing “fat salaries” despite repeated failures as a soothsayer. Be humble when prophesying—lest the ghosts of wars past appear before you and terrify you!

In that spirit of humility, my Five National Security Predictions for 2019:

1. China keeps pushing its bounds:

The New Face of Terrorism in 2019


The way Westerners think about Islamist terrorism has grown dangerously outdated. For decades, officials have focused on attacks launched by Middle Easterners. Today, however, the real threat increasingly comes from further east. In the former Soviet states and beyond, militants who once harbored mostly local grievances are turning their attention to the West. They will be the menace to watch in 2019.

The threat posed by Middle Eastern terrorists has been shrinking for some time. Even during the war against the Islamic State, Russian speakers from former Soviet countries were already committing many of the major attacks in the West. Those included relatively simple lone-wolf events, such as the 2017 truck strikes on pedestrians in New York and Stockholm—both conducted by Uzbeks—but also more complicated operations, such as the 2016 suicide bombing of Istanbul’s airport—which was allegedly organized by a Russian national—and the 2017 attack on a nightclub in the same city, led by an Uzbek.

Forget the Middle East—it’s time to prepare for attacks from the former Soviet Union.

North Korea warns of 'new path', but options limited

Hyonhee Shin

SEOUL (Reuters) - In his New Year address on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned he might take a “new path” if Washington maintains sanctions amid his country’s push for economic development, but experts say it may be too late to change the trajectory of negotiations.

Kim did not specify what the new approach might be. His warning may sound similar to the bellicose rhetoric that Pyongyang often deployed before last year’s summit, but he cannot jeopardize the hard-won thaw and has few options beyond appealing directly to U.S. President Donald Trump, experts say.

State media have in recent weeks accused the State Department of risking returning to “exchanges of fire” of the past by ramping up sanctions, while crediting Trump for his efforts to continue talks.

As both sides struggle to find a breakthrough in stalled talks, the speech shows Kim shifting the focus from calls for complete dismantlement of its nuclear arsenal and hinting at including countries other than the United States.

Russia Will Soon Be Taking Out Enemy Drones With A New Unmanned Artillery System

Igor Rozin

creasing use of drones by militants has fueled a hi-tech response from the country’s weapon designers.

Russia is developing an AI-enabled combat module – it’s main task will be take out small low-flying drones, which have become the weapon of choice for militants fighting in the Middle East. The development of the new system was reported by Russian media in late December, citing Umakhan Umakhanov, the chief designer of the company responsible for the project.

The new artillery system has been provisionally called Samum. In addition to cheap bomb-carrying UAVs, it will be able to provide protection against tactical fighters, attack aircraft, and even helicopters.

“The unmanned remote-controlled module can be installed on any self-propelled platform, namely armored vehicles or ships. The implementation schedule depends on the receipt of orders. So far this is just an R&D initiative,” Umakhanov said in an interview.

What Has Happened to Us?

By George Friedman 

The global system that many fear is dying is already dead. The new one has yet to emerge. 

Last week, we published our annual forecast, which goes on for 40 pages. The length is necessary, but it risks obscuring the fundamental question: What has happened to us? From Shanghai to Moscow to Brussels to Washington, there is a sense that something has gone wrong with the world, with our nations, with our friends and even with ourselves.

The feeling has permeated our societies. We have gone from a belief in the end of history, in a final reconciliation of all our major contradictions, to a sense of failure, foreboding and betrayal. The sense is everywhere, and it came upon us with startling speed. A decade is a second in the history of humanity. The new year is the future, and the global sense of increasing failure will grow. But our future is embedded in the past, and the past must be grasped.

A Decade of Fear

‘America First’ is only making the world worse. Here’s a better approach.

By Antony J. Blinken and Robert Kagan

Antony J. Blinken served as U.S. deputy secretary of state from 2015 to 2017 and deputy national security adviser from 2013 to 2015. Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist for The Post. His latest book is “The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World.”

Foreign policy was the last thing on voters’ minds in the midterm elections, but as we look toward 2020, one thing is clear: President Trump’s “America First” foreign policy — or its progressive cousin, retrenchment — is broadly popular in both parties. Trump’s recent decision to withdraw all troops from Syria and 7,000 from Afghanistan has been condemned by Democrats and Republicans alike in Washington. But it is not at all clear that Americans beyond the Beltway are equally outraged.

Talk of the Endgame in Syria Dodges the Question of Recovery

Frederick Deknatel

An estimated 4 million children have been born in Syria since 2011, according to UNICEF, which means that half of the children in Syria today have grown up only knowing war. “Every 8-year-old in Syria has been growing up amidst danger, destruction and death,” Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, said after a five-day visit to the country in mid-December. Since the government first crushed a popular uprising and precipitated the civil war that still shows little sign of ending, a third of the schools in Syria have been destroyed or damaged, or they have been turned into shelters for displaced families.

It is details like this that are lost in most headlines about Syria, especially those generated by President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement last month to withdraw American forces, which are filling the void in a third of the country. This harsh but hardly new reality is a reminder of one of the best assessments I’ve heard of Syria’s crisis—a view that is as relevant and arresting as ever even if it’s now four years old. 

The Ghosts of Brazil’s Military Dictatorship

By Kenneth P. Serbin

Today Brazil swears in a new president: Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right congressman and former military officer. Bolsonaro is as much an apparition from Brazil’s past as a harbinger of its future. He has expressed nostalgia for the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985—years whose memory is a source of pain for many Brazilians. Like similar regimes in neighboring states, Brazil’s military dictatorship stifled freedom of speech and violently suppressed opposition, killing or disappearing some 475 critics, including members of the armed resistance, and torturing thousands more.

Brutal military dictatorships governed many Latin American countries during the 1970s and 1980s. But most of those countries—including Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay—established truth commissions in the aftermath of the repression. Such reconciliation processes allowed successor governments to prosecute at least some human rights abusers, as well as to forge a national narrative that could begin to set the period’s demons to rest.

2019: Cyber War - Part 3

Rajinder Tumber

A new year fills us with new hopes,

Facing attacks with new scopes.

Are disasters & election hacking on their way?

Are major cyber attacks here to stay?

This series was not intended to shatter your New Year's celebration but rather, it was intended to instil you with some powerful self-awareness and willpower to take action this year.

In Part 1, I state my belief that a major cyber attack will strike in 2019. I also begin to describe Category 1 cyber attacks, which are a national cyber emergency with consequences as severe as the potential loss of life. In Part 2, I discussed the detrimental effect of election hacking.

A journey through 'Hackerville,' Romanian city with a reputation as a criminal hacker breeding ground

By Terry Moran, John Kapetaneas and Lauren Effron

Three hours north of Romania's capital city of Bucharest, into the mountains and rural towns of the eastern European country, lies the city of Ramnicu Valcea.

It looks like an idyllic mountain oasis, but around the world it has a troubling nickname: “Hackerville.”

“This is a town that had many different organized groups of hackers," Peter Traven, an FBI assistant legal attache at the U.S. embassy in Bucharest. "And then, also, potentially organized criminals that were basically profiting off of the skill set of these hackers based in Romania.”
(David Pearson/REX/Shutterstock) The city of Ramnicu Valcea in Romania, 2010.

This city became a hotbed for cybercrime in the 1990s, and despite crackdowns by law enforcement, it gained a reputation as ground zero for hackers.

Taiwan boosting cyberwar readiness to ‘strike back’

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry is seeking cyber-warfare talent to augment the military’s digital operational preparedness as it gears up to develop its capacity both to employ and defend against cyberattacks.

The ministry’s Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology has been wooing candidates holding degrees in science, engineering or other related disciplines for its cyber-warfare research and development initiatives, according to the Central News Agency.

New project employees with doctoral could command a monthly salary of up to NT$85,000 (US$2,700), an attractive remuneration package at a time when the average wage for those with degrees hovers around the NT$35,000 level.

Amid the purported cyber threats from China, Taiwan aims to boost its own ability not only to fend off such attacks, but also to strike back.

WTO seeks to ban government raids on corporate data


Although China has tightened its information controls, the country has also shown an interest in helping to create shared, international rules governing data management. © Reuters

TOKYO -- As countries such as China tighten control over information flowing across their borders, a group of World Trade Organization members led by the U.S., the European Union, Japan, Singapore and Australia will propose rules that prohibit excessive interference by governments into business-related data.

The proposal, to be announced this month, will mark the WTO's first-ever rules governing data in commerce if adopted by the body. They will include a ban on governments forcing companies to disclose such secrets as source codes and algorithms.

The slow pace of organizational reform at the WTO, particularly regarding dispute-settlement mechanisms -- which U.S. President Donald Trump calls “unfair” and “useless” -- has added to U.S. frustration with the body.

The Boldest Predictions for Federal Technology in 2019

“Predictions are hard, which is why Nextgov turned to industry leaders with a simple request: Give us your boldest prediction for federal IT. They dove into specific initiatives like the Defense Department’s Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract and the General Service Administration’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract as well as the pros and pitfalls of artificial intelligence.” The predictions suggest that IT modernization will be the year’s priority, federal agencies will continue to adopt commercial tech towards this modernization, and that the government will move forward in harnessing data for improved machine learning and A.I. Lastly, some predictions see A.I. “will reach its tipping point…” and “hit the point of no return where AI has moved beyond the comprehension of even the savviest IT leaders. 2019 will be the year that AI becomes mainstream pushed to the masses but, simultaneously, AI capabilities and actions will also become more ambiguous.”

Here’s what the battlefield tech industry predicts for 2019

By: Mike Gruss  

The new year will likely bring a new secretary of defense, a renewed emphasis on changing how the Pentagon buys weapons systems and a continued focus on watching technological development by the Chinese government.

C4ISRNET asked industry leaders what trends they expect to emerge in the battlefield landscape in 2019. Here’s what they said:

Accelerated acquisition

“Right now, your toaster can tell your refrigerator that it needs to order more bread, but the world’s most advanced military is still challenged to connect its huge array of systems. That’s just not sustainable. Before the military can start tackling huge technological leaps like artificial intelligence, we have to change the way we develop weapon systems. I see 2019 as the point when the DoD really starts moving away from buying proprietary, stove-piped, closed hardware systems and instead looks to the commercial software world as a model for how we develop and integrate weapon systems. Focusing on commercial-style software development is how we’ll be able to develop truly open, upgradeable, cyber-resilient systems quickly. And by quickly I’m saying weeks or months for a new system, not years or decades. The pace of technology is moving faster than ever before, especially in the software world. We need to accept that and move with it if we want to stay ahead.”

— Todd Probert, vice president of mission support and modernization at Raytheon