26 February 2019

'India struck biggest training camp of JeM' - full statement from Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale

India carried out an operation targeting the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Balakot, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed on Tuesday at a press conference in New Delhi. He said that the Government of India is taking all measures to counter terrorism and Tuesday’s strike was necessary to pre-empt further terror attacks against India.

“In an intelligence led operation in the early hours of today, India struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. In this operation, a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. The facility in Balakot was headed by Maulana Yousuf Azhar (alias Ustad Ghouri), the brother in law of Masood Azhar, chief of JeM,” the Foreign Secretary said in the press briefing.

The Foreign Secretary reminded that Pakistan had made a “solemn commitment in January 2004 not to allow its soil or territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India.”

He emphasised that the outfit was responsible for the attack against the CRPF personnel in Pulwama and urged Pakistan to live up to its public commitment against terrorism and take further actions against JeM and other camps.

As politicians look away, a nation feeding on social media becomes fertile ground for radicalisation

Samar Halarnkar

The gaggle of children marching down the road in a South Indian district attracted the attention of the local police chief, who happened to be passing by. The officer liked children and often stopped to take photos. “When I slowed, I was shocked,” the officer, a superintendent of police, told me. “All of them were shouting ‘Pakistan down down, we want war.’”

The district is known for its Hindu-Muslim tensions – what in officialese is called “communally sensitive” – which is why the officer didn’t want me to identify it. “I got off and gave it to the teachers,” said the officer. “To my surprise more than half the teachers were Muslim.” This is not surprising.

After a suicide bomber killed 42 paramilitary troopers in Pulwama, many Indian Muslims felt compelled to wear their patriotism on their sleeves, turning out conspicuously for protest marches, or being vocal like Shayad Khan, a Navi Mumbai restaurant owner who offers a discount to customers who yell “Pakistan Murdabad”.

Modi’s Strategic Choice: How to Respond to Terrorism from Pakistan

by George Perkovich and Toby Dalton

How will Indian decision makers deter and/or respond to the next terrorist attack emanating from Pakistan? The odds-on favorite among defense analysts in Delhi is air power. Unfortunately, the attraction of limited, precise air-borne strikes is offset significantly by inadequacies and risks that could even make them counterproductive.

India’s rusted fangs need urgent repair

Praveen Swami 

Early one summer morning in 2008, a battered Toyota turned into the street leading to the Indian embassy in Kabul, metamorphosing into a giant wave of searing, white light. Fifty-eight people were killed and 141 injured. Inside hours, Western intelligence services were listening in as Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate officers inside Pakistan congratulated the perpetrators. “Talk-talk is better than fight-fight,” national security adviser M.K. Narayanan said, “but it hasn’t worked. I think we need to pay back in the same coin.”

The Research and Analysis Wing began a quiet dialogue with Afghanistan’s Riyasat-e Amniyat-e Milli, or the National Directorate of Security, on building assets to target Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Fearing bomb-for-bomb strikes would escalate terrorism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government shot down the idea.

“Keep your hands in your pockets,” a senior R&AW official stationed in Kabul recalls being told — and that was that.

PM’s challenge

India’s daunting foreign-policy challenges

Brahma Chellaney

With the national election approaching, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus is squarely on domestic politics. After holding a secure grip on power for nearly five years, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) faces a tough election fight following defeats in three key state-level polls in December.

Foreign affairs are understandably low on the election agenda. But after the vote, India’s new government — whether led by Modi or not — will have to consider urgently the foreign-policy challenges, above all an ascendant China’s muscular revisionism.

For too long, New Delhi has taken a cautious and reactive approach. But with Beijing spreading its influence deep into India’s backyard, New Delhi needs to reverse its eroding regional clout.

US withdrawing troops from Afghanistan: Instead of whining softly, India must be hard-headed and hard-hearted too

Source Link

Reports that half of the US troops in Afghanistan are going to be pulled out over the next few weeks and months have set off alarm bells in India.

The move is being seen by many strategic analysts in New Delhi as the beginning of the end of the current episode of ‘The Great Game’ in Afghanistan. There is great concern over not just what the drawdown means for Afghanistan, but also over what it means for India.

Fears that a destabilised and Talibanised Afghanistan will impact India, leading to a spike in jihadist terrorism are real, as are concerns over Indian investments — political, diplomatic, economic and security — in Afghanistan going up in smoke.

India must understand that in Afghanistan, every endgame is only the beginning of a new ‘Great Game’. (Photo: Reuters)

But a cool-headed, if cynical, assessment of the developing situation would suggest that some of the fears being expressed are somewhat misplaced — maybe even far-fetched.

Who’s winning/losing?

by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Source Link

The anger in India after Pulwama is self-destructively turning inward. Pakistan has won because our public culture has become corrosive. The Pakistani state’s silence in the face of violent proxies is being mirrored in our state’s silence in the face of vigilantism.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is vice-chancellor of Ashoka University. He was earlier president, Centre Policy Research, New Delhi, one of India's top think tanks. Before he started engaging with contemporary affairs, he taught political theory at Harvard, and briefly at JNU. He has written extensively on intellectual history, political theory, law, India's social transformation and world affairs. He is the recipient of the Infosys Prize, the Adisheshiah Prize and the Amartya Sen Prize.

Security personnel shift the coffins of CRPF jawans, killed in Pulwama terror attack, in a truck after wreath laying ceremony at Subsidiary Training Centre (STC) Humhama 

Nuclear Emulation: Pakistan’s Nuclear Trajectory

by Sadia Tasleem and Toby Dalton

Pakistan’s nuclear policy is heavily influenced by 1960s NATO flexible response strategy, and has essentially imported its contradictions into Islamabad’s own. The consequences are apparent: emulation has raised serious questions about Pakistan’s “full-spectrum deterrence” credibility, deterrence stability and future measures to manage regional security competition.

What the US-Taliban talks might achieve

FOR MORE than six months, austere-looking mullahs have been meeting in the Gulf for talks with sharp-suited diplomats. The contrasting envoys represent enemies that have been at war for nearly two decades. The Taliban and America are more used to conversing through suicide-bombings and air strikes, but in Doha and Abu Dhabi, they have formally sat down to talk, and will do so again on February 25th. Years of barren diplomacy have been replaced by a rush of activity. Moscow has hosted spin-off talks between the Taliban and other parties. Hopes have been raised after years of despair. What might the US-Taliban talks achieve?

Moving Beyond Informality? The Process Toward Peace in Afghanistan.

Nilofar Sakhi

Peace making through intrastate and interstate diplomacy are central aspects of the process toward peace in Afghanistan. Beginning in early 2010, these dual diplomatic strategies have, however, been confined to discussing the logistical arrangements for various peace talks; initiating intra-Afghan peace initiatives that have included building a constituency for peace, convening a national jirga for peace, and considering how to demobilize and reintegrate insurgents; informal exchanges between various parties to the conflict, particularly the Afghan government, the Taliban, Pakistan and the United States; and preparing a regional consensus for peace that has involved initial engagement with Pakistan.

The U.S. Sent Its Most Advanced Fighter Jets to Blow Up Cheap Opium Labs. Now It's Canceling the Program

Source Link

After hundreds of airstrikes failed to curtail the Taliban’s $200 million-a-year opium trade, the U.S. military quietly ended a yearlong campaign that targeted drug labs and networks laced around the Afghan countryside.

The end of the operation, code-named Iron Tempest, comes as Trump Administration officials engage in direct peace talks with Taliban leaders that could end the 17-year-old war.

The U.S. military first began targeting Taliban narcotics facilities with airstrikes and Special Operations raids in November 2017 when opium production jumped to record highs in Afghanistan. At the time, U.S. commanders estimated the Taliban operated up to 500 drug labs, which helped fuel their nearly two-decade long insurgency.

Sri Lanka Plans First Satellite Launch In April

Sri Lanka will launch its first ever satellite into space in April, marking its entry into the global space age, officials of the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education said on Wednesday.

RAAVANA-1 is a research satellite built by two Sri Lankan students from the Peradeniya University and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies.

The satellite was designed and built at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan and is 1,000 cubic centimetres in size and weighs 1.1 kilogrammes. Local media reports said RAAVANA-1 was officially handed over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on February 18.

The satellite would be sent to the International Space Station on April 17, through the assistance of Cygnus-1, a spacecraft from the US.

China’s military build-up just starting - a lot more to come, expert warns

William Zheng

Military vehicles carrying DF-16 ballistic missiles take part in China’s National Day parade. Taiwan says Beijing has such missiles trained on the self-ruled island. Photo: Handout

Beijing will show the world “something new” when it rolls out its arsenal of short- to medium-range ballistic missiles at its National Day military parade in October, according to a Chinese expert on international relations.

Speaking at a seminar at the University of Hong Kong on Saturday, Professor Jin Canrong, associate dean of the school of international studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said China had made great strides in expanding its military capability, but there was a lot more to come.

While he did not elaborate on what the “something new” might be, he said the country was gearing up for a possible conflict over Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing regards as a wayward province awaiting reunification.

The struggle to reform China’s economy

For the past two weeks Chinese and American negotiators have been locked in talks in Beijing and Washington to end their trade conflict before the deadline of March 1st, when America will ratchet up tariffs on Chinese goods or, perhaps, let the talks stretch into extra time. Don’t be distracted by mind-numbing details on soyabean imports and car joint-ventures. At stake is one of the 21st century’s most consequential issues: the trajectory of China’s $14trn economy.

Although President Donald Trump started the trade war, pretty much all sides in America agree that China’s steroidal state capitalism makes it a bad actor in the global trading system and poses a threat to security. Many countries in Europe and Asia agree. At the heart of these complaints is the role of China’s government, which funnels cheap capital towards state firms, bullies private companies and breaches the rights of foreign ones. As a result, China grossly distorts markets at home and abroad.

China’s master-plan rings alarm bells in Hong Kong

It does not lack ambition. On February 18th China unveiled a long-awaited master blueprint for the Greater Bay Area (gba), a mammoth urban cluster comprising the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, and nine cities in the southern province of Guangdong. Thegba will boast a population of 71m and a total area of 56,000 square kilometres. It will become by far the world’s biggest integrated “bay area”, surpassing rivals such as Tokyo and San Francisco. The master plan calls on the gbato play “the leading role in the country’s economic development”.

How the US-China Tech Wars Will Impact the Developing World

By Deborah Lehr

If an “economic iron curtain” falls, it will be in areas like the Middle East and Africa.

In a recent speech, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson raised the specter of an “economic iron curtain,” as trade differences between the United States and China may force countries to choose a side, especially for the adoption of technology. Technology is a key underlying issue as the two countries fight for dominance in new economic frontiers such as artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and big data. It is in this sector where the biggest fault lines in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship are starting to appear.

Yet this iron curtain will not initially fall across the developed technology markets of the United States and Europe, but in the third-world markets such as the Middle East and Africa, where huge demand exists and where Chinese technology is affordably priced and easily adopted. And where Chinese lending to purchase these technologies is rising, while U.S. financial aid to the region is shrinking.

Ep. 38: Beyond South China Sea tensions, part two: The CCP vision and the future of Chinese history

This week on the program, we’re going to continue our exploration of the U.S.-China relationship, which we began last week with our investigation into the history of tensions between the U.S. and Chinese navies in and around the South China Sea. 

This week we turn our attention to the future. Specifically the how the Chinese Communist Party views its future. Because the more we spoke with analysts and observers about the South China Sea, the more we heard we ought to look not only at that troubled body of water you can spot on a map — but also to the fundamental differences in how China’s leadership views the world, how it views competition with the United States and its allies, and perhaps most importantly, how Chinese leaders view power, control and history.

China Rushes to Dominate Global Supply of Lithium

By Yigal Chazan

China is increasingly dominating the supply of what’s been described as “white petroleum,” the soft, silvery metal lithium, seen as key to the momentum-gathering electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

Discoveries of lithium in North America and Europe may loosen China’s tightening hold on the market in time, but the race to find and exploit new deposits is also throwing up other concerns, namely the risk of oversupply or even a glut and political risks that may affect countries with some of the biggest reserves and production.

Lithium is one of the main components of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones, laptops, and EVs, with demand for the latter anticipated to surge over the next decade or so as manufacturing costs fall and environmental concerns rise. China, eager to reduce oil imports and address chronic air pollution, is driving production of EVs, accounting for 37 percent of passenger EVs sold globally since 2011, according to Bloomberg. The agency forecast in 2017 that by 2040 more than half of all new car sales will be electric vehicles.

An operating coal power plant in China.

By Binoy Kampmark

Overly reliant economies are dangerously fragile things. As it takes two parties, often more, to play the game, the absence of interest, or its withdrawal by one, can spell doom. The Australian economy has been talked up – by Australian economists and those more inclined to look at policy through the wrong end of a drain pipe – as becoming more diverse and capable of withstanding shock. In truth, it remains a commodity driven entity, vulnerable to the shocks of demand. Think Australia, think of looting the earth.

Such carefree, plundering optimism lays bare the jarring fact that Australia remains obsessively and maddeningly committed to King Coal. To coal, she pays tribute, runs errands and sponsors with conviction. And it is coal that keeps the country tied to hungry markets which, for the moment, see use for it. But such hunger is not indefinite. India and China, traditional destinations for Australia’s less than innovative dig it and export it approach, have made it clear that their lust for coal is temporary. The appetite is diminishing, despite occasional spikes. Renewables are peeking over the horizon, forming the briefing documents of energy and trade departments.

The $10bn Refinery Deal At The Heart Of Saudi And China Convergence – Analysis

By Faisal Mrza*
Source Link

King Salman bin Abdul Aziz visited China twice — in 1999 when he was governor of Riyadh province and again when he was crown prince in 2014. Saudi Arabia welcomed Chinese President XI Jinping in 2016. 

Now Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to China will widen horizons for cooperation and development, boosting major sectors of the economy that are of interest to both nations in light of their increasing convergence.

New agreements will revolutionize investments in Saudi Arabia, allowing China to strategically expand its range of exports.

China has built second foreign military base near key Afghan corridor — just north of PoK

Source Link

Satellite imagery of PLA's second garrison | Col. Vinayak Bhat (retd.)/ThePrint

For nearly two decades, China has been denying rumours that its People’s Liberation Army plans to set up overseas bases, yet over the last few years, the presence of at least one base in the African nation of Djibouti has been confirmed.

The Dollar Is Still King. How (in the World) Did That Happen?

By Peter S. Goodman

LONDON — A cursory assessment might find the United States a less than ideal candidate for the job of managing the planet’s ultimate form of money.

Its public debt is enormous — $22 trillion, and growing. Its politics recently delivered the longest government shutdown in American history. Its banking system is only a decade removed from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Its proudly nationalist president provokes complaints from allies and foes alike that he breaches the norms of international relations, setting off talk that the American dollar has lost its aura as the indomitable safe haven.

But money tells a different story. The dollar has in recent years amassed greater stature as the favored repository for global savings, the paramount refuge in times of crisis and the key form of exchange for commodities like oil.

White House Climate Panel to Include a Climate Denialist

By Coral Davenport

WASHINGTON — President Trump is preparing to establish a panel to examine whether climate change affects national security, despite existing reports from his own government showing that global warming is a growing threat.

According to a White House memo dated Feb. 14, Mr. Trump’s staff members have drafted an executive order to create a 12-member committee, which will include a White House adviser, William Happer, whose views are sharply at odds with the established scientific consensus that carbon dioxide pollution is dangerous for the planet.

The memo casts doubt on multiple scientific and defense reports concluding that climate change poses a significant threat to national security, saying they “have not undergone a rigorous independent and adversarial peer review to examine the certainties and uncertainties of climate science, as well as implications for national security.”

As Global Democracy Retreats, Ethnic Cleansing Is on the Rise

By Michael J. Abramowitz and Arch Puddington

Ethnic cleansing, a staple of geopolitical crises in the 1990s, is making a comeback. According to Freedom in the World, the annual report on political rights and civil liberties published by Freedom House, the number of countries earning a score deduction for some form of forced demographic change increased from three in 2005 to 11 in 2018.

In the bloodiest cases, civilians from targeted groups have been killed or displaced in huge numbers. The military in Myanmar engaged in an orgy of rape, murder, and arson in a campaign to push the Muslim Rohingya minority into neighboring Bangladesh. During a period of extreme violence that began in mid-2017, tens of thousands of Rohingya were killed and over 700,000 fled.

British Companies Already Feeling Brexit Pinch – OpEd

By Jo Simmons *

With the March 29th deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union fast approaching, concern is mounting over the impact of a potential “no-deal” Brexit on British firms. More than a third of British export firms recently surveyed have already bled business and investment since the June 2016 Brexit vote, while Carolyn Fairbarn, head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has warned cumulative losses will run into the billions of pounds. Indeed, many of the biggest names in British business have already paid a price for the past two-and-a-half years of back-and-forth, underlining how imperative it is to find a sustainable solution.

Recalibration at De La Rue


By: Roger McDermott

Complementing the Russian Armed Forces’ drive to integrate Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities, growing interest additionally centers on the development of new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). This links to General Staff perspectives on modern and future warfare, while drawing upon the lessons learned from extensive UAV use in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria (see EDM, July 10, 2018; February 13, 2019). In these theaters, Russian drones have mainly been employed for reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare (EW), battle damage assessment (BDA) or experiments with reconnaissance-strike complexes. Yet, that battle experience exposed the need to both diversify UAV types and to develop greater strike potential. Recent appearances of experimental UAVs and those displayed at arms shows indicate a surge in design activity around offensive lethal UAV systems (Kalashnikovgroup.ru, February 17; see EDM, January 29).

Continuous patrolling in uncertain environment with the UAV swarm

The research about unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) swarm has developed rapidly in recent years, especially the UAV swarm with sensors which is becoming common means of achieving situational awareness. Due to inadequate researches of the UAV swarm with complex control structure currently, we propose a patrolling task planning algorithm for the UAV swarm with double-layer centralized control structure under the uncertain and dynamic environment. The main objective of the UAV swarm is to collect environment information as much as possible. To summarized, the primary contributions of this paper are as follows. We first define the patrolling problem. After that, the patrolling problem is modeled as the Partially Observable Markov Decision Process (POMDP) problem. Building upon this, we put forward a myopic and scalable online task planning algorithm. The algorithm contains online heuristic function, sequential allocation method, and the mechanism of bottom-up information flow and top-down command flow, reducing the computation complexity effectively. Moreover, as the number of control layers increases, this algorithm guarantees the performance without increasing the computation complexity for the swarm leader. Finally, we empirically evaluate our algorithm in the specific scenarios.

Can We Wait Any Longer For A Multinational Cyber Treaty?

Corey Nachreiner

Each year, my company and I release a series of cybersecurity predictions for the upcoming year. One of our predictions for this year is that the United Nations (UN) will address the issue of state-sponsored cyberattacks by enacting a multinational cybersecurity treaty.

Unlike the majority of our predictions, which focus on scary evolutions in malware or attack techniques, this is one I actually hope comes true. Let’s explore why.

Why Do We Need An International Cyberwar Treaty?

Cyber Command’s 2019 plan for new tools

By: Mark Pomerleau   

U.S. Cyber Command plans to spend as much as $75 million in fiscal 2019 to help provide the tools and capabilities the Department of Defense’s cyberwarriors need and to help separate those systems from the equipment the organization has long borrowed from the intelligence community.

That figure is 70 percent higher than what the organization spent in fiscal 2018, but after many years of building cyber teams, Cyber Command is now focusing on the readiness of its cyber forces and ensuring that those workers have the proper equipment.

CYBERCOM's chief is working to provide an assessment to Pentagon leadership on whether CYBERCOM and NSA should split.

Gen. Paul Nakasone, the head of U.S. Cyber Command, said in written testimony submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb. 14 that the command executed 32 contract actions totaling $43 million in fiscal 2018 and could reach as much as $75 million in this fiscal year.

Army Cloud: Big Announcement In March


The Defense Department’s strategy to transition to cloud computing. Note the prominent role for the JEDI project.

ARMY-NAVY COUNTRY CLUB, ARLINGTON: In just three weeks, the Army will roll out a new policy for cloud computing, officials said this afternoon. The strategy will open up new options for outsourcing functions to contractors that the government currently does for itself.

Army Adapts Aircraft EW To Protect Tanks: BAE RAVEN


Army M2 Bradleys advance in a cloud of dust at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California. Dust, mud, and vegetation all complicate the use of high-tech sensors in ground combat.

WASHINGTON: As the Army races to modernize against the Russian threat, it’s adapting countermeasures used on aircraft to protect its armored vehicles from anti-tank missiles. Systems like BAE’s RAVEN jammer, which won a recent Army “rodeo,”could be a lot more effective than just bolting on another layer of armor on already overloaded vehicles — if the contractor can make what originally an airborne system rugged enough to function in in the mud, dust and clutter of ground combat.