2 March 2019

Pakistan Needs To Know India’s War Is With Terror, Not Pakistan – OpEd

By Arijita Sinha Roy*

India and Pakistan have now entered into a direct military action after the Pulwama attack. However, Indian military actions are limited to target Pakistan-based terror camps instead targeting Pakistan army establishments or civilians, which in case, is opposite with Pakistan.

The Pulwama attack, which is responsible for killing 40 Indian paramilitary forces, is the seed of turmoil between the two countries, as Jaish-e Mohammed, a Pakistan-based terrorist organisation who claimed full responsibility of the suicide terror attack. The same organisation had been responsible for the 2001 Indian Parliament Attack along with Lashkar E- Taiba, another organisation operating from the Pakistan soil. A massive unrest after the Pulwama attack prevailed within the Indian people, who were filled with anger and anguish, waiting for the Indian Government to take action against such a cowardly attack.

On 26th February 2019, the Indian Air Force carried out an operation across the LoC at Balakot, dropping 1000kg of explosives targeting the terror camps of Jaish-e Mohammad and avenging the souls of the killed Indian troops.

In India-Pakistan conflict, there’s a long-simmering online war, and some very good hackers on both sides

Kate Fazzini

A longstanding conflict between India and Pakistan escalated Wednesday when the countries said they carried out airstrikes against one another. Experts have long warned about a two-decade long cyber rivalry that has also continually escalated into the present day. India and Pakistan have carried out increasing cyberattacks against one another. 
The conflict has also been plagued by the rapid spread of inflammatory rumors on Facebook and messaging services, some of which have escalated into real hands-on fighting. 

A decades-long conflict between India and Pakistan has escalated this week, with India reporting airstrikes against Pakistan.

Both are nuclear powers, and in addition to traditional military tactics, both have been engaged in an online war of words and damaging hacks for more than 20 years.

Make In India: Through Indigenous Research and Development by DRDO/Industry (a VIF Task Force Report)

India is one of the largest importers of defence equipment in the world. Compelled by the need of modernise its armed forces, India will be importing billions of dollars worth of equipment in the next ten years. The growing dependence on imported defence equipment and technologies not only places heavy burden on financial resources, it also impacts national security adversely. There is an urgent need for accelerating the tempo of indigenisation of defence production.

Nuclear Nightmare: India and Pakistan are on the Brink

by Ankit Panda

India and Pakistan are in the throes of the most serious military standoff between them since 2002. After years of absorbing terror attacks conceived by non-state groups based on Pakistani soil, India decided enough was enough after a February 14 vehicle-borne improvised explosive device killed forty paramilitary personnel. It’s response? An airstrike on what it claimed was a camp run by Jaish-e-Mohammed, the group that claimed the attack, on Pakistani soil.

That retaliation was immediately celebrated in India, where it was seen as a show of muscular resolve—a message that New Delhi wouldn’t simply allow Pakistan’s tolerance and covert encouragement of the non-state groups to go unpunished. But the strike humiliated Pakistan’s defense establishment, which was perceived to have been caught off-guard.

India's Air Force Might Have a Fatal Flaw

by Daniel Darling

In its decades-long quest to complete two tasks within one project, the Indian government has accomplished neither aim, only short-changing its medium-term fighter capacity. But there is always hope in Delhi that the third time will prove the charm.

To observers of India's defense environment, the country's procurement process is a deeply bureaucratized labyrinth of incompetence and ineffectiveness.

(This first appeared last year and is being reposted due to breaking events.)

A 27-point internal memo prepared in 2017 by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre presented a sweeping denunciation of the tangled web of failures in Defence Ministry weapons-buying procedures and outputs. Most striking to note from media reports emerging back in February regarding the memo is that of 144 potential defense deals presented within the last three financial years (2015-2017), only 8-10 percent came to fruition within the stipulated time period.

Has Pakistan’s JF-17 ‘Thunder’ Block II Fighter Jet Engaged in its First Dogfight?

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Pakistan’s military said on February 27 that it has shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets that had entered Pakistani airspace, capturing a pilot.

“IAF crossed LOC [Line of Control]. PAF shot down two Indian aircrafts inside Pakistani airspace,” according to Pakistan’s military spokesman. “One of the aircraft fell inside AJ&K [Azad Kashmir] while other fell inside IOK [Indian-occupied Kashmir]. One Indian pilot arrested by troops on ground while two in the area.” The alleged captured IAF pilot, Wing Commander Abhi Nandan, the spokesperson said in a separate statement, “is being treated as per norms of military ethics.”

India confirmed that one of its planes was shot down by Pakistani planes and said a pilot is missing in a statement issued on February 27 by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. “In that aerial engagement, one Pakistan Air Force [PAF] fighter aircraft was shot down by a MiG 21 Bison of the Indian Air Force,” the statement reads. “The Pakistani aircraft was seen by ground forces falling from the sky on the Pakistan side. In this engagement, we have unfortunately lost one MiG 21. The pilot is missing in action.”

India and Pakistan on the Brink

By Sudha Ramachandran

On February 26, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an aerial strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

Unlike in September 2016, when Special Forces of the Indian Army carried out so-called surgical strikes on terrorist launch-pads near the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) — the LoC is the de-facto line that divides the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into POK and the Indian state of J&K — this time IAF jets went far into Pakistani airspace to destroy one of JeM’s main training camps.

Tuesday’s strikes are the first to be launched deep into Pakistan territory since the 1971 India-Pakistan War. Even during the 1999 confrontation at Kargil, Indian fighter jets did not cross the LoC. The IAF’s assault on the Balakot camp is therefore significant.

An assault on JeM training camps was expected. Less than two weeks ago, a suicide bombing by JeM in Pulwama in J&K claimed the lives of more than 40 paramilitary personnel. The attack triggered a wave of anger and outrage across India, with many calling on India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government to give Pakistan a “befitting response.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been promising to avenge the death of the security forces at Pulwama.

Why the Indian Air Force Strike at Balakot in Pakistan Matters

By Ankit Panda and Prashanth Parameswaran

The Diplomat‘s Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) and Prashanth Parameswaran (@TheAsianist) discuss the February 26 airstrikes by the Indian Air Force on Pakistan-based terrorist targets and Pakistan’s reaction.

Click the arrow to the right to listen. If you’re an iOS or Mac user, you can also subscribe to The Diplomat’s Asia Geopolitics podcast on iTunes here. If you use Android, you can subscribe on TuneIn here. If you like the podcast and have suggestions for content, please leave a review and rating on iTunes and TuneIn.

Familiar Issues Cloud the Prospects for Afghan Peace

Because Washington is seeking to exit Afghanistan — one of the Taliban's main demands — their talks will proceed, but various other outstanding issues will impede greater progress. Pakistan, the Taliban's primary external sponsor, will push the movement to remain in talks with the aim of ensuring that any U.S. withdrawal proceeds in an orderly manner. The collapse of the Afghan state would threaten Islamabad's economic and security interests. Even though the talks might not soon produce a breakthrough, yet regional powers like Iran, India, China and Russia will all prepare for the ramifications of a U.S. withdrawal.

Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2019 Second-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis on key developments over the next quarter.

China's Economic Pain Will Power Southeast Asia's Gains

The U.S.-China trade war is speeding up the relocation of low-end manufacturing investment outside China into parts of Southeast Asia. A highly effective tech supply chain makes it hard for companies to diversify their own beyond China's but political considerations could prompt some Asian tech giants, especially those from South Korea and Taiwan, to look elsewhere. The U.S.-China trade war and China's weakened export sector will continue to place a drag on Southeast Asian economies, inflicting greater pain on countries highly dependent on trade or with high current account deficits.

Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2019 Second-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis on key developments over the next quarter.

The Consolidation of Political Power in China Under Xi Jinping

by Timothy R. Heath

Testimony presented before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on February 7, 2019.

How microchips have become a powerful weapon in the US-China trade war

Hasan Chowdhury 

It was a drastic move which offered a lesson on the risks of using trade as a diplomatic weapon.

When the Trump administration announced a seven-year ban last year on the purchase of advanced US technology by ZTE, China’s second biggest telecoms firm, the company was left virtually paralysed.

With over 70,000 staff and revenues of $16bn per year, ZTE factories were left unable to manufacture a host of products for export - from network gear to smartphones.

How Far Does the China Belt and Road ‘Pushback’ Really Go?

By Prashanth Parameswaran

With just a few weeks more to go until the next Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit China, expected in April, it is clear that the BRI continues to suffer some serious setbacks even as Beijing continues to try to lock in additional wins. Yet at the same time, as BRI continues to develop in the lead up to and after the upcoming summit, one should be wary of overestimating or misreading any sort of “pushback” against BRI. Among other things, an overly narrow focus on BRI “pushback” can distort the wide range of responses we have seen thus far from regional states; misread the motivations at play inherent in readjustments or reconsiderations countries may make along the way; and place the emphasis too much on just temporary pushbacks rather than the structural and strategic changes that need to be made to contend with how regional states can better manage the opportunities and challenges of economically engaging China.

Answering China's Economic Challenge

by Charles W. Boustany and Aaron L. Friedberg

This initial report of the Taskforce on Transforming the Economic Dimension of U.S. China Strategy examines the origins, evolution, and troubling implications of China’s “mercantilist Leninist” economic policies; considers how the U.S. should define its objectives in responding to this challenge; and explores the prospects for negotiating a satisfactory settlement to the current trade standoff.

The U.S. and China have reached a turning point in their economic relations and are currently locked in a serious trade skirmish, if not yet a full-blown trade war. Negotiations are ongoing, but the possibility of reaching an agreement that will offer a satisfactory long-term outcome for the U.S. is far from clear. China’s strategy has been to engage economically with the world while resisting pressure to transform its political system and economic policies. China’s leaders view economic policy as an instrument for achieving their grand strategic objectives of preserving the Chinese Communist Party’s monopoly on domestic political power and restoring the country to its historic position as the preponderant power in eastern Eurasia and, eventually, the world. Today’s controversies over trade, investment, and technology are thus only one part of a much larger rivalry between competing systems and worldviews, and the current standoff over tariffs is only the first skirmish in what seems certain to be a protracted and difficult campaign.

The Saudi-Israeli Coalition?


TEL AVIV: It’s very hard to pin down exactly what’s happening, but Israel and Saudi Arabia are clearly exploring closer military relations as they face the common threat of Iran.

An Israeli source who spoke with Breaking Defense of condition of anonymity said that attitudes in Saudi Arabia are changing, “not only in domestic issues, but also their understanding that Israel is not an enemy, and that both Riyadh and Jerusalem are both potential targets for the Iranian ballistic missiles [that are] being developed at an accelerated pace.”

The apparently closer ties between the two countries, long considered deadly enemies, started with news about the apparent sale of Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system to Saudi Arabia. The source, London-based Al-Khaleej Online, is a website reporting on news from the Gulf. It cited diplomatic sources who said that the alleged deal reflects a warming of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. There was no confirmation of the report from Saudi officials.

Agreements Establishing Confucius Institutes at U.S. Universities Are Similar, but Institute Operations Vary

What GAO Found 

According to the Chinese Language Council International, also referred to as Hanban, Confucius Institutes are intended to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign countries. Agreements between Hanban and U.S. colleges and universities (which GAO refers to as U.S. schools) to establish Confucius Institutes are generally similar to one another, though institute operations vary in practice. GAO reviewed 90 agreements and found they describe generally similar activities, funding, and management. For example, the institutes primarily receive funding from Hanban and the U.S. school, and do not receive direct U.S. federal funding. 

GAO also examined the agreements for language on application of school polices to the institutes, curriculum, and confidentiality, among other things. One-third of the agreements explicitly addressed how U.S. school policies apply to institutes, and a few addressed curriculum. Officials GAO interviewed at case study schools noted that U.S. school policies, including policies on matters such as curriculum, apply to institutes at their schools, though we found schools vary from one another in institute activities and use of resources, including teachers and teaching materials. While 42 of 90 agreements include language indicating that the document was confidential, some agreements were available online or are shared upon request. Some officials at schools that did not post agreements online said this was consistent with handling of other agreements.

Engagement with North Korea: Small Steps May Matter More Than Big Ones

by Rafiq Dossani and Heejin Kim

The second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is scheduled for February 27 and 28 in Vietnam. What can be expected?

The first summit, held in Singapore in June 2018, produced some small, quick, and positive gains, notably reducing the heightened tension of the time. The provocative rhetoric between Trump and Kim has since been muted. The United States canceled its usual joint military exercises with South Korea, which were later resumed but on a smaller scale. North Korea closed its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and returned the remains of 55 U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War. Pyongyang also has kept its promise not to carry out nuclear and missile tests.

From those hopeful beginnings, however, the two countries soon reached a stalemate. The fitful discussions between the two sides since June have not resulted in any progress on three key issues: denuclearization, a peace treaty, and the removal of sanctions on North Korea. Meanwhile, there are reports that North Korea has continued producing nuclear weapons.

Democracy & Disorder

Bruce Jones and Torrey Taussig 

At the heart of the new era of geopolitical competition is a struggle over the role and influence of democracy in the international order. As China asserts its new weight and Russia attempts to profit from Western dysfunction, both seek to weaken the democratic model of governance and the role Western democracies have played in shaping the order itself.

At this crucial geopolitical juncture, powerful democratic states are under increasing strain from an interconnected set of domestic challenges—political, economic, and cultural. Uncertainty about American strategy makes this all the more acute. Yet not all trends are negative: the consolidation of democracy in parts of Asia and Africa means that globally, more people now live in democracies than at any point in history. Looking ahead, protecting the democratic character of the international order will require new coalitions of democratic states beyond the traditional trans-Atlantic core.

Why Egypt's Terrorists May Choose to Go It Alone

By Thomas Abi-Hanna

No one has claimed responsibility for a recent series of attacks in the Cairo area despite the existence of multiple groups eager to strike at the Egyptian state. The recent attacks indicate the emergence of a grassroots terrorist threat in Egypt. Egypt's major jihadist groups have been under pressure from government forces over the past year, undermining their ability to organize and conduct attacks.

After a relatively quiet 2018 in terms of terrorist attacks, Cairo and the adjacent tourist destination of Giza have experienced a series of bombings in the past two months. On Dec. 28, 2018, a roadside improvised explosive device exploded next to a tourist bus near the Pyramids in Giza, killing three tourists and an Egyptian tour guide and injuring 11 other people. On Feb. 15, police found three explosive devices, also in Giza. One of them detonated, injuring two police officers and three civilians. Then on Feb. 18, a suspected bombmaker detonated a suicide device while reportedly conducting pre-operational surveillance near central Cairo's Khan el-Khalili market, killing himself and two police officers and wounding three bystanders.

The Big Picture

What Does the End of the INF Treaty Mean for Europe?

Though the INF Treaty has collapsed, the stipulations of another arms treaty, New START, are likely to prevent Russia from altering its nuclear posture toward Europe much in the near future. However, the continued erosion of arms control treaties, especially New START, could result in nuclear proliferation in Europe. Countries in Western Europe are likely to balk at the increased deployment of nuclear-armed U.S. missiles in their countries, but NATO members in Eastern Europe could be more amenable due to their greater fears of the Russian threat. 

Editor's Note: This assessment is part of a series of analyses supporting Stratfor's upcoming 2019 Second-Quarter Forecast. These assessments are designed to provide more context and in-depth analysis on key developments over the next quarter.

Why the Military Is Losing the Battle for the Best, Brightest Cybersecurity Talent

Elias Gavilan / James Di Pane

The Pentagon makes its search for employees even more difficult because of its unwillingness to accept applicants who lack college degrees, regardless of their technical qualifications. 

What do GPS satellites, F-35s, and the new Department of Veterans Affairs health care records management system have in common?

The latest Defense Department annual assessment of cyberthreats has found disturbing weaknesses in each of these systems.

Furthermore, Robert Behler, director of the Defense Department’s Operational Test and Evaluation, claimed that the Pentagon’s cybertesting was crippled by a lack of expertise and required tools to assess software-intensive systems.

US suffers setbacks in effort to ban Chinese tech company

By: Kelvin Chan

BARCELONA, Spain — The U.S. government’s fight to ban Chinese tech giant Huaweifrom next-generation internet networks appears to be flagging.

The two sides faced off Tuesday at the world's biggest mobile technology trade fair, in Barcelona, Spain, where they sought to win over customers and governments.

The U.S. argues Huawei is a security risk as it could give the Chinese government backdoor access to snoop on internet users worldwide. Huawei rejects the claim, which it says is part of the United States' broader effort to stifle China's economic and technological ascent.

On Tuesday, a top Huawei executive used a keynote speech at the show, called MWC Barcelona, to poke fun at U.S. intelligence.

The New Contours of Cyber Conflict

By Paul Rosenzweig 

An American military unit used offensive weapons against a target inside Russia. And nobody is noticing.

Let that sink in for a second. As the country (understandably) focuses on matters like Michael Cohen's testimony; the president's self-described friendship with a murderous dictator; and the House vote to negate the president's declaration of a national emergency (all notable issues to be sure), it seems as though something exceedingly significant has happened and ... just disappeared under the radar.

To repeat: The Washington Post is reporting that U.S. Cyber Command conducted offensive cyber operations against the Internet Research Agency. The IRA is located in St. Petersburg, Russia and is a well-known proxy for Russian information operations. As the Post puts it:

The U.S. military blocked Internet access to an infamous Russian entity seeking to sow discord among Americans during the 2018 midterms, several U.S. officials said, a warning that the Kremlin’s operations against the United States are not cost-free.

Huawei Claims U.S. Onslaught Is Because Their 5G Technology Prevents Widespread NSA Spying

Zak Doffman

When it comes to high-stakes national security brinksmanship, it’s clear that attack is the best form of defense. At the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona this week, Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping used his keynote speech on Tuesday to remind the world about the U.S.’s own cybersecurity controversies, referencing the U.S. National Security Agency’s internet collection program exposed in 2013.

This has all the hallmarks of a carefully orchestrated line of defense that has been in the works for some time – and it’s a very good one.

The World Of Glass Houses

The PRISM program was initiated under the Patriot Act in 2001 and expanded under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2006 and 2007. The program enabled NSA to collect data from U.S. internet companies including Microsoft, Google and Apple, when permitted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Why we should stop teaching Clausewitz

Jamie Schwandt

Carl von Clausewitz is one of the most profound military thinkers of all time. His famous book On War is our bible and he is a god among military strategists. But we should stop teaching Clausewitz in the U.S. military.

Most will view this discussion as blasphemy. How dare I advocate that we stop teaching the divine inspirations of Clausewitz. Sean McFate provides a similar discussion in his new book The New Rules of War: "A hagiography exists around the man, and his book On War is enshrined in Western militaries as a bible. When I teach this text to senior officers at the war college, the room grows silent with reverence. His ideas constitute the DNA of Western strategic thought."

On War was published in 1832 and we continue to look to it for timeless principles of warfare, but why? As Ian T. Brown wrote in A New Conception of War, "We must move beyond the past."

Are Robots Competing for Your Job?

By Jill Lepore

The robots are coming. Hide the WD-40. Lock up your nine-volt batteries. Build a booby trap out of giant magnets; dig a moat as deep as a grave. “Ever since a study by the University of Oxford predicted that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots and artificial intelligence over the next fifteen to twenty years, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the future of work,” Andrés Oppenheimer writes, in “The Robots Are Coming: The Future of Jobs in the Age of Automation” (Vintage). No one is safe. Chapter 4: “They’re Coming for Bankers!” Chapter 5: “They’re Coming for Lawyers!” They’re attacking hospitals: “They’re Coming for Doctors!” They’re headed to Hollywood: “They’re Coming for Entertainers!” I gather they have not yet come for the manufacturers of exclamation points.

3 new defense tactics to slow overwhelming attacks

By: Tony Bogovic  

The first major cyberattack was an unintended distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack carried out by a Cornell graduate student in 1988. Thirty years later, DDoS remains among the most destructive cyber challenges facing military, enterprise and public network infrastructure.

With our growing reliance on cyber infrastructure across all sectors, the risks and dangers of DDoS attacks are greater than ever. For government, DDoS could be particularly harmful as mission operations increasingly depend on reliable network access. We’ve seen DDoS attacks hit political campaigns and the Pentagon has faced attacks of 600 gigabits per second (Gbps), a figure that was unheard of a few years ago.

The real question: How are defensive measures evolving to deal with the problem?

Types of DDoS attacks

Troubling Trends Towards Artificial Intelligence Governance

Jayshree Pandya


This is an age of artificial intelligence (AI) driven automation and autonomous machines. The increasing ubiquity and rapidly expanding potential of self-improving, self-replicating, autonomous intelligent machines has spurred a massive automation driven transformation of human ecosystems in cyberspace, geospace and space (CGS). As seen across nations, there is already a growing trend towards increasingly entrusting complex decision processes to these rapidly evolving AI systems. From granting parole to diagnosing diseases, college admissions to job interviews, managing trades to granting credits, autonomous vehicles to autonomous weapons, the rapidly evolving AI systems are increasingly being adopted by individuals and entities across nations: its government, industries, organizations and academia (NGIOA).

The Role of the Dark Web in Future Cyber Wars to Come

Jason Rivera and Wanda Archy


Warfare is an ever-changing discipline that has evolved alongside human civilization for nearly all of recorded history. From the moment that early hunters crafted the first spear, from the first war to occur between two tribes, to the modern warfare dynamics of today’s world – war has evolved in parallel with mankind. As warfare expands, so do the domains in which it is fought. We fought each other first over land, then the sea, and then the air. We launched satellites into space, and then we created anti-satellite weapons to destroy those same satellites that we had put into space. Most recently, humanity engineered a capability to share information almost instantaneously throughout the globe via the Internet; we then subsequently found ways to use that same global connectivity to hold each other’s critical infrastructure at risk. 

The primary takeaway of the above is that warfare has always and will always continue to evolve. A recent evolution that this paper will focus on is the “Dark Web”, to include how this aspect of the Internet has affected national security over the last decade as well as how it may affect national security in the years to come. We use quotations in our initial introduction of Dark Web because it is known by many names and is often conflated with similar terms that characterize other related concepts (such as the Deep Web). Accordingly, this paper will seek to establish a conceptual framework of the Dark Web as a sort of landscape characterized by a series of threat issues and threat actors that national security professionals should be aware of. We will then build upon this framework of viewing the Dark Web as a landscape so that we may illustrate its applications to both the kinetic and digital aspects of human warfare.


Justin Lynch

Combat forces’ movement has evolved throughout history—from melee to mass to the maneuver concepts that are enshrined in contemporary modern military doctrine. On the modern battlefield, however, the US military needs to prepare to fight without the assured communications it has relied on for the last eighty years. What comes next may be another fundamental change: swarming.

What is Swarming?

John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt first formalized swarm tactics in 2005, when they defined swarming as “engaging an adversary from all directions simultaneously either with fire or in force.” Sean Edwards built on their foundation, adding that swarms act in four stages: locate, converge, attack, and disperse. All three agree that swarming is an information-intensive form of maneuver.