10 February 2020

India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave: A Fresh Initiative – Analysis

By Ruchita Beri*
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The first India-Africa Defence Ministers’ Conclave on February 6 at the ongoing DefExpo2020 in Lucknow is a fresh initiative by India to enhance relations with countries in the continent. Defence ministers of about 14 African countries are expected to participate in the conclave. This initiative will provide an opportunity for India and the African countries to understand common security challenges and explore further cooperation in the defence and security sector.

African Security Challenges

In recent years, there has been an overall decline in conflicts in Africa. However, conflict continues to simmer in parts of the Horn of Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Sahel and the Great Lakes region. As in the rest of the world, terrorism and violent extremism is also a cause of instability in Africa. There are a large number of terror groups operating on the continent. Boko Haram continues to terrorise civilians in Nigeria and the neighbouring countries in West Africa. In the Sahel, a large number of violent incidents have been attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliated Islamic State in Greater Sahara and a coalition of extremists linked with Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM) or Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims. In North Africa too, threat from ISIS continues to linger. Similarly, maritime challenges such as piracy, armed robbery, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, smuggling, human and drug trafficking have long troubled the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean littoral countries in Africa.

Can We Bomb Afghanistan Into Peace?

By Bonnie Kristian

If President Trump is delivering on his promise to end the “endless war” in Afghanistan, he has chosen an awfully circuitous route to do so.

U.S. troop levels in the country have increased on Trump’s watch, and the tentative plan to reduce them by about 4,000 in 2020 would only return us to where we were at the start of his tenure. Per new data released by U.S. Central Command, the United States dropped a record number of bombs and other ordnance on Afghanistan last year -- 7,423. This surpassed the previous high set in 2018, and it reveals a marked contrast with the decline in munitions releases in Afghanistan toward the end of the Obama administration. Civilian casualties are up, too. Complete data for 2019 has yet to be released, but preliminary numbers suggest Afghanistan saw its most bloodshed in a decade. Further, it seems pro-government forces were responsible for nearly as many civilian deaths as the Taliban. Speaking of the Taliban, they control or contest Kabul’s control of at least half the country. A more precise figure is difficult to give, because last summer the Pentagon decided to just stop counting.

This mix of static deployment rates, increased violence and casualties, and a deliberate refusal to collect data that shows evidence of failure is not how you end a war. It’s how you stay at war forever, perpetually cycling through tactics and troops, wasting blood and treasure. It is the opposite of what Trump promised to do.

The Coming US-China Competition in Central Asia

By Katie Stallard-Blanchette

While Washington focused on impeachment and the fall-out from the Iowa caucuses, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was touring Central Asia, proclaiming the strength of the administration’s commitment to the region, and pitching the merits of partnering with American firms. Visiting Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as part of a trip that included Ukraine and Belarus, he repeated a consistent message that amounts to this: beware Chinese influence and remember what the United States has to offer.

“When American companies show up, we’re good neighbors,” he declared in Kazakhstan. “We come, we hire people from the local towns and villages and cities, we don’t pollute, we care about the environment, we treat people the right way.” He delivered the same pitch, almost verbatim, in Tashkent the following day, “When American companies come to places like Uzbekistan, we show up, we create jobs for local people, we obey the local rules, we don’t pollute their neighborhood, we’re good citizens, we’re good neighbors.” In other words, he was effectively saying, we’re not China.

As Coronavirus Spreads, China’s Military Is Largely MIA


As the 2019 novel coronavirus spread into a full-fledged epidemic, China’s government took an extraordinary series of responses, effectively quarantining some 50 million people in the Wuhan area. But even as the government (somewhat belatedly) sprung into action, its limited mobilization of Chinese military assets and personnel has been notable — both because militaries traditionally play significant roles in battling pandemics and Beijing has in recent years been at pains to trumpet its burgeoning military capability. 

At a moment when hospitals across China are posting cries for supplies on social media, the anemic response by the People’s Liberation Army calls into question some of its most lauded capabilities: powerful logistics and mass military-civil contingency response mobilization.

Because pandemics stretch normal civilian capacity and require rapid response at scale, governments often mobilize military units to help with everything from health and food services to security and construction. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Africa, the U.S. military sent more than 4,000 troops, led by the 101st Airborne headquarters, who helped global and local health organizations with aid delivery, logistics, transportation and also built 17 hospitals each with 100 beds. Today, the U.S. military has already announced plans to provide quarantine housing for as many as 1,000 people coming from areas where there has been a coronavirus outbreak. 

China’s Modernizing Military

by Lindsay Maizland

PLA soldiers prepare for a military parade in 2017. China Daily via Reuters

The Chinese government is working to make its military stronger, more efficient, and more technologically advanced to become a top-tier force within thirty years. With a budget that has soared over the past decade, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already ranks among the world’s leading militaries in areas including artificial intelligence and anti-ship ballistic missiles.

Experts warn that as China’s military modernizes, it could become more assertive in the Asia-Pacific region by intensifying pressure on Taiwan and continuing to militarize disputed islands in the East and South China Seas. U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s administration believes China is a great-power rival, though the PLA still has a way to go before it can challenge the United States, experts say.

What catalyzed the PLA’s modernization?

Interior formally grounds drones amid cyber concerns tied to Chinese-made systems

Andrew Eversden

Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt formally grounded the department’s drones from non-emergency operations in a Jan. 29 order amid cybersecurity concerns relating to Chinese-made drones in its fleet.

The formal measure “affirms” an Interior Department announcement in late October that it was temporarily halting non-emergency drone operations in late October last year. That review is ongoing.

“Drones for non-emergency operations will remain grounded while the Interior Department reviews the possibility of potential threats and ensures a secure, reliable and consistent drone policy that advances our mission while keeping America safe,” a Department of Interior spokesperson said in a statement.

While the order doesn’t directly specify Chinese-made drones, a senior Interior official confirmed on a call with reporters that the order was directed at Chinese drones like DJI.



The December 2019 NATO Leaders Meeting in London could have been a disaster. Ahead of the event, the alliance had rarely been more divided. President Donald Trump’s October 2019 surprise decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria provoked French President Emmanuel Macron to argue that NATO was becoming brain-dead. “It is a very, very nasty statement,” Trump replied. Meanwhile, an underlying suspicion that Trump’s motive is to terminate NATO — he had threatened to do so at the 2018 summit — cast a shadow over the alliance.

Remarkably, the NATO meeting was a success, in large part due to China. Leaders managed to break new ground by including a reference to Beijing in the joint London declaration. The document stated that, “We recognise that China’s growing influence and international policies present both opportunities and challenges that we need to address together as an Alliance.” For sure, it also contains plenty of boilerplate text on shared values, burden-sharing, “threats and challenges emanating from all strategic directions,” and NATO’s “360-degree approach to security.” Ideal rhetoric for papering over strategic differences among allies. However, that it singles out China is historic, and portends a new direction for this 70-year old alliance.

US Kills Top Al-Qaeda Leader In Yemen

The leader of al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed in a counter-terrorism raid in Yemen, US President Donald Trump has stated. The the group may be no closer to defeat then in 2015, when its last “emir” was killed.

Trump announced the death of Qassim al-Raymi on Thursday evening, without noting the exact date or method of execution.

“Under [al-Raymi], AQAP committed unconscionable violence against civilians in Yemen and sought to conduct and inspire numerous attacks against the United States and our forces,” the president said in a statement.

“His death further degrades AQAP and the global al-Qa’ida movement, and it brings us closer to eliminating the threats these groups pose to our national security.”

Unconfirmed reports about al-Raymi’s death emerged last week, with some suggesting that the terrorist leader was killed in a US drone strike.

He is the terrorist leader who claimed responsibility for the lethal shooting at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida last year, when a Saudi cadet being trained at the facility shot and killed three American sailors.

Insecurity in the Sahel: Europe’s next fight against jihadism

Andrew Lebovich

The G5 Sahel has an excessive focus on security issues, as this has come at the expense of the political and governance issues it must deal with to truly stabilise the region.

On 2 February, following a month filled with international conferences and regional meetings aimed at forging a better path forward for the Sahel, the region’s jihadist groups made their voices heard. Fighters from the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM), an organisation aligned with al-Qaeda, killed at least 20 gendarmes at an isolated base in Sokolo, a Malian town less than 100km from the border with Mauritania. This was one of a series of recent attacks against soldiers and civilians in the region conducted by JNIM and the local affiliate of the Islamic State group (ISIS). They, along with associated militant groups, have slowly but surely spread their attacks through Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, potentially threatening coastal West African states.

The persistent – and possibly expanding – jihadist presence in Mali and the wider Sahel reveals the shortcomings of some of the plans that the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), France, and other representatives of the international community put forward at a summit in Pau in mid-January, as well as a recent meeting of the G5 Sahel chiefs of staff in the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. Following these conferences, much international attention focused on the announcement that the parties’ combat operations would focus on the regional ISIS affiliate and Liptako-Gourma, an area that roughly encompasses the tri-border region between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Quassem Soleimani’s terror lives on for Israelis

Tom Goodenough
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Quassem Soleimani is dead but in Israel fear of his warped legacy lives on. The Iranian general was key to his country’s strategy of developing networks of militant groups throughout the Middle East. These organisations are all held together by one thing: a common hatred of Israel. And a month after Soleimani was killed in an US drone strike, Israel is worried that its nemesis’s objective might soon become reality.

Soleimani was the mastermind of Hezbollah’s programme in Lebanon aimed at adding a deadly new weapon to the group’s arsenal. The intention is simple: to take ‘stupid’ (unguided) missiles and add GPS technology to make them accurate. Whereas in previous conflicts Hezbollah has relied on its quantity of weapons in attacking Israel, this will allow the organisation to achieve a devastating change of tactic.

Israelis live in fear of Hezbollah acquiring such arms: if the group achieves its goal, any future conflict between Israel and Lebanon could be bloodier and more devastating on both sides than the last time war erupted in 2006.

Baghdadi's Death and the Future of ISIS

By Ronald Tiersky

The killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State, is not the end of ISIS. But what ISIS becomes now is not clear either. 

Some believe that Baghdadi’s elimination is little more than a symbolic victory. Revolutionary insurgencies and terrorist organizations usually have a succession arranged in case the top leader is killed. A new ISIS leader will be named soon, and the overall danger is undiminished. ISIS will go on in various countries as a guerrilla warfighting organization and a terrorist network. It may be less centrally organized than before, but just as lethal. 

The other judgment (which I share) is that killing Baghdadi is of considerable significance. Baghdadi established ISIS. He was the founding father, the heroic leader. He was the caliph of the new Islamic State created in a blitzkrieg across Syria and Iraq, just as Prophet Mohammed’s army swept out of the Arabian Peninsula in the 7th century. To his followers, Baghdadi was the personification of Islam’s long-awaited resurrection and return to dignity. Several hundred thousand local and foreign fighters traveled long distances to live in a sharia state, and they brought their families. These people pledged their lives to Baghdadi. Often the foreign fighters were the most dedicated. Only a few years after the events, it’s too easy to forget this. 

The stress test: Japan in an era of great power competition

Richard C. Bush

With a dramatic power shift in the Indo-Pacific, the intensification of U.S.-China strategic rivalry, and uncertainty about the United States’ international role, Japan confronts a major stress test. How will Tokyo cope with an increasingly assertive China, an increasingly transactional approach to alliances in Washington, and a growing nuclear and missile capability in North Korea? Will it double down on the alliance with the United States to confront China’s provocations? Will it aim for greater independence in its foreign policy and expand military capabilities accordingly? Or will it seek some form of accommodation with China?

In September 2019, Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Bruce Jones convened seven Brookings scholars and affiliates — Richard Bush, Lindsey Ford, Ryan Hass, Adam Liff, Michael O’Hanlon, Jonathan Pollack, and Mireya Solís — to discuss Japan’s present and future path in this era of great power competition. The edited transcript below reflects their assessment of the current state of Japanese strategic choices.

The highlights:

American decision-makers need to remember that the Japan alliance is an indispensable feature of America’s wider international strategy. The American forward presence in Japan supports U.S. national interests across the entire region and will be critical in addressing potential contingencies in the Korean Peninsula or the East or South China Seas, and perhaps even in the Middle East.

Strategic Trade Research Institute (STRI)

Strategic Trade Review, Winter/Spring 2020, v. 6, no. 9

Used Goods, New Risks: Mitigating Proliferation Impacts of the Global Secondary Market
Disrupting Export Controls: “Emerging and Foundational Technologies” and Next Generation Controls

Emerging Technologies and Competition in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Need for New Approaches to Export Control

Leveraging Cheminformatics to Bolster the Control of Chemical Warfare Agents and their Precursors

An Institutional Blockchain as a Tool to Control the Export of Dual-Use and Military Goods
Emerging Technologies and Export Control Law: Challenges and Compliance Mechanisms for Research Institutions from a European Perspective

Emerging Technologies and the Challenges of Controlling Intangible Technology Exports

National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS)

NIDS Journal of Defense and Security No. 20 (December 2019)

Replacement of the Military's Intellectual Labor Using Artificial Intelligence —Discussion about AI and Human Co-existence

Nuclear Weapon States, Nuclear Umbrella States, and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW)

The Rise of China and Strengthening of Security Cooperation Between Japan, the United States, and Australia: With a Focus on the 2000s

Strengthening Public-Private Partnership in Cyber Defense: A Comparison with the Republic of Estonia

Tracing Criticisms of the "Basic Defense Force Concept" During the Second Cold War —Controversies over Japan's Defense Policy in the 1980s

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Jamestown Foundation

The “Democratic Life Meetings” of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo

The CCP Response to the Wuhan Coronavirus: A Preliminary Assessment

The Future of Chinese Foreign Economic Policy Will Challenge U.S. Interests, Part 1: The Belt-and-Road Initiative and the Middle Income Trap

The Vatican Stays Away from the Hong Kong Crisis Due to Fears of Beijing's Retaliation

New Wine Into New Wineskins: The Evolving Role of the PLA Navy Marine Corps in Amphibious Warfare and Other Mission Areas

Terrorism Monitor, January 28, 2020, v. 18, no. 2

Is the ‘Bakura Faction’ Boko Haram’s New Force Enhancer Around Lake Chad?

Magufuli’s Reign and Tanzania’s Creeping Radicalization Issue

Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent’s Propaganda Campaign Continues Despite Digital Disruptions and Stifled Operational Capability

The EU-Japan Connectivity Partnership: A Sustainable Initiative Awaiting Materialization – Analysis

By Mario Esteban and Ugo Armanini*
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The Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure signed between the EU and Japan on 27 September 2019 provides an alternative model of governance to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative through a paradigm of infrastructure development based on sustainability and a level-playing field. Implementing this promising agenda is yet to be done and would require a significant and sustained financial commitment, as well as an efficient coordination between the EU and Japan, and beyond, with the private sector, other like-minded countries and, it is hoped, China.

Amid looming challenges derived from growing US unilateralism and Chinese assertiveness, the EU and Japan have repeatedly displayed their commitment to support an eroded rules-based multilateral order. Embodying ‘like-minded’ countries’ cooperation, both benefit from an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) since early 2019. More recently, they have endorsed a Partnership on Sustainable Connectivity and Quality Infrastructure (hereafter the ‘EU-Japan Partnership on connectivity’ or ‘EU-Japan Partnership’) outlining a rather late but consolidated response to the global demand for connectivity, an acute understanding of its strategic implications and an alternative to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Building on existing and convergent strategies, the EU-Japan Partnership on connectivity revolves around the guidelines of sustainability, high level of socio-economic and environmental standards and a level-playing field. Doing so, they address the current shortfalls of the BRI, including lack of transparency, the massive use of tied financing and uncertain financial and climate sustainability. It will be now a matter of implementation, requiring a significant financial engagement as well as an efficient coordination between the two partners, and beyond, with the private sector, other like-minded countries and, it is to be hoped, China. Achieving these conditions would be necessary to deliver the positive prospects of the EU-Japan Partnership and ensuring a significant contribution and leadership within the international order.

Is Trump’s Unorthodoxy Becoming Orthodox?


NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLEWhen candidate Donald Trump campaigned on calling China to account for its trade piracy, observers thought he was either crazy or dangerous.

Conventional Washington wisdom had assumed that an ascendant Beijing was almost preordained to world hegemony. Trump’s tariffs and polarization of China were considered about the worst thing an American president could do.

The accepted bipartisan strategy was to accommodate, not oppose, China’s growing power. The hope was that its newfound wealth and global influence would liberalize the ruling Communist government.

Four years later, only a naif believes that. Instead, there is an emerging consensus that China’s cutthroat violations of international norms were long ago overdue for an accounting.

Europe’s Post-Brexit Future Is Looking Scary

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Elvis has left the building, and Britain has left the European Union. Although a few pundits claimed it would never actually occur, Brexit did in fact happen. The full ramifications won’t be known for some time, but the EU slogan of “ever-deeper union” clearly took a hit on Jan. 31.

This setback is the latest in a series of body blows that the EU has endured over the past two decades. The first was the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, where the EU proved unable to handle the conflict without calling in the United States. The next blow was the protracted eurozone crisis, which led to severe economic hardships in several countries, fueled considerable resentment between creditor and debtor nations, and ate up vast amounts of time and political capital. The third was the 2015 refugee crisis, which exposed deep divisions within the EU and gave far-right nationalist movements and illiberal leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban a major boost.

Brexit came next, followed by U.S. President Donald Trump, whose hostility to the EU and repeated threats to leave NATO have sent shock waves through European capitals. Past U.S. presidents have complained that NATO members weren’t pulling their weight, but none of them ever made a credible threat to actually withdraw from the alliance. Trump is different: nobody in Europe is completely sure he won’t get up some morning and decide to take the United States out of NATO.

In Europe, the distance between the centre right and the far right is shrinking

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With its traumatic and meticulously commemorated past and broadly comfortable present, Germany has long seemed relatively exempt from the forces of nationalist populism sweeping Europe. In Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) it is led by bastions of “bürgerlich” (bourgeois or respectable) centrism. Even with the rise of the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) – a Eurosceptic party that has become gradually more xenophobic and extreme – in recent years, it seemed clear that Germany had an unusually robust cordon sanitaire. “Cooperation with the AfD would be a betrayal of our Christian Democrat values” said Paul Ziemiak, the CDU’s general secretary, last November, calling Björn Höcke, a particularly extreme AfD leader, a “Nazi”.

Yet today the CDU and the notionally liberal Free Democrats (FDP) ousted Bodo Ramelow, the left-wing premier of Thuringia, a central German state, and replaced him with a minority administration led by the FDP’s Thomas Kemmerich – doing so with votes of the Thuringian AfD, the very branch of the party led by Höcke. The man termed a “Nazi” by Ziemiak was even photographed shaking hands with Kemmerich. Following the vote Jörg Meuthen, the AfD’s leader, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that the CDU, FDP and AfD were closer to each other than to the other parties; forming a “bürgerlich” political cluster. The once seemingly sturdy German cordon sanitaire is broken.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: The Failure of Regime‐​Change Operations

By Benjamin Denison

The United States has, at various times in its history, used military force to promote regime change around the world in pursuit of its interests. In recent years, however, there has been a growing scholarly consensus that these foreign regime‐​change operations are often ineffective and produce deleterious side effects. Whether trying to achieve political, security, economic, or humanitarian goals, scholars have found that regime‐​change missions do not succeed as envisioned. Instead, they are likely to spark civil wars, lead to lower levels of democracy, increase repression, and in the end, draw the foreign intervener into lengthy nation‐​building projects.

Even after high‐​profile failures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, some in the policy community still call for ousting illiberal regimes. Regime‐​change advocates claim that this tool can achieve objectives more cheaply and quickly than sustained diplomatic pressure and engagement, and that such operations will not expand into broader military action. When presented with such claims, policymakers should consider the empirical record, which clearly reveals that a regime‐​change operation is more likely to fail than to succeed. Different polities around the world have different political priorities, and attempting to change these priorities by simply removing the regime is more difficult than typically imagined. Instead of promoting more democracy and advancing American security, the overuse of regime change undermines the effectiveness of other foreign policy tools that are more successful at enhancing freedom and improving human rights around the world, and therefore ultimately harms America’s ability to achieve its policy goals.


Welcome to the Era of Supercharged Lithium-Silicon Batteries

Gene Berdichevsky believes in batteries. As employee number seven at Tesla, he helmed the team that designed the lithium-ion battery pack for the company’s first car, the Roadster, which convinced the world to take electric vehicles seriously. A decade later, EVs can hold their own against your average gas guzzler, but there’s still a large trade-off between the shelf life of their batteries and the amount of energy packed into them. If we want to totally electrify our roads, Berdichevsky realized, it would require a fundamentally different approach.

In 2011, Berdichevsky founded Sila Nanotechnologies to build a better battery. His secret ingredient is nanoengineered particles of silicon, which can supercharge lithium-ion cells when they’re used as the battery’s negative electrode, or anode. Today, Sila is one of a handful of companies racing to bring lithium-silicon batteries out of the lab and into the real world, where they promise to open new frontiers of form and function in electronic devices ranging from earbuds to cars.

The long-term goal is high-energy EVs, but the first stop will be small devices. By this time next year, Berdichevsky plans to have the first lithium-silicon batteries in consumer electronics, which he says will make them last 20 percent longer per charge. As the lustrous feedstock for the digital hearts of most modern gadgets, silicon and lithium are a dynamic duo on par with Batman and Robin. Crack open your favorite portable device—be it a phone, laptop, or smartwatch—and you’ll find a lithium-ion battery eager to provide electrons, plus a silicon-soaked circuit board that routes them where they need to go. But if you combine the metals in a battery, it can create all sorts of problems.

Google and Facebook Have Failed Us

Alexis C. Madrigal

Inthe crucial early hours after the Las Vegas mass shooting, it happened again: Hoaxes, completely unverified rumors, failed witch hunts, and blatant falsehoods spread across the internet.

But they did not do so by themselves: They used the infrastructure that Google and Facebook and YouTube have built to achieve wide distribution. These companies are the most powerful information gatekeepers that the world has ever known, and yet they refuse to take responsibility for their active role in damaging the quality of information reaching the public.

BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick found that Google’s “top stories” results surfaced 4chan forum posts about a man that right-wing amateur sleuths had incorrectly identified as the Las Vegas shooter.

4chan is a known source not just of racism, but hoaxes and deliberate misinformation. In any list a human might make of sites to exclude from being labeled as “news,” 4chan would be near the very top.

Mexico, The Other North American Partner – Analysis

By Rajiv Bhatia*

This year marks the completion of 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Mexico – but the full potential of this bilateral relationship has not been explored. Mexico exports oil to India, and hosts facilities of the Indian auto, IT and pharma sectors. There are three profitable reasons to intensify the bilateral, fulfilling both the diplomatic and business agenda.

The India-Mexico story is about two countries not having done enough to tap the full potential of their relationship.

Located on opposite sides of the globe, they have cooperated on many fronts. Yet, in the context of the changing international landscape, they are now gearing up for the expansion of Mexico’s footprint in Asia and India’s in Latin America. They need a renewed process of purposeful engagement and a band of activists, both in and outside the government, to take the relationship to a higher level.

In June 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a short, productive visit to Mexico. Overruling his advisers, President Enrique Pena Nieto assured his guest of Mexico’s support for India’s bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). While the NSG membership still eludes India, its relations with Mexico received a notable boost. The two leaders directed their foreign ministers to develop “the roadmap of the Privileged Partnership for the 21st Century”.[1]

America's Sputnik moment on 5G


The United States faces a challenge comparable to the one we faced when the Soviet Union launched the first space satellite, Sputnik. Confronted with potential foreign technological primacy, the American people rose to the occasion and won the space race as well as the Cold War.

Now China’s advances in 5G, perhaps the world’s most important emerging technology, are again threatening U.S. global technological leadership. The outcome of the worldwide contest for 5G power between China and the United States has accurately been called pivotal for deciding whether we will see “America's Darkest Hour or Finest Hour.”

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, who has built an admirable record defending consumers and advancing U.S. telecommunications leadership, understands the importance of operationalizing 5G in the United States. The technology will transfer cellphone and internet data at lightning speeds — at least ten times faster than many Americans presently receive. Such a transformation will allow firefighters to see through smoke, full-length movies to download in seconds and soldiers to defend against multiple threats.