17 October 2020

China and India in an Unprecedented ‘State of War’ in September 2020

By Dr Subhash Kapila

China and India are in an unprecedented ‘State of War’ in September 2020 going by the military operational situation of massed Chinese Army and Indian Army Divisions confrontation on India’s Himalayan Borders with China Occupied Tibet.

In the ongoing ‘State of War’ between China and India in Eastern Ladakh in September 2020 what are on display are two sets of military intentions of China and India. China is unwilling to give up its military intentions to alter the Line of Actual Control (LAC) to its advantage in Eastern Ladakh and India with renewed military robustness and political will is equally determined not to be coerced by China.

India currently by massive reinforcements of Indian Army troops, Tanks and heavy artillery in Eastern Ladakh has signalled that China has left it no option but to militarily checkmate China’s visibly demonstrated military expansionism in Eastern Ladakh.

Eastern Ladakh in 2020 is sitting on an explosive military situation where even a small incendiary unintended spark could ignite an all-out military conflict between China and India.

Eastern Ladakh in 2020 is the focal point of China and India being in ‘State of War’ where intense military confrontation is clearly ongoing as it did during the China-India War 1962 in Autumn.

Explained: Why Indian Navy’s Submarine-Hunting Aircraft Was Seen Flying Towards Ladakh Amid India-China Standoff

by Swarajya Staff

Earlier today (9 October) an Open Source Intelligence handle on Twitter, @detresfa, revealed that a P-8I aircraft of the Indian Navy was flying over Himachal Pradesh, possibly headed towards Ladakh, where India and China have been locked in a tense standoff for months now.

A Navy P-8I was seen flying over Himachal Pradesh in June also.

This has led many users on the micro-blogging site to ask why an aircraft, which should ideally be flying over the Indian Ocean hunting Chinese and Pakistani submarines, is headed towards India’s Himalayan frontier with China.

When Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said earlier this year that the Northern Theatre Command along the border with China should also have a small navy element in it as some of the naval systems are useful there, he was criticised by some defence analysts and observers. But he wasn’t wrong.

One of the systems that General Rawat was referring to was the navy’s P-8I.

BrahMos: Ensuring peace with strength

A resurgent India’s military capability and combat preparedness to deal with any sort of conflict and eventuality has taken centre-stage in the backdrop of rapidly evolving security dimensions at the regional and global front. While adhering to the longstanding principle of “peace with strength”, the Indian Armed Forces have not shied away from showing their absolute assertiveness in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity in times of conflict.

Indian Armed Forces, in possession of a huge inventory of state-of-the-art, high-end military platforms and systems, have also deployed BrahMos, the world’s most formidable, uniquely versatile tactical weapon having outstanding anti-ship and land-attack capability. The precision attack missile has been deployed along India’s strategic positions, rendering unprecedented strength to the country’s defence forces to resolutely deal with any kind of aggressive military posturing by an adversary nation.

In a fast-paced, highly intense military conflict situation, BrahMos, encompassing an “across the spectrum” warfare capability in all-weather, day-and-night conditions, can ensure a clear, decisive outcome in the battlefield.

India test-fires 10 missiles in 35 days. It is not a coincidence

Shishir Gupta

The Defence Research and Development Organisation will early next week fire the 800 km range Nirbhay sub-sonic cruise missile, the last for the solid rocket booster missile before its formal induction into the army and the navy, people familiar with the development told Hindustan Times. It would be the tenth missile test-firing by India’s lead defence research organisation in the last 35 days.

The DRDO’s effort to fast-track development of ‘Made in India’ strategic nuclear and conventional missiles - it has fired a missile every four days over nearly a month - comes against the backdrop of China’s refusal to step back from the Line of Actual Control.

China’s People’s Liberation Army had first clashed with Indian soldiers on the northern bank of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso lake on May 5 this year, setting up a stand-off that rapidly expanded to four locations in East Ladakh.

The stand-off escalated into a bloody clash in June that killed soldiers on both sides. It was the first time that the two countries had lost soldiers on this border in four decades. A little less than two months later, shots were also fired when Indian soldiers occupied the heights on the north bank of the picturesque salt water lake spread across 700 square km.

What is China’s plan to meet Xi Jinping’s economic vision for ‘socialist modernisation’ by 2035?

Zhou Xin

A healthy economic growth trajectory is expected to be key to plans for how Xi Jinping’s vision for China to “basically achieve socialist modernisation” by 2035 will be laid out at a key meeting in late October.

Xi’s overriding goal was first uttered in 2017 without specifics, but the fifth plenary session of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee is expected to provide more details about the Chinese leader’s vision and the general approach the government will take to achieve it.

A key assumption ahead of the meeting, which will take place between October 26-29, is that China will maintain a healthy economic growth trajectory so that the country can escape the middle-income trap.

The so-called middle income trap is a development stage where a country attains a certain level of income but then stagnates and remains at the same level because it cannot progress from low-cost manufacturing into hi-technology industries.

While so far no ‘common front’ towards China has been formed, this may still happen in coming yearsLouis Kuijs

Saudi Arabia’s nuclear program: Separating real concerns from threat inflation

By Ali Ahmad

In the highly charged political atmosphere surrounding nuclear initiatives in the Middle East, legitimate concerns are sometimes blown out of proportion, with potentially problematic results. This has been the case with recent coverage and commentary on Saudi Arabia’s nuclear activities, which have been characterized by a degree of what can be described as “threat inflation.”

While there are legitimate questions about what Saudi Arabia eventually intends to do with nuclear technology, the fact is that today the kingdom is not moving to establish either uranium enrichment or plutonium separation capability, without which there is no path to the Bomb. The kingdom’s reported uranium mining activities are far from what is needed for a nuclear weapon.

The nonproliferation community should certainly be vigilant regarding what the kingdom is doing or planning to do on the nuclear front; given the geopolitical context in the Middle East, however, promoting exaggerated and alarmist claims is counterproductive and could actually be harmful to nonproliferation efforts.

In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the kingdom had built, with help from China, a secret facility to extract yellowcake from uranium ore. Yellowcake is concentrated, natural uranium in powdered form. The report stated that, “The [yellowcake extracting] facility, which hasn’t been publicly disclosed, is in a sparsely populated area in Saudi Arabia’s northwest and has raised concern among US and allied officials that the kingdom’s nascent nuclear program is moving ahead and that Riyadh is keeping open the option of developing nuclear weapons.”

Belarusian Mortgage on Russia's Future

by William Courtney and Howard J. Shatz

Imperial ambition could again cost Russia. On September 14 in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia was throwing its weight behind embattled Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. But any move by Putin to enforce his will in Belarus with force could invite tougher Western sanctions and scare investors, exacerbating problems of the already flagging Russian economy.

Since a fraudulent presidential vote on August 9 which allegedly gave Lukashenko an 80% vote for a sixth term, hundreds of thousands of people have peacefully protested calling for an end to his 26-year dictatorship.

Lukashenko appealed to President Vladimir Putin, who said he had created a police reserve in case events get “out of control.” The Kremlin could draw on hundreds of thousands of well-armed paramilitary forces, perhaps more than the “little green men” it sent to Ukraine in 2014.

In highlighting in Sochi that “we see Belarus as our closest ally” and joint military exercises would take place “practically every month,” Putin sent a strong message. But if Russia mounted another armed assault on a European neighbor, the West might send an equally robust signal. This movie has played before.

Coming Storms

By Christopher Layne

Since the closing days of the Cold War, U.S. policymakers, pundits, international relations scholars, and policy analysts have argued that great-power war is a relic of a bygone age. In 1986, the historian John Lewis Gaddis termed the post–World War II era a “Long Peace” because the Soviet Union and the United States had not come to blows. A few years later, the political scientist John Mueller suggested that changing norms had made great-power conflict obsolete. By 2011, the psychologist Steven Pinker was arguing that the Long Peace had morphed into a “New Peace,” marked by a generalized decrease of violence in human affairs. 

Of course, as evidenced by ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen, to name a few, there is currently no shortage of organized armed violence involving smaller countries. Still, given the blood-drenched course of politics since the start of the modern international system

These NATO Nuances Create National Security Issues

by Nikolas K. Gvosdev

As we approach what will be a pivotal election, it seems that the issue du jour gripping the think tank establishment—after the all-pervasive question of great-power competition, is the future direction of the trans-Atlantic relationship and the health of the Euro-Atlantic community. All sorts of proposals are now circulating on both sides of the Atlantic for how to refresh and renew the Atlantic community, whether under the parameters of a second-term Donald Trump/Mike Pence or a first-term Joe Biden/Kamala Harris administration. 

Many of these reports take as their intellectual starting point the supposition that Russia and China are revisionist powers, seeking to alter, amend or even, in some cases, overturn the international order that emerged under American tutelage after the Berlin Wall fell thirty-one years ago. Weakening the bonds of amity and unity among the Euro-Atlantic nations will encourage Russian revisionism, and so to stop Russian revisionism (and to prevent China from becoming a greater factor in European affairs), the Atlantic nations must rediscover a shared sense of solidarity and common action.

The strategic logic is impeccable, but what is missing from many of these analyses and proposals is the crucial question of domestic political support. There is no escaping the reality that over the last decade, as Russian (and Chinese) revisionism has increased, U.S. willingness to take on the brunt of the burden has not. Yes, per the Chicago Council’s 2019 analysis on Americans “rejecting retreat,” 78 percent of Americans concur the United States should maintain or increase its commitment to NATO, and a strong majority of Americans, across party lines, maintain that NATO is “essential” to U.S. security. Yet levels of support fall when Americans are asked about concrete steps, such as responding militarily to a hypothetical Russian incursion into the territory of a NATO ally; the Eurasia Group Foundation found a nearly even split among respondents as to whether to support or eschew military action. Americans are grappling with the issue, as the recent 2020 Munich Security Conference report summarized, that the United States is “now both less able to be a guarantor of the international order and less willing to make overproportionate contributions” to sustain it—including in the Euro-Atlantic area.

Joe Biden’s First Diplomatic Fight Will Be at Home


In the dawning days of the Arab Spring, as throngs gathered in Cairo to demand that Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak step down after nearly 30 years in power, the aging autocrat could count on the support of a longtime friend in the White House.

Joe Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, was watching the revolutionary fervor in Egypt with unease. He sympathized with the desire of Egypt’s young people to have a real democracy and more economic opportunities. But in meetings at the White House, according to others present, he was among those voicing worries that a sudden departure by Mubarak could lead to unfriendly Islamist rule, if not outright chaos. Biden believed Mubarak had worked well with the United States in tackling terrorism, keeping the peace with Israel and other strategic interests. Plus, he’d known the 82-year-old Egyptian strongman forever and didn’t think he was all that bad. In fact, as the protests unfolded, Biden told PBS, “I would not refer to him as a dictator.”

Mubarak fell two weeks later, in February 2011, and before long, another dictator took over—Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, an Army general who presided over the slaughter of more than 800 Muslim Brotherhood supporters as he consolidated power. The Obama administration, desperate for some stability, refused to call Sisi’s seizure of power a coup. It froze arms sales for a time but ultimately lifted those restrictions. And things have moved further in Sisi’s favor under President Donald Trump, who has bragged about his love for Sisi—“Where’s my favorite dictator?” he reportedly once quipped—and even granted him a White House visit.

The Dilemma Of America’s Strategy for Europe

by Russell A. Berman

The end of the Cold War, from the opening of the Berlin Wall through the collapse of the Soviet Empire, entailed an unambiguous success for decades of American foreign policy in Europe. Yet during the subsequent three decades, America has faced repeated disappointments, both in our dealings with post-Soviet Russia and regarding trans-Atlantic relations with our presumptive allies in Europe. We need to look at both aspects—our adversary and our allies, but when we do so, we face a fundamental strategic dilemma.

A revanchist Russia has emerged in the Putin era as a strategic competitor, as the 2017 National Security Strategy correctly recognized. Moscow has reverted to an adversarial stance toward Washington, ultimately similar in character, if not in degree, to Russian policies of the Soviet era. Such competition between Russian and the United States is ultimately not surprising and has very deep roots, stretching back to the nineteenth century.

Meanwhile, America repeatedly finds itself at odds with some European partners, notably France and Germany. Such disjunctions reflect a fundamental post-Cold War reality. Unlike pre-1989 Western Europe, today’s unified Europe is less dependent on American security guarantees and therefore increasingly aspires to its own autonomous foreign policy goals, independent of or even contrary to Washington’s concerns. (In contrast, those countries most aware for historic reasons of their vulnerability to Russia, the Baltics and the former Warsaw Pact countries, are now the most committed to strong ties to the United States.) U.S. foreign policy, therefore, faces a double problem, despite the heady victory of 1989: the reemergence of the Cold-War adversary Russia and the repeated irritation in trans-Atlantic relations, as Europe faces temptations to turn away from the West, a kind of pivot to Eurasia.

U.S. Africa Policy Needs a Reset

By John Campbell

Early in his administration, U.S. President Donald Trump seemed poised to make major changes to U.S. policy toward Africa. His signature “America first” approach was inherently skeptical of foreign involvement, especially in what he allegedly called “shithole countries” in the developing world. He opposed international trade agreements, including with African nations, that he viewed as unfair to the United States. He sought to reduce U.S. funding for international organizations upon which Africa depends heavily for aid. And as a part of his administration’s shift away from countering violent extremism and toward great-power competition with China and Russia, he proposed reducing the small U.S. military presence in Africa.

Trump seemed disinterested in and even contemptuous of Africa. Unlike his two immediate predecessors, he did not travel to the continent during his first term. Nor did he engage personally on policy issues of particular importance to Africa, such as public health or the credibility of elections. Trump’s first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, gutted the State Department’s expertise on African affairs (a loss that has not been remedied under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo). Trump has met with African heads of state on the margins of the UN General Assembly and he has received a handful of African leaders at the White House, but these gestures have been largely overshadowed by his unfiltered comments about Africa.

Yet nearly four years into his presidency, Trump has largely maintained the long-standing Africa policies he inherited. The administration’s rhetoric is more transactional than that of its predecessors, especially on trade, investment, and aid; but far from turning its back on the continent, the Trump administration has continued to finance major aid and investment initiatives and even established new ones.

The growing threat of cyberwarfare

Manjari Chatterjee Miller and Engin Kirda

A couple of weeks ago, the government set up an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator to look into revelations that a Chinese technology company with links to China’s government had been monitoring Indian citizens and organisations. India is not the only country concerned about such cyberattacks. The United States (US) department of defence (DoD) last week exposed an information-stealing malware, SlothfulMedia, which they said was being used to launch cyberattacks against targets in India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia and Ukraine.

While the DoD did not identify the cyber actor responsible for this particular malware, certain countries — China, Russia, North Korea, Iran — have consistently been accused of cyber warfare. The most notorious example is, of course, that of the misinformation campaign conducted by Russian bots during the 2016 US presidential elections, a campaign that is said to be active again in the upcoming US elections. This brings us to the question of what cyberwarfare is, who conducts it, how it is waged, and the ramifications of what seems to be an opaque shadow war conducted behind screens.

Cyberwarfare is a strategic competition conducted between adversaries in cyberspace. It allows countries to conduct covert operations on a large scale, cheaply, and anonymously. These latter three attributes are particularly important to understand.

Crypto Poses a Growing Threat to National Security, U.S. Says

By Elaine Chen

The emergence of cryptocurrencies presents opportunities for terrorists, rogue nations and other criminals who present a threat to U.S. national security, the Department of Justice said Thursday in a report.

Law enforcement is hampered by the worldwide reach of digital coins and the lack of consistent regulation across regions, which is “detrimental to the safety and stability of the international financial system,” the report found. Newer entities using crypto, such as peer-to-peer exchanges, kiosk operators and online casinos, don’t comply with record-keeping and reporting requirements, undermining investigators.

“Current terrorist use of cryptocurrency may represent the first raindrops of an oncoming storm of expanded use,” Attorney General William Barr’s Cyber-Digital Task Force said in the report. “Cryptocurrency also provides bad actors and rogue nation states with the means to earn profits.”

The report comes as federal prosecutors have gone after individuals tied to cryptocurrency in recent weeks. Cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee, who prosecutors allege earned money through promoting cryptocurrencies, was arrested just days ago on tax-evasion charges. The founders of crypto-derivatives exchange BitMEX were charged last week for skirting US. law preventing money laundering.

Cyber World War: The People’s Republic Of China, Anti-American Espionage, And The Global Cyber Arms Race

By Joshua E. Duke 

The flood gates of the information age have been blasted open forever. Short of global electrical failure, robots taking over the world, or mankind’s evacuation of the planet, global connectivity, instant communications, and massive information accessibility are here to stay, along with all the dangers and benefits related. The internet and network connectivity have become too integrated within the basic daily functions of societies and nations for information services to be overly regulated or censored, and as the world becomes perpetually more dependent on networks to function, more technologically adept generations grow up with the entire history of human knowledge at their fingertips. The entire cyber warfare enterprise of Computer Network Attack (CNA) and Computer Network Defense (CND) is blossoming, along with telecommunications and other vital industries, which means more and more people will be trained in these areas, in addition to information technology and computer sciences. As people are trained to operate in a network-centric world, more of the world will be under a perpetual threat from cyberattacks, and more people will be employed to defend it.

The global cyber arms race is in full swing, and American leadership is necessary to ensure the future of freedom of thought and individuality in cyberspace. The alternative is a sharp contrast, centered around the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) communist censorship and propaganda machine, combined with their allies around the world, intent on securing ultimate power and crushing the United States in the process. This article examines the physical and cyberspace dangers posed by the PRC and its allies, detailing a long-term strategic trend of anti-American actions taken in recent history that have not been adequately addressed or publicized. This article begins with an examination of a variety of actions the PRC has taken against America over multiple decades and the extent of their success. An interconnected multinational web of espionage, cyber warfare, and targeted actions designed to collapse the United States is then exposed, highlighting the need for renewed American leadership in cyberspace and on the world stage. Any action taken against any entity with the purpose of degrading their capabilities, manipulating them, or spying on them, using the realm of cyberspace as the primary conduit, is cyber warfare. A short explanation of cyber warfare basics is provided at the end of this article, with examples of what the cyber battlespace consists of.

COVID-19 Might Not Change the World

By Joseph S. Nye Jr.

How will the COVID-19 pandemic reshape the world order? The honest answer is that no one knows. There are many possible futures at this point. The best policymakers can do is to avoid myths that obstruct their thinking and examine alternatives that help them focus on the most important questions. Sometimes estimates are wrong, but it is useful to structure policy thinking in a way that allows leaders to learn from mistakes as well as successes.

In estimating the effects of the current pandemic, one must begin with humility about the extent of what is not known. This coronavirus is new, and scientists are still trying to understand its biology and epidemiology. No one knows how long it will persist nor when or in what forms it might recur. Nor is it clear which, if any, vaccines will be effective—or for how long—or how they will be distributed globally.

The extent and duration of the economic dislocations that the pandemic is causing are unknown, but the effects on the global economy may be prolonged. A deep depression is likely to have significant political effects, but any estimates of the timing of economic revival are complicated by the dependence of economies on our uncertain human effectiveness in controlling the virus.

Without Russian Aid to Armenia, Azerbaijan Has the Upper Hand in Nagorno-Karabakh

By Robert M. Cutler

The renewal of fighting in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenian forces could have been foretold. A four-day outbreak of hostilities in mid-July occurred in northwest Azerbaijan, 60 miles away from Nagorno-Karabakh, but that is not even the proximate cause of today’s fighting.

The current conflict broke out in the late 1980s, when Armenians in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) began organizing to take the territory out of Azerbaijan. When the NKAO Regional Council voted to unite with the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic in February 1988, central Soviet authorities abolished the local government and instituted direct rule from Moscow.

In 1992, a year after the two countries became independent, Armenian forces seized control of the “Lachin corridor,” a winding mountain road since improved with funds from the Armenian diaspora, connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Turning northward, they then seized and held the Kelbajar district of Azerbaijan. They continued, until early last month, to hold not only the former NKAO but seven additional Azerbaijani districts outside the former NKAO, forming a bloc having a long common border with Armenia.

North Korea Unveils ‘Very Destabilizing’ ICBM


Two ballistic missiles made their debut in Saturday’s North Korean military parade: a sub-launched weapon and what appeared to be an enormous new intercontinental ballistic missile borne on a long, 11-axle mobile launcher. Analysts have long scrutinized Pyongyang’s parades for what they reveal about the military capabilities of one of the world’s most secretive regimes — but the Oct. 10 event also offered the latest and clearest signal yet that the Trump administration’s efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions have failed. One expert called the new ICBM a destabilizing capability that would exacerbate tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world, particularly the United States. 

The new ICBM isn’t exactly a surprise, said Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and the founding publisher of the Arms Control Wonk blog. North Korea tested liquid-fuel rockets last December at the vertical engine test stand at the Sohae testing site. “It was a really big test. They bothered to announce it. But for whatever reason,” it didn’t get much coverage in international media, Lewis said. 

Lewis believes that the missile is intended to carry multiple warheads, another new capability. That means North Korea is improving the likelihood of slipping a nuclear weapon past the ground-based midcourse defense interceptors that the United States would deploy against an incoming ICBM.

Opinion – A New Pact on Migration and Asylum in Europe

Monika Kabata

The European Commission’s (EC) New Pact on Asylum and Migration has been launched under the fifth priority of the EC’s ‘Promoting our European Way of Life’ programme and is a response to the flaws in the system that have been visible during the so-called “migration crisis”. The increased influx of migrants in 2015 led to serious tensions between member states. One of the main problems relates to the functioning of the Dublin System according to which asylum seekers should lodge their application in the first country of entry, which puts particular pressure on the southern member states. With large numbers of irregular migrants arriving, some of these countries have been unable and sometimes unwilling to fulfil their obligations of protecting the border and examining the asylum applications.

The situation commonly referred to as a “crisis” required common response and solidarity from all member states. However, not all of them felt responsible. While the EU was working on relocation schemes and quota system, some countries were openly opposing any EU decision in this matter. The Visegrad Group, and especially Poland and Hungary who haven’t relocated any of the refugees that have been assigned to them, became the strong opponents of mandatory relocations. Their failure to comply with the EU decisions resulted in the European Commission taking them (and the Czech Republic) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In April this year, the ECJ has ruled that they have breached their obligation under the EU law.

According to the CIA: the coronavirus pandemic risks decimating a third of the world’s population!

The appearance, in last December, of the epidemic due to a new strain of coronavirus, called Covid-19, and its evolution, in barely three months, into a pandemic swarming worldwide, is anything but a foreseeable event. However, a prospective study drawn up by the CIA presented, in November 2008, a detailed « scenario » whose developments espouse in an extremely disconcerting way the disturbing turn of events since the appearance of the first cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China!

Of course, there is no question here of nourishing any conspiracy thesis. Because the study in question was not secret. It was the fourth edition of a prospective study by the CIA, the aim of which is to predict the main developments that the world situation may experience during the next two decades.

Already in 2004, the previous edition of this study, entitled « Mapping the global future », intended to draw up the state of the world by 2020, succeeded in predicting the establishment of a «new caliphate», ten years before the appearance of ISIS!

Prospecting for the coronavirus pandemic that is currently sweeping the world is one of the «scenarios» mentioned in the 2008 edition of this study, entitled «Global trends 2025: A transformed world». You will find there, on page 75, a box entitled: «Potential Emergence of a Global Pandemic»

Musk on new mission to deliver US military weapons by space

Michael Evans

The US military is developing plans with Elon Musk to build a 7,500mph rocket that can blast 80 tonnes of cargo into space and land it anywhere in the world in about an hour.

General Stephen Lyons, head of US Transportation Command, said that contracts had been signed with Mr Musk’s SpaceX company to assess technical and cost challenges, with the first “proof of principle” tests expected next year. A second aerospace firm, xArc of Texas, has also been signed to join the research programme.

A journey from Cape Canaveral to Bagram airbase in Afghanistan more than 7,000 miles away could be completed within about an hour. A US C-17 Globemaster, a military transport aircraft with a maximum speed of 590mph, takes up to 15

Have we under-estimated the cybersecurity threat from China?

By Khushhal Kaushik

Even as the Corona virus emerging from China batters the world, another virus, namely, the electronic virus emanating from the same country as part of a larger cyber security threat, remains somewhat understated. With Covid-19 prompting a pivot to digitalization of most spheres of life, a vast multitude of people are working from home, conducting meetings and even training online while also carrying out online transactions.

As such, a prodigious amount of confidential data from different locations would have been generated. While this digitization has simplified many aspects of everyday life, this all-out dependence on digital platforms is also riddled with extraordinary data security risks.

Incidentally, India has the world's highest number of Internet users downloading millions of apps every year. However, 80% of these apps are insecure from security standpoint. The cyber security threat originating in China is a major challenge for a Digital India. Unfortunately, India for a long time did not react to this threat with the seriousness it deserves. The government did responded recently, rather belatedly, by banning 118 Chinese applications. However, more needs to be done in order to fortify the cyber security systems in the country.

The Inevitable Battleground for Competing Powers: Cyberwarfare

Mohammed Seid Ahmed and Makam Khan Daim

The internet has been an integral part of our lives since its commercialization in the mid-1990s. It has also become critical for our day-to-day activities, and it is impossible to think what our lives would be without it. Banks can perform transactions within a few minutes across the world, people can make payments from their smartphones, students can attend classes through their computer windows, one can pay your taxes, buy cars, sell goods, etc., thanks to the internet. As many countries are adopting digitalization in their development agenda, larger populations are being introduced to cyberspace. According to recent data, nearly 4.57 billion people are active internet users as of July 2020, which amounts to 59 per cent of the entire global population (Tsakanyan, 2017, p.339). China, India, and the United States are the top three countries with the number of internet users, respectively (Tsakanyan, 2017, p.339).

The opportunities that cyberspace provides for people around the world are enormous, but it has also given a platform for states and non-state actors to engage action from the likes of violating individual rights to undermining other nation-state’s interests and sovereignty. The increasing connectedness of technological devices and reliance on cyberspace has also increased the vulnerability of people and governments to cyberattacks. The threat to cyberspace has not been more evident than today. State-sponsored hacking, theft of intellectual property rights, widespread misinformation, easy access to personal information and data of millions of people, and the increasing presence of non-state actors with their ability to effectively utilize cyberspace to promote their agenda, are all endangering the lives of many. Before this investigation goes any further, however, the question “what is cybersecurity?” must first be asked. Is cyberspace the next battleground for competing powers to wage unconventional war?

Tank War: At Kursk, Russia Paid A Heavy Price To Throw The Wehrmacht Out Of Russia

by Warfare History Network

With the German Sixth Army destroyed at Stalingrad, the Soviet juggernaut lunged west and southwest across the River Donets. The Soviets seemed unstoppable, recapturing the major city of Kharkov from the Germans on February 14, 1943. However, Field Marshal Erich von Manstein was only waiting for the Soviets to overextend themselves.

Once the Soviet armor ran dry of fuel and low on ammunition, Manstein unleashed Army Group South’s riposte. Fresh panzer formations sliced into the startled Soviet flanks, ripping apart two Soviet Fronts (Army Groups). Manstein’s brilliant counteroffensive restored the southern front and culminated in an SS frontal assault and a triumphant recapture of Kharkov.

Meanwhile, to the north of the Donets campaign, the Soviet winter offensive was held at bay before Orel by Field Marshal Günther von Kluge’s Army Group Center. Operations everywhere then bogged down to a standstill as the Russian spring thawed the frozen earth and turned it to mud. The thick “rasputitsa” clung to steel tank tracks, to truck tires, to the hoofs of tired horses, and to the boots of exhausted soldiers.

The front was left with a gargantuan Soviet salient, 150 miles long and 100 miles wide, bulging around the town of Kursk between the two German army groups. The Kursk salient was consequently the target of the last, great German summer offensive, ending with the legendary tank battles in the environs of Oboian and Prokhorovka.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is ushering in a new age of warfare

By Alex Gatopoulos

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan, traditional enemies, have been building up their armed forces over the last decade. They fought a bloody war that ended in 1994, in which tens of thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands were displaced on both sides. Azerbaijan’s army collapsed and Armenia took control of several regions, including the key regions of Fuzuli and Jabrayil in the south, bordering Iran. President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan has been explicit in his desire to return these regions to Azerbaijan.

The country has a defence and mutual assistance pact with its neighbour and ally Turkey. Extensive joint exercises were held in late July and early August with, according to Azerbaijan, as many as 11,000 Turkish troops taking part, with units training alongside each other. Turkish Air Force fighter jets, armed drones and long range-artillery trained alongside the Azerbaijani armed forces.

The exercises were run just after a bloody clash between the two enemies in early July lasting several days in which drone warfare was prominent.