17 June 2021

Water Security as Part of Non-Traditional Security: Threat - Implications for India

Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Like oil or data, water is an integral part of the world’s economy. Although about 71 per cent of the earth’s surface is water-covered, the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water which is salt water. Freshwater, most of it is frozen in glaciers, accounts for the rest. That leaves less than 1 per cent of the world’s water available to support human and ecological processes. We withdraw 4.3 trillion cubic meters of freshwater every year from the earth’s water basins. We use it in agriculture, which accounts for 70 per cent of the withdrawals. Industry and households consume 19 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. However, these percentages fluctuate widely across the globe. In the United States, industrial and agricultural usage is almost the same around 40 per cent. In India, agriculture uses 90 per cent of water withdrawals, while only 2 per cent is consumed by industry. Over the past century, rate of withdrawal of available freshwater resources have risen almost six times, outpacing global population growth.

China’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities: An Overview

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Since China first conducted a nuclear weapon test in 1964, its nuclear doctrine has remained unchanged and is underpinned by two principles: a minimum deterrent doctrine and a No First Use (NFU) policy. China’s 2019 defence white paper states, “China is always committed to a nuclear policy of NFU of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances, and not using or threatening to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones unconditionally.”

However, a recent U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) report claims that the scope of China’s nuclear modernisation and its lack of transparency “raise concern that China is not only shifting its requirements for what constitutes a minimal deterrence but that it could shift away from its longstanding minimalist force posture.” The data available show that China is modernising and expanding virtually every element of its nuclear forces, including each aspect of its nuclear weapons and missile, sea, and air delivery systems. What is not clear are China’s current and planned holdings of nuclear weapons, China’s future plans for deploying additional delivery systems, its commitment to some form of NFU, first preemption, or launch on warning, and the extent to which it will accept what might be called a form of ‘minimum assured destruction.

India's Worst Nightmare: A China-Pakistani Wartime Alliance

by Kyle Mizokami

Here's What You Need to Remember: India’s second most powerful rival is Pakistan, which was also part of the British Raj. India and Pakistan have fought four wars since 1947, and frequently appear on the verge of a fifth.

India occupies one of the most strategically important locations in the world. A short distance from the Persian Gulf, Central Asia and Southeast Asia, India has been an important hub for ideas, trade and religion for thousands of years.

That geographic positioning has its disadvantages. India is faced on two sides by powerful, nuclear-armed countries it has fought wars with—China and Pakistan.

India’s most formidable rival is China, with whom it fought a short, sharp border war with in 1962. China’s growing military has transformed it from a mainly ground-based threat to a multifaceted one with powerful assets in the air, at sea and even in space.

Amid Tensions With China, India Proceeding With AIIB-funded Projects

By Krzysztof Iwanek

Recent China-India relations are not a rollercoaster or swing but a slide: There is no denying they are worsening. The main question is if the downward trajectory can be altered – and if not, then what is the current pace of the decline and what aspects of ties are being affected (and, of course, what will be the final outcome). Until the Ladakh tensions of 2020 it appeared that economic relations were being kept separate from politics by both parties. New Delhi and Beijing do not want the storm waves of their political differences and border disputes to spill over into the pleasant green pastures of bilateral trade and investment. Since last year, even this separation has come into question, as New Delhi appears to be ready to reply to border tensions with countermeasures in the economic domain.

But what needs to be carefully studied is a degree to which this last process is taking place and the extent to which India can react in such a way at all. Chinese imports into India are of tremendous scale and so far New Delhi has done little to reduce this dependence. Another field is investment, where in 2020 some forms of involvement by Chinese firms in India have been halted or cancelled, albeit only a few.

Taliban takes control of 30 districts in past six weeks


In the six weeks since the May 1 deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, the Taliban has seized control of 30 additional districts, their reach spanning half of the country’s 34 provinces. The Afghan government has been unable to regain control in any of the 30 districts.

FDD’s Long War Journal has closely tracked the security situation Afghanistan’s districts and updates the status of districts as their control changes on a daily basis. [See Mapping Taliban Contested and Controlled Districts in Afghanistan.]

A June 14 report by TOLONews confirmed LWJ‘s independent assessments of the 30 fallen districts over the past six weeks.

According to data tracked by LWJ, the Taliban has actually overrun overrun 35 district centers since May 1, however the Afghan military claims to have regained control of three of them (Khanabad and Aliabad in Kunduz, and Khash Rod in Nimruz) over the past several days.

While the Taliban took control of the Washir district center in Helmand, LWJ currently assesses the district as contested, since the Afghan military maintains control of the large base known as Shoraback (formerly Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion).

Top military officer says U.S. capable of defending Taiwan

Washington, June 11 (CNA) Mark Milley, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed earlier this week during a congressional hearing that the country is capable of defending Taiwan in the event of a People's Liberation Army invasion from China.

Asked by Republican Senator Josh Hawley whether the U.S. could militarily block an invasion of Taiwan from China if the island could not defend itself on its own, Milley gave a positive answer.

"I can assure you that we have the capabilities if there were political decisions made in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act," Milley said on June 10 during the Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing on the Pentagon's defense authorization request for the forthcoming fiscal year.

The act was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1979 to maintain commercial, cultural and other unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan after Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. It also requires the U.S. "to provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character," but does not specify the U.S. will fight to defend Taiwan.

Foreigners rush inside the Great Wall

Early last year, as covid-19 brought China to a near-halt for several weeks, multinational corporations caught a glimpse of a different kind of globalisation: one without a dynamic Chinese economy at its heart. Panic ensued.

Foreign businesses confessed that they had grown too dependent on China as the easiest and best place to make and sell their wares, whether for export or in domestic markets. The new virus, coming on top of a trade war with America, was declared a salutary shock that would drive big changes. Foreign firms pledged to build more resilient supply chains by diversifying into other countries, while noting that they would keep production sites “in China, for China”, to serve Chinese demand when it returned.

A year on, the mood is very different. Nearly 600 companies responded to an annual survey of business confidence conducted by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, which was published on June 8th. They described surging optimism about China, with economic growth having resumed far more quickly than expected. Three-quarters of European firms said that they were profitable in China in 2020, allowing them to send revenues back to headquarters suffering from dismal results elsewhere.

Is China Backtracking On Its Wolf Warrior Diplomatic Style? – OpEd

Harsh V. Pant

The wolf warrior diplomatic style was perhaps suited more to the age of Donald Trump, but now that the Joe Biden administration has lowered the rhetoric on “America First”, the challenge for China is even more acute. China’s new-gen diplomats have been asked to defend the indefensible in recent years, from Beijing’s atrocities on minorities and its hyper-militaristic foreign policy to the opacity and mishandling of Covid-19.

In a seeming admission that all is not well with Chinese diplomacy, President Xi Jinping is aiming for a course correction, at least in rhetoric. Underlining the importance of presenting an image of a “credible, loveable and respectable China,” he told Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials recently that he wanted his nation to “expand its circle of friends” by revamping its image. Xi emphasised the need “to make friends, unite and win over the majority, and constantly expand the circle of friends [when it comes to] international public opinion” even as China should be “open and confident, but also modest and humble” in reaching out to the rest of the world.

How The Opium War Changed China Forever

by Sebastien Roblin

Here's What You Need to Remember: The Opium Wars made it clear China had fallen gravely behind the West — not just militarily, but economically and politically. Every Chinese government since — even the ill-fated Qing Dynasty, which began the “Self-Strengthening Movement” after the Second Opium War — has made modernization an explicit goal, citing the need to catch up with the West.

In 1839, England went to war with China because it was upset that Chinese officials had shut down its drug trafficking racket and confiscated its dope.

Stating the historical record so plainly is shocking — but it’s true, and the consequences of that act are still being felt today.

The Qing Dynasty, founded by Manchurian clans in 1644, expanded China’s borders to their farthest reach, conquering Tibet, Taiwan and the Uighur Empire. However, the Qing then turned inward and isolationist, refusing to accept Western ambassadors because they were unwilling to proclaim the Qing Dynasty as supreme above their own heads of state.

The Secret to China’s Soft Power Success in the United States

by Pedro Gonzalez

“I’m really sorry. You have to understand that I love and respect China,” John Cena pleaded in a video posted to Weibo, a Chinese social network. The hulking wrestler made the mistake of referring to Taiwan as a country while giving a promotional interview—a mistake that reduced all six feet, two hundred and fifty pounds of him to an apologetic kitten.

Cena joined a long list of American hotshots who have run afoul of Chinese sensibilities. Recall when Daryl Morey, then the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests in 2019.

Morey deleted the offending tweet while Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta distanced the team from the bomb that had been armed. The Chinese Basketball Association subsequently froze ties with the Houston Rockets over Morey’s “improper remarks” as the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank dropped support for the franchise. By October 2019, rumors swirled that Beijing had demanded his firing. China would flex its muscles to signal its displeasure with Morey for many months.

The Last Days of Netanyahu

by Ahmed Charai

The long and divisive reign of Benjamin Netanyahu, the dominant Israeli politician of the past generation, officially ended on Sunday night. Netanyahu fell but did not suffer a political demise. His defeat was by the narrowest possible margins.

Naftali Bennett replaced him as prime minister, taking power at a delicate moment in Israel’s history. Yair Lapid, a centrist leader and the new foreign minister, is set to take Bennett’s place after two years. Bennett and his partners pieced together a coalition from across the political spectrum, including an independent Arab party for the first time in Israel’s history, after Netanyahu failed to form a government following the most recent vote in March.

The one force that unites the coalition, an antipathy toward Netanyahu, is fading now that the coalition has power and responsibility. The new Israeli government will focus on restoring Israel’s traditional approach of seeking bipartisan American support, after years of tension with American Democrats. In a statement, President Joe Biden noted that he looked forward to working with Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between the United States and Israel.

US Asks Georgia to Mediate Between Armenia and Azerbaijan

By: Giorgi Menabde

On June 12, Azerbaijan and Armenia, through the mediation of the US State Department and the Georgian government, made an exchange: Baku released 15 Armenian captives, and Yerevan handed over to Azerbaijan maps of minefields in one of the formerly occupied regions around Karabakh. The freeing of Armenian prisoners took place on the territory of Georgia, not far from the point where the borders of all three South Caucasus states converge (Civil.ge, June 13).

On the same day, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili issued a special statement that he was “proud” of the role Georgia and he personally played in reaching an important compromise between Baku and Yerevan. Garibashvili stressed that Georgia achieved success in mediating between the two neighboring countries “in close coordination with our strategic partner the United States [and] Acting Assistant Secretary Philip Reeker to facilitate Azerbaijan’s release of 15 Armenian citizens detained during the conflict.” Also, according to the head of the Georgian government, the Armenian side’s conferral to Azerbaijan of information on the mined territories “is an important step” (Interpressnews, June 13).

The president of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili, commended the prime minister on this success. “Irakli Garibashvili, congratulations for the humanitarian agreement reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Georgia is back to its historic mediator role, [the] US and EU [European Union] are back in the Caucasus, building confidence is the path to lasting peace,” Zurabishvili wrote on Twitter (Interpressnews June 13).

Win or Lose, U.S. War Against China or Russia Won’t Be Short

Hal Brands

“For every thousand pages published on the causes of wars,” wrote the scholar Geoffrey Blainey half a century ago, “there is less than one page on the causes of peace.” A modified version of Blainey’s lament might usefully guide U.S. military planning today.

The Pentagon is getting serious about prevailing in the opening stages of a war with China or Russia. But wars between great powers rarely end after the opening salvo. The U.S. needs to be preparing for big, grinding conflicts that could drag on for months or years — and thinking as much about how those wars will end as how they might begin.

The scenarios for a war against China or Russia are easily imaginable. Beijing tries to invade Taiwan or make it surrender through bombardment and blockade. Chinese forces strike U.S. allies, such as Japan or the Philippines, in Asia’s inner seas. Russia launches a Baltic blitz against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s most exposed members.

A Pointless U.S.-Russia Summit?

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Given the ugly state of U.S.-Russian relations, expectations for meaningful, substantive results from President Biden’s summit with Vladimir Putin are more modest than they usually are for such events. Even so, they still may still be too optimistic. Both leaders do have an incentive not to let the talks blow up entirely and end with mutual expressions of vitriol. However, the most likely outcome is a vapid communique referring to “constructive discussions” and “a candid but cordial exchange of views on a range of important issues.”

Such diplomatic fluff will not, and cannot, conceal the deepening and dangerous deterioration in bilateral relations. Washington has an ever-expanding list of grievances against Moscow, with alleged interference in the internal political affairs of the United States and other democracies being at the top of the list, and accusations of cyber-attacks moving up fast. But U.S. leaders remain blind to their own provocations. The typical U.S. negotiating strategy in dealing with adversaries is to present a laundry list of grievances and demand concessions that amount to outright surrender regarding every point. Conversely, any U.S. concessions offered range from meager to nonexistent. It is the essence of capitulation diplomacy, and it captures accurately Washington’s dealings with Russia throughout the post-Cold War era.

Biden Should Think Big on the U.S.-EU Trade Agenda

Peter S. Rashish

When U.S. President Joe Biden participates in his first summit between the United States and the European Union tomorrow in Brussels, he should keep the focus on the big picture. While easing bilateral irritants would improve the tone of relations in the short term, the real test will be whether the U.S. and the EU can forge a common agenda of trans-Atlantic economic statecraft for the two key global challenges they face: China’s state capitalism and the existential threat of climate change.

Failure to do so would not only call into the question the strength of the trans-Atlantic relationship. It would also fuel populist opposition to one of Biden’s most fundamental—and persuasive—convictions: that the United States can only promote its values and interests globally by working closely with allies and other like-minded countries. ...

Why US power and water companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks

When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was hacked in 2018, it took a mere six hours. Early this year, an intruder lurked in hundreds of computers related to water systems across the US. In Portland, Oregon, burglars installed malicious computers onto a grid providing power to a chunk of the Northwest.

Two of those cases – L.A. and Portland – were tests. The water threat was real, discovered by cyber security firm Dragos.

All three drive home a point long known but, until recently, little appreciated: the digital security of US computer networks controlling the machines that produce and distribute water and power is woefully inadequate, a low priority for operators and regulators, posing a terrifying national threat.

“If we have a new world war tomorrow and have to worry about protecting infrastructure against a cyberattack from Russia or China, then no, I don’t think we’re where we’d like to be,” said Andrea Carcano, co-founder of Nozomi Networks, a control system security company.

The G7’s economic security agenda

Nicholas Crawford

Economic security depends not on domestic capacity but on maintaining a diversity of suppliers and customers across multiple countries, argues Nick Crawford. Should G7 states then seek to redress the growing tendency for economic self-reliance that comes at the expense of multilateralism?

Ahead of the 2021 G7 summit in Cornwall, the United Kingdom has used its presidency of the group to put economic security on the agenda. It has convened a panel to advise on three challenges: the security of supply chains for critical minerals, medical supplies and semiconductors; the international rulebook and economic competition; and technology and innovation around digital services and e-commerce.

The G7 agenda reflects growing concern among its members about their economic dependence on China and about Beijing’s ambition to shape international economic rules and standards in its own national interests. But the real problem the G7 needs to solve is the proliferation of independent, inward-looking initiatives on economic security among G7 governments, particularly in the United States and European Union.
Multilateralism gives way to greater self-reliance

Herd Immunity Is Closer Than You Think


LONDON – When will the world have vaccinated 80% of all adults, the level presumed by scientists to produce herd immunity against COVID-19? Most people’s answer is 2023 or 2024, which suggests deep pessimism about the progress of vaccinations outside the rich world. That is also why pledges at the recent G7 summit to donate one billion doses to poor countries during this year and in 2022 look to some like generous game-changers.

But despair is the wrong sentiment and self-congratulation by the G7 is the wrong reaction. If the current daily rate of vaccinations can be maintained, the world can reach its vaccination goal by January 2022. The first step toward effective action is to convince oneself that a problem is solvable. To that end, the Global Commission for Post-Pandemic Policy, an independent, non-partisan group of 34 high-level doers and thinkers from around the globe, has done the math to come up with a global vaccine countdown. Surprisingly, we found that the challenge is much more manageable than we imagined, and on a timetable much faster than that assumed by the G7 governments.

The Battle Over the Coronavirus Lab-Leak Theory

By Amy Davidson Sorkin

Astandard device in detective stories is a map on which certain buildings are circled. Their locations are thought to be revealing, though often they just create a false trail. When four of the first cases of a strange, pneumonia-like illness seen in Wuhan, China, in December, 2019, were found to have a connection to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, it seemed a key to solving the mystery of the illness’s origin. Live animals were reportedly on sale there, offering a route for pathogens to jump from wild species to humans. But then other cases, some of them earlier, were identified, with no known connection to the market. In due course, more sites were circled on the pandemic map. One was the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which contains a Biosafety Level 4 lab. The institute’s work included experiments on the bat coronaviruses that are among the closest known relatives to sars-CoV-2, which causes covid-19.

The market and the institute have at times served as shorthand for two broad sets of possible answers about the origin of the virus: that it was “zoonotic,” meaning that it travelled directly from animals, or that it was transmitted by an accidental “lab leak,” from a place such as the Wuhan Institute. On May 26th, President Joe Biden, in a statement, described U.S. intelligence agencies as being uncertain about which scenario is more likely, with a majority of them believing that firm evidence for either is lacking. Biden asked them to “redouble their efforts” and come back with a better answer in ninety days.

Oil, Energy and Mining in International Politics

Despite concerns over the environmental impact of industrial mining and the contribution that fossil fuels make to global warming, resource extraction continues to be a major source of revenue for both developing countries and wealthier nations alike. In fact, the amount of resources being pulled from the earth has tripled since 1970, though the global population has only doubled in that time.

Global efforts to reduce carbon emissions as part of climate change diplomacy notwithstanding, fossil fuels remain among the most prized extractives, for a simple reason: Global demand combined with the wealth they generate have historically given some countries, including members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, outsized global influence.

The lucrative contracts associated with the extractive sector help to explain why resource extraction remains central to many developing countries’ strategy to grow their economies. But the windfalls don’t come without risks, most prominent among them being the “resource curse” that can plague countries that fail to diversify their economies to generate alternate sources of revenue. Corruption can also thrive, especially when government institutions are weak. When the wealth generated from resource extraction isn’t fairly distributed, it can entrench a permanent elite, as in Saudi Arabia, or fuel persistent conflicts, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And the environmental damage caused by the extractive industries has decimated local communities and driven social protest movements around the world.

Vladimir Putin Fears Cyberattack From U.S., NATO Planning Against Russia


Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that he is concerned that the United States could attack his country and that NATO is planning a military operation.

In an interview with NBC News aired on Sunday, Putin said that: "What people can be afraid of in America, the very same thing can be a danger to us. The U.S. is a high-tech country, NATO has declared cyberspace an area of combat. That means they are planning something; they are preparing something so obviously this cannot but worry us."

Asked whether he feared U.S. intelligence was deep inside Russian systems and has the ability to do a lot of damage, Putin said: "I'm not afraid, but I bear in mind it's a possibility."

U.S. corporations and government agencies in recent months have fallen victim to several cyberattacks which Washington has blamed on Moscow.

These security breaches will be on the agenda when Putin meets U.S. President Joe Biden in a crunch one-day summit in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday.

It’s Time to Get Serious About Cyberattacks

by Jonathan Moore

Cyberattacks have been in the news more in the last year than the previous decade, and for good reason: they are becoming more serious. On Sunday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned that adversaries could “shut down” the U.S. power grid. FBI Director William Wray said there were parallels between cyberattacks and the challenge posed after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

These comments came on the heels of the cyberattack that temporarily halted the Colonial Pipeline that delivers fuel from Texas through New Jersey. That assault was not particularly sophisticated but was a watershed: the gasoline shortages it produced attracted national attention. They served as a wake-up call with the government and public now increasingly aware that cyberattacks are getting worse, not better.

Moreover, the government is now taking action with an executive order and proposals to spend more. But how we implement changes being discussed will make the difference between a less or more secure digital world for Americans.


Hasard Lee

As a fighter pilot, I have a lot of respect for what Elon Musk has accomplished. His ability to not adhere to dogma has allowed him to revolutionize two industries through SpaceX and Tesla. Much like a physicist, he relies on first-principle science to solve problems, which allows him to see things from a fresh perspective. However, he is wrong about the fighter jet era being over.

“Locally autonomous drone warfare is where it’s at, where the future will be,” Musk said to Air Force Lt. Gen. John Thompson at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium.

“It’s not that I want the future to be this, that’s just what the future will be. … The fighter jet era has passed. Yeah, the fighter jet era has passed. It’s drones.”

As a fighter pilot, my job is to not fall in love with the aircraft I fly, but to use it as a tool to accomplish a mission. We are constantly looking for ways to optimize our lethality while minimizing risk. If there is a better way to accomplish a mission, then it is our duty to use it. While I agree with Elon Musk that the future is drone warfare, I think we’re a lifetime away from seeing a fully autonomous Air Force.

ANALYSIS: Not All’s Fair in Cyber War (For Insurers or Insureds)

As critical infrastructure providers face foreign-linked cyberattacks more often, insurers and industry groups are grappling with complex issues to develop a consensus on what exactly is insurable. But businesses waiting in limbo are not entirely powerless. By scrutinizing their cyber coverage policies, and demanding more details on policies of their vendors, they can better prepare for the inevitable.
High Premiums, Higher Demand

With estimated premiums totaling about $5 billion in 2020, cyber insurance, which generally covers liability and financial loss resulting from a data breach or other information security incident, is more than a niche market. But over the ...

Reading the Nuclear Tea Leaves: Policy and Posture in the Biden Administration

Rebecca K.C. Hersman

The nuclear policy community is once again in the grips of pervasive anxiety that U.S. nuclear policy—encompassing force modernization decisions, declaratory policy, and perceptions of adversary nuclear threat and risk—is either about to dramatically change or fail to change as dramatically as it should. In a polarized community characterized by mistrust and a highly politicized discourse, it is not surprising that the public conversation is filled with competing perspectives that seek to ensure that their voices are heard before the policies are set. As such, the current discourse appears particularly noisy. The greatest controversy centers on the modernization of the nuclear force, in particular the future of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) force and commitment to the full triad of nuclear delivery systems, the role and primacy of nuclear weapons in our overall deterrence declaratory policy, the relative threat posed by Russia and China as drivers of U.S. nuclear policy, and the relevance and utility of arms control in managing and reducing these threats.

So far, neither side of the debate seems particularly happy. On the one hand, those that favor greater nuclear disarmament are increasingly frustrated that President Biden may walk back from some election promises to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security. On the other hand, several stakeholders in the U.S. nuclear enterprise seem equally worried that the new administration does not fully appreciate the growing deterrence challenges posed by both Russia and China and will walk back from a range of nuclear modernization commitments that were often supported by the Trump administration as well as the Obama administration.