21 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 Industrial Raw Material and Food Exports: Emergence of China as Important and Distinct Market

Amitendu Palit

China became India’s second largest export market in financial year 2021. Absorbing large amounts of industrial raw material and food exports, it is distinct from India’s other major export markets in the West and Middle East.

A year’s export performance, and that too in a most unusual year characterised by disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, is insufficient to draw conclusions on long-term trends. Nevertheless, China’s striking importance as an export market for India in a year marked by unprecedented deterioration in bilateral ties is noteworthy.

India’s overall exports declined by 7.1 per cent in Financial Year (FY) 2021. Among its top 20 export markets, exports declined for all, except four. These are China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Brazil. Annual export data provided by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry shows that Indian exports to these four countries have increased by 27.5 per cent, 10.8 per cent, 21.7 per cent and 7 per cent respectively in FY2021.

Big Tech confronts India’s Internet Governance Framework

Karthik Nachiappan, Nishant Rajeev

Social media giants, Twitter and WhatsApp, and the Indian government find themselves at odds over the recently enacted IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. While the Indian government contends that the rules are required to ensure national security and maintain public order, the companies argue that the rules can erode the fundamental rights of citizens. This battle will, in all likelihood, determine the extent of state power over the internet.

The Indian government released the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on 25 February 2021 to better manage the effects big technology companies are having on society. Private enterprises like Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp were given three months (until 25 May 2021) to comply. Now, shortly after the deadline has passed, foreign big technology companies find themselves increasingly at odds with these new regulations and the Indian government.

Climate change is remaking South Asia’s monsoon

Since arriving two days late at its usual landing point at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala near India’s southern tip, South Asia’s annual summer monsoon has made up for lost time. Tearing north, the south-westerly, rain-bearing winds covered four-fifths of the country in the first two weeks of June, reaching even India’s north-easternmost states. The monsoon’s western arm has yet to reach the states of Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan. But Yogesh Patil, head of Skymet, a private weather-forecasting service, predicts that the monsoon will cover the whole country by July 8th, pretty much bang on its average date.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan are also recipients of the South Asian monsoon. It touches over 1.8bn people, or nearly a quarter of the world’s population. Though its circulation is complex, at its heart the summer monsoon is a sea breeze that operates on a season-long, continental scale. A rapidly heating Indian subcontinent causes hot air over it to rise. That draws in wetter maritime air from the Indian Ocean. As this air in turn rises, it cools and falls as rain. The northern wall of the Himalayas amplifies the effect.

The monsoon’s arrival is cause for rejoicing. Over 70% of the year’s rain falls in just four months. It cools the fierce summer heat and slakes a thirsty earth. The Ganges and other rivers fill and spread rich silt over flood plains. Sown crops put on growth at last. Agriculture supplies nearly half of all India’s jobs and accounts for nearly 20% of gdp (most farmers rely on rain-fed crops rather than irrigation). A bad monsoon can cut economic growth by a third, drive farmers into penury and create knock-on effects for government revenues when they are needed most. The remark by a British imperial administrator that the Indian budget is “a gamble in rain” remains true today.

Aerial manoeuvres in the South China Sea

Euan Graham

A recent aerial encounter over the South China Sea between military aircraft from China and Malaysia is potentially significant on a number of fronts, explains Euan Graham. Could it serve as a portent of a more assertive Chinese military air posture over the South China Sea?

According to a 1 June statement by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), on 31 May, a formation of 16 transport aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) was monitored as it approached the coastline of Sarawak, in east Malaysia, first passing through the Flight Information Region (FIR) administered by Singapore, then that of Malaysia. After radio communications failed to elicit a response, a pair of RMAF Hawk light combat aircraft were sent to identify and intercept the Chinese aircraft. After making visual contact, the PLAAF formation turned back north, passing within 60 nautical miles (nm) of Malaysia.

The RMAF statement protested the formation flight as a ‘serious matter that threatens national security and aviation safety’. Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who hitherto held the defence portfolio and has attracted occasional criticism for his deferential behaviour towards Beijing went a step further, describing China’s actions as a ‘breach of the Malaysian airspace and sovereignty’.

ASEAN’s Search for a Third Way: Southeast Asia’s Relations with China and the United States

Felix K. Chang
Source Link

Stung by Southeast Asian criticism of Chinese behavior in the South China Sea at the 2010 ASEAN Regional Forum, China’s then-Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi curtly remarked to his Singaporean counterpart: “China is a big country and other countries are small countries, and that is just a fact.” As Yang saw things, smaller countries would have to accept China’s actions, however frustrating. While Yang’s remark may have been unusually brusque (given China’s diplomatic “charm offensive” at the time), it was not far off the mark. Bigger countries with greater economic and military power have typically carried more sway than smaller ones with lesser power.

That, however, does not mean that Southeast Asian countries have to like it. Indeed, it has grated on many of them since they became independent nation-states in the mid-twentieth century, an era when external great powers—notably China, the Soviet Union, and the United States—pressured them to join their respective Cold War camps. Eventually, the prospect of being dominated by such great powers, in part, motivated five of Southeast Asia’s largest countries to create the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1967. They hoped to find a “third way” based on regional consensus and cooperation, aspects of an approach to international relations they termed the “ASEAN Way.” That hope still resonates today. As tensions between China and the United States have risen over the 2010s, Southeast Asian leaders are often heard expressing their desire to avoid choosing sides. No doubt, a “third way” holds great appeal, but as a foreign-policy tool to deal with great powers, it has not been very effective, especially when those powers, in particular China, have used their leverage over individual ASEAN countries to undermine consensus-building.

Joe Biden’s Transatlantic Bridge to the Indo-Pacific Region

Patrick M. Cronin

President Joe Biden’s first foreign trip navigated European geography but negotiated Asian strategy.

Carbis Bay, Brussels, and Geneva may sound more like vacation destinations than gateways to the future. Yet those European venues restored US leadership at a time of global hardship and great-power disharmony.

Critics dismiss the value of trusted American leadership in the world and decry the shortfalls of collective action. But Biden didn’t miss the opportunity to shake up international relations. Instead, he rallied the wealthiest and most powerful states around an alternative vision to China’s and Russia’s authoritarian dreams.

Uniting allies around an affirmative agenda is at the core of the Biden administration’s grand strategy of democratic solidarity. After four years of igniting dumpster fires with “America first” chest-thumping, U.S. diplomacy arose from the ashes. Truth beats fibs, hope topples fear, and Joe Biden knows the difference between an ally and a rival.

China & South Africa: Comrades in Arms

Eva Nolle, Talya Parker 


China and South Africa’s relationship has reached new heights since establishing ties in the 1990s, culminating in South Africa’s appointment as a Comprehensive Strategic Partner in 2010. South Africa is now China’s largest trading partner in the Africa, the greatest recipient of Chinese investment and arguably China’s greatest ally on the continent. Through all this, China has managed to cultivate a substantial influence over South Africa, it’s politics and economy. This influence can be seen through the ANC’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, the South African economy’s overreliance China and South Africa’s defence of China’s strategies on a regional level. Despite the skewed relationship, South Africa is heavily reliant on China’s investment and ongoing commitment to assist them, creating incentive to not slow down this growing influence of China in South Africa.

Iran’s Engineered Election Leaves Reformists With No Good Options

Razieh Armin

Iranians will go to the polls this Friday to choose the successor to centrist President Hassan Rouhani, who is winding down his second four-year term and cannot run for reelection. The polls will take place in an atmosphere of widespread public apathy, as voters choose from a list of presidential candidates that has been heavily vetted beforehand. Of the seven contenders approved last month by the Guardian Council—an oversight body of 12 clerics who are closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei—five are regarded as hard-liners, while the other two are uncharismatic moderates with relatively low profiles. Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line jurist, is widely seen as the front-runner.

The reformists, one of the main political blocs in the country’s fluid factional landscape, saw all of their preferred candidates excluded, raising the very real prospect that they could be shut out from the key participatory instrument in Iran’s government for at least the next four years. ...

Tehran’s nuclear secrets have been exposed

Clifford D. May

Spies steal secrets. Sometimes, those secrets must be carefully studied and analyzed by experts to turn them into products useful to policymakers.

The spies I’ll be talking about here worked for the Mossad. The expert who has painstakingly transformed the secrets they collected into actionable intelligence is David Albright. And the policymaker who should be revising his policies in response to a clearer picture of reality is President Joe Biden.

The story begins on a cold night in January of 2018 when Israeli agents stealthily broke into a warehouse in southern Tehran where Iran’s rulers had stored an archive of their nuclear weapons program.

In an interview broadcast on Israeli television last week, former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen revealed new details of the operation. Planning required two years and included the construction of a replica of the warehouse. Twenty agents were trained for the mission. None of them were Israelis. They had less than seven hours to carry out their risky mission.

Iran’s Role in the Latest Gaza Conflict

Oved Lobel

References to Iran have been glaringly absent from commentary on the clash between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, even though two primary terrorist organisations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have effusively praised Tehran and its regional proxies for providing their military capabilities and finance.

Moreover, the way the conflict was framed both by the Gaza groups and by Iran’s broader regional network, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to the Houthis in Yemen, makes it clear that they all view their regional battles as mere fronts in an integrated transnational jihad directed against Israel by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

As Islamic Jihad and Hamas have repeatedly asserted for years, they would have little capacity to start these wars against Israel without IRGC training, funding, arms transfers and expertise. Not only does Iran provide arms and rockets, but it has also established local production capability for all its proxies and trained operatives externally in the technical aspects, even custom-designing cruder rockets like the Badr-3 that can be manufactured with ease in Gaza.

Win or lose, US war against China or Russia won’t be short

Hal Brands
Source Link

“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.

American military planners have, appropriately, turned their attention to deterring these moves and fighting back if they occur. They are focusing especially on avoiding the fait accompli — where Russia or China uses military superiority around the target to quickly grab territory that is just too costly for the U.S. to liberate. So the Pentagon must amass the capabilities, and devise the concepts, necessary to break a Russian armored assault or sink a Chinese invasion fleet.

NATO Targets the ‘3 C’s’: China, Cyberattacks and Climate Change

James Stavridis

It may seem surprising that the most important summit I attended during my time at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was not in Europe but in Chicago, hosted by President Barack Obama in May 2012.

Downtown was cordoned off, the sirens of motorcades dominated the Windy City, and around the table were the leaders of the (then) 28 nations of the alliance. My job as supreme allied military commander was to brief leaders on NATO’s global operations.

Back then, some issues were roughly the same as we saw at this week’s summit in Brussels: unease about a resurgent Russia, which had invaded Georgia a couple of years earlier; Afghanistan, where 150,000 troops were deployed in a counterterrorism and training mission; unrest in the Balkans, where the alliance maintained 15,000 soldiers keeping the peace; and piracy off the coast of East Africa.

Washington’s Dangerous New Consensus on China

Bernie Sanders

The unprecedented global challenges that the United States faces today—climate change, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, massive economic inequality, terrorism, corruption, authoritarianism—are shared global challenges. They cannot be solved by any one country acting alone. They require increased international cooperation—including with China, the most populous country on earth.

It is distressing and dangerous, therefore, that a fast-growing consensus is emerging in Washington that views the U.S.-Chinese relationship as a zero-sum economic and military struggle. The prevalence of this view will create a political environment in which the cooperation that the world desperately needs will be increasingly difficult to achieve.

It is quite remarkable how quickly conventional wisdom on this issue has changed. Just over two decades ago, in September 2000, corporate America and the leadership of both political parties strongly supported granting China “permanent normal trade relations” status, or PNTR. At that time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the corporate media, and virtually every establishment foreign policy pundit in Washington insisted that PNTR was necessary to keep U.S. companies competitive by giving them access to China’s growing market, and that the liberalization of China’s economy would be accompanied by the liberalization of China’s government with regard to democracy and human rights.

U.S.-Russia Summit: Why Biden and Putin Both Won

Jacob Heilbrunn

No, the Biden-Putin summit did not lead to the eradication of nuclear weapons or world peace. Nobody looked into each other’s eyes and declared that they could divine a beautiful soul. But nor was it the nothingburger that skeptics were predicting.

Start with the optics. For President Joe Biden, it was an opportunity to show that he could hold his own on the world stage; for President Vladimir Putin, that Russia matters. Both won by showing up and eschewing any drama. Putin was early. Biden didn’t take any gratuitous swipes. It was all business for both leaders.

For Biden in particular the summit could have gone badly. Russia hawks in both parties were noisily claiming that he was paying obeisance to Putin simply by meeting him. This was nonsense. Biden never equivocated, let alone went down the road that the former guy, as he likes to refer to him, followed at Helsinki in July 2018. What’s more, Biden was never worked over by Putin the way a manifestly unprepared John F. Kennedy was by Nikita Khrushchev in June 1961 in Vienna.

Why Joe Biden is taking his time with America’s China policy

Douglas H. Paal

We are now six months into the new administration of President
Joe Biden, in the middle of his plans to “build back better” for the United States. But when it comes to policies related to China, there is not yet much to see that gives concrete meaning to that slogan.

Of course, we should remember that in his remarkably disciplined campaign for office, candidate Biden focused on first defeating the Covid-19 pandemic, jump-starting the American economy and dealing with social and racial inequities, not reversing or substantially changing Donald Trump’s erratic China policies.

In the early months, Biden has presided over remarkably successful
roll-outs of vaccines against the pandemic. You can feel America getting back to work, school and life as the virus loosens its grip.

Russian Media in Germany: How Russian information warfare and disinformation have affected Germany

Dr. Susanne Spahn


Germany is the main focus of Russian disinformation campaigns in the EU. As intern documents of the Russian president’s former adviser, Vladislav Surkov show the hybrid warfare is being organized by the Russian leadership as well as the control of the main media outlets including the foreign broadcaster RT. The Russian state media based in Berlin not only try to spread Russian narratives on controversial issues such as the Ukraine conflict but also influence elections on a regional, federal and European level. As documented below RT Deutsch und Sputnik continuously supported the right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany and The Left. Members of Parliament of these party back Russian policy by travelling to hot spots of Russian interference in Syria and Ukraine. These travels are being covered by Russian state media extensively. This sort of media alliance helps to legitimate Russian foreign policy, whereas MPs try to increase their popularity among the German audience.

Will Putin's Hackers Launch a Cyber Pearl Harbor—and a Shooting War?


Joe Biden took office in January in the wake of the SolarWinds attack, an unprecedented and potentially disastrous penetration of U.S. government computer systems by hackers believed to be directed by the Russian intelligence service, the SVR. The new American president promised to shore up the nation's cyber defenses against foreign foes. As if on cue, hackers struck with two major ransomware attacks, closing the Colonial Pipeline, which provides about 100 million gallons of gas a day to the southeastern U.S., and halting production at all U.S. facilities of the world's biggest beef producer, Brazil-based JBS. The events underscored the immense vulnerability of a trillion-dollar, internet-based economy for which security is an afterthought.

Most Americans seem to assume that a cyber attack, even by an avowed adversary like Russia or Iran, would be answered in kind—that the U.S. would cause an annoying power outage or a brief internet failure. But experts and former intelligence and cyber-security officials tell Newsweek that hackers linked to Russia have launched cyber attacks on the U.S. that have come frighteningly close to the red line: a digital incursion that would prompt a deadly real-life response.

Key Lawmaker Warns Off Space Force On Tactical ISR


WASHINGTON: One of the the founding fathers of the Space Force is less than enthusiastic about the new service’s push to take over responsibility from NRO for providing tactical-level intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance from space.

Rep. Jim Cooper not only chairs the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, which oversees the Space Force, but he also has a seat on the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), which oversees the National Reconnaissance Office.

NRO, he told a webinar sponsored by the National Security Space Association (NSSA) today, “has a proven track record in that regard” and cautioned that shifting gears may not be wise.

“I think before you hand off the ball, let’s make sure there won’t be a fumble — and the Space Force has a lot on it’s plate right now. So let’s not rush these decisions, and if it’s being capably handled today, let’s probably stick with that for the time being,” he said.

Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance

At the dawn of the nuclear age, the United States hoped to maintain a monopoly on its new weapon, but the secrets and the technology for building the atomic bomb soon spread. The United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945. Just four years later, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test explosion. The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed. Seeking to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other like-minded countries negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.

India, Israel, and Pakistan never signed the NPT and possess nuclear arsenals. Iraq initiated a secret nuclear program under Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003 and has successfully tested advanced nuclear devices since that time. Iran and Libya have pursued secret nuclear activities in violation of the treaty’s terms, and Syria is suspected of having done the same. Still, nuclear nonproliferation successes outnumber failures, and dire decades-old forecasts that the world would soon be home to dozens of nuclear-armed have not come to pass.

Jamestown Foundation

China Brief, June 7, 2021, v. 21, no. 11

Chinese Leaders Project Confidence in Self-Sufficiency Amid Post-Pandemic Food Security Concerns

What I Learned From the PLA’s Latest Strategy Textbook

Automation and Digitalization of Justice in China’s Smart Court Systems

Beijing Boosts its Position as a “Himalayan Hegemon” Through Hydropower

Suez Closure Brightens the Future of China’s New Silk Road

The methods and menace of the new bank robbers

TALK TO BANKERS and some will tell you that when it comes to cyber-crime, they are second only to the military in terms of the strength of their defences. And yet trawl the dark web, as Intel 471, an intelligence firm, did on behalf of The Economist in May, and it is obvious that attempts to breach those walls are commonplace. One criminal was detected trying to recruit insiders within America’s three biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, offering a “seven-to-eight-figure” weekly payment to authorise fraudulent wire transfers. Another was auctioning the details of 30m accounts at Bank Mellat in Iran (a country of 83m).

Such activity represents the handiwork of a new breed of bank robber. Forget the hold-ups of yore. Today’s smartest hackers are likely to be backed by rogue states, such as North Korea and, to a lesser extent, Iran, or tolerated by countries such as Russia and China. They benefit from unprecedented resources and protection from law-enforcement agencies. As well as attempting to empty accounts, they also target data for insider trading.

As one of the first industries to offer online transactions, banks have been fending off hackers since the dawn of the internet. They spend more on cyber-security than any other sort of firm—$2,691 per employee—and manage to foil a lot of the attempted thefts. Nonetheless, since 2016, no industry has suffered more from attacks than banks (see chart).


Christine G. Gilbert, Jim Houchens, Christopher S. Moeller, Arman Mozahebi

In the global market for 5G infrastructure components, government regulation can prevent the use of equipment developed by or imported from adversarial nations within the U.S. telecommunications structure but regulations do not ensure that the private sector can offer economically feasible alternatives. This requires a healthy, diverse technology ecosystem that can innovate and achieve economies of scale at a competitive price. Unfortunately, the current provision of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) on proprietary end-to-end (E2E) integrated systems imposes higher manufacturing costs and requires specialized cross-disciplinary skills. These barriers to entry inhibit U.S. companies from entering the 5G market, let alone establishing a leadership position in it.

The needed disruptor that is emerging is Open RAN—a new set of specifications that disaggregates the RAN into a set of interoperable components. The Open RAN architecture, with standardized interfaces between RAN components, facilitates interoperability and reduces barriers to entry, by enabling innovators to focus on those components where they have the greatest competence. By fostering the emergence of new entrants into the commercial marketplace, creating greater competition, and reducing the need for specialized components, U.S. industry can produce economically viable and trusted alternatives more quickly and at scale. Current U.S. Open RAN offerings are not mature enough to attract sufficient worldwide market share. Early adoption and targeted investment from the U.S. government and industry will provide a defined path for Open RAN to restore U.S. leadership in the global 5G infrastructure market.

Drone Gun Tactical the ultimate UAV killer


Yes, it’s large for a gun — 56 inches long, 18 inches tall and 8 inches wide.

And it looks like something out of a Star Wars movie.

But it weighs just 16 pounds loaded with two rechargeable 14.4V lithium battery packs, and, there’s no heavy accompanying backpack, like you would need with a flamethrower.

And yeah, it’s lethal.

Using radiofrequency (RF) jamming to disrupt operator links, it can drop drones more than a kilometer away. You just need to maintain line of sight.

Power wise, you should get an hour or two of straight jamming, more than enough to take down a dozen UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).