29 August 2023

India, China and Setting the Right Expectations

Kamran Bokhari

The Chinese economy’s extended tumble is undoubtedly being watched from India with glee and opportunism. Ever since India became the world’s fifth-largest economy a year ago, there has been a lot of talk about its potential to replace China as the world’s manufacturing hub. Realistically, the development gap between the two countries imposes serious limits on New Delhi’s ability to take advantage of Beijing’s dwindling fortunes. What is likely, however, is that India will adjust the way it does business so as to attract enough investments over the next several years to reduce some of the world’s dependency on the Chinese industrial complex. How this unfolds will have a major bearing on U.S. national security and foreign policy in the coming decades.

The Biden administration is trying to curb U.S. investment in China. In some respects, this process was already underway; for example, U.S. venture capital investment in China has declined significantly since 2021. But Washington wants to go further, specifically to prevent Beijing from using American money to advance its military capabilities. So, on Aug. 9, the White House issued an executive order restricting investment in China in three strategic sectors: semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies, and artificial intelligence.

In the short term, at least, the U.S. and Chinese economies are too interconnected for Washington to push this strategy very far. The sluggish Chinese economy is already hurting American corporations with major commercial interests there. In recognition of the economies’ interdependence, the Treasury Department said it would exempt “publicly traded instruments and intracompany transfers from U.S. parents to subsidiaries.” The U.S. well understands that China’s enormous market share, acquired over decades, will not be easily reversed. After all, it was Washington’s strategy dating back to the Cold War that played a key role in China’s rise.

With India’s Moon triumph, lunar space race surges while UN struggles to set guardrails


WASHINGTON — India’s historic lunar landing Wednesday signalled the next step in a new era of multilateral space exploration and served to highlight the progress yet to be made by international bodies in laying out the rules of the extraterrestrial road.

With the successful soft landing of the Chandrayaan-3, India became the fourth nation to land on the Moon and the first country to do so near the lunar south pole. That feat came only three days after Russia’s attempt to do the same ended in a fiery crash and in advance of planned US and Chinese missions to put astronauts on the lunar surface by the end of next year and the end of the decade, respectively.

Each of these missions has the same brass ring in mind: opening the door to the exploitation of lunar orbits and resources, such as the south pole’s water ice and stashes of specialty metals underneath the dusty regolith, for economic and potentially even strategic gain.

In the US, a host of hawkish voices over the past few years have been upping the volume about the threat posed by China’s communist ambitions. Even NASA administrator Bill Nelson has expressed concerns that Beijing might try to claim resource-rich lunar real estate as its own territory and block US access.

Does the Indian Constitution Need to be Amended?


The Indian Constitution is considered to be one of the finest constitutional documents in the world, and yet it has undergone 105 amendments to date.

Despite so many amendments, any hint of a review provokes outrage, particularly from liberals, who fear this will lead to the diminishing of India’s democracy and the dismantling of its parliamentary system. Such outrage is particularly intense when the issue of amendment is raised by the Hindutva camp.

In this context, Bibek Debroy, chairman of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Economic Advisory Council, stirred the hornet’s nest when he suggested in his column last week that India needs a new constitution. Realizing the damage it would do politically when elections are just a few months away, the Modi government swiftly distanced itself from his assertion.

Debroy’s assertion was rubbished by government critics as well. A few smelled a conspiracy and drew attention to the long-standing objections of Hindutva organizations to the present constitution. When the constitution was adopted on January 26, 1950, Hindutva organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hindu Maha Sabha had alleged that the constitution did not have an Indian soul as it had borrowed Western concepts verbatim.

I am no fan of Debroy. Neither do I subscribe to the ideology he professes. But I do feel that the time has come for a critical assessment of the constitution and if needed, amendments should be made.

Baba Saheb Bheem Rao Ambedkar, independent India’s first law minister, who is considered to be the architect of the constitution, was aware of the criticism of the newly drafted constitution, and tried to dispel some misgivings. But his most profound assessment was that “India must strive to be a social democracy and not merely a political democracy.” By social democracy, he meant “a way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life.”

A rationalist, Ambedkar was not blinded by faith of any kind. By 1953 he realized the practical inadequacies of the constitution. I won’t say he was disillusioned, but he definitely thought that the constitution could have been better. His was an intellectual pursuit; he was not in favor of discarding the constitution but was searching for perfection. He was aware of the imperfections and infirmities of Indian society, which had adopted the ultra-modern constitution. He was like a genius who, after having created a masterpiece, finds too many faults in his creation.

BRICS is doubling its membership. Is the bloc a new rival for the G7?

Atlantic Council experts

This bloc goes to eleven. At its summit on Thursday in Johannesburg, the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa announced that its membership is more than doubling. Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia have been invited to join the group in January. A formidable rival to the Group of Seven (G7) democratic powers could reshape geoeconomics and geopolitics across a range of issues, from Russia’s war in Ukraine to the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Does the yet-to-be-acronymed group amount to such a rival? Atlantic Council experts share their insights below.

With six new members, BRICS is tilting toward China

At the BRICS Summit, the group has just agreed to admit six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE; and to consider other prospective countries. Strongly supported by China and Russia, the inclusion of Iran has strengthened the anti-US axis in the BRICS—probably making it more antagonistic and more challenging for the United States and the West to deal with it as an organization which contains two internationally sanctioned members. This decision reflects the sway of China together with Russia in the group and could not be very comfortable for moderate members like India and Brazil.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE would add important economic heft to the group, which now includes several important Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members as well as Russia—giving it a relevancy in the geopolitics of the global oil market. Saudi Arabia and Argentina, both members of the Group of Twenty (G20), could enable the BRICS to help coordinate the views of most of the emerging market G20 members. In this sense, the group could serve as an informal counterpart to the G7, which coordinates developed countries’ positions in advance of G20 meetings. However, with a strong China-Russia-Iran axis, the group may end up pushing for anti-Western positions, making compromises in the G20 more difficult to reach.

Vivek Ramaswamy Is Not the Next Trump

Jay Caspian Kang

Presidential debates, especially those held more than a year before the actual election, are both tedious and chaotic. We all know at this point to not make too much of them. But, much like preseason football, they provide exciting, if illusory, bits of narrative possibility.

For the entrepreneur and political novice Vivek Ramaswamy, the early storyline is that he put on the most Trump-like performance of all the Republican candidates who took the stage on Wednesday night. The evidence for that claim comes from the obnoxious way that Ramaswamy dealt with his opponents. He claimed to be the only candidate who hadn’t been “bought off,” made a series of frankly confusing hand gestures while his opponents were speaking, and spent almost the entirety of the debate with what we will generously call an impish grin on his face. He seemed, more than anything, to be having a lot of fun at the expense of the other candidates, whose behaviour ranged from confused earnestness (Doug Burgum) to polite indignation (Mike Pence) to random yelling (Ron DeSantis).

Ramaswamy’s insult-comedy show had its desired effect on the press. According to a report in the Free Press, reporters from media outlets like CNN ignored other candidates in the post-debate scrums and beelined for Ramaswamy. Articles about his debate performance appeared in the Wall Street Journal; in Politico, which called him “the next closest thing stylistically” to Trump; and in the Times, whose opinion section referred to him as “Trump’s stand-in,” a “Trump surrogate,” and “Trump’s heir.”

So begins a now familiar sequence of events: Ramaswamy’s gleeful trolling got the most attention, which will, in turn, drive more press coverage, which then will lead to better name recognition and a boost in the polls. As long as he’s willing to entertain—and it must be said that Ramaswamy’s provocations were the only lively part of an otherwise boring show—he will be following the Trump playbook for staying in the headlines.

Electronic warfare modernisation powers up

Robert Wall

In the two decades of counter-insurgency fighting by United States forces and allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, much of the focus for EW was on jamming improvised explosive devices. But Russia’s latest military operation in Ukraine and China’s military modernisation are revitalising interest in the US, Asia and Europe in enhancing their ability to manage, disrupt and exploit the electromagnetic spectrum. And there is catching up to do.

US Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, nominated to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signalled his concern in his confirmation hearing in July this year. ‘Over the past few decades, the joint force has lost some muscle memory defending against electromagnetic attack by conducting operations within a permissive electromagnetic spectrum,’ the nominee told senators.

Russia has been extensively using EW assets in the fight in Ukraine, employing a mix of GPS jammers and other systems to defeat Kyiv’s uninhabited aerial vehicles and guided munitions. Russia has used EW systems on its front line to counter Ukraine’s ongoing counter-offensive, though the length of the front line means there are areas to which support does not stretch, according to Ukraine. The US, meanwhile, supplied Kyiv RTX AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missiles to augment Ukraine’s EW capabilities.

China, meanwhile, has intensified its efforts to become a more formidable electromagnetic spectrum combat power and several years ago elevated the group responsible for EW operations. The Taiwanese defence ministry has reported that China has flown J-16D escort jammers as part of several force packages that have entered its air defence identification zone. The Pentagon also says China has been working on counter-space EW systems, including satellite jammers. The People’s Liberation Army Navy is also set to receive the J-15D, a two-seat carrier-capable fighter equipped with electronic intelligence gathering pods.

Buying powerThe threat development is driving modernisation of EW capabilities elsewhere. Poland last year ordered two signals intelligence ships that are slated for delivery in 2027. Steel cutting took place on 27 April, prime contractor Saab said. The first of the ships, the ORP Jerzy Różycki, is being constructed by Poland’s Remontowa Shipbuilding.

Prigozhin’s death

Nigel Gould-Davies

On 23 August, Yevgeny Prigozhin suffered the fate widely expected after his mutiny and march on Moscow two months earlier. Russian President Vladimir Putin was clear at the time that these were acts of treachery. His view that traitors cannot be forgiven and his record of pursuing them across borders and for many years is well known.

The surprise was that Putin had appeared to reconcile with Prigozhin, allowing him to remain at large in Russia despite the initial deal to exile him to Belarus. He even maintained a high profile, including by appearing at the Russia–Africa Summit in July and by continuing with the Wagner Group’s activities in Africa, from where he had returned just before his death.

It seems that Putin merely postponed Prigozhin’s death, probably to lull him and others into a false sense of security while the security services conducted their investigation into the extent of sympathy for, complicity in and foreknowledge of the Wagner revolt in military and other circles. It is likely that they have now concluded this investigation. General Sergei Surovikin, detained after the revolt and not seen since, was fired as head of the Russian Aerospace Forces immediately before Prigozhin’s death. This timing is unlikely to be a coincidence.

Putin has a record of employing exotic means to punish ‘traitors’, including radioactive polonium and the military nerve agent Novichok. In this case, the symbolic resonance of a plane crash – mirroring Wagner’s own shooting down of six Russian aircraft during its abortive revolt – is clear.

The plane crash that killed Prigozhin also killed several other key Wagner figures. It was an efficient way to decapitate the organisation, the future of which is now unclear. There are already signs that its forces deployed in Belarus after the revolt may be preparing to leave. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will likely resume his plans to integrate most Wagner forces into the regular armed forces, and Russian military intelligence (GRU) may take control of Wagner’s lucrative activities in Africa.

Does an Expanded BRICS Mean Anything?


LONDON – When I coined the BRIC acronym back in 2001, my primary point was that global governance would need to adjust to incorporate the world’s largest emerging economies. Not only did Brazil, Russia, India, and China top the list of that cohort; they also were collectively responsible for governing close to half of the world’s population. It stood to reason that they should be represented accordingly.

Over the past two decades, some have misread my initial paper as a kind of investment thesis, while others have interpreted it as an endorsement of the BRICS (South Africa was added in 2010) as a political grouping. But I never intended any such thing. On the contrary, ever since the Brazilian and Russian foreign ministers proposed the idea of creating a formal BRIC political grouping in 2009, I have questioned the organization’s purpose, beyond serving as a symbolic gesture.

Now that the BRICS has announced that it will add six more countries – Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – I pose the question again. The decision, after all, does not appear to have been decided on any clear objective, much less economic, criteria. Why, for example, was Indonesia not asked? Why Argentina and not Mexico, or Ethiopia and not Nigeria?

Clearly, the BRICS’ symbolic power will grow. The group has been able to tap into the broader Global South’s suspicion that post-World War II global-governance organizations are too Western. It has occasionally been able to present itself as the voice of the emerging and developing world – a category that of course excludes the United States and other advanced economies. Insofar as it has reminded everyone that the structure of international institutions does not reflect the global economic shifts over the past 30 years, it has succeeded.

It is true that in terms of purchasing power parity, the BRICS are slightly larger than the G7. But, because their currencies trade at prices far below their PPP-implied levels, the group remains significantly smaller than its advanced-economy counterpart, when measured in current nominal US dollars.

Time and Logistics are Working Against Ukraine

Zachary Yost Matthew Bryant

Americans have grown up with the idea of the underdog. The dashing rebels that defeat a more powerful opponent through sheer determination and nobility is a staple cliche in popular culture. Unfortunately, the reality is that better-equipped armies usually beat those less equipped regardless of the strength of their cause. General Omar Bradley once said, “Amateurs talk strategy; professionals talk logistics.” The current discourse around the Ukraine conflict usually focuses on feats of heroism or the righteousness of the cause and less on the practical matters of munitions, production capabilities, and overall manpower issues.

Munitions, armaments, and manpower are the currency in this conflict, and the Western bloc is running out of all three. Russian drones, artillery, and air strikes have hammered Ukraine’s industrial base. The economic cost is astronomical. Congress has approved an estimated $113 billion in defense and financial aid to Ukraine since February 2022—more than half of Ukraine’s annual GDP.

The United States and NATO are becoming painfully aware of this fact every day as Western armories become increasingly depleted, and there is no existing industrial capacity to replenish the stockpiles, let alone continue to arm Ukraine.

The Return of Industrial Wars of Attrition

Following the end of the Cold War, it became increasingly fashionable for military policymakers to argue that “hybrid warfare” had replaced large-scale conventional warfare. As Patrick Porter explores in his recent Journal of Global Security Studies essay, hybrid warfare is fought with or against non-state or proxy actors, often using subterfuge tactics and cyber and economic warfare. In 2009, then UK Chief of Defence Staff, General David Richards, dismissed the idea that China or Russia would dare to confront the West with conventional military arms, claiming instead that “there is a good case for believing that even state-on-state warfare will be similar to that we will be conducting against non-state groupings.” As Porter proves, even a cursory glance at recent history proves this thesis is demonstrably false.

One of the clearest examples of this mindset manifesting in war planning is the requirement that NATO members stockpile enough material to sustain high-intensity combat for a mere thirty days. This optimistic pre-war planning is typical for peacetime policymakers. In The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman notes how governments before the First World War hoarded stockpiles of artillery shells that they believed would last them throughout a hypothetical war. However, following the events of August 1914, the armories of the Allied and Central Powers were depleted within months, and domestic production increased considerably.

What Is Driving Pakistan-US Security Cooperation After the War in Afghanistan?

Hamdan Khan

U.S. military personnel assigned to United States Central Command prepare a U.S. C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, loaded with critical supplies in support of a USAID-led humanitarian mission to Pakistan at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Sep. 14, 2022.Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte

The only feature that has remained consistent throughout the history of the Pakistan-U.S. relationship is inconsistency. During the last 75 years, there have been phases of mutually beneficial convergences of interests yielding broader-based cooperation, but each such peak in the ties was followed by extended periods of estrangement. Accordingly, the Pakistan-U.S. relationship has been given many different characterizations – most notably, “transactional,” epitomizing “magnificent delusions,” and “riding the roller coaster” – all underscoring its consistently inconsistent quintessence.

Nevertheless, in the most recent case, following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Pakistan-U.S. relationship didn’t hit a nadir like in the previous instances when a proximate cause for cooperation was removed. Despite the dark shadows of deep divergences over the war in Afghanistan and resulting wariness, the two sides have maintained and, in some areas, bolstered cooperation across a range of fields including health, clean energy, disaster response, trade, and investments. The Pakistan-U.S. trade volume grew to reach $12 billion in 2022, and Washington maintained its status as one of the biggest foreign investors in Pakistan. Furthermore, following devastating climate-induced floods last year, the United States was among the top suppliers of relief goods to Pakistan, besides pledging a hefty sum of humanitarian aid.

In addition, the two sides have maintained security ties, though on a relatively modest scale. While the Trump administration had resumed the once-suspended military training program for Pakistan, the Biden administration went further. In September 2022, the State Department approved a foreign military sale worth $450 million for the maintenance of Pakistan’s F-16 program.

In February 2023, an inter-agency delegation from Pakistan visited Washington to attend the second round of the Pakistan-U.S. Defense Dialogue, which focused on bilateral defense and security cooperation. This month, media reports claimed that Islamabad has given a nod to the signing of the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CIS-MOA) with Washington, which came days after the latest in a series of visits to Pakistan by General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the commander of U.S. Central Command. The CIS-MOA was signed in 2005 for 15 years; its reinstatement now, after a three-year hiatus, coupled with the other defense interactions noted above reflects both sides’ willingness to maintain some degree of security cooperation.

2023 National Intelligence Strategy Released

Gia Kokotakis

On Aug. 9, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the 2023 National Intelligence Strategy. The strategy names great power competition with China as a significant threat while acknowledging the indirect threat Russia poses to the U.S. through its danger to Europe and Eurasia and potential to cause disruption and instability at a global level. The report outlines six goals for the intelligence community:

Position the IC for Intensifying Strategic Competition

Recruit, Develop, and Retain a talented and Diverse Workforce that Operates as a United Community

Deliver Interoperable and Innovative Solutions at Scale

Diversify, Expand, and Strengthen Partnerships

Expand IC Capabilities and Expertise on Transnational Challenges

Enhance Resilience

Moving toward an All-of-the-Above Approach to Quantum Cybersecurity

Jonah Force Hill , Ryan McKenney , and Kaniah Konkoly

For nearly 30 years, the cybersecurity community has known that a quantum computer of sufficient size and sophistication—if such a machine were ever built—could be used to undermine the security of the world’s most widely used encryption schemes, jeopardizing everything from online commerce to critical infrastructure. At the time of this discovery, with quantum computers still in their infancy, the threat to encryption was essentially theoretical. Yet as the pace of development in quantum science and technology has accelerated over the past decades, governments have begun to take meaningful, concrete steps to strengthen protections against what now appears to be an increasingly likely quantum threat headed our way.

Perhaps the most important action taken to date has been the launch in 2016 of a multiyear competition, spearheaded by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to identify and select a new suite of cryptographic algorithms that are resistant to the computational power of quantum computers, as well as today’s digital computers. These algorithms, known under the umbrella term post-quantum cryptography (PQC), utilize specific, theoretically quantum-safe mathematical formulas (including lattice-based, code-based, and multivariate-based approaches), to secure systems against quantum-based attacks. The NIST expects that the competition’s winning algorithms will be standardized and ready for global deployment as soon as next year.

There will soon be a rapid push to swap out today’s quantum-vulnerable algorithms with these new quantum-safe schemes. Both the White House and the U.S. Congress have already issued orders for federal agencies to begin migrating to the PQC algorithms as soon as they are standardized and to complete as much of the migration as possible by 2035. This is an aggressive timeline. Historically, major cryptographic transitions can take years, even decades, to complete. Starting the migration process now gives organizations the chance to put in place protections well before large-scale quantum computers become available.

PQC migration is a necessary and critical step toward protecting vulnerable digital systems. However, what has often been lost in the PQC discussion is that these new algorithms are no panacea and do not, at least not on their own, provide a fully comprehensive solution to the quantum threat. In fact, one of the leading PQC candidates, Rainbow, was broken in 2022 by a laptop; other candidates have been plagued by side channel attacks, which, while not attacking the algorithm itself, demonstrate that implementation errors, such as timing or power consumption, can lead to serious vulnerabilities.

20 Years Behind, US Army To Up Its EW Capability As Russia Takes A Massive Lead In Electronic Warfare

Parth Satam

It has focused efforts to operationalize its tactical battlefield EW and jamming capabilities, according to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Doug Bush, by engaging Lockheed Martin to create a prototype of the system.

A report in Defense News identifies the programs as the Terrestrial Layer System-Brigade Combat Team (TLS-BCT) and Echelons Above Brigade (EAB) initiatives. Bush told journalists on August 7, “Both TLS-BCT and EAB are on track, and I feel good about them. What we see in Ukraine adds to that urgency to get those going.”

The TLS combines cyber, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence systems, while the BCT variant is meant for smaller formations. The EAB is its larger and more capable derivative meant for Division and Corps-level formations.

Control of the electromagnetic spectrum is critical in modern warfare, as it is used for weapons guidance, communication, and tapping into and disrupting the enemy’s communications.

The developments come after Lockheed Martin beat another rival to develop a prototype for the Army in June to continue work on the TLS-EAB. Before that, in April, it engaged Lockheed Martin to fit Stryker combat vehicles made by General Dynamics with TLS-BCT technologies.
Russian Lead In EW

The EurAsian Times had first reported in late June about the Russian expertise in electronic warfare and counter-drone systems that led to several Turkish TB-2 Bayraktar’s being shot down and AFU servicemen seeking to limit their usage.

Russia has built this expertise since its experience in Syria, the Donbas War, and the Crimean conflict of 2014.

While some claimed how Russian EW accidentally jammed their communications and that Moscow was losing in other areas, they eventually claimed its EW reigned supreme. It devastated Ukrainian drones, as their UAVs were being shot down or captured at an alarming rate.

Ukraine Lost 40,000 Soldiers In Its Failed Counter-Ops Against Russia, Surrendering In Big Numbers: Ex-Trump Adviser

Parth Satam

Ukraine lost nearly 40,000 soldiers over the last month since the counteroffensive began, and almost an equal number were wounded since the war started in February 2022, according to a leading US defense expert.

The commentator also blamed the US for dragging Kyiv into an unnecessary war by continuing to arm it. If it escalates, it risks drawing in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Washington is woefully unprepared to take on Russia militarily in this eventuality.

This was stated by former US Army Armored Corps officer Colonel Douglas Macgregor in an interview with US media personality Tucker Carlson. Macgregor, who served as an advisor in the previous President Donald Trump administration, has been famously critical of the US and NATO policy in the war, which he believes provoked Russia.

He maintains that the mainstream media has been deliberately hiding Ukraine’s tremendous losses and Russia’s irreversible gains, military might, and generally strategic solid position.

Based on Macgregor’s assertions, The EurAsian Times reported in February this year about Ukraine’s massive casualties of 400,000 wounded and 1,57,000 killed. That piece emphasized the socio-economic dimension, where the losses of its falling population were high, beset with low birth rates over the last few years.

The situation, therefore, threatens to precipitate an oncoming economic crisis. The numbers, however, can’t be independently verified owing to the ban on publishing figures on casualties in Ukraine and the traditional secrecy in Russia about revealing the numbers of its losses.
Ukraine Lost 40,000 In Its Failed Counteroffensive

According to Macgregor, in July 2023 alone, when Ukraine conducted the peak of its counteroffensive to “sweep the battlefield,” 40,000 soldiers were killed. There are an equal number of amputees, for which Macgregor doesn’t mention the period, but it can be assumed to correspond to the entire duration of the war.

“We know the hospitals are full and that Ukrainian units at the Company and Platoon level (150 to 200 men) are in piecemeal fashion surrendering to the Russians,” he said.

The international significance of India's Digital Public Infrastructure

Amitabh Kant

India's expertise in using technology to boost socio-economic development is now recognized worldwide. The country has built a Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) that includes a digital identification layer called Aadhar; a payments system running as a Unified Payment Interface; and, a data exchange layer in its Account Aggregator, amongst other services. These functions have been curated as foundational layers to build, iterate and innovate upon.

The combination of these interventions has transformed the Indian economy, bolstered productivity and supported equitable growth. Now, India’s DPI has been endorsed by multiple countries and international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund and most recently the G20.

The core of India’s DPI's embedded design functions is based on robustness, reliability, safety and security. It adheres to principles of accountability, collaboration, open standards, transparency and interoperability to prevent vendor lock-in for consumers. Various industry players have embraced and innovated upon this infrastructure to enable online, paperless, cashless and privacy-respecting digital access to a variety of services for Indian citizens.

Study: Reskilling Is Inevitable As AI Changes How We Work

Megan Crouse

Reskilling is a hot topic today, but what is it, when is it likely to happen and is it connected to the rise of generative artificial intelligence? Harvard Business Review published findings of a survey about how technology is changing what skills people need in the workplace — generative AI and big data are among the most desired skills.

Five major trends in reskilling

A research team at the Digital Data Design Institute at Harvard’s Digital Reskilling Lab and the BCG Henderson Institute conducted interviews with business leaders at about 40 organizations globally. They found five shifts in how training needs to be done today because of reskilling. 
  1. Reskilling is an imperative, not an option. It should be a response to new tasks or company-specific needs, not a way to “soften the blow of layoffs, assuage feelings of guilt about social responsibility and create a positive PR narrative,” the researchers wrote.
  2. Reskilling needs to involve every leader and manager.
  3. Reskilling is a change-management initiative, meaning it focuses on helping individuals and teams acclimate to a new skill or process.
  4. Business leaders need to make the benefits of reskilling clear to employees.
  5. Business leaders should consider government programs and industry coalitions.

Don’t Use ChatGPT to Write Articles. Use It For These Five Things Instead.

Zulie Rane·

Anyone who’s tried “write an article about [topic]” as a prompt to ChatGPT will tell you the truth: ChatGPT can’t write well at all. That’s not a secret. If you doubt me, ask it or any AI writing tool, to write a blog post. It will crank out very bad content that no real human will like reading.

Yet I’m still a ChatGPT fan. It saves me a ton of time and makes my job as a busy content creator a little easier. Here are five surprising non-writing applications I love using ChatGPT for.
1. Title optimization.

Titles used to take me about an hour a week — email subject lines, article titles, and journalist pitch subject lines. Now they take me about five minutes.

I use ConvertKit as my email provider, which has a really neat A/B subject line tester. This helps me with my content strategy — I usually send my best ideas to you in email format first and use that to test out which title is best.

The One Generative AI Risk That No One Is Talking About


The struggle over who controls the course of key technology, and how much, is as old as the tech sector itself. So it's no surprise that this scuffle has crept into artificial intelligence, where free, open-source systems are lining up against patented generative AI products such as ChatGPT.

The battleground involves large language models, or LLMs — complex algorithms that lie at the heart of artificial intelligence. From Wall Street to Silicon Valley, industry players are taking sides as the AI boom pits Big Tech firms defending their proprietary technology against equally large challengers drawn to unfettered programs.

Backers of open-source AI believe it will democratize access to artificial intelligence tools. Further, they see open source as making it cheaper and easier for researchers to develop new LLMs and for entrepreneurs to launch commercial products.

But Wall Street analysts who cover AI stocks like Microsoft (MSFT) and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL) fret that open-source AI will turn proprietary models such as ChatGPT, made by startup OpenAI, into commodities.

The Myth of ‘Open Source AI

CHATGPT MADE IT possible for anyone to play with powerful artificial intelligence, but the inner workings of the world-famous chatbot remain a closely guarded secret.

In recent months, however, efforts to make AI more “open” seem to have gained momentum. In May, someone leaked a model from Meta, called Llama, which gave outsiders access to its underlying code as well as the “weights” that determine how it behaves. Then, this July, Meta chose to make an even more powerful model, called Llama 2, available for anyone to download, modify, and reuse. Meta’s models have since become an extremely popular foundation for many companies, researchers, and hobbyists building tools and applications with ChatGPT-like capabilities.

“We have a broad range of supporters around the world who believe in our open approach to today’s AI ... researchers committed to doing research with the model, and people across tech, academia, and policy who see the benefits of Llama and an open platform as we do,” Meta said when announcing Llama 2. This morning, Meta released another model, Llama 2 Code, that is fine-tuned for coding.

It might seem as if the open-source approach, which has democratized access to software, ensured transparency, and improved security for decades, is now poised to have a similar impact on AI.

Meta Just Released a Coding Version of Llama 2

WHEN META RELEASED Llama 2, a powerful artificial intelligence model similar to the one behind ChatGPT, last month, it made it possible for developers, startups, and researchers to play with the kind of AI that has enthralled the world for nearly a year.

Today, Meta is following up with the release of Code Llama, a version of the model that has been tuned for programming tasks. The release could mean more developers getting a taste of AI-assisted coding. It could also inspire new ways of embedding AI into software. And it could help further establish Meta as the preeminent supplier of “open” AI tools.

“It’s exciting that they’re releasing the weights to the community,” says Deepak Kumar, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford who has studied AI coding, referring to the parameters of the neural network at the core of the model.

Kumar says the release of Meta’s regular language model Llama 2 led to the formation of communities dedicated to discussing how it behaves and how it can be modified. “It gives us a little bit more flexibility to play with what exactly is going on under the hood, compared to these closed-source models from Google or OpenAI.”

Is There Any Surprise Left in a Cyber Attack?

Emilio Iasiello

Over the last 2 decades, cyber attacks have shifted from the theoretical to reality. This report provides insights from real-world activities that can inform strategists and policymakers seeking to mitigate risks from nation-state cyber attacks.

Writings on cyber warfare have been consistent in seeing cyber attacks as a first-strike weapon for states before or at least at the onset of a kinetic conflict. The speed with which these attacks occur combined with the difficulty in allowing for sufficient indications and warning for defenders to be able to successfully mitigate their intensity and volume have bolstered cyber attacks as a legitimate capability for degradation, disruption, and destruction. Cyber attacks in kinetic conflict are synonymous with an aerial bombardment in which an onslaught of surprise digital strikes would help prepare the battlefield for a swift invasion force where timing, coordination, and maximum effectiveness would reap huge awards for the attacker. Many believed that cyber would be such a weapon, a game changer, something that the Chinese refer to as an “Assassin’s Mace,” an asymmetric capability that can be levied against a technologically superior force and a weapon whose use benefitted from not being telegraphed ahead of deployment.

The element of surprise has long been championed as a tremendous advantage for warring armies, a tactic that has been espoused by acclaimed war philosophers like Clausewitz and Sun Tzu. Indeed, history is rife with examples of battlefield commanders employing such tactics in concert with other actions such as deceptions and feints to break hardened perimeters or outflank an adversary in battle. The element of surprise has also been an important enabler for smaller forces to successfully beat larger, better-equipped opponents. This can be seen in such examples as George Washington’s 1776 surprise attack against the Hessians in the Battle of Trenton and Germany’s invasion of France in 1940. Aside from kinetic opportunity, successfully employing the element of surprise can achieve a psychological advantage as well. The shock of an unexpected assault can have a traumatic effect on a commander’s psyche, as well as in the minds of the boots-on-the-ground forces. This is exceptionally important in the early stages of an armed conflict and can aid an attacker in achieving victory as a result.

What a Heat Wave Does to Your Body

On a sweltering day in June 2019, David Kim, a third-year medical resident, was working in a Bay Area emergency department when he received a dispatch. The temperature outside was ninety-nine degrees—nearly unprecedented for Northern California—and a woman in her eighties had just been found lying on the ground in a parking lot. Her body temperature was a hundred and four degrees. Paramedics had lifted her off the pavement and applied cold packs to her skin, and she’d regained consciousness. But she was unable to tell them how she had fallen, or even who she was. She was now in an ambulance headed for Kim’s hospital.

In cases of heatstroke, the fastest way to lower a person’s body temperature is to plunge them into cold water. Other interventions—cold towels, misting fans—are far less powerful. But Kim’s emergency department didn’t have a bathtub, and they needed to improvise. In a supply closet, Kim found some gray plastic buckets. He ran with them to the cafeteria for ice and water. Meanwhile, a technician located a postmortem kit—a pre-packed container full of supplies for when a patient dies. It contained a body bag made from white waterproof vinyl.

The woman arrived on a stretcher pushed by a paramedic, and was barely conscious. She was breathing rapidly; she had a black eye and scattered abrasions over her reddened skin. The team quickly cut her clothes off, counted “One, two, three!,” and lifted her off the stretcher and into the bag, which surrounded her like a cocoon. They started pouring buckets of ice and water over her. The bag swelled like a water balloon, and, to keep the slush from spilling out, they pulled the zipper up to her neck. She hardly stirred. Anyone watching might have assumed that she was dead.

It took ten minutes for the woman’s temperature to fall to a hundred and one, at which point she became alert. The doctors unzipped the bag, plunged their hands into the icy water, and eased her onto a dry stretcher. They gave her fluids and stitched up a cut on her arm. A few hours later, after her body temperature had normalized and she was thinking clearly again, she asked to go home.

As DOD steps up response to bioweapon threat, China plays complicated role in biosecurity


The Defense Department is launching a new bio-defense council and seeking $812 million to better prepare for future biological emergencies and deter countries like China from pursuing potentially deadly biological weapons. But biological defence isn’t as clear or straightforward as the type of security that’s bought with aircraft carriers and missiles.

Government officials announcing the new council Wednesday at a CSIS event said the world—especially the United States—has to try to work with China on emerging biological threats, even as the Pentagon focuses on deterring the nation from conflict.

The Defense Department’s Biodefense Posture Review, released this week, highlights several factors that could slow the United States’s response to the next big biological disaster. It calls for increased monitoring of biological threats as they emerge, better coordination within the Defense Department on defence, and improving the domestic supply of bio-defence material, which can include masks and fabrics, chemicals for medicines, or even the electronic components that go into pieces of medical equipment.

Rival superpowers have been developing the means to extend their military power into Earth’s orbit almost as soon as the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched on October 4th 1957. Satellites provide invaluable communications, navigation and reconnaissance for military operations, but in turn this incentivises a capability to deny enemy use of the same assets. Anti-satellite weapons or ASATs have been developed since the late 1950s, at first by the Soviet Union and US, but have since been tested by Russia, China and India.

Whilst most programmes eventually settled on various permeations of modified or purpose-built missiles, more ‘exotic’ proposals included laser systems, kinetic interceptors and variations of these pre-positioned in space. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 prohibits placing nuclear weapons and military bases in space and on other celestial bodies, as well as vaguely defined ‘military manoeuvres’ – but there are no limits on conventional weapons. As the establishment of the US Space Force in 2019 shows, the use of this domain is growing fast and beginning to broach technologies and concepts once confined to science fiction. It may be time to appraise potential military uses of space beyond the common “satellite / anti-satellite” paradigm.

Whilst ASATs are an established part of military arsenals, there is also the possibility for weapons placed in space to attack targets on Earth, or intercept missiles that travel through space and high atmosphere. In 1974, the Soviet Union used its Salyut 3 military space station to successfully test-fire a 23mm cannon into deep space whilst disguising the program as purely civilian.

The US has frequently explored the concept of using low-Earth orbit to drop projectiles such as tungsten rods on targets below, using the kinetic energy of the fall instead of explosives. These would be incredibly difficult to defend against and could pinpoint-target hardened bunkers, bridges and other similar targets. Similar concepts could apply to space-based missile defence – as explored in the 80s with Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative or ‘Star Wars’ programme – or space-based lasers to blind or disable hostile spy satellites. With tensions rising in orbit in recent years, it may not be long before weapons are turned on one another in space itself.

US Army Set For Massive Digital Transformation; Soldiers To Have Global Connectivity On Unclassified Network

Prakash Nanda

To transform itself as a multidomain force, the US Army is stressing a “Unified Network Plan.”

As per this plan, and if everything goes well, American soldiers will have global connectivity on the unclassified network by the end of the 2023 calendar year and global access to the secret network by the end of summer 2024.

“Right now in the Pacific, you can travel anywhere around that [area of responsibility] and plug into the network. By the end of this calendar year, you’ll be able to do it globally, and you’ll be able to do it securely,” Lt. Gen. John Morrison, deputy chief of staff, G6, said at the TechNet Augusta conference early this month in Georgia.

“Think about it from an operational perspective, a unit told to blowout on some [Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise] or even a national emergency and getting to the distant end and immediately being able to plug in. We have been talking about that for years”, he added.

Gen. Morrison implied that the network currently deployed in the Pacific area of responsibility would go global and provide new capabilities to support flexible networking and data processing. And that will “transition the Army’s network infrastructure from a siloed, theater-centric model into a more efficient and secure one.”

Now, the US Army’s network is theater-centric. Soldiers have multiple systems, network operations capabilities, logins, and form factors to perform their key functions, displayed on a main command post monitor where they manage and secure the network. But given the global nature of threats today, it has been realized that the needs of the hour are first “the global connectivity on the unclassified network” and then “global access to the secret network,” according to Gen. Morrison.

It is argued that for the US Army to be successful on tomorrow’s battlefields, network modernization is essential to fight and win in all domains- air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. Therefore, innovations are necessary to achieve technological dominance against the US adversaries. These will enhance efficiencies for the Army and strengthen the overall cybersecurity structure.