27 April 2024

US Slams India For Serious Rights Violations – Analysis

P. K. Balachandran

Even as India is in the midst of parliamentary elections in which human rights is a key issue

In its report on the human rights situation in India in 2023, the US State Department paints an appalling picture. The report for 2023 was released by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on April 22, even as India is in the midst of its parliamentary elections where human rights are a key issue.

The report begins with the conflict between the Kuki and Meitei ethnic groups in India’s north eastern state of Manipur that resulted in least 175 deaths and the displacement of more than 60,000 people between May 3 and November 15.

Why a Bhutan-India Tourism Meeting Excited Entrepreneurs in Nepal

Birat Anupam

Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay was in India last month. He addressed the “captains of Indian industries” in Delhi on March 15, in an event organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

In the function, titled “India-Bhutan Tourism: Expanding Horizons,” an Indian industry leader raised the issue of not just Indo-Bhutan bilateral tourism collaboration but also the bright prospects for multilateral and regional tourism collaboration among the South Asian countries.

TikTok May Be Banned in the US. Here’s What Happened When India Did It.

Krutika Pathi

The hugely popular Chinese app TikTok may be forced out of the United States, where a measure to outlaw the video-sharing app has won congressional approval and is on its way to President Joe Biden for his signature.

In India, the app was banned nearly four years ago. Here’s what happened.

Why Did India Ban TikTok?

In June 2020, TikTok users in India bid goodbye to the app, which is operated by Chinese internet firm ByteDance. New Delhi suddenly banned the popular app, alongside dozens other Chinese apps, following a military clash along the China-Indian border.

How India’s democracy shapes its global role and relations with the West

Dr Chietigj Bajpaee


Two narratives dominate global discussions about India today: one is on the country’s rise as an increasingly prominent geopolitical and economic actor; the other centres on concerns – particularly among India’s Western partners – about democratic backsliding. As India goes to the polls in 2024, this paper examines the interplay between these two narratives, or more specifically, what India’s status as the world’s largest democracy means for its global role and relations with the West. It does so by analysing how the changing nature of India’s national identity impacts the country’s foreign policy.

Iran and Pakistan Vow to Boost Trade to Mend Diplomatic Rift

Munir Ahmed

The leaders of Iran and Pakistan agreed to strengthen economic and security cooperation in a meeting on Monday that sought to smooth over a diplomatic rift.

Ties were strained between the neighbors in January when each carried out strikes in the other’s territory, targeting militants accused of attacking security forces.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other officials on his three-day visit. Authorities deployed hundreds of additional police and paramilitary forces for security.

The Bottom is Falling out for Myanmar’s Junt

Joshua Kurlantzick

Already facing a long string of battlefield defeats, defections, and loss of territory, in recent weeks, the Myanmar military seems to have reached a crossroads, in which several events suggest the bottom could be falling out for the junta—and that both Myanmar citizens and outsiders should prepare for an endgame. Scenarios could include a potential fracture in the junta, last-ditch attempts by the military to take back territory using even more brutal tactics, or other endgame scenarios that have occurred in similar situations, such as senior officers trying to flee, trying to ensure their assets in and out of the country are safe, and even looking for third countries to take them.

China's H-20 is No B-21 Raider Stealth Bomber

Peter Suciu

-In contrast, China's secretive Xi'an H-20 bomber remains largely unknown, with sparse details and delayed announcements about its unveiling. Despite significant strides in military technology by China, the Pentagon maintains that the U.S. will retain superiority in terms of aircraft quality and operational expertise.

-The B-21, designed for cost-efficiency and high functionality with modern technology, aims to replace older bombers while maintaining a strategic edge in a rapidly evolving global threat landscape.

China's H-20 Stealth Bomber: Threat to America or a Paper Tiger?

Maya Carlin

-Despite China’s efforts and the historical context of espionage aiding its design, U.S. officials remain cautiously unconcerned, emphasizing that possessing such technology doesn’t guarantee operational advantage.

-Meanwhile, the U.S. is advancing its B-21 bomber, featuring modern stealth and technological integrations, to maintain a strategic edge. As both nations enhance their nuclear arsenals, the geopolitical implications grow increasingly significant.

China creeps onto US doorstep with attempt to establish apparent Caribbean satellite state

Madeleine Hubbard

China is taking a page out of the U.S. historic playbook by flexing its economic and military muscles in the Western Hemisphere, with the goal of pulling U.S. neighbors to its side. New documents show that Beijing appears to be attempting to establish its own satellite state in the Caribbean.

The U.S. has long reigned supreme in the Western Hemisphere since the signing of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, but China has been "exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda" in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. Gen. Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

Blinken goes to China to maintain the illusion of stability


Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to travel to Beijing this week in the latest round of high-level diplomacy between the U.S. and China.

Since the U.S.–China relationship hit new lows in late 2022 and early 2023 — thanks to incidents like then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and a Chinese spy balloon’s visit to U.S. airspace — both sides have made a welcome effort to slow the slide toward crisis and conflict.

The Delusion of Peak China

Evan S. Medeiros

Ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping secured his third term in power in the fall of 2022, he has had a rough time. Shortly after his reappointment, street protests pushed him to abruptly abandon his signature “zero COVID” policy. After a quick reopening bump in early 2023, the economy has progressively slowed, revealing both cyclical and structural challenges. Investors are leaving in droves, with foreign direct investment and portfolio flows reaching record lows. 

RIP, SSF: Unpacking the PLA’s Latest Restructuring

Ying Yu Lin and Tzu-Hao Liao

On April 19, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officially disbanded its Strategic Support Force (SSF) and re-established the Information Support Force. While some observers have dismissed this move as merely a change in nomenclature – the same group of people under a different name – a closer examination reveals significant implications when juxtaposed with the restructuring efforts within the PLA and the framework of the U.S. and Russian militaries.

Is Iran’s Strategic Patience At An End?

Assaf Zoran

The reported precise yet limited Israeli attack against an Iranian missile defense facility near Isfahan last week delivered a nuanced threat without pushing escalation forward. Based on operational superiority, it signaled a potential future destructive assault on Iranian strategic targets, should such a decision be made.

Iran’s downplaying of the attack likely ends the most significant escalation observed between the two countries. The most noteworthy aspect of the recent escalation was an unprecedented large-scale Iranian military assault on Israeli territory. 

Ukraine on Brink of Losing Key Strongholds Before Western Aid Arrives

Brendan Cole

Ukraine's advocates had been long warning about the urgency of further Washington aid to fight President Vladimir Putin's aggression. Time is equally of the essence as to whether the $61 billion package agreed by the House of Representatives on Saturday can be deployed quickly enough to stem Russian momentum on the battlefield.

Russian forces have made incremental gains since their capture of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region on February 17 and are bearing down on Chasiv Yar, a settlement 40 miles north, which Kyiv has warned that Putin wants to capture in time for Victory Day on May 9 when Moscow marks its role in the defeat of Nazi Germany.

The US military is embedding its officers in corporate America


The government should do more business with McKinsey & Co. — one of the world’s largest consulting firms — says a Pentagon presentation: “Leverage [the] consulting firm’s expertise and objectivity – outsourcing is a positive action.” While this might sound like a talking point from lobbyists, it actually came from an active-duty naval commander who spent almost a full year working at McKinsey & Co. with you, the taxpayer, footing the bill.

It’s no secret that major defense companies spend millions to influence the U.S. government in hopes of securing contracts, favorable treatment, and higher profits. What’s less known is that the military has a program that subsidizes these efforts. 

As the US Air Force fleet keeps shrinking, can it still win wars?

Stephen Losey

In February 2017, then-Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein issued a warning.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Goldfein rattled off all the missions the Air Force must undertake: defending the U.S. against attack, operating two legs of the nation’s nuclear triad, projecting air power around the globe and, at the time, defeating the militant group known as the Islamic State.

“Every one of those missions is a growth area,” Goldfein said. “And while these missions have been growing, our Air Force has been getting smaller. ... We’re actually the smallest Air Force we’ve ever been.”

Is This the End for Human Fighter Pilots?

Roger Thompson

In the April 18, 2024 issue of The Telegraph, journalist Cameron Henderson published an article titled “History made as U.S. Military conducts first ever human vs AI dogfight”, and reported something that profoundly disturbs me. He wrote that in September 2023, a USAF F-16 fighter pilot went through a series of engagements with another F-16 controlled by Artificial Intelligence (AI). He said: “Travelling at speeds of up to 1,200 miles per hour, the two jets practised both defensive and offensive scenarios as well as within-visual-range combat, known as dogfighting. 

More anarchy awaits in Africa Another continent is teetering on the brin

David Patrikarakos

“God Loves You.” An accusing finger looms out of the billboard, pointing directly at passers-by. Lord Kitchener has been press-ganged into a different kind of national service.

Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, is a tundra of low-roofed buildings and patchy roads lined with threadbare bush. It is the billboards, though, that stick in the mind. A combination of the generic and the personal, they offer everything from tempered glass to soft drinks to the chance, with the help of a professional medium, to become wealthy, get your ex back or simply take “revenge”.

The U.S. is in retreat in a crucial part of the world

Ishaan Tharoor

For boosters of U.S. security interests in Africa, the past few days carried grim tidings. At the end of last week, the United States informed the coup-plotting leadership of Niger that it would comply with its request to withdraw U.S. forces from the country, which had been operating in a counterterrorism role there for more than half a decade. Around the same time, reports emerged that authorities in Chad had sent a letter this month to the U.S. defense attaché based there, ordering the United States to cease activities at a base that also accommodates French troops.

Israel’s Next Front?

Maha Yahya

Over the past six months, tensions along Israel’s border with Lebanon have escalated dramatically. Israel has now deployed 100,000 troops to its north to confront the Shiite militant group Hezbollah, and the fighting there has steadily intensified. Nearly 400 Lebanese—including around 70 civilians and three journalists—have been killed, 90,000 Lebanese civilians have been displaced from around 100 towns and villages along the Israeli-Lebanese border, and Lebanese villages and olive groves have incurred widespread damage from phosphorus bombs. 

War Drums on the Horizon: Will Europe Wake Up in Time? - OPINION

Martina Sapio

Europe hums with the normalcy of daily life – cafes bustling, children playing, tourists snapping photos. Yet, a shadow hangs low on the horizon, a shadow cast by the rumble of tanks on Europe’s eastern border. Senior EU officials, including EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell, warn of a potential war erupting on European soil, but the sense of normalcy persists. This disconnects between official pronouncements and public perception reveals a continent deeply divided in its understanding of the current threat.

Escalation, Red Lines, Risk and the Russo-Ukraine War

This piece is my Alexander Dallin Memorial Lecture delivered to the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies, Stanford University, 18 April 2024, which explains why it is somewhat longer than my usual posts.

It is a great honour to have been invited to deliver this lecture in memory of Alexander Dallin as we approach the centenary of his birth and celebrate his enormous contribution to Russian studies. I have been reading him again, enjoying the combination of deep learning, vigorous analysis and sharp writing that marks his work. 

Hezbollah Claims Drone Attack 10 Miles Inside Israel

Euan Ward

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Tuesday claimed that it had made its deepest attack into Israel since October, striking a barracks north of the city of Acre with drones and setting off sirens across the country’s northern coastline.

The Israeli military, however, said that no bases had been hit and no casualties reported, adding that three drones had been identified and intercepted.

Non-state armed groups in the sky: Global regulation fails to address the security risks posed by civilian drone

Maria-Louise Clausen

Drones are revolutionising conflict dynamics as they provide non-state armed groups with a means to conduct surveillance, gather intelligence and execute precision strikes. This technological advancement grants these groups strategic influence previously unattainable without substantial resources.

I Study War for a Living: No One Is Sure if the Era of the Tank Is Over

Peter Suciu

-Despite these efforts, challenges remain in enhancing tank protection against modern threats like drones, which have proven effective against armored vehicles, including Western tanks like the M1 Abrams and Leopard 2.

-The ongoing conflict highlights the vulnerability of traditional tanks to low-cost technologies and may prompt a shift toward smaller, unmanned combat systems, potentially reshaping future warfare strategies and tank utilization on the battlefield.