4 May 2024

Locating the Technology Agenda in India’s 2024 General Electio

Jayant Krishna

India’s national election has begun. Both of India’s major national parties highlight the promise of technology to reshape India’s future. The winning party will have to navigate a fast-changing global technology landscape. India is attempting to be a world leader in advanced areas of technology, while bridging a “digital divide” to use technology in ways that improve the lives of underserved populations. The U.S.-India technology partnership can contribute to India’s goals in three ways: coproduction and research collaboration; the strengthening of existing mechanisms like the U.S.-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET); and leveraging India’s demographic dividend.

Technology Agenda in Election Manifestos

The incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto promises to make India a champion in technological innovation through cutting-edge research. Its most significant promise is to operationalize the National Research Foundation (NRF) and build robust research and development infrastructure.

The Corporate Takeover of India’s Media

R Srinivasan

December 30, 2022, was a heavy day for India’s already badly mauled and tamed media. That day, influential – and, for many, controversial – Indian businessman Gautam Adani, then the world’s third richest man, took nearly full control of the much-respected and revered NDTV after his Adani Enterprises acquired 27.26 percent additional shares, taking his total holdings to 64.71 percent.

A few months before delivering this coup de grace, Adani’s media company, AMG Media Networks, had hired a new CEO and a retinue of government-friendly journalists.

His tail up, Adani’s next target was The Quint which, like NDTV, wore its anti-establishment badge with pride. On March 27, 2023, AMG Media Networks acquired a 49 percent stake in Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd, The Quint’s holding company. This happened five years after central tax authorities raided The Quint’s offices in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.


Dhanasree Jayaram & Ramu C. M.


India’s critical minerals strategy is emerging as a pivotal element in the country’s broader geopolitical and clean energy ambitions. Critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel, and rare earth elements (REEs) play a crucial role in this transition, serving as essential components in the manufacture of batteries, wind turbines, solar panels, and other green technologies. Te demand for these minerals is surging, with projections indicating a substantial increase in the coming decades, challenging the global supply chains, and highlighting the importance of sustainable mining practices.

Recognizing the geopolitical implications of mineral dependency, India is seeking to mitigate its reliance on dominant suppliers such as China, which currently holds substantial sway over the global critical minerals market. By prioritizing the development of a resilient and self-reliant supply chain for critical minerals, India not only seeks to safeguard its national security and economic prosperity, but also aspires to position itself as a key player in the global clean energy domain.

Tis Briefng Paper discusses India’s critical minerals strategy in the context of its energy transition outlook, unpacks its domestic and international imperatives and policies, and examines the challenges to this strategy. Te paper argues that India’s energy transition goals and geopolitical imperatives have spurred its two-fold critical minerals strategy of bolstering domestic exploration and production capacities and securing diversifed international supply chains through strategic partnerships.

China vs. Japan In a War for the Senkaku Islands? Why It Could Happen

Brandon J. Weichert

-Additionally, Japan's Senkaku Islands could be a strategic target due to historical animosities and as a means to rally nationalist support within China amid economic downturns.

-This approach might allow China to avoid direct conflict over more populated areas while achieving a propaganda victory and advancing its regional dominance ambitions.

China’s Military Strategy: From Taiwan to the Senkaku Islands

I would argue that after years of research looking at the security situation in the Indo-Pacific China is getting ready to attack.

We don’t know where, when, or how or why. But most experts will tell you that the Chinese appear more likely to take aggressive action—however limited—against one or many nearby targets.

Iran Makes a Play in South Asia

Michael Kugelman

The highlights this week: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visits Pakistan and Sri Lanka, India’s national election enters its third week with a couple new developments, and the International Monetary Fund approves a final tranche of funding for Pakistan.

Iran’s South Asia Diplomacy

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spent much of last week in South Asia. He visited Pakistan from Monday through Wednesday before traveling on to Sri Lanka for a one-day trip—the first to the country by an Iranian leader since 2008.

Both visits were important to the host countries. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have each faced some of the region’s worst economic stress in recent years, and each hopes to benefit from cooperation with Iran. Security was also a critical agenda point for Islamabad, which is keen to work with Iran on their shared border, where the two countries exchanged cross-border strikes in January.

The Myth of the Asian Swing State

Paul Staniland

The competition over Asia’s so-called swing states is heating up. China’s growing economic and political reach has impelled Australia, India, Japan, and the United States to try to gain influence in the countries not yet tightly aligned with either bloc. U.S. President Joe Biden has repeatedly characterized Asia as a battleground between autocracy and democracy. Observers who worry about such a contest point to recent pro-China turns in the Solomon Islands, which in 2019 severed its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan and then signed a security pact with China, and the Maldives, which in 2023 elected a president who criticized his predecessor’s ties to India and vowed to draw closer to China.

Numerous leaders and analysts, including Matt Pottinger and Mike Gallagher writing in Foreign Affairs, now frame the U.S.-Chinese competition as a new cold war. Yet it is important that the United States and its partners not overemphasize the analogy to the original Cold War or misunderstand the challenges China poses in the competition over Asia’s swing states. There is immense political pressure from Washington to view the whole region through the prism of the United States’ competition with China. But this does not speak to the political interests of many Asian countries—and an approach based on this framing risks undermining America’s strategic and economic appeals to them.

The Real Motives for China’s Nuclear Expansion

Tong Zhao

China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing is on track to amass 1,000 nuclear warheads by 2030, up from around 200 in 2019, according to Pentagon estimates. This nuclear buildup, combined with China’s broader investments in modernizing its armed forces, has caused deep concern in Washington. In 2023, the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States insisted that China’s nuclear expansion should prompt U.S. policymakers to “re-evaluate the size and composition of the U.S. nuclear force.” In March, Admiral John Aquilino, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, warned, “we haven’t faced a threat like this since World War II.”

As Washington grapples with the severity of the threat and the risk of nuclear confrontation, U.S. policymakers must make an effort to better understand the motivation behind China’s actions. Analysts have been puzzled by China’s sudden shift away from its traditional policy of maintaining a relatively small nuclear arsenal. Some in Washington believe China’s buildup is a reaction to U.S. technological advances; others are concerned that Beijing may have unilaterally adopted a far more aggressive nuclear strategy.

Nobody Is Competing With the U.S. to Begin With

Anatol Lieven

U.S. security elites are obsessed with the threat posed by China and Russia to U.S. global primacy. This is a serious strategic miscalculation. The United States’ global network of powerful allies and bases (of which China and Russia have hardly any), unrivaled blue-water Navy, and possession of the only truly global currency mean that no other country can challenge Washington on the world stage as a whole.

China’s election disinformation operation

Joseph R. DeTrani

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent meetings in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi permitted both countries to again recite their list of concerns affecting bilateral relations: Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific region, South China Sea, Ukraine and China’s support to Russia, intellectual property theft, fentanyl, military-to-military communications, semiconductors, a level playing field for U.S. companies in China, etc.

Seldom do we hear cyber and disinformation.

In an interview in Beijing on April 26 with CNN, and in answer to a question about Mr. Xi’s commitment to President Biden last year, Mr. Blinken said: “We have seen, generally speaking, evidence of attempts to influence and arguably interfere, and we want to make sure that’s cut off as quickly as possible. Any interference by China in our election is something that we’re looking very carefully at and is totally unacceptable to us, so I wanted to make sure that they heard that message again.”

From ‘human wave’ to ‘salami slice’: Why China’s fearsome PLA may never figh

Andrew Salmon

A version of this story appeared in the daily Threat Status newsletter from The Washington Times. Click here to receive Threat Status delivered directly to your inbox each weekday.

As its reach and capabilities extend in all directions, China has emerged as a subject of deep concern for Washington and for democratic capitals across Asia, including Canberra, New Delhi, Manila, Taipei and Tokyo.

The People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, has benefited from 30 years of budget increases, upgrades in prestige and professionalism, and a string of new bases and outposts across the South China Sea. It also has plentiful support from the country’s assertive president, Xi Jinping.

All that has left the Pentagon and critics on Capitol Hill alarmed over the communist regime’s military ambitions in the not-too-distant future.

“All indications point to the PLA meeting President Xi Jinping’s directive to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027,” Adm. John C. Aquilino, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said in March.

The Geopolitics of Tesla’s China Breakthrough

Marina Yue Zhang

As U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken departed from Beijing, attention quickly shifted to another high-profile arrival: Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO’s visit, marked by meetings with top Chinese officials, including Premier Li Qiang, was more than a mere executive tour; it symbolized a significant diplomatic engagement amid the evolving tech rivalry between the United States and China.

During Musk’s visit, the Chinese government announced that Tesla had obtained crucial automotive data security certification – the only foreign EV brand to do so. This lifts restrictions on Tesla vehicles entering or parking in “sensitive areas” across the country. This breakthrough not only marks a pivotal moment for Tesla but also highlights China’s commitment to maintaining market accessibility for foreign companies, at a time when Chinese EV firms’ access to other markets is increasingly in question.

Xi Believes China Can Win a Scientific Revolution

Tanner Greer and Nancy Yu

In early March, global investors turned their eyes toward Beijing, where 2,977 delegates from across China had gathered for the annual session of the National People’s Congress. Here, Chinese Premier Li Qiang would deliver the annual “Report on the Work of the Government.” Here, the priorities that must guide the activities of the Chinese state over the coming year would be proclaimed. Here—or so financiers at home and abroad badly hoped—the Chinese government would declare its plan to rescue China’s economy.

Ukraine Military Situation: Russian Forces Make Significant Battlefield Advances And Tactical Gains – Analysis

Can Kasapoğlu

Battlefield Assessment

Last week, Moscow’s widening artillery advantage and Kyiv’s stumbling mobilization efforts allowed Russian forces to make significant battlefield advances and tactical gains on multiple fronts. In the meantime, Russian air and missile strikes continued to pound major Ukrainian population centers.

Russian and Ukrainian forces engaged in heavy clashes and positional fighting in Ukraine’s south and east. Open-source intelligence and satellite imagery show that the most intense combat in the east occurred around Bakhmut, Spirne, Avdiivka, and Chasiv Yar. The latter remains under the most intense pressure. In the south, Russia continued to focus on dismantling Ukrainian positions in the Robotyne bulge, Kyiv’s most significant gain from last year’s counteroffensive, and Krynky, the site of Ukraine’s bridgehead across the Dnipro River.

Don’t Hype the Disinformation Threat

Olga Belogolova, Lee Foster, Thomas Rid, and Gavin Wilde

“Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it’s infected a good chunk of my party’s base,” Representative Michael McCaul, the Texas Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the news platform Puck in March.

Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and former House Speaker, made a related claim earlier this year when commenting on protesters who were demanding a cease-fire in Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “For them to call for a cease-fire is Mr. Putin’s message,” Pelosi told CNN, invoking the Russian president. She added: “Make no mistake, this is directly connected to what he would like to see. Same thing with Ukraine. It’s about Putin’s message. I think some of these protesters are spontaneous and organic and sincere. Some, I think, are connected to Russia.”

American Aid Alone Won’t Save Ukraine

Jack Watling

After months of delay, Congress’s passage of a nearly $61 billion U.S. aid bill to Ukraine has provided a vital lifeline to Kyiv. But the aid package alone will not solve Ukraine’s larger problems in its war with Russia. Ukrainian forces are defending frontlines that span some 600 miles of the south and east of the country, and prolonged inaction in Washington has left them severely stretched. The influx of U.S. weapons and ammunition should significantly raise the cost to Russia of its impending summer offensive. The aid also offers Ukrainian forces enough materiel to support more systematic military planning for the summer and fall.

Yet ending the war on terms favorable to Ukraine will require far more than a new pipeline of equipment. More than two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, its objective in the war remains unchanged: the Kremlin seeks to subjugate Kyiv. Inconstant support and political delays among Ukraine’s international partners have left that outcome all too plausible. If Ukraine is to prevent Russian victory in the longer term, it will need a comprehensive strategy. This means training, equipping, and mobilizing new forces. It means convincing the Kremlin that continuing the war will become increasingly risky to Russia over time. And it means establishing a position of sufficient strength to be able to set forth, on Ukraine’s own terms, the parameters of a lasting peace.

How To Stop an Invasion | Opinion

Alexander Noyes and Elina Beketova

Invasions are unfortunately relevant again. The military aid package signed on April 24 is a much-needed lifeline for Ukraine's flagging fight against Russia. But the United States needs to double down on a little known but very effective irregular approach: resistance warfare. America should do this with Ukraine, enabling them to ramp up resistance activities, as well as broaden these efforts to other friendly frontline partners and allies.

Despite losing ground as of late in the overall war, Ukraine is teaching the world a masterclass in resistance warfare, an asymmetric approach to self-defense. The Defense Department defines resistance as "a nation's organized, whole-of-society effort," both violent and non-violent, to "reestablish independence and autonomy within its sovereign territory that has been wholly or partially occupied by a foreign power."

The US Government Is Asking Big Tech to Promise Better Cybersecurity


The Biden administration is asking the world’s largest technology companies to publicly commit to tightening the digital security of their software and cloud services.

The voluntary pledge, first reported by WIRED, represents the latest effort by the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to build support for its Secure by Design initiative, which encourages tech vendors to prioritize cybersecurity while developing and configuring their products.

By signing the pledge, companies promise to make a “good-faith effort” to implement seven critical cybersecurity improvements, ranging from soliciting reports of vulnerabilities in their products to expanding the use of multi-factor authentication, a technology that adds an extra login step to the traditional password.

Inside Ukraine’s Killer-Drone Startup Industry


On the top floor of a building somewhere in Ukraine is a drone workshop.

Inside is a chaotic workbench covered in logic boards, antennas, batteries, augmented reality headsets, and rotor blades. On one end of the room is a makeshift photo studio—a jet-black quadcopter drone sits on a long white sheet, waiting for its close-up.

This particular workshop’s Geppetto is Yvan. He grins as he shows off his creations, flittering around with a lit cigarette in his mouth, dangling ash, grabbing different models. (Yvan is a pseudonym; WIRED granted some of the people in this story anonymity due to the security risk.)

Yvan holds up a mid-size drone: This model successfully hit a target from 11 kilometers away, he says, but it should be capable of traveling at least 20. He’s trying different batteries and controllers to try to extend the range. He screws on a stabilizer tailpiece to a hard plastic shell—Yvan 3D-prints these himself—and holds up the assembled bomb. It’s capable of carrying a 3.5-kilogram explosive payload, enough to take out a Russian tank.

Strategic Use of Migration: The View from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela

Giacomo Mattei & Luis Campos

Emigration as Economic Alleviation

Some countries actively encourage emigration as a strategy for development. Migrant laborers send back a portion of their earnings – remittances – which can have multiplier effects on the home economy.

For many countries, remittances make up a larger portion of gross domestic product (GDP) than foreign direct investment (FDI). The World Bank’s data shows that Nicaragua’s 2022 GDP was over 20% remittances and just over 8% FDI. In 2023, remittances to Nicaragua were nearly 50% higher than the year before, standing at $4.24 billion, an estimated 28% of GDP.

Venezuela, on the other hand, has consistently received fewer remittances and very little FDI between 2000-2022 (both remaining largely below 2% of GDP according to World Bank data), though the Inter-American Dialogue estimates that remittances reached 5% of GDP in 2023. Interesting hypotheses can be considered to explain this behavior, such as the migration of entire family households, and/or a lack of confidence in the country’s future as a destination for personal and family investment.

‘We scorned them’: Military, political and human costs of Israeli hubris - Opinion

Omar Ashour

“We scorned them,” Zvi Zamir once stated. He was the chief of the Israeli foreign intelligence service, Mossad, from 1968 to 1974 and was explaining the mindset that contributed to the major intelligence failure that allowed for the surprise attack that began the October 1973 war between Arab states and Israel.

At the time, Zamir wasn’t alone in “scorning” Arabs. Major General Eli Zeira, the head of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate (AMAN) during the 1973 war, reportedly also had “utter contempt for the fighting qualities of the Arab armies”.

This “scorn” and “contempt” and the consequent intelligence failures cost Israel 2,656 dead, more than 7,250 wounded and, ultimately, the Sinai Peninsula. They also cost Zeira his job.

History doesn’t always repeat itself. But in this case, it did – both the tragedy and the farce that led to it.

Does it matter if Ukraine loses?

Ian Bond

Western action (or more often, inaction) suggests that governments are not as worried as they should be about the possibility that Ukraine might be defeated and the consequences if it were. In fairness, some countries have done a lot: since the war started, Estonia has given 4.1 per cent of its GDP in bilateral and EU aid to Ukraine; Denmark 3 per cent; and Lithuania 2 per cent.3 In the early days of the war, the EU surprised many (probably including many inside its institutions) by agreeing to fund weapons supplies for Ukraine – so far, the European Peace Facility has spent €11.1 billion on weapons, munitions and other military aid to Ukraine.4

But the West has often taken the right decisions only after long hesitation – in some cases, long enough to allow Russia to prepare its counter-measures. In the autumn of 2022, Ukraine liberated significant areas of territory, particularly in the north and north-east of the country. With large numbers of Western tanks it could have pressed home its advantage. By the time small numbers of Western tanks began to arrive in late winter and early spring 2023, the opportunity had been lost: Russia had laid enormous minefields, and Ukraine’s 2023 counter-attack achieved little. Though Ukrainians have welcomed the approval of the latest $60.8 billion US military assistance package, it has been held up for six months by the internal politics of the Republican Party, and Russia has meanwhile been able to profit from Ukraine’s lack of artillery and air defence munitions.

How Big Tech and Silicon Valley are Transforming the Military-Industrial Complex

Roberto J. González
Source Link

Over the past decade, the center of America’s military-industrial complex has been slowly shifting from the Capital Beltway to Silicon Valley. Although much of the Pentagon’s $886 billion budget is spent on conventional weapon systems, and goes to well-established defense giants such as Lockheed Martin, RTX, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Boeing, and BAE Systems, a new political economy is emerging, driven by the imperatives of big tech companies, venture capital, and private equity firms.2 As Defense Department officials have sought to adopt AI-enabled systems and secure cloud computing services, they have awarded large multi-billion dollar contracts to Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Oracle. At the same time, the Pentagon has increased funding for smaller defense tech startups seeking to “disrupt” existing markets and “move fast and break things.”3 This report examines how the priorities of the tech industry, the peculiarities of venture capital (VC) funding structures, and Silicon Valley’s startup model are likely to lead to costly, hightech products that are ineffective, unpredictable, and unsafe when deployed in real world conditions.

Booming demand for AI-enabled military technologies and cloud computing services is being driven by several developments. Perhaps most importantly, the easy availability of massive amounts of digital data collected from satellites, drones, surveillance cameras, smartphones, social media posts, email messages, and other sources has motivated Pentagon planners to find new ways of analyzing the information. This, coupled with years of “AI hype” generated by tech leaders, venture capitalists, and business reporters among others, has played a crucial role in sparking the interest of military leaders who have come to view Silicon Valley’s newest innovations as indispensable warfighting tools. The United States military’s shift towards AI and “data driven” warfare is connected with broader changes affecting a wide range of government agencies and industries.

Jamestown FoundationChina Brief, April 26, 2024, v. 24, no. 9

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Updated ILO Forced Labor Guidelines Directly Target Uyghur Forced Labor

Will Hamas Say No

Julian E. Barnes

Israel and Hamas have been talking for months about a deal to release the hostages held in Gaza and to halt the war there. Today, I’ll explain why they haven’t agreed on a renewed cease-fire — and what will determine whether they do.

At times, Israel has been a reluctant negotiator. It has been hesitant to withdraw its troops, free more Palestinian prisoners or allow Gazans to return to their homes — or what remains of them — in the north.

But American officials said that in recent weeks Israel had made several major concessions. Now Hamas seems like the reluctant party. It has not embraced the Israeli compromises, frustrating American attempts to stop, at least temporarily, the war in Gaza.

How a former Army captain fared at Marine boot camp

Irene Loewenson
Source Link

After four years in the Army, Nicolas Brooklier wasn’t sure what to do next

Brooklier, who had served as a transportation and logistics officer and attained the rank of captain, mulled getting his master’s degree in criminal justice or joining the civilian workforce.

He instead chose to make a return to the military. Just not as an officer.

Brooklier, 29, enlisted in the Marine Corps in January, chasing a lifelong dream of earning the eagle, globe and anchor.

The cut in pay from captain to private first class — from more than $6,806 a month to $2,261, according to the military’s pay tables — didn’t throw him off.