1 June 2024

India’s Puzzled Military Industrial Complex

Mukesh Kumar

A C-17 Globemaster, imported from the U.S., in the Indian Air Force.Credit: Indian Air Force

In March 2024, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) released its annual report on international arms transfers for 2023. SIPRI’s much-anticipated lists of exporters and importers raised a serious question about India’s big claims about its growing military-industrial complex.

According to data from the government, India’s arms export for fiscal year 2023-24 reached to 210.8 billion rupees (around $2.5 billion), an increase of 32.5 percent from 159.0 billion rupees in FY2022-23. According to SIPRI’s 2021 report, India had entered the club of the top 25 arms exporters, reaching 23rd position. The success in arms exports fueled India’s expectation to cut its foreign dependence while promoting the domestic arms industry to fulfill the military needs of the Indian armed forces and friendly foreign countries.

Despite the surge in arms exports, however, India dropped back out of the list of top 25 arms exporters in SIPRI’s 2022 report and remained out of the group in 2023 as well.

Meanwhile, India still retained its position as the top arms importer, sharing 9.8 percent of the overall imports between 2019 and 2023. Moreover, India’s imports actually grew by 4.7 percent between 2014-18 and 2019-23.

Pakistan-linked Hackers Deploy Python, Golang, and Rust Malware on Indian Target

The Pakistan-nexus Transparent Tribe actor has been linked to a new set of attacks targeting Indian government, defense, and aerospace sectors using cross-platform malware written in Python, Golang, and Rust.

"This cluster of activity spanned from late 2023 to April 2024 and is anticipated to persist," the BlackBerry Research and Intelligence Team said in a technical report published early last week.

The spear-phishing campaign is also notable for its abuse of popular online services such as Discord, Google Drive, Slack, and Telegram, once again underscoring how threat actors are adopting legitimate programs into their attack flows.

According to BlackBerry, the targets of the email-based attacks included three companies that are crucial stakeholders and clients of the Department of Defense Production (DDP). All the three companies targeted are headquartered in the Indian city of Bengaluru.

What Does America Want From China?

Rush Doshi, Jessica Chen Weiss and James B. Steinberg, Paul Heer;5 Matt Pottinger and Mike Gallagher

In “No Substitute for Victory” (May/June 2024), Matt Pottinger and Mike Gallagher raise important concerns about the Biden administration’s China policy. But their analysis misses the mark. Their review of key episodes in the administration’s China policy is inaccurate, and they propose steps that the administration is already taking. But above all, they make a bad bet: they contend that the United States should forget about managing competition, embrace confrontation without limits, and then wait for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to collapse. This approach risks runaway escalation and could force a moment of reckoning before the United States has taken the very steps the authors recommend to strengthen its defense industrial base and improve its competitive position. Such a strategy would also mean losing support from U.S. allies and partners, who would see it as irresponsible.

The authors argue that their approach will work against China because it worked against the Soviet Union. But the Biden administration recognizes that this contest is different from that one. Its strategy, most recently articulated by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in a speech this past January, is founded on realistic assumptions about the capacity of the United States to shape China’s political system. It focuses not on the kind of bilateral relationship Washington wants with Beijing nor on the kind of government Americans want China to have but on straightforward and long-standing U.S. objectives: keeping the Indo-Pacific free from hegemony, sustaining American economic and technological leadership, and supporting regional democracies. It seeks to revitalize the sources of American strength by investing at home and aligning with allies and partners abroad. From that foundation, the United States can compete intensely by blunting Chinese activities that undermine U.S. interests and building a coalition of forces that will help the United States secure its priorities—all while managing the risks of escalation.

China restricts exports of military-related materials, from bulletproof vests to plane parts

Ji Siqi

Beijing announced export controls on various military-related materials and tools on Thursday.

The restricted items include equipment used to make aerospace parts and engines, gas turbines – which can be used in warships and tanks – as well as key components for bulletproof vests.

The rules come into force on July 1 and equipment, software and technology affected by the ban will not be allowed to be exported without authorisation, according to a statement jointly released by the Ministry of Commerce, General Administration of Customs and Central Military Commission’s Equipment Development Department.

“It’s set to safeguard national security and interests and fulfil international obligations such as non-proliferation,” according to a statement from the commerce ministry.

Chinese Activity Around Taiwan Intensifies

Micah McCartney

The skies around Taiwan have seen an uptick in Chinese air force activity just days before the inauguration of the self-ruled island's next president.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense said that as of 6 a.m. Wednesday, it had detected 45 People's Liberation Army aircraft operating in the area. Twenty-six flew across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, a demarcation that China until recent years largely respected, and into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Six Chinese warships were also observed nearby but beyond Taiwan's territorial waters.

An ADIZ is an area where passing foreign aircraft are required to identify themselves. It differs from territorial airspace in that failure to comply is not considered a violation under international law.

China’s military shows off rifle-toting robot dogs

Brad Lendon and Nectar Gan

It looks like something out of the dystopian show “Black Mirror,” but it’s just the latest adaptation of robotics for the modern battlefield.

During recent military drills with Cambodia, China’s military showed off a robot dog with an automatic rifle mounted on its back, essentially turning man’s best (electronic) friend into a killing machine.

“It can serve as a new member in our urban combat operations, replacing our (human) members to conduct reconnaissance and identify (the) enemy and strike the target,” a soldier identified as Chen Wei says in a video from state broadcaster CCTV.

The two-minute video made during the China-Cambodia “Golden Dragon 2024” exercise also shows the robot dog walking, hopping, lying down and moving backwards under the control of a remote operator.

Can a U.S.-China Military Hotline Stop the Downward Spiral?

James Crabtree

It may not be full-on détente, but China and the United States are entering a new, tentatively positive diplomatic moment. New channels of communication appear to be stabilizing a mutual downward spiral between the two superpowers that threatened to propel them inevitably toward conflict. The latest channel to reopen is likely to come next month, when U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to meet his Chinese counterpart, Dong Jun, for the first time at the IISS Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore. U.S.-Chinese preparatory discussions for the meeting have been taking place over recent weeks, even as relations remain strained.

King Abdullah Of Jordan Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place – Analysis

James M. Dorsey

Jordan’s King Abdullah is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Hamas and its regional supporters, as well as Israeli politicians and vigilantes, are pressuring King Abdullah from both ends of the political spectrum.

Iranian-backed Syrian and Iraqi militants seek to draw the kingdom, in which Palestinians account for at least 50 per cent of the population, into the Gaza war.

Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran want to turn Jordan into a regional flashpoint and funnel for weapons for Palestinian militants on the West Bank.

“The Iranians have instructions to recruit Jordanians and penetrate the Jordan arena through agents. Their recruitment efforts span all segments of society,” said Saud Al Sharafat, a former senior Jordanian intelligence official.

In support of Hamas, Iranian-Iraqi groups in January attacked a US military base, killing three American soldiers and wounding at least 34 others.

Iran was quick to rein in the militias after the United States retaliated with a series of airstrikes.

At the other end of the political spectrum, vigilante Israeli settlers have attacked Jordanian humanitarian truck convoys as they traversed the West Bank en route to Gaza.

The War Of The Wolves – OpEd

Hamid Enayat
Source LinkSource Link

Reports indicate that the helicopter carrying Ebrahim Raisi, the missing Iranian president, became trapped in a cloud mass on a mountain. Despite the helicopter commander’s orders, who also led the squadron, to ascend to escape the cloud mass and avoid a potential collision with the mountain, he failed to rise and exit the clouds. Seconds later, the helicopter crashed.

The current situation of the Iranian regime strangely mirrors this incident. If Khamenei plans to replace Raisi with an internationally respected figure such as Ali Larijani, who presided over the parliament for three consecutive terms and whom Khamenei placed at his side during Raisi’s commemorative ceremony, it could solve his international problems. Indeed, it was the regime that, facing an uprising and to divert public attention, logistically, financially, and technically supported Hamas and triggered the Gaza war. Perhaps with Ali Larijani, he could complete the last stage of his nuclear program.

Otherwise, the regime might continue to purge itself to consolidate further and withstand the waves of popular uprisings. In this case, it will seek a Raisi-like figure to fully exercise its hegemony. This is the premise of any dictatorship.
The Structural Paradox of the Islamic Republic

The Supreme Leader in Iran is God’s representative on earth, and his will prevails over that of the people. However, the president, supposed to represent a party or a social class and, in theory, execute the will of the people, finds himself in each term faced with an unsolvable paradox with the Supreme Leader. No president has escaped the Supreme Leader’s disgrace, either by being sidelined like Rafsanjani or being under constant surveillance.

The World’s Refugee Relief Is Utterly Broken

Neha Wadekar

Abdussalam Mustapha and his friends used to play soccer for hours after school in El Geneina, a city in the West Darfur region of Sudan. But the 10-year-old can’t play anymore.

In April 2023, war came to Sudan. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary wing of Sudan’s army, allied with other militia groups to perpetrate an ethnic cleansing campaign against non-Arab populations in and around El Geneina. Abdussalam and his entire extended family were forced to flee their homes on foot late at night, carrying only what they could hold in their hands.

On the way, the group was attacked. Abdussalam clutched the hand of his 5-year-old brother and ran. Suddenly, he felt a searing pain, and blood began pouring out of a gunshot wound in his stomach. The little fingers gripping his hand went slack. His brother had been shot in the head and died instantly. Now he was seated next to his mother on the floor of the family’s tented shelter in a refugee settlement in Chad.

The U.S.-Saudi Agreement Is a Fool’s Errand

David M. Wight

The Biden administration is on the cusp of entering an ill-advised bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia. The deal would undermine larger U.S. strategic aims for the Middle East and global order. It could also pose dangerous political risks for President Joe Biden.

The Strategic Imperative of U.S.-Israel Cooperation

Philip M. Breedlove & John Bird

America’s support for Israel’s ongoing war of national survival against an Iranian terror network dedicated to its destruction has become an increasingly divisive topic, from university campuses to the corridors of Washington. Faltering U.S. backing for Israel, one of our strongest allies, is extremely dangerous for both U.S. and Israeli national security. That is why we joined with more than 95 other retired U.S. generals and admirals to sign a Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) letter urging the United States to continue its unwavering support of Israel.

The benefits of a strong U.S.-Israel partnership (beyond national security) are too many and too valuable to lose. Our respective goals, interests, and values are aligned, both in the current conflict and more broadly going forward; they can be better realized through cooperation than discord. While as allies we may disagree, how and where those disagreements are expressed matters because our adversaries and other allies alike are watching.

Israel is fighting for its very existence in an unprecedented multifront conflict. It is defending itself against a genocidal terrorist threat that, on October 7, perpetrated the greatest loss of innocent Jewish life since the Holocaust. Meanwhile, Iran’s other regional proxies, from Yemen to Lebanon – the very same entities attacking U.S. troops – and even Iran itself have been attacking Israel.

While Israel is fighting by itself, it is not for itself alone. For its security and ours, Israel must emerge victorious. And that victory requires and must be seen to have been made possible by, U.S. assistance.

Multilateral Peace Operations In 2023: Developments And Trends – Analysis

Dr Claudia Pfeifer Cruz and Dr Jaïr van der Lijn

Ahead of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, SIPRI presents its latest data on multilateral peace operations in 2023. SIPRI has published this topical backgrounder that summarizes the key findings of the new data along with important developments related to multilateral peace operations during the year. In addition, SIPRI has issued a map that covers all multilateral peace operations that were active as of May 2023. Click here to access the map.

In 2023, 63 multilateral peace operations were active in 37 countries or territories around the world. This was one operation less than in 2022 (see figure 1). The largest number of multilateral peace operations, 20, were conducted by the United Nations. Another 38 operations were conducted by different regional organizations and alliances. The other 5 were conducted by ad hoc coalitions of states. Of the 63 operations, 24 were in sub-Saharan Africa, 19 in Europe, 14 in the Middle East and North Africa, 3 in Asia and 3 in the Americas.


Georgia Gee

SHALEV HULIO, ONCE dubbed “Israel’s cyber bad boy,” has been working hard to remake himself. By all appearances, it’s been a big success.

Things were looking dicey a few years ago when his company, the Israeli firm NSO Group, rose to infamy. Its Pegasus spyware had been exposed as enabling human rights abuses. Eventually, NSO was blacklisted by the U.S. government, and in August 2022, Hulio resigned as CEO.

In the last two years, however, Hulio has become involved in a web of new cybersecurity ventures. He is back, it seems, and better than ever.

In November, in a video filmed at the Gaza Strip, Hulio announced his new startup, Dream Security, an AI firm focused on defending critical infrastructure.

In April, according to Israel’s largest newspaper, a co-founder of IntelEye — a company that monitors the “dark web” — identified his former NSO colleague Hulio as an investor. (Another IntelEye official later told The Intercept that Hulio isn’t a shareholder but refused to clarify further.)

Signs of America’s Declining Power and the Emerging Multipolar World

Christopher Roach

During Bush’s years as president, Democrats frequently criticized his foreign policy, complaining that he acted like a cowboy, pursuing wars unilaterally without the imprimatur of the “international community.” Internationalism was a particular obsession of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who lambasted the Bush administration for snubbing the United Nations and upsetting France with its Iraq policy.

Obama was mostly a darling of foreign leaders, as he ceded American power and prestige in a bid to right what he considered the historic wrongs of colonialism and western chauvinism. This was evident in his obsession with completing the Iran deal, participating in the Kyoto accords, assisting NATO attacks on Libya and Syria, and in the general tone of public diplomacy during the Arab Spring.

That said, America made quite a few interventions in the Obama years, especially in the second term, and we largely called the shots.

Insufficient destruction is why no one wins wars anymore

Gabriel Elefteriu

“War is Hell”, William Tecumseh Sherman said in 1879, looking back on his years campaigning against the Confederacy during America’s Civil War. Sherman, that most notorious of Union generals, already knew in the second half of the 19th century just how much brutality and effort it takes to subdue a peer enemy in the industrial age.

His famed 1864 scorched-earth-style “March to the Sea,” reminiscent of medieval chevauchées, cut a large swathe of sheer destruction through Georgia on the way to the port city of Savannah. It dealt a major (some say critical) blow to the Confederate economy, logistics and war-making potential, quite apart from its significance in strictly military-operational terms.

Sherman’s forces devastated all infrastructure (civilian and military) in its path, transport networks, industrial facilities, and pretty much anything else with economic value that was possible to burn or blow up.

Forgotten Wars: The Nagorno-Karabakh Crisis

Matteo Balzarini Zane

After the intense conflict of 2020 in which Azerbaijan recovered much of the territory lost in the 1990s, the region is still the scene of clashes and tensions. Despite the ceasefire brokered by Russia, a lasting peace still seems far off.

During 2023 and early 2024, there were firefights along the front line. The most serious of these (Shusha, March 18, 2024), resulted in the deaths of ten Azerbaijani soldiers and seven Armenian soldiers. Both sides accuse each other of violating the ceasefire, intensifying the war rhetoric, and raising international concerns about a possible resumption of large-scale hostilities (UN Press). On May 23, 2024, another incident saw the death of five people, including two Azerbaijani soldiers and three Armenian officers, during a check of a convoy suspected of carrying weapons (Al Jazeera).

On the diplomatic front, the international community continues to seek peaceful solutions. In February 2024, several negotiations were held in Brussels between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, which, however, did not produce significant results as both sides remained firm on their positions. Moreover, despite numerous international organizations repeatedly calling for the opening of safe humanitarian corridors, access to Nagorno-Karabakh remains critical: local communities face severe difficulties due to disruptions in food, water, and medical supplies.

Joe Biden Faces Backlash Over Broken Gaza Pier: 'Humiliation'

Gabe Whisnant

President Joe Biden is facing backlash after a U.S.-built temporary pier on the shores of the Gaza Strip, set up to provide a lifeline to the Palestinian territory, will now be removed for repairs after breaking apart rough seas and weather.

The Pentagon said Tuesday that the $320 million pier, which had only been operating for two weeks, will now be pulled from the beach and sent to Ashdod in southern Israel for repairs.

The pier, located just southwest of Gaza City, is one of the few ways that food and supplies are reaching starving Palestinians amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

"From when it was operational, it was working, and we just had sort of an unfortunate confluence of weather storms that made it inoperable for a bit," Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh said. "Hopefully just a little over a week, we should be back up and running."

The Real Danger if Trump Is Re-elected - OPINIO

Jacob Heilbrunn

Donald Trump may be regularly depicted as an impetuous toddler in chief, but he appears to possess genuine convictions about international relations. Ever since he gave an interview to Playboy magazine in 1990 decrying Mikhail Gorbachev for failing to hold the Soviet empire together (“not a firm enough hand”) and praising the Chinese Communist leadership for crushing the student uprising at Tiananmen Square (“they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength”), Mr. Trump has extolled authoritarian leaders as possessing the right stuff, while he has dismissed democratic ones as weak and feckless.

This impulse is not a new phenomenon for the United States; it dates back to World War I and World War II, when leading American conservatives praised foreign autocrats such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco as their ideological comrades in arms. Until now, however, no modern president has lauded autocracy as a model for America.

During his four years in office, Mr. Trump blustered about alliances and praised foreign dictators but never actually upended America’s foreign policy. That could change in a second Trump administration. The former president is poised to adopt a radical program centered on constructive engagement with foreign strongmen and hostility toward democratic allies; it would include abandoning NATO. It would convert America from a dominant economic and military power into what Mr. Trump purports to abhor — a global loser.

Ukraine can still recover with bolder western support – but right now it’s on the ropes

Timothy Garton Ash

As I contemplate a forest of small Ukrainian flags on the Maidan in central Kyiv, placed there by bereaved relatives as a memorial to the war dead, I’m accosted by a burly Ukrainian soldier in combat uniform. He’s with the elite 95th Air Assault Brigade and he has been fighting Russian aggression for more than a decade. “At the moment of victory,” he tells me, “please pour the first glass on to the ground for those who have fallen.”

Gesturing to the seemingly normal life around us in the Ukrainian capital, with young people drinking at nice cafes, almost as though this were Paris or Vienna, he says, “Every peaceful day here costs a lot of lives at the front.” But he chokes up on the last words and his eyes fill with tears. “Sorry, sorry!” he exclaims, embarrassed by this moment of weakness. Then he grips my hand one more time, grasps the straps of his khaki rucksack, and marches off through the civilian crowd like a ghost from the trenches of the first world war.

The mood in Ukraine is sombre these days. The casualties keep mounting. In the military cemetery in Lviv, I see widows and bereaved mothers sitting silently beside the fresh graves of their loved ones, heads bowed, a life sentence of suffering etched on their faces. Medical experts estimate that at least half the population is suffering from some degree of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The villages near Kharkiv were recovering. Fleeing again, their people feel betrayed by the west – and I understand why

Ada Wordsworth

The Russian offensive on the Kharkiv region this month has, after 20 months of relative peace, again placed many of the villages where my charity works, repairing homes destroyed by bombs, at the forefront of the war.

I began volunteering in Kharkiv two years ago, having dropped out of my master’s degree in Russian literature and set up the charity to support Ukrainians. After the region’s liberation in September 2022, hundreds of thousands of people had started to return to Kharkiv city and the wider region from other parts of Ukraine, and countries that had taken them in as refugees. The villages where I work were reawakening, the craters that lined the streets had been filled, shops were reopening, electricity was back on. People’s return was mostly driven by a desire to be at home.

“Dim ye dim” is the catchphrase of those living in these villages. Home is home. For many, living in the villages that sit in the 30 miles between Kharkiv and the border with Russia, returning home is also a conscious act of defiance. One elderly woman, who had stayed in her village throughout the war, through occupation and shelling, told me that she would not leave because “so long as there is a Ukrainian on this soil, it will be Ukraine”.

Big Tech’s Budding AI Monopoly - OPINION

William P. Barr

Microsoft, Google and Amazon are remarkably successful companies, and their ability to suppress competition in their primary and adjacent markets is unparalleled. These tech giants are now attempting to control artificial-intelligence technology. If allowed to dominate AI, they could reinforce and extend their supremacy over more of the economy. It is imperative that competition authorities carefully monitor and, where necessary, police the investments and partnerships that Big Tech is using to tighten its grip over AI.

Big Tech’s playbook for expanding its dominance is familiar. Once these platforms establish monopoly or near-monopoly power in their primary markets, they enter and gain competitive advantages in adjacent markets. As a House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee report found, Big Tech companies have frequently “invested” in emerging firms and technologies in adjacent markets, integrated or bundled these products with their dominant platforms, and then provided a leg up to their offerings by giving them superior access to their platforms.

Big Tech companies can thus pre-empt the normal evolution of emerging markets. Rather than evolve into their own solar systems, adjacent markets become mere satellites of the dominant firms. This not only allows tech giants to absorb new domains but also prevents the emergence of new rivals with technologies capable of disrupting the platforms’ dominance.

Google Gemini Cheat Sheet (Formerly Google Bard): What Is Google Gemini, and How Does It Work?

Andy Wolber

Everything you need to know to get started with Gemini, Google’s generative AI.

Gemini is Google’s artificial intelligence ecosystem, including a chatbot that generates responses to user-provided natural language prompts. In response to a prompt, Gemini can pull information from the internet and present a response. The large language model behind Gemini delivers the response in natural language — in contrast to a standard Google search, where a result consists of a snippet of information or a list of links.

Google announced Gemini (as Bard) in February 2023 after OpenAI and Microsoft both garnered attention for AI chatbot systems. And in May 2023, AI advancements featured prominently in Google’s I/O event. On Feb. 8, 2024, Google renamed the AI products formerly named Bard to Gemini.

What is Google Gemini used for?

Google Gemini is the overarching term for an ecosystem of generative AI models and services, including natural language querying, assistants, content generation and code writing. Gemini’s prompt-response process can help you obtain answers faster than a standard Google search sequence.

A classic Google search requires you to enter a natural language query or keywords, follow links, review content and then compile the results or repeat the process with a refined search.

Concerns raised over geopolitical cyber warfare

Joanne Carew

The individual decisions we make when it comes to cybersecurity – both personally and professionally – can have far reaching geopolitical implications. This is according to Victoria Baines, professor of IT at Gresham College, London, who was speaking at the ITWeb Security Summit in Cape Town, on Tuesday.

With this sentiment in mind, Baines asked the audience if they felt that popular platforms like WhatsApp and TikTok could be considered national security threats or instruments for cyber warfare.

“I would argue that the answer to this question very much depends on your perspective,” she said.

“I would also argue that what we in our industry have traditionally conceived of as cyber threats is becoming a lot broader.”

During her address, Baines unpacked various examples of how different nation states – from China and Iran to Russia and North Korea – are actively involved in and sponsoring cyber activity, from misinformation campaigns, election interference and attacks on critical infrastructure to the stealing of state secrets.

Army lays out strategy for new $1B contract vehicle for modern software development


The Army has developed a strategy for a new contract vehicle for software that it estimates will be worth more than $1 billion over a 10-year period of performance.

The service’s vision, outlined in a special notice published on Sam.gov seeking industry feedback, was released less than three months after Army leadership announced a new policy to codify changes in how the department develops and manages software.

“The Army’s contracting strategy is to award a new Multiple Award IDIQ contract vehicle in a streamlined manner to the most qualified contractors, resulting [in] a flexible contract vehicle with the ability to rapidly award Task Orders for Modern Software Development requirements across the Army,” according to an appendix to a request for information posted May 23.