10 June 2024

India’s global role will grow in Modi’s third term


India’s election, the world’s largest democratic exercise, may have delivered a stunning surprise by denying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party an outright majority in parliament, but this setback is unlikely to affect the stability or direction of his third-term government.

The primary reason is that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, contested the election in alliance with several small political groups, with the coalition winning a majority of seats in parliament’s ruling lower house.

Still, the BJP’s loss of its commanding majority in the lower house represents a blow to Modi’s political standing, including puncturing his air of invincibility. After stacking up political win after win, an overconfident Modi had predicted even before the campaign formally began that the BJP would secure more than two-thirds of the seats in the lower house.

India’s Perilous Border Standoff With China

Praveen Donthi

High up in the mostly uninhabitable stretches of the Himalaya Mountains, the world’s two largest armies are facing off. The tensions at the disputed Chinese-Indian border, where around 100,000 troops are garrisoned at remote outposts, rarely makes international headlines. But it is one of the world’s most dangerous flash points. In 2020, clashes at the border left over 20 soldiers dead, marking the most significant fighting between China and India since the two countries fought a war in 1962.

The Road Ahead for Modi and India


Though his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) didn’t roll to the landslide victory he hoped for, Narendra Modi has secured a rare third five-year term as India’s prime minister. It wasn’t an easy win.

High inflation and unemployment helped a more unified opposition portray Modi as too cozy with big business, reducing his BJP-led alliance’s margin of victory. Growing wealth inequality forced Modi to lean more heavily on the appeal of an often-ugly Hindu nationalism, a burden he has allowed subordinates to carry in the past. In addition, India’s media environment has become more polarized, with many more people getting their news online than when Modi was first elected a decade ago.

But Modi himself remains far more popular than his party. He has built a reputation for personal integrity, and after a decade in office, his name recognition is uncontestable. That matters in a country with dozens of different languages spoken by millions of people. Once the votes were counted in the world’s largest and longest-running election, Modi emerged again as the man of the moment.

Is India Making a Good Bet on Iran?

Monish Tourangbam and Sarabjit Kaur

The quest for strategic autonomy remains the lodestar of India’s foreign policy, whether through Cold War era non-alignment or the new age of multi-alignment. India’s growing strategic embrace of the United States contrasts with New Delhi’s penchant for independent agency in foreign policy decision-making. Particularly in dealing with U.S. adversaries, New Delhi has had to walk a tightrope, and as such, managing the curious case of India-Iran-U.S. dynamics will remain a challenge for India’s foreign policy planners.

On May 13, 2024, India and Iran made headlines by signing a landmark agreement to develop and manage the strategic Chabahar Port, and drew diplomatic ire from Washington. The deal was inked between India Port Global Limited (IPGL) and Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO). Coincidentally, the agreement was sealed just before the sudden demise of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash. At a time of increasing India-U.S. partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, and of heightened Washington-Tehran tensions in West Asia, can New Delhi sustain the momentum of its engagement with Tehran? In short, is India making a good bet on Iran?

Collaboration on the development of the Chabahar Port has remained a point of convergence and joint strategic vision, supported through successive political leaderships on both sides. The recent deal is a culmination of many milestones over the years. In a landmark 2003 visit by then-President Mohammad Khatami of Iran to India, the two nations signed “The New Delhi Declaration,” solidifying their strategic partnership. The centerpiece of the declaration was collaboration on the development of Chabahar Port, through which India and Iran aimed to unlock new trade routes and connect the region to Central Asia and Europe. The agreement holds immense significance for India as it provides an alternative trade route to landlocked Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

China-India Name War Intensifies in the Himalayas

Subir Bhaumik and Pratyusha Mukherjee

India has started a tit-for-tat nomenclature offensive to counter China’s renaming of places in India’s Arunachal Pradesh state. New Delhi plans to rename more than two dozens places in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Diplomat has seen a complete list of the places to be renamed, provided by Indian military sources. The list is expected to be released soon after a new government takes power in Delhi next week, after the results of the seven-phase election to the national Parliament were announced on June 4.

“Prime Minister Modi has sought to win these polls on the strength of his strongman image. It is natural he will authorize the renaming of Tibetan places to live up to that image,” said former Intelligence Bureau officer Benu Ghosh, who has followed China and the border issue with India for decades.

New Delhi suspects that China’s renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh is aimed at strengthening Beijing’s territorial claim on the largest province in northeastern India, which China chooses to call Zangnan or “southern Tibet.”

India’s China Challenge

Abhinav Pandya

On April 10, 2024, amid the high-pitch and polarising campaign for the upcoming national elections, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi gave a crucial interview with Newsweek. Generally, BJP election campaigns put a high premium on hyper-nationalistic rhetoric on security issues. However, this time, Modi took an unexpected stance and softened his previously tough posture on India-China ties. In his Newsweek interview, he said, “Through positive and constructive bilateral engagement at diplomatic and military levels, the two countries will be able to restore and sustain peace and tranquillity at the borders.” While emphasizing that the relationship with China is “important” and “significant,” he stated, “It is my belief that we need to urgently address the prolonged situation on our borders so that the abnormality in our bilateral interactions can be put behind us. Stable and peaceful relations between India and China are important for not just our two countries but the entire region and world.” Reacting positively to Modi’s statements, China also assured that “sound and stable” relations are in both nations’ interests.

In the diplomatic quarters, Modi’s statements have signaled a breakthrough toward achieving a thaw in the stiff and estranged bilateral ties between India and China. However, the question arises whether it is possible to achieve a lasting peace in the Himalayan borders, given the fact that twenty-one rounds of core commander-level meetings and twenty-nine meetings of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) on India-China border affairs have failed to achieve any breakthrough.

After the Galwan crisis in June 2020, which resulted in causalities on both sides, the bilateral ties worsened. Following the Galwan standoff, both sides amassed 50,000 troops in a mirror deployment pattern in the Ladakh sector. After four rounds of disengagement in Galwan Valley, Pangong Tso, Gogra (PP-17 A), and Hot Springs (PP-15), and continuing tensions in Depsang and Demchok, the deployments remain in a standoff on both sides of the border. Today, bilateral relations are at a nadir not seen since the 1962 war.

Combating Terrorism: Challenges And Solutions For Southeast Asia – OpEd

Simon Hutagalung

Terrorism remains a persistent threat in Southeast Asia frequent major bombings in the region over the past few decades. These attacks created a widespread sense of fear in the public. To combat effectively terrorism in Southeast Asia it is crucial to address the issues that contribute to its rise such as poverty and inequality limited access to education and the presence of religious and political extremism.

One of the main fueling factors of terrorism in Southeast Asia is the widespread poverty and inequality that exists in the region. Economically disadvantaged marginalized individuals are often more vulnerable recruited by extremist groups. When people struggle to meet their basic needs and lack opportunities become susceptible to promises of money and a sense of belonging that these groups offer. This issue is exacerbated by the significant gap between the rich and the poor and the problem is made worse by the absence of robust social safety nets.

Another significant problem is the limited opportunities for young individuals particularly those with relevant skills and education. The lack accessible of schooling and career prospects makes young people more susceptible to the lure of extremism. Without peaceful viable pathways to a better future, they may be drawn into movements based group on identity whether political social religious, etc. This challenge requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on improving physical expanding infrastructure outreach education and implementing realistic economic policies.

Was Pakistan’s ISI Involved in the Nepal Royal Massacre of 2001?

Rajeev Bhattacharyya

On June 1, 2001, a drunk Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah allegedly killed 11 members of the Nepali Royal Family, including his father, King Birendra, before turning the gun on himself. The massacre reportedly followed an argument between Dipendra and his parents, who objected to his plans to marry local aristocrat Devyani Rana. Some observers also believed that the king’s apparent willingness to consider a Maoist proposal to make the Nepali monarchy as ceremonial one in order to end the insurgency infuriated his son, resulting in the mass murder.

Several other theories circulated in the months after the Palace massacre. Within days of the killings, underground Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai wrote that the incident was the outcome of a political conspiracy. The needle of suspicion also pointed in the direction of the king’s brother, Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, who was absent from the palace on the night of the killings and assumed the throne after the bloodshed. He has denied involvement in the incident.

China Is Losing the Chip War

Michael Schuman

In an April phone conversation, Chinese leader Xi Jinping issued a stern admonition to President Joe Biden. Washington’s ban on the export of American advanced microchips and other sanctions designed “to suppress China’s trade and technology development” are “creating risks.” If Biden “is adamant on containing China’s high-tech development,” the official Chinese readout went on, Beijing “is not going to sit back and watch.”

Biden has been robust in his response. The ban, he told Xi, was necessary to protect American national security. “He said, ‘Why?’” Biden recently recounted. “I said, ‘Because you use it for all the wrong reasons, so you’re not going to get those advanced computer chips.’”

Imagine for a moment how humiliating that exchange must have been for Xi Jinping. Xi is not supposed to suffer such indignities. His propaganda machine portrays him as an all-knowing sage who will lead China to a new era of global greatness. His word is practically law, and such a warning as he gave Biden would have induced fear and obedience among his compatriots. Yet the American leader not only stood firm; he even went on to lecture the Chinese dictator.

How to Respond to China's Tactics in the South China Sea

Derek Grossman

The odds of armed conflict in the South China Sea are high and rising. China's relentless assertiveness against the Philippines—harassing ships inside Manila's internationally recognized Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), most notably at Second Thomas Shoal and Scarborough Shoal—has led to a situation where war in the South China Sea now seems more likely than at any other Indo-Pacific flash point, including the Taiwan Strait and Korean Peninsula.

To be sure, the Philippines' security alliance with the United States has so far deterred China from more serious attacks on the Philippine military or other government assets. But the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty—which commits Washington to come to Manila's aid if the latter is under military attack—has utterly failed to deter Beijing from escalating its coercive gray-zone tactics—aggressive actions designed to irreversibly change the status quo without resorting to lethal force. These tactics have included ramming, shadowing, blocking, encircling, firing water cannons, and using military-grade lasers against civilian ships and military vessels. China also relies on its formidable coast guard and so-called fishing militia—comprised of fishermen who are trained and equipped by the military—to patrol, loiter in, and occupy disputed areas, establishing a quasi-permanent presence that the targeted country cannot easily dislodge.

On June 15, moreover, Beijing is reportedly planning to implement a new policy that would authorize the Chinese coast guard to detain foreigners crossing into waters claimed by China. These waters include most of the South China Sea—based on Beijing's own expansive historical claims rather than international law, which in this case is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. (For comparison, imagine if Germany claimed the entire North Sea, or if the United States claimed the entire Caribbean right up to the South American coast.)

Iran Warns Israel Will Face 'Formidable Defeat' Against Hezbollah

Tom O'Connor

Iranian officials have shared with Newsweek a warning to Israel over potential plans to conduct a major offensive against the Lebanese Hezbollah movement amid intensive cross-border clashes taking place on the sidelines of the ongoing war with the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.

The comments came a day after Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi told personnel near the northern border on Tuesday that "we are approaching the point where a decision will have to be made" regarding "an offensive in the north." The comment was the latest in a series of remarks by Israel officials hinting at military action in Lebanon since the outbreak of the war in Gaza last October.

In response, the Iranian Mission to the United Nations asserted that Iranian officials "do not lend any credence whatsoever to the rhetoric of certain Israeli regime officials who threaten a ground offensive in southern Lebanon," and argued such an undertaking would only prove a major setback for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Did Houthis Strike a U.S. Aircraft Carrier?

Houthi Rebels' False Claims: No Hit on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower

Houthi rebels claimed they achieved a “direct hit” on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Red Sea over the weekend.

A spokesman for the Iran-backed militant group said Houthi forces targeted USS Dwight D. Eisenhower with unmanned aerial vehicles on Saturday in retaliation for Israel’s ongoing military operation against Hamas in Gaza.

Chinese and Iranian state-run media outlets circulated the rumor, publishing a clearly doctored photograph of the American ship on social media (we have compiled several example photos in this article). However, U.S. Central Command denies the claim. According to Voice of America, a CENTCOM official asserted that, “There is no truth to the Houthi claim of striking the USS Eisenhower or any U.S. Navy vessel,” adding that “This is an ongoing disinformation campaign that the Houthis have been conducting for months.”

The Houthis Continue to Barrage Ships in the Red Sea

Over the last few months, the U.S. and the United Kingdom have been carrying out frequent barrages against Houthi assets in the Middle East in an effort to further degrade the group’s capabilities.

Germany at a Crossroads

Judy Dempsey

Since the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany seventy-five years ago, the country has rested on four pillars. Today, none of them can be taken for granted.

The first pillar is the security umbrella provided by the United States since 1945. Without it, neither Germany nor Europe would have prospered or enjoyed stability.

The second pillar is the EU. Psychologically, politically, economically, and socially, the EU embedded post-war West Germany and later East Germany into the West.

The third pillar is—or was—Russia. During the late 1960s, Germany became the advocate of détente with the Kremlin. It was keen to forge a special relationship with Moscow, believing that close economic ties would lead to more stable relations and possible promote change in Russia. Energy was a key element underpinning this rapprochement.

America’s Israel Policy Is Stuck in the 1990s

Steven A. Cook

In March, Vice President Kamala Harris and other senior American officials met with the leader of Israel’s National Unity political alliance and war cabinet member, Benny Gantz. He was in Washington to understand and perhaps take the edge off the differences between the United States and Israel over the war in Gaza. The Biden administration’s frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Gantz’s reputation as the “adult in the room,” and the Bibi Derangement Syndrome—the other BDS—that afflicts much of Washington’s foreign-policy community created great expectations for Gantz’s visit.

Talk of war between Israel and Lebanon is growing

Summer wildfires are common in northern Israel and southern Lebanon. But war, not weather, brought them early this year. Rocket and drone attacks by Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia militia, sparked wildfires that have burned more than 3,700 acres in northern Israel and the Golan Heights. In Lebanon, meanwhile, Israeli shelling set fire to forests near the border.

Israel and Hizbullah have kept up a low-intensity conflict since October, when the Lebanese group started firing rockets in support of Hamas in Gaza. Over recent weeks, however, that conflict has escalated. Since October The Economist has used a nasa satellite designed to detect forest fires and a machine-learning model to track war-related fires near the border. The model detected a spike of activity beginning in mid-May; on June 2nd it logged the worst day since late October (see chart).

Biden’s challenge runs deeper than ‘bad vibes’ - Opinion


A key question still looming over the US election is why voters give Joe Biden so little credit for an apparently robust economic recovery. Many observers dismiss this as a “vibecession” — a case of bad “vibes” created by partisan media and divorced from reality — with only occasional apologies for how condescending this sounds.

While it is a fact that the US economy has of late been growing at a relatively rapid pace, normal people don’t live for quarterly GDP numbers, and their loss of faith in the system is a generational story. Ninety per cent of Americans born in the 1940s grew up to earn more than their parents, but that figure fell steadily to half of those born in 1980, and today barely more than a third of US adults say they are better off than mom and dad.

With public debt at record highs, nearly half of Americans say they will depend on government help in retirement — but most don’t trust the government to deliver promised benefits. Nearly seven in 10 say the economic and political system needs “major changes or to be torn down entirely”.

Israel's Outgoing UN Ambassador Worries Palestinians Are Winning Narrative

Tom O'Connor

As support for Palestinian statehood continues to gain international ground, Israel's outgoing ambassador to the United Nations warned that Israel was losing the fight for the narrative over a decades-long conflict that has erupted into a bloody, high-stakes war.

"It always concerns us when our approach is not being accepted, like every normal country," Israeli Permanent Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan said in response to Newsweek's question during a small gathering of journalists last week at the Israeli Mission to the U.N. "So, we have to do more to convince the world."

Erdan, who announced just hours prior to the meeting on Friday that he had declined an ambassadorship to the United States and would leave his post this summer to continue his career in foreign service in another capacity, has established himself as a fiery presence at the U.N., especially since the Hamas-led October 7, 2023, attacks that sparked the longest and deadliest-ever war in the Gaza Strip.

Tensions ramp up on Israel-Lebanon border as IDF warns decision is approaching on fresh offensive

Mike Schwartz and Nadeen Ebrahim

Tensions are escalating on the Israel-Lebanon border as the Israeli military warned it was prepared to launch a large-scale attack in the north to deter the Iran-backed Islamist group Hezbollah.

Cross-border attacks from Lebanon led to large fires blazing through Israel’s northern region this week, consuming swathes of land and leading to the evacuation of residents. Israel attributed the blaze to rocket fire from southern Lebanon, where Hezbollah said it had launched a “swarm of drones” at Israeli military sites.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the northern city of Kiryat Shmona near the Lebanese border, saying that Israel is prepared for “very intense action” in the north.

“Whoever thinks that they can hurt us and that we will sit idly by is making a big mistake,” the prime minister said. “One way or another, we will restore security to the north.”

What Weapons Does Lebanon's Hezbollah Have?

Marni Rose McFall

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group and is one of the most heavily armed non-state actors globally. The group is primarily supported by Iran.

This week the group made headlines as they issued a warning to Israel regarding the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The military group's second-in-command Naim Qassem said the group is prepared to engage in full-scale conflict if necessary.
A Brief History of Hezbollah

Hezbollah emerged during Lebanon's civil war in the 1980s. The group was originally formed in response to the Israeli occupation. Israel occupied South Lebanon for decades until the Israeli military withdrew in 2000.

Israel-Hezbollah War a 'Matter of Time': Ex-Official

David Brennan

A "very destructive" war between Israel and the Iranian-aligned Hezbollah militia in Lebanon may prove inevitable, a former Israeli national security adviser has said, as cross-border fighting between the two sides intensifies and around 200,000 Israelis remain displaced from their homes in the north of the country.

Eyal Hulata—who served as the national security adviser to prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid—told a Jerusalem Press Club briefing on Wednesday that the situation along the northern border "is more volatile now than it was in recent weeks and months."

Skirmishes have been ongoing along the frontier since October 7, when Hamas launched a surprise infiltration attack into southern Israel—killing 1,100 people and abducting more than 250 others.

Hezbollah—along with Hamas a member of the Iranian-led political and military coalition known as the "Axis of Resistance"—began attacks on Israel in response to the country's subsequent offensive into the Gaza Strip, which to date has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians per data from the regional health ministry cited by The Associated Press.


U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the highest-ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, released a significant defense investment plan to rebuild the U.S. military and defense industrial base for a generation.

The emerging Axis of Aggressors is undermining U.S. interests across the globe and our current defense investment does not meet the moment. Our defense industrial base is underfunded and unprepared for the wars of today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future.

In recent years, Senator Wicker has advanced major legislative efforts to enhance our military preparedness. He has also issued warnings to highlight the crisis in American defense planning and offered solutions for what we should do next. This blueprint released today builds on these recommendations by laying out how the United States could further invest in a national defense renewal that puts us on a wartime footing immediately.

Hamas Has Reinvented Underground Warfare

Daphné Richemond-Barak

When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, it dragged Israel into one of the worst underground wars ever. By now, it is abundantly clear that the scale of Hamas’s subterranean complex is unprecedented and that the use of tunnels has contributed to casualties among civilians and soldiers. More consequentially, by sustaining underground operations over months, Hamas has delayed an Israeli victory, causing unimaginable diplomatic and political costs along the way.

In terms of tunnel warfare, the only war that compares is World War I, in which countless British and German soldiers died trying to expose, mine, and dig tunnels. No other use of tunnels in warfare comes close—neither the entrenchment of Osama bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan that enabled him to evade U.S. forces and plan attacks undetected; nor that of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Mali, where tunnels were used in launching attacks from nearly impregnable underground hideouts; nor that of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), which used tunnels to conduct attacks on U.S.-led multinational forces in Iraq and Syria. Hamas’s use of tunnels is so advanced that it more closely resembles how states use underground structures to protect command-and-control centers than what is typical for nonstate actors.

The Horn Of Africa States: Populations At Risk – OpEd

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

The Horn of Africa States region is a vast region of some 3.8 million square kilometers and a marine exclusive economic zone of some 1 million square kilometers. It houses and accommodates a growing 216 million people of youthful age, most of them (0ver 70%) under thirty years old. It has a large agricultural base, including production of native grains and other grain seeds aside from the large fishing waters the region owns both in the oceans and in the rivers and lakes. The region, if worked well could, therefore, be food self-sufficient as it always was through millennia.

It is not the case, however, and thousands of the region’s population are at risk or on the move, and out of the region simply because the governing infrastructures are obstacles to peaceful life in the region and the five countries from Sudan to Somalia are all involved in wars with rebellious forces be they ethnic or religious. It is a sorry of a region, indeed.

While there are strenuous climatic situations in the region, it does not warrant an extreme hunger and/or a mass exodus as has been happening in the region for many years now to the extent that the populations of the region even risk their lives crossing deserts and seas to move to other destinations.

America’s Military Strategy: Can We Handle Two Wars at Once?

Michael O'Hanlon

Does the United States need the ability to fight more than one major war at a time?

The Senate Armed Services Committee has been asking this question of late, and it is right to do so.

Today, according to official Pentagon planning doctrine, the United States could not. One need not believe literally in a “new axis of evil” that includes Russia, North Korea, Iran, and China to worry that if America and its allies wound up in a fight against one of these four states, another one might consider opportunistic aggression. This could be particularly concerning if the potential adversary believed it could win fast, creating a fait accompli that the United States would be challenged to reverse even after concluding war in another theater.

For many decades, seeking to ensure deterrence and prevent opportunistic aggression by a second foe if engaged already against a first, the United States aspired to some variant of a two-war capability. During the Cold War, the United States generally aimed to be able to fight a major war alongside NATO allies against the Soviet bloc in Europe and at least one other simultaneous conflict (like the Korean or Vietnam war) elsewhere. Accordingly, the U.S. military during the Cold War was generally 60 to 100 percent larger than it is today.

AI-Driven Cyberattacks Can Inflict Damage On GDP And Supply Chains For World’s Largest Economies

Cyberattacks driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI) pose unprecedented risks to global economies, supply chains, and trade. A forthcoming study from the journal Risk Analysisexplores the cascading impacts of AI-driven cyberattacks.

Unlike traditional cyberattacks, which are typically manual or scripted, AI-driven cyberattacks utilize AI and machine learning algorithms to enhance their effectiveness, stealthiness and adaptability. AI-driven cyberattacks can autonomously learn and evolve their tactics, techniques and procedures based on real-time feedback and environmental changes.

Through simulation scenarios, the researchers discovered the potential economic ramifications of cyberattacks, focusing on regions heavily reliant on digital technologies and interconnected supply chains. The analysis revealed significant declines in real GDP, trade prices and volumes, and trade route disruptions across regions. The most vulnerable economies were China, the U.S., the U.K., and the E.U. – due to their deep integration into global networks.