19 October 2017

The Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar: Options for India

By Sumit Kumar

Ever since Rohingya Muslim militants killed 12 local persons in the Rakhine state of Myanmar on August 25, 2017, the situation in the country is highly volatile, with least 370 Rohingya having been killed by the Myanmar armed forces and a huge number of Rohingyas having moved to Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries.

The political conflict between the Muslim-dominated Rohingya community and the country’s majority Buddhist has continued for decades. However, the political conflict between the two groups suddenly changed into an armed struggle in 1982 when the Citizenship Act enacted by Burmese government did not recognise the Rohingyas as citizens and also prevented this community from holding any government office and moving freely.

America’s Mumbai – Modern War Institute

by John Spencer 

It will take months, possibly years, to fully understand how the senseless attack in Las Vegas will change American society. Hotels are considering metal detectors, X-ray screening of guest luggage, and mandatory room checks. Some are even questioning whether open-air concerts and festivals should be organized anymore. We should not change the way we live our lives in America. But we must begin to take a hard look at how we secure our cities.

India informs US it’s ready to buy Raytheon ISTAR aircraft

By: Vivek Raghuvanshi  

India has made an official request to purchase two ISTAR aircraft under a government-to-government deal. The move comes within a month of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to India.

A formal letter of request was sent to the U.S. Defense Department earlier this month expressing intent to procure two intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft via the Foreign Military Sales program, a Ministry of Defense official said.

Rise of China: An Enigma

By Col Anil Athale

Arnold J. Toynbee, a doyen of historian, in his multi volume magnum opus ‘Studies in World History’ had predicted rise of China and India and the challenge it will pose to the West dominated world order.

Toynbee wrote that when the process of industrialization going on in India and China reaches its conclusion, the huge populations of these countries will begin to weigh in the politico-military balance of the world. Such invigorated Giants will then seek their just share in resources of the world, currently skewed in favour of the West.

Special Report: Seven things to watch at China’s 19th Party Congress

by James Tunningley 

China’s 19th Party Congress (19PC) will answer some key questions that are preoccupying China-watchers: will Xi Jinping stay on as President? And how centralised will power become? In this Special Report, GRI’s James Tunningley presents a guide of what to expect during the coming weeks.

The Key to Countering Iran

Political and economic pressure from the United States will unite Iran's fractious political system behind the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which lies at the heart of Tehran's regional strategy.

Washington's recent addition of the IRGC to the Treasury Department's list of terrorist groups probably won't have a substantial impact on the organization's ability to fund itself and allied militant groups across the Middle East.

In response to the U.S. decision, Iran will boost its military and political support for the IRGC by expanding its budget for asymmetric operations, including the activities of the elite Quds Force and ballistic missile development.

The Need for a Real New Strategy to Deal with Iran and the Gulf

By Anthony Cordesman

Early in the Trump Administration, the President signed Executive Orders calling for the development of a new strategy to deal with Iran and the defense of the Gulf. The White House announced the broad outline of this strategy for Iran on October 13, 2017—going far beyond the expected focus on failing to certify Iran's compliance with the Iran nuclear arms agreement with the UN—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.

The White House Outline of the New Strategy

Drop Zone: OTH Interview with Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)

“[The United States] is still undergoing a transition from the industrial age of warfare to the information age. And, even if […] the military could achieve a fully functioning combat cloud today… And, what I mean by combat cloud is achieving a means of rapidly and seamlessly sharing information. It is highly unlikely that the military would make the most of that new system. The reality is the Department of Defense and its respective service branches are still aligned in an industrial age fashion with employment doctrine still based on traditional attrition and annihilation strategies of warfare.”

– Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.)
Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Studies

The Book Mattis Reads To Be Prepared For War With North Korea

Last Monday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general with a legendary appetite for military history, ticked off a list of book recommendations to a crowd of U.S. Army leaders and supporters—titles that might help them understand command, strategy and the ways war is evolving. But he kept coming back to one book in particular: T. R. Fehrenbach’s This Kind of War, a 54-year-old history of the Korean War that’s much better known in military than civilian quarters.

The U.S. Thinks About Space Warfare

By Malcolm Davis

The last couple of weeks have been big ones for space in the U.S.. Vice President Pence chaired the newly re-formed U.S. National Space Council, the peak body for charting U.S. space policy, which had lain moribund under the previous Obama administration. The key news for the military was that a full-scale strategic review of space warfare was underway, headed by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

The nature of warfare is changing. It's time governments caught up


If the day comes when you wake to find the tap produces no water, your mobile has no signal and your local supermarket is out of essentials, you may have become an unsolicited participant in cyber war. If that day includes the destruction of key power stations, 10 Downing Street demolished and the Bank of England left a smoking wreck by high-precision ballistic and cruise missiles, you will be witness to war in the Information Age.

What it Means to Be an Ally: A Vietnamese-American’s View on the US in the Vietnam War Image Credit: US Department of Defense What it Means to Be an Ally: A Vietnamese-American’s View on the US in the Vietnam War Strategic calculations can vary, but commitment to an ally must be steadfast. By Tom Le October 11, 2017 My mother was a teenager when she made her perilous journey to America as a “boat person.” Undoubtedly hiding from me many of the ugly realities of the Vietnam War, she instead loved to tell me the story of how American soldiers had given two dogs to my grandfather. He became so attached to them that after one of the dogs died protecting my mother from a snake, he used what little money he had for a proper burial. For many South Vietnamese, stories like this reveal their feelings about the war. America was a friend that, for various reasons, could not prevent Vietnam from losing its chance at true freedom. South Vietnamese mourn what could have been, but appreciate Americans for fulfilling the obligations of an ally. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War has been a gift because its even-handed retelling of the war has generated renewed discussion of a turning point in world history. The reaction among academics and in the mainstream press, though, has been disheartening with scant diversity of opinion, and almost no input from Vietnamese. Typical of the response has been that of historian Andrew Bacevich, arguing that despite its strengths, The Vietnam War lacked the willingness to interpret and render moral judgments of a war that was “beyond all reason.” Bacevich contends the documentary does not go beyond the truism that the war was a great tragedy. Others argue U.S. intervention was duplicitous (Newsweek) or a crime (The Intercept).

By Tom Le

My mother was a teenager when she made her perilous journey to America as a “boat person.” Undoubtedly hiding from me many of the ugly realities of the Vietnam War, she instead loved to tell me the story of how American soldiers had given two dogs to my grandfather. He became so attached to them that after one of the dogs died protecting my mother from a snake, he used what little money he had for a proper burial.

Cyber operators to commanders: Bring us in early and often

By: Kathleen Curthoys

The Army’s cyber operators want unit commanders to know they’re ready to bring solutions that can be tailored to the unit, the network and the commanders’ missions — and they’re bringing their servers and sensors with them.

“We’re coming into our own as a brand new brigade, a brand new unit and a brand new domain,” said Maj. Josh Rykowski, a mission team leader with Cyber Protection Brigade.

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.


A military officer who teaches computer science at the Mangyongdae Revolutionary School, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, North Korea. CreditAlexander F. Yuan/Associated Press

When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled “foundation” as “fandation.”

Cyber Command stands up planning cells at combatant commands

By: Mark Pomerleau  
Source Link

Officers from multiple branches analyze a scenario during Cyber Flag, an exercise that strategically focused on exercising the command's mission of operating and defending the Department of Defense networks across the full spectrum of operations against a realistic adversary in a virtual environment.

Cyber Command has stood up forward-deployed planning cells within the combatant command staffs to help better coordinate offensive and defensive cyber effects.

Israel hacked Kaspersky, then tipped the NSA that its tools had been breached

In 2015, Israeli government hackers saw something suspicious in the computers of a Moscow-based cybersecurity firm: hacking tools that could only have come from the National Security Agency.

Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

12 Keys to Successful National Defense Strategy Planning

Source Link

As the Pentagon preps this year's version of the report formerly known as the QDR, a new study gleans practical advice from past efforts.

There is plenty of advice in the air as the Defense Department prepares its latest National Defense Strategy, the report formerly known as the Quadrennial Defense Review. Most of the advice concerns the strategy itself, which will set direction for the new administration and explain its thinking. Yet planners should also think about how they will go about formulating strategy, because a good process facilitates both the production of good strategy and the strategy’s adoption in a contentious political environment.



In light of revelations that their company’s platform was used by Russian actors during the 2016 election, Facebook executives have embarked on an extensive public-relations rehabilitation campaign. Last month, C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg appeared in a rare Facebook livestream to discuss steps the company would take to ensure that it wouldn’t be compromised again. Part of that effort, Zuckerberg explained, would require hiring a small army of staff whose explicit job would be to safeguard against the kind of cyber psy-ops that Russia deployed so effectively—an effort that, as Bloomberg reported Monday, appears to be taking shape.

U.S. Commandos Want This Technology for Special Forces Raids

By Michael Peck

For Dungeons & Dragons roleplayers, part of the fun of make-believe adventure is searching for hidden chambers where the monsters keep their treasure. For that matter, it’s a familiar theme in horror movies to have villains and vampires pop out from behind walls and bookcases.

But for U.S. commandos, hidden compartments are not entertainment. They are obstacles to a successful mission to capture fugitives, or seize documents and weapons. And on a house raid in hostile territory, there isn’t a lot of time to go tapping on walls to find a stash.

Three Truths About The Personal Study of War

Imagine if someone told you that a year from today, you would be required to take a test in which every wrong answer resulted in the loss of a human life. How would you approach studying for the test? Would you study for 20-30 minutes every night or would you wait until a week before the test and start cramming? You’re probably saying that this is a no brainer, and that you would spend a year studying in small increments so that you get a 100 percent and nobody dies. While the logic is clear-cut in this scenario, it is lost on many leaders in their professional military careers.

18 October 2017


I have a dream. 

Our soldiers fighting CI Ops in J&K and in North East will wear light weight bullet proof jackets and helmets and NOT the present heavy staff and the DRDO invented patkas. My dream is triggered by a recent news item Army Plans to Field New Protective Vest, Armored Shirt in 2019 available at http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2016/02/army-plans-to-field-new-protective-vest.html

India continues to remain the world's largest arms importer, accounting for 14% of the global imports in the 2011-2015 time frame, India spent a whopping Rs. 83,458.31 crore on arms imports in a matter of three years ending 2013-14. The latest data on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), also shows India's arms imports remain three times greater than those of its rivals China and Pakistan. Its biggest suppliers are Russia, the US, Israel and France. Russia accounts for 70% of our arms import. But the situation is fast changing and US is fast grabbing the lucrative market. Russians also are exploiting Pakistanis by offering them latest armed helicopters. After India, China ranks second in the global arms import list with 4.7%, China used to top the imports chart earlier but has gradually built a stronger Defence Industrial Base over the last couple of decades to even emerge as the world's third largest arms exporter after the US and Russia. Incidentally, Pakistan is the main recipient of Chinese arms exports, notching up 35% of the total, followed by Bangladesh (20%) and Myanmar (16%). Russia, in turn, is China's largest arms supplier with 59%, followed by France (15%) and Ukraine (14%). Noting that India's arms exports has jumped by 90% between 2006-2010 and 2011-2015, SIPRI reiterated the well-acknowledged fact that "a major reason for the high-level of imports is that the Indian arms industry has so far largely failed to produce competitive indigenous designed weapons". 

The present Govt quickly and rightly realised the best bet in Make in India initiative is the defence sector. While this initiative is better than purchasing outright from foreign vendors there are lot of issues. General Electric Co had won a $2.6 billion (nearly Rs 17,271.8 crore) contract to supply India's railways with 1,000 diesel locomotives. If GE makes railway engine in India who benefits. Well, there will be some highly skilled people who will get job in the most sophisticated and automated factories, there will be some suppliers of small items and ancillaries, some people will give vehicles on rent and all that. At least something will happen. The ratio of funds required and employment generated is huge. It is going up and not going down in any hi tech manufacturing field. It is the services which generates max employment. In the United States 70 percent of the workforce works in the service sector; in Japan, 60 percent, and in Taiwan, 50 percent. United States employment as estimated in 2012, is divided into 79.7% in the service sector, 19.2% in the manufacturing sector and 1.1% in the agriculture sector. But larger issue is we have to design our own staff. Otherwise GE or its ilk will get all the money using our cheap labour force making them as sweat shops workers. Who is going to have the IPR. Are they going to transfer those rights. BIG NO. I am not clear on many issues of defence acquisition.I am flagging these issues in following paragraphs. 

We have nine DPSUs. 41 ordnance factories are spread across 26 different locations and employ close to 1,25,000 people. A recent report tears into the Department of Defence Production. “The DDP, which on behalf of the Services and the MoD would have been the instrument of indigenisation, became primarily a custodian of a large collection of ordnance factories and de-facto owner of shipyards, aircraft factories etc.” This resulted in a conflict of interest, the report says. 


We have this offset policy since 2006. 30% worth of orders have to be sourced locally. 19 contracts worth 16,000 crores ($3 billion) have been signed since 2006. It is expected that there will be offset of $30 billion out of $100 billion worth of defence imports now. Due to offset clause cost of equipment is increased. People in the know of things is of the opinion that even say 3% increase in cost gets compensated if you see overall life cycle cost. Due to the offset clause large number of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises have come up. They have tied up with the foreign vendors and are manufacturing locally number of high tech components and sub assemblies. However, it is the vendors who select offset programs and partners and in many cases Indian critical needs are not catered for. Mostly low tech components/sub assemblies are made here. Since the offset clause is not getting fully utilised, the defence industry lobby is now demanding to expand the scope of offset to non military fields cancelling the very concept of getting high technology for the indigenous defence industry. They, tongue in check, will give examples of some countries exporting rice in place of defence offset. We can export potatoes to compensate for offsets. Rafael has 50% offset clause. Can anybody tell me what is going to happen to this 50%. I can understand initially we were not very well conversant with the laws, process, negotiation, enforcing penalty, audit etc. But 10 years have passed. By now we should be expert on these issues. I want to know how much offset clause has delivered. How much vendors have not done. How have we penalised them. What is the audit methodology? It is not that the private sector is paragon of virtue. If a particular vendor does not fulfill the contractual obligations, he sould be punished. There is enough provision built into the contract. It should not be like NPA of banks. People outside have a feeling that once a contract has been signed, little effort is paid to enforce contractual obligations and vendors get away with blue murder. This feeling must be proved wrong. 

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Route 

Of late more and more defence equipment are being procured through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Route. As the existing procurement process is extremely complex, cumbersome, riddled with so many loop holes FMS is becoming a preferable option to bypass these procedures. If you ask an army soldier, he would say damn the procedure. I want it now. I am naked. For example, say Air Defence Equipments. FMS piggybacks on the seller country’s own acquisition process. It gives some sort of sovereign guarantee, there is no middlemen. Since the equipment is already in use, the logistic, training, support etc are well established. 

However these are serious issues involved which need to be discussed. 

From 2002 to 2011 DPP was changed seven times in nine years. The latest change is in the offing. Media reports indicate number of path breaking changes are being made to make DPP simpler and necessary concern of all stake holders have been addressed. The new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), which will be notified within a couple of months gives top priority to a new indigenous design, development and manufacturing (IDDM) category under "Buy Indian", will help bolster the indigenous DIB. Under it private sector companies will be chosen for "strategic partnerships" in six broad areas ranging from aircraft and warships to tanks and guided missile systems. The "strategic partnership model" is designed to create capacity in the private sector, in tie-ups with foreign collaborators, over and above the capacity and infrastructure that exists in defence PSUs These are very welcome steps, long overdue. Point is will the latest DPP make sure that we do not have to go through FMS route because of procedural delays. There is a great fallacy here. Government only makes the policy. Then it says, it is too complex and time consuming. So damn the process and go for FMS route! DPP is based on fundamental principle of transparency, free competition and impartiality. FMS abandons open competition, procures equipment on single vendor basis. Every FMS deal violets all the above principles. People have serious misgivings on FMS. Some of them are enumerated below. 

It is mostly US defence vendors who are getting benefited. Why don't they compete in Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) which is tough and less profitable. None of them can compete in open tender process costwise. Recently 6 x C130 Super Hercules aircraft for Special Forces, 10 x C-17 Globmaster heavy lift transport aircraft, 12 x Boeing P-81, Poseidon Long Range Maritime Recce aircraft, 12 x AN-TPQ RADARS have been procured. 155 mm Light weight towed Howitzars are in the offing. Why can’t they come through open competition. Some of the services have raised serious maintenance problems on equipments procured through FMS. There are chances of overpricing. For example it is alleged that Australian paid $300 million per C-17 aircraft, we payed 37% more. No purchaser can obtain DES price. All DES negotiations have to be aborted before submitting the buyer countries request. LOR is sent to US Govt without any publicity, competition is killed. However, one can never be sure of costing. People keep on doing conjectures. US Govt imposes additional handling changes for sales negotiation, case implementation, contract management, financial management, allied expenses, additional changes for R&D and Production. Buyer nation gets to know the final price after delivery. Prior to that only estimated price and payment schedules are intimated to the buyers. It is said FMS is free of all extraneous influences. How is that possible, just because two governments are dealing? The seller govt is only looking after the defence industry of his country. It does not own any defence industry. Sophisticated military equipment is developed based on the country’s (US) doctrine, capability, threat perception, administrative requirements, etc. Buyers have no influence on these parameters. Buying countries cannot develop own parameters.Their requirements have to be subservient to US requirements. FMS is an unilateral process, there is no negotiations. A copy of pre drafted contract is handed over to the buying nation for signing. No assurances against future embargoes/ban is provided. This is very critical in case of Indo-Pak conflict scenario. 

US Govt does not guarantee fulfillment of offset obligations. US Govt allows its defence producers to recover offset costs from buying nation. These are factored in the unit cost of main equipment. Buyer country is advised to negotiate a separate offset agreement directly with the prime contractor and the Govt abdicates responsibility. In the initial package excessive quantity of support equipment and spares are included. As the buyer country is not fully conversant with the equipment it has to accept whatever is included in the package. There is lack of guarantee of continued US support for spares, technical support. Spare parts take undue long to materialize keeping critical equipment off road for uncomfortably long time. FMS should be used only for special equipment unavailable from other resources. US is cleverly exploiting this route for their business purposes. Should we follow the same? 

Lot of clarity is required.on Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA). CISMOA is a US requirement that intends to guarantee the secrecy of advanced communication and crypto equipments on aircraft, ships and other platforms. We are not part of NATO or ally with US. We don’t require interoperability with US platforms. US has not waived this restriction. We have purchased the most sophisticated aircrafts like P-31, AWAC without the necessary encrypted communication system. It is no rocket science to know that it is the avionics, comn, electronics, control system which make the weapon platforms most sophisticated. The speed of a ship has not increased much since the days of First World War. The technology of airframes or a tank has improved but that rate of improvement is nothing compared to that of electronics. We are made to believe that since US is not giving these technologies our DPSUs are making it for us. It ECIL and DPSUs are capable of making the most sophisticated and complicated part of the equipment, then why go in for FMS? I have a sneaking suspicion some Israeli vendor would be laughing away to bank through our JUGAD route. It is reported that Indian Navy has plugged the CISMOA-induced gaps on the American platform -- notably, speech secrecy kit by India's state-owned Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), IFF interrogator and transponder by BEL and HAL respectively, mobile satellite system by Avantel and fingerprinting kit by BEL 

End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) allows US to periodically inspect the equipments in buyer’s premises to check any modification etc. Can a self respecting nation like India allow this after paying through their nose. None of these agreements have been waived off for us. Initially our media was up in arms against these clause. Strangely the same clauses are now coined as Foundation Agreements and there seems to be very little objection. There are other implications. Say Blue Fox RADAR of Sea Hawk aircraft does not meet our requirement. If the aircraft is procured from US on FMS route we will not be able to change the RADAR as per our requirement. 

There is a very sensitive issue -- CYBER. After Snowden and Wikileaks there is no doubt what US does to the equipments it supplies. It puts adequate bugs both hardware and software to make any equipment malfunction when he chooses to do so. It is done even during shipment. What is the safeguard we have against this. To my knowledge, NIL. 

Uncle is smart. The moment Modi Govt came to power Asly Tellis wrote a comprehensive paper in Carnegie on Making Waves: Aiding India’s Next-Generation Aircraft Carrier available at http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/04/22/making-waves-aiding-india-s-next-generation-aircraft-carrier/id5q recommending India’s carrier must have the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and aggressively promotes F-35C as aircrafts for the carriers . Lo and behold in spite of Admiral Goshokov being a Soviet carrier with huge difference in launching systems we are planning on EMALS. To influence decision making not for nothing Carnegie and Bookings are opening shop at Delhi. They have no problem in getting services of some EX NSAs. 


I have never understood this clause. From day one we have been told of this clause of technology transfer. HAL, for example, has been manufacturing Mig 21, 23, 27, 29. Sukhois, Jaguar, Mirage etc for a very long time. What technology transfer has taken place. If it was there we would not be struggling for at least aircraft manufacture today. TOT would have been ideal for offset, but it does not happen. Cost penalty of offsets is ignored deliberately. Some of the limitations of TOT are : 

 Too many agencies dealing with the subject, there is no central authority. 

 India Inc's capability to absorb offset is suspect 

 Monitoring mechanism is ineffective. 

Made in India is costlier; joint development is mere purchase What was supposed to be cheaper when made in India is much costlier. What was supposed to be a joint development programme has been reduced to a purchase from abroad. That is among the key findings of internal government audits of major aerospace projects in recent years. 

All the aerospace reports accessed by The Hindu are scathing in their indictment of agencies such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. over the way they have handled joint development programmes involving foreign partners, or produced aircraft in India under transfer of technology. Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters 

HAL was originally tasked by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) with undertaking licence production of 140 Sukhoi-30 fighters under transfer of technology from Russia, with conditions including: indigenous manufacture of the aircraft at a cost lower than that of the imported aircraft. 

The IAF entered into four different contracts with HAL for supply of the 140 aircraft, and later two contracts for 40 and 42 additional fighters. Thus a total of 222 S-30 MKI were to be assembled by HAL. When HAL began to assemble, however, the story was different. “Contrary to projection in the CCS note, where it was estimated that the indigenous aircraft production cost would be lower than that of the imported aircraft cost… the actual cost of phase IV aircraft has always been higher than that of the imported aircraft,” the report says. 

In the production year 2014-15 in phase I, when aircraft was directly imported from Russia, the average cost per fighter was Rs. 270.28 crore. In phase IV, when aircraft is manufactured by HAL from raw material, the cost is Rs. 417.85 crore. The report also indicts HAL for taking 2-3 times more man-hours than those taken by Russians. 
Indigenous production of Bofors Guns is another issue. In spite of a contract why it was not done for so many years is not known. Now people are taking credit for that. No accountability.

Missile development 

The Matheswaran report points out that in 2003, a decision was taken to allow the services to meet their operational requirements of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), till 2010, by acquiring through the “buy global” route because the development of the indigenous Akash and Trishul missile systems was delayed. 

The DRDO stepped in and proposed joint development with Israel. So the DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) started development of a long-range SAM (LRSAM) for the Navy in 2005. In 2007, they started work on developing a medium-range SAM (MRSAM) for the IAF under a separate contract. “Incidentally, LRSAM & MRSAM is the same missile,” the report says. 

In a scathing indictment of the entire project, the report says IAI remains the design authority for the complete system. “IAI is doing the role of supplier and the DRDO is the buyer, which is contrary to the DRDO role of design agency.” “No transfer of technology (ToT) has been taken as part of the contract. We will remain dependent on IAI for its share,” the report points out, adding that the intellectual property rights (IPRs) remains with the design authority. 

I am slightly confused when there are many experts mostly non military or non air force are eulogizing Tejas and denigrating Rafaels from the roof top. As if all the problem of aircraft manufacture is over with this magic wand. How is it that till recently we have been lambasting HAL, mostly for valid reasons, and suddenly they have become so good. If they are delivering there cannot be no better news. But I want to flag the issue of Dhruv advance light helicopters. The accident and off road state were major issues with army aviation. A major defence export contract that India signed in recent years is the sale of seven indigenously produced Dhruv advance light helicopters to Ecuador for $45 million in 2008. And this has run into trouble. Within six years, four of these helicopters crashed, forcing the Ecuadorian government to place restrictions on flying the remaining three thus putting a question mark on Brand India as a maker of defence equipment. Dhruv's flight safety record has been even worse in India with the armed forces losing as many as 16 Dhruv helicopters in an 11-year period, from 2005 to 2015. 

Advanced Light Helicopter 

An audit of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) project of HAL from 2001 to 2009 carried out by the Controller-General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) pointed out: “As against the envisaged indigenisation level of 50 per cent, about 90 per cent of the value of material used in each helicopter is procured from foreign suppliers.” The audit said that during the production of the helicopter, despite gaining experience of making 90 of them, the labour hours remained almost double of what was prescribed by the consultant. The Air Marshal Matheswaran report on the aeronautical sector points out that the Shakti engine used in the helicopter “only has an indigenous name with hardly any self-reliance or technology control. 

If we want to be self sufficient we have no other alternative but to design our own and then manufacture. Our indigenous defence industry , existing or budding, talk a lot. It is time for them to deliver. 

Please see the news item I have referred at the beginning. I want a similar protective armoured vest or shirt, for our armed forces and CAPF. There is a huge market, demand is assured. Technology is not rocket science. Metallurgy. We have the TATAs, Mittals, Jindals, Bharat Forge and lot of new entries. SAIL has got its own R&D organisation, we have special steel plant, Can any one of then take up the challenge and show we have it in us to do it. Yes, they have to do it in competitive cost and not like DRDO or OFV/ DPSUs in some fancy cost, many times more than what is available in the world market. Necessary small prints can always be sorted out. Can the RM take the lead. Our bravehearts, the elitest of elite the Special Forces are dying because they do not have good protective jacket. They have the same weapons as the terrorists have.Is it not a shame. Lets not talk big about aircraft careers, multirole combat aircrafts. Let's make a plane and simple a new lightweight, body armor system that combines a plate-carrier style vest with an armored combat shirt. Our very own defence private sector also talks big. Let them prove their worth, show they do not put their foot in the mouth, they can deliver. 

Possible? I think so. Remember we will keep losing some of the finest soldiers that walk in this planet till you do this. Choice is yours. 

PS. I have quoted extensively from the blog of Maj Gen Mrinal Suman at Sword and Shield mrinalsuman.blogspot.com/

Pakistan’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa Positions Itself for Politics

By: Animesh Roul

On August 7, 2017, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the chief of Pakistan’s banned Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist groups, launched a political party. The Milli Muslim League (MML) has yet to be recognized as a legitimate political party by Pakistan’s election commission, but it already has its eye on the 2018 general elections. Its leaders have been vocal, heavily criticizing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted from office in July by a supreme court ruling.

China’s Strategic thinking: yesterday and today


'Strategic Leadership' often does not mean ‘Morals and Ethical leadership'. One of the best examples is Mao Zedong.

In Problems of War and Strategy, the Great Helmsman noted: “Some people have ridiculed us as the advocates of omnipotence of war. Yes, we are: we are the advocates of the omnipotence of the revolutionary war, which is not bad at all, but good and is Marxist.”

Chinese Drone ‘Swarms’ Could Overwhelm U.S. at Sea


Since the time of the first kinetic attack by an unmanned aircraft in October of 2001, the United States has relied heavily on drone technology for its relatively inexpensive loitering capabilities and the geographical reach it enables. Persistent surveillance and targeted drone strikes have become a central tenet of the U.S. global war on terror. However, over the years, the U.S. has slowly lost its monopoly on the use of military drones, with near-peer adversaries such as Russia and China quickly developing their own remotely controlled weapons platforms. China, in particular, has grown into a world leader in drone development, which could have strategic implications for the U.S. foreign policy around the globe, especially in the South China Sea. The Cipher Brief’s Levi Maxey spoke with Doug Wise, the former Deputy Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, about how China sees drone technology playing a role as part of its military doctrine of asymmetric warfare.

Political Primacy, Strategic Risks, and ISIL after the Caliphate

Dr. Craig Whiteside

One of the differences between states and non-state actors is a sense of permanence. Germany and Japan were completely defeated after World War II, yet today these states are important players in the international order. Even after the Syrian civil war and the fall of Mosul and other cities in 2014, the Iraqi government – and to a much lesser extent Syria – are still recognized as the sovereign power over the land that falls within their respective borders. Armed groups are not afforded this courtesy, and some world leaders seem confident that the successful campaign to dismantle the so-called ISIL caliphate translates into a much diminished future for the group known as ISIL. 

US Nuclear Sub Armed With Cruise Missiles Arrives in South Korea

By Franz-Stefan Gady
October 11, 2017

The U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class attack submarine (SSN 770) USS Tucson made a port call at U.S. naval base Chinhae, located on the southeast tip of the Korean peninsula, on October 7 as part of its deployment to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, U.S. Pacific Command announced in a statement on October 10.

North Korea’s Ruling Elite Are Not Isolated

By Insikt Group

This is part two of our series on North Korea. In part one entitled “North Korea Is Not Crazy,” we revealed that North Korean cyber actors are not crazy or irrational: they just have a wider operational scope than most other intelligence services.

Here we enrich our analysis via our intelligence partner, Team Cymru, and conduct a comprehensive study revealing unique insights into how North Korean leadership and ruling elite use the internet and what that can tell us about their plans and intentions.

Ukraine Won’t Be Solved Any Time Soon

By Emil Avdaliani

The conflict in East Ukraine has reached a frozen phase in which neither side is making many gains. Despite agreements, the conflict has not seen any meaningful breakthrough for more than three years. Geopolitical imperatives dictate that progress will be contingent upon either Russia or Ukraine (i.e., the West) conceding their interests. The Ukrainian problem is rooted in the geography of the country as well as in the consistent failure of Russia to leverage its involvement in Syria and other theaters for western concessions.

Enigma: The anatomy of Israel’s intelligence failure almost 45 years ago

Bruce Riedel

The guesthouse of the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Projects, or Mossad, sits on a small hill top overlooking the Mediterranean Sea just north of Tel Aviv. It is a modest structure with a carport, a living room, a bedroom, and several small conference rooms. It also has a kitchen and large dining area. Forty years ago, in 1973, the guesthouse was virtually the only building in the area. Just below it, near the water, is the coastal highway linking Tel Aviv to the Galilee and Haifa. Today, the headquarters of the Mossad is also just below and adjacent to the guesthouse. Armies have marched past this spot since the dawn of history, including Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Crusaders, and the British in 1918. In the early 1970s it was a very lovely place for a meeting, isolated locally but located close enough to Tel Aviv to make it an easy place for senior officials to gather. A top-secret facility, the guesthouse guaranteed its visitors quiet and secrecy. The food was also quite good, especially some of the fish and schnitzel recipes.

Germany and France push harder line on Brexit talks

Even as EU leaders plan to extend an olive branch to London by starting internal discussions about a future trade relationship, France and Germany have pushed to include a reference to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in draft conclusions prepared for next week’s European Council summit, according to three EU diplomats.

Great Power Competition Is Back in Africa. Could the U.S. and Others Collide?

For centuries, outside powers have clashed in Africa, often exploiting weaknesses or divisions across the continent to grasp at power and resources. The second half of the 19th century, for instance, saw the “scramble for Africa” as European nations divided nearly all of the continent into colonies. Several times competition between colonial powers nearly led to war in Europe. In the second half of the 20th century, during the Cold War, Africa was torn as Western nations—first the outgoing European colonizers and later the United States—supported friendly governments and political movements against allies of the Soviet Union, China and Cuba. 

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.


When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled “foundation” as “fandation.”

Kaspersky in focus as US-Russia cyber-tensions rise


The security software firm Kaspersky has become the focal point in an escalating conflict in cyberspace between the United States and Russia.

The Russian-based company has been accused of being a vehicle for hackers to steal security secrets from the US National Security Agency, and was banned by all American government agencies last month.

Smartphones to Proliferate Among Dismounted Troops

By Stew Magnuson

Also known as “dismounted mission command,” it has been widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan and among Army Special Forces. The Army acquisition executive this fall is expected to approve full-rate production, which will total 63,000 systems. That will spread the technology to every Army unit, program officials said. 

The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More.

David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Nicole Perlroth

When North Korean hackers tried to steal $1 billion from the New York Federal Reserve last year, only a spelling error stopped them. They were digitally looting an account of the Bangladesh Central Bank, when bankers grew suspicious about a withdrawal request that had misspelled “foundation” as “fandation.”

Even so, Kim Jong-un’s minions still got away with $81 million in that heist.

Is “Cyberwar” War?

by Steven Aftergood
“I would say specifically to your question what defines an act of war [in the cyber domain]– that has not been defined. We are still working towards that definition across the interagency,” said Thomas Atkin of the Office of Secretary of Defense at a congressional hearing last year.

He elaborated in newly published responses to questions for the record:

Why Nerds Should Not Be in Charge of War

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s PBS series on the Vietnam War offers a timely lesson about what might happen when people impressed by their own smarts — the “best and the brightest,”as David Halberstam called them — run a war. Despite their smarts, experts can make unwise decisions that spell disastrous consequences when your nation is engaged in military conflict.

Army rolls out new plan to modernize communications networks and weapons

by Sandra Erwin

Rising powers like Russia and China are arming their militaries with advanced weapons and electronic warfare systems that could threaten U.S. dominance in precision-guided missiles and communications technologies. Army leaders acknowledge that a dysfunctional procurement system is mostly to blame and are moving to reorganize the service’s Vietnam-era bureaucracy.

Command of the Littorals—Insights From Mahan

The Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps recently signed a new concept document called Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment. The concept is intended to drive wargaming, experimentation, analysis, and investment toward ensuring American naval dominance in littoral waters and the open ocean. The effort comes none too soon, as the proliferation of advanced weaponry to various adversaries threatens to erode the U.S. Navy’s littoral warfighting capabilities and even restrict American access to certain waters. But the rapidly-changing character of naval warfare presages no revolutionary change in its nature: a contest for command of the sea and the exploitation thereof. As the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps effort to modernize littoral operations proceeds, leaders in both services would do well to return to the insights of famed naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan.

Army Eyeing 6.5mm for Its Future Battle Rifle

The U.S. Army’s chief of staff recently made a bold promise that future soldiers will be armed with weapons capable of delivering far greater lethality than any existing small arms.

“Our next individual and squad combat weapon will come in with a 10X improvement over any existing current system in the world, and that will be critical,” Gen. Mark Milley told an audience at AUSA 2017 on Oct. 10.

Airpower Strategy for the 21st Century

By Tyson Wetzel

United States Air Force (USAF) airpower strategy is in a period of stasis and badly in need of reinvigoration. The post-Vietnam era brought about a renaissance in airpower thinking, as combat veterans returned from their wartime experiences determined to avoid making the same mistakes they saw repeated in the Vietnam air campaign. Colonel John Boyd developed a theory of military conflict that emphasized speed and tempo to create havoc inside the mind of the enemy. Colonel John Warden built on Boyd’s theories and applied airpower to the Clausewitzian concept of centers of gravity to design his Five Rings Theory. Warden’s intellectual successor was Lieutenant General David Deptula, who worked closely with Warden in the development of the Operation DESERT STORM (ODS) air campaign. After the war, Deptula developed a theory of air operations he called Effects-Based Operations (EBO), which advocated viewing the adversary as a system, and directing effects on critical links and nodes within that system. 

17 October 2017

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Image result for FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONIn his seminal paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Professor Alan Turing

began by posing a deceptively simple question: “Can machines think?” In concluding his paper, he hoped that “that machines [would] eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields”, perhaps beginning with “the playing of chess”

During the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, observed:
Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible and brought digital capabilities to billions of people. This fourth industrial revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.

The first industrial revolution started in England towards the end of the 18th century with the use of steam power and revamping of the textile industry through mechanisation. The second revolution began a century later and culminated in early 20th century; it was driven by electricity and a cluster of inventions including the internal combustion engine, the aeroplane and moving pictures The third industrial revolution, which was started in early 1970s, was basically digital in nature—it involved application of electronics and information technology to enhance production, and centred around concepts such as mass customisation and additive manufacturing (for instance, 3D printing) whose applications are yet to be explored fully. The fourth industrial revolution is seen as an upgrade on the third one and is noted for a mix of technologies across biological, physical and digital worlds.

Twelve Key Emerging Technologies
3D Printing. Advances in additive manufacturing, using a widening range of materials and methods; innovations include 3D bioprinting of organic tissues.

Advanced materials and nanomaterials. Creation of new materials and nanostructures for the development of beneficial material properties, such as thermoelectric efficiency, shape retention and new functionality.

Artificial intelligence and robotics. Development of machines that can substitute for humans, increasingly in tasks associated with thinking, multitasking and fine motor skills.

Biotechnologies. Innovations in genetic engineering, sequencing and therapeutics, as well as biological computational interfaces and synthetic biology.

Energy capture, storage and transmission. Breakthroughs in battery and fuel cell efficiency; renewable energy through solar, wind, and tidal technologies; energy distribution through smart grid systems, wireless energy transfer and more.

Blockchain and distributed ledger. Distributed ledger technology based on cryptographic systems that manage, verify and publicly record transaction data; the basis of "cryptocurrencies" such as bitcoin.

Geoengineering. Technological intervention in planetary systems, typically to mitigate effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide or managing solar radiation.

Ubiquitous linked sensors. Also known as the "Internet of Things". The use of networked sensors to remotely connect, track and manage products, systems, and grids.

Neurotechnologies. Innovations such as smart drugs, neuroimaging, and bioelectronic interfaces that allow for reading,communicating and influencing human brain activity.

New computing technologies. New architectures for computing hardware, such as quantum computing, biological computing or neural network processing, as well as innovative expansion of current computing technologies.

Space technologies. Developments allowing for greater access to and exploration of space, including microsatellites, advanced telescopes, reusable rockets and integrated rocket-jet engines.

Virtual and augmented realities. Next-step interfaces between humans and computers, involving immersive environments, holographic readouts and digitally produced overlays for mixed-reality experiences.

[ Source: The 12 emerging technologies listed here are drawn from World Economic Forum Handbook on the Fourth Industrial Revolution ]

Understanding the Technology Risks Landscape

The seeds of the fourth industrial revolution have already been sowed. They are seen by major transformations across spheres of human activities; scientific breakthroughs and discoveries in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, big data, the web of things, and biogenetics. These developments bring science fiction to life.

The fourth industrial revolution provides opportunities and threats to our way of life. The benefits are potentially numerous, and in many cases unknown since they will be the result of forthcoming advances in science and technology. However, the changes will not necessarily be linear , the pace of change is even harder to predict, 

The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will  transform the world in many ways – some that are desirable and others that are not. The extent to which the benefits are maximized and the risks mitigated will depend on the quality of governance – the rules, norms, standards, incentives, institutions, and other mechanisms that shape the development and deployment of each particular technology.

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. These developments hold great promise to make life better for everyone and to generate new wealth. However, they also bring along major concerns about transformations in human activity. Given that this industrial revolution would generate profound political, economic and social changes. Many of these are imminent. Some of the concerns are :

How are governments to prepare, manage, and respond to the developments associated with the fourth industrial revolution? 

What will the government of the future look like, how will it fulfill its core functions – broadly defined as, to act for the public good

What will be its role in forging pathways into the next era? 

In the public sector, what sort of impact will these developments have upon the way it is organized and how it functions? 

What will all of these changes mean for government, governance and the concept of democracy?

There is also the possibility, that the new technologies are going to be used, abused, and adapted by political fanatics, terrorists, or criminal organizations. Additionally, the possibility also exists that government itself will use these new technologies towards impinging on the natural right of citizens. There is little doubt that governments are soon going to have to 
grapple with some very serious challenges.

Government Challenges: The Economy and the Labour Force

The development of automation enabled by technologies including robotics and artificial 
intelligence brings the promise of higher productivity (and with productivity, economic 
growth), increased efficiencies, safety and convenience. But these technologies also raise 
difficult questions about the broader impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages and the 
nature of work itself. Many activities that workers carry out today have the potential to be automated. Unemployment and underemployment are high around the world. 

According to MIT Sloan School of Management economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the revolution is likely to increase inequality in the world as the spread of machines increases unemployment and disrupts labour markets. According to Schwab, "in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production, giving rise to a job market increasingly segregated into low-skill/low-pay and high-skill/high-pay segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions".

Even while technologies replace some jobs, they are creating new work in industries that 
most of us cannot even imagine, and new ways to generate income. One-third of new jobs 
created in the United States in the past 25 years were types that did not exist, or barely 
existed, in areas including IT development, hardware manufacturing, app creation, and 
IT systems management. Digital technology also can enable new forms of entrepreneurial activity. Workers in small businesses and self-employed occupations can benefit from higher income earning opportunities. A new category of knowledge-enabled jobs will become possible as machines embed intelligence and knowledge that less-skilled workers can access with a little training. 

John Chambers, Chairman CISCO said that about 40% of companies that exist today will cease to be relevant. Replacing humans with robots in manufacturing is a trend that we can’t stop or avoid, but we can be better prepared by being open to learning new skills. Amazon had 30,000 robots working for it. To put that in context, Amazon only has 90,000 humans working in its warehouses. As of today, one in every four full‐time Amazon warehouse workers... is a robot. The creation of new jobsare mainly in more specialised areas such as computing, maths, architecture and engineering There certainly would be an increase in demand for high‐skill jobs. Driverless cars, for instance, will obviate the need for drivers but require a lot of smart coders who can make such cars ply the roads in different parts of the world safely. India would need to look at this issue from both a policy perspective as well as a social perspective keeping in mind to balance both the improvements brought about by the fourth industrial revolution as well as the wants and needs of its own citizens.

More than half the world’s population is still offline, limiting the potential to benefit from digital Rapid technology adoption can unlock huge economic value, even as it implies major 
need for retraining and redeployment of labor. In India, for example, digital technologies provide the foundation for many innovations that could contribute $550 billion to $1 trillion of economic impact per year in 2025. However, the value of digitization that is captured depends on how many people and businesses have access to it. More than four billion people, or over half of the world’s population, is still offline. About 75 percent of this offline population is concentrated in 20 countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania, and is disproportionately rural, low income, elderly, illiterate, and female. The value of connecting these people is significant, and as they enter the global digital economy, the world of work will transform in fundamental ways and at an unprecedented pace. Access to the technology alone is not enough; even in countries where a large majority of the population has access, the literacy and skills needed to capture digital gains are sometimes limited.

How to positively affect the future of work

The disruptions to the world of work that digital technologies are likely to bring about 
could pose significant challenges to policy makers and business leaders, as well as 
workers. There are several solution spaces to consider:

Evolve education systems and learning for a changed workplace. 

Determine how the private sector can drive training. 

Create incentives for private-sector investment to treat human capital like other capital. 

Explore public-private partnerships to stimulate investment in enabling infrastructure. 

Rethink incomes. 

Rethink transition support and safety nets for workers affected. 

Embrace technology-enabled solutions. 

Focus on job creation. 

Innovate how humans work alongside machines

Capture the productivity benefits of technology. 

With rapid developments in technology, it is clear that there will be significant impacts on the economy, on the labour force, and on the ways people work within various sectors of activities. The concept of the demographic time bomb, which has now been debated for years, suggests that as the population ages, there is not going to be enough workers to sustain high economic growth. Countries may even experience labour shortages because of ageing demographics of developed countries. At the same time there is an explosion of young population in countries like India, African continent and some other countries. Technological breakthroughs in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics will potentially lead to firms requiring less human labour. The result of this economic transformation will mean higher levels of unemployment and a larger pool of unused or under used labour. Widespread 3D printing is like to dramatically restructure manufacturing. At its 2016 meeting, the World Economic Forum estimated that five million jobs across 15 major economies would be lost before 2020 because of the fourth industrial revolution The fourth industrial revolution could represent major economic upheavals, with many social consequences unseen by society in decades, if ever. Such consideration warrants further attention, public debate, and possibly eventual action by government.

Other related issues to consider would include education and post-secondary education, labour market training, etc. The fourth industrial revolution raises multiple policy questions, most notably in areas relating to the economy, economic development and the labour force.

The fourth industrial revolution could lead to a more effective, a leaner and cheaper government. Governments may be able toprovide more and better services for less. The fourth industrial revolution could, thus, lead to improved policymaking and policy, increased effectiveness and efficiency and better programs and services for citizens.

There are many risks that challenge this optimistic scenario :

Could put governments and public services under strain

Government services will be needed more, especially to address rising wealth inequalities.

The welfare state will be under heavy pressure due to existing trends such as population ageing and new possible realities such as high unemployment and increased welfare needs. 

Governments will still be relied upon to deliver key services such as healthcare, education and welfare.

The demand for government services will be high, but public authorities may not have the financial capacity to deliver the goods due to slow growth.

What are the likely impacts of the fourth industrial revolution on our institutions, and democratic practices? The fourth industrial revolution, if not managed, has the potential to generate serious political, economic and social upheavals. The fourth industrial revolution could benefit developing countries via technology transfers, but it could also exacerbate many of the political, economic and social tensions that these countries face.

We face a pressing governance challenge if we are to construct the rules, norms, standards, incentives, institutions and other mechanisms that are needed to shape the development 
and deployment of these technologies. How to govern fast-developing technologies is a complex question: regulating too heavily too quickly can hold back progress, but a lack of governance can exacerbate risks as well as creating unhelpful uncertainty for potential investors and innovators. Currently, the governance of emerging technologies is patchy: some are regulated heavily, others hardly at all because they do not fit under the remit 
of any existing regulatory body.

The role of the state will actually become more important even as the center of gravity shifts to the corporate sector. In a world deeply dependent on technology, those who hold a tight grip on it will invariably wield a tremendous amount of power.It is foreseeable that in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, the state’s influence will progressively be eclipsed by those companies A significantly weakened state coupled with a greatly empowered corporate sector can create a serious problem. This is because the corporate sector is accountable only to shareholders and driven foremost by profits. So when technological unemployment hits, it is not incentivized to employ those workers made redundant by new technology. Only the state – through its exclusive use of monetary and fiscal policies – will be able to step in to stimulate demand and generate employment. Even if the state were unable to create jobs, it can at least help the poor and weak through its social programs. While the corporate sector does help the needy at times, only the state retains the policy tools and strategic planning that can prevent the emergence of a persistent underclass.

Apart from that, the state will also be needed to provide security. The fourth industrial revolution has the potential to destabilize societies and unsettle established institutions. Digital vulnerabilities can also lead to a spike in cyber-attacks. Whether it is fending off terrorists or hackers, the state’s role in keeping us safe will actually become more important. While private enterprises do perform a number of ancillary security functions, public safety and national defense still rest principally with the state. There are good reasons why these national priorities are public goods and it is important to bear them in mind as we enter the era of the fourth industrial revolution.


With a population of more than 1.3 billion predicted to become the world’s youngest population by 2022. We have to position ourselves advantageously for new things to come. Historically, in 1600, India contributed more than 22% of the world’s GDP, which plummeted to about 4% in 1990 before economic reforms bought it up to 6.8%. At the time of the first industrial revolution, with the British Empire’s mechanisation of the textile industry, India a British colony, paid a stiff price, as millions of weavers were replaced by machines. India has remained behind the curve on the second revolutions as well. We did much better with the third revolution and should do even better on the fourth. Currently the fourth industrial revolution may be the last thing on the minds of most Indians. India has other issues which it is grappling with ‐ bridging the infrastructure gap, enabling electricity and sanitation in our villages, bridging the digital divide and improving the last mile connectivity across rural areas. We are also working to harness human capital through skill development of the one million youth joining the workforce every month. The Government over the past two years has been on a mission mode with the launch of ambitious initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities and Start up India. While such initiatives get under way, and begin to solve some of the big challenges for us namely health, education and skilling, housing and basic amenities like electricity; it is wise to keep a sharp eye on future technologies and adopt those that could significantly accelerate impact.

In India, for example, Google is rolling out the Internet Saathi (Friends of the Internet) program in which rural women are trained to use the Internet, and then become local agents who provide services in their villages through Internet-enabled devices. The services include working as local distributors for telecom products (phones, SIM cards, and data packs), field data collectors for research agencies, financial-services agents, and paratechnicians who help local people access government schemes and benefits through an Internet-based device. Loss of low-end jobs is where India, which is known for a very large low skilled or unskilled youth population, is likely to face severe challenges.

In India, where more than 60 per cent of population still don't have access to basic amenities, lack potable water and toilets, live in one-room huts with no electricity and is exposed to all sorts of pollution, FIR can further unsettle the social fabric, with the rich getting even more richer and the poor becoming more doomed. The country, which still relies a lot on the agricultural sector for a major chunk of its GDP, already faces several crises in farming that include lack of labour, low prices of produce, shortage of water and poor soil. After having seen the immerse perils of being left behind in the first three industrial revolutions, India cannot afford to be a laggard as FIR unravels. However, how to ensure parity among the rich and the poor when it comes to income creation will continue to be a tough nut to crack.