26 September 2017

Workshop on Improving Understanding of the Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism

A Workshop on Improving Understanding of the Roots and Trajectories of Violent Extremism was held at Washington on June 20- 21, 2017.

Sample observations of individual participants on carrying out and combating violent extremism: 

Foreign fighters who have been recruited in distant countries or regions have generally been well-educated young men, often recruited in groups, and often seeking recognition of their noble purpose rather than remaining anonymous with no purpose.

Many foreign fighters have become disenchanted with their status and try to return home, a challenge that can lead to execution. Some have married women from abroad, and wives often have an easier time leaving with their children than do foreign fighters. 

Extremist groups need territory and finances. While territory can be lost and finances can be difficult to arrange, in the Middle East there are always new areas for activities. 

Understanding local context is essential to combat Jihadist movements. 

Often urban residents dominate disaffected populations, prisons provide many Jihadist recruits, and small countries are most open to migrants with unknown intentions.

A long-term regional security framework is important if the strategies of the western countries in addressing violent extremism are to be effective in the long term. 

The impact of social media is a priority area for research, although it is difficult to come up with reasonable hypotheses that can be effectively tested. 

Research often threatens religious leaders, increasing risks for the researchers. 

Voter turnout may be a useful indicator of future governance trends. 

Access to water is of spiraling importance in the Middle East, and cross-border approaches to increase water availability can at times help reduce political tensions. 

Differentiating between first, second, and third generation migrants is often of critical importance in analyzing attitudes relevant to violent extremism. 

Jihadists are probably fewer than 100,000 in number, with annual budgets of less than $10 million. Western governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars in combating the Jihadists, and it is difficult to identify our successes. What are we doing wrong? (An unanswered question raised at the end of workshop by one participant.) Sample observations of individual participants on organizational and procedural issues: 

Joint U.S., Russian, and French efforts provide a good basis for a broad range of research and analytical activities. The CNRS international research network across North Africa and the Middle East is an important asset. Decades of Soviet/Russian involvement in ethnic and religious relationships in Central Asia and adjacent areas can be very informative. The heavy U.S. military presence in the Middle East often influences personal perspectives. 

Information about well-documented, but little-known, research and about availability of rare but insightful documents can be useful to scholars around the world. 

Interactions between residents in areas in turmoil and local authorities that build mutual understanding and trust may be difficult to arrange but can have high payoff. 

General discussions during annual meetings of experts from the U.S., Russia, and France can be valuable, but such meetings can also benefit from reports on specific field investigations of mutual interest—and ideally jointly organized investigations. 

Providing international and national officials with results of well-designed research programs, and particularly research involving on-the-ground observations, deserves high priority.

Monetisation of My Blog

One of my younger smart colleague  from my service days has given the following practical suggestion.

Any other idea ?

*** Himalayan Impasse: How China Would Fight an Indian Border Conflict

By: Kevin McCauley

At the end of August, Chinese and Indian troops both pulled back from the Doklam region in Bhutan after weeks of tense posturing. The face off began in June when Chinese construction crews accompanied by soldiers began building a road. The area is sensitive to Indian national interests not only because of its ally Bhutan, but also due to area’s proximity to a narrow corridor connecting eastern India with the rest of the country. Beijing repeatedly ratcheted up the messaging to India, including the release of a Ministry of Foreign Affairs legal justification of China’s territorial claims against India (China Daily, August 3, 2017). If the two sides decide to face off again, forces on both sides will need to contend with the difficult mountain terrain and complex weather conditions. To prepare for such a contingency, both India and China have invested significantly in units capable of mountain and high-altitude warfare. An examination of the Chinese Military’s doctrine and training of such units provides important insights into how such a conflict would be conducted.


By Jennifer Cafarella with Jason Zhou

Key Takeaway: ISIS’s attack campaign in Europe is expanding despite ISIS’s losses of terrain and senior leadership in the Middle East and North Africa. ISIS continues to plan, resource, and execute attacks from its remaining safe havens in Syria, Iraq, and Libya. ISIS has successfully expanded its coordinated attack campaign in Europe to target the UK and Spain. Rising levels of ISIS-inspired attacks in Sweden and Finland may signal growing online ISIS activity targeting vulnerable populations in those states and receptivity among those populations to the ISIS message. Coordinated attack attempts could follow. ISIS is sustaining its attack efforts in its initial target states of France and Germany, meanwhile. ISIS’s activity in Belgium, also an initial target state, is much lower, but the lack of ISIS attacks in Belgium does not signal incapacity. ISIS may be using its networks in Belgium to support attack cells elsewhere in Europe. ISIS also appears increasingly successful at inspiring low-level attacks in Europe despite its territorial losses, indicating its messaging is still resonant. ISIS’s campaign in Europe will continue and may even increase despite its losses in Iraq and Syria. Download the PDF

Reviving Commercial Development of Afghanistan’s Aynak Copper Resource

BY: William Byrd

Rampant looting of Afghanistan’s medium-sized and smaller mineral resources is ongoing, but the major Aynak copper deposit languishes, having made only negligible progress toward commercial exploitation since the contract was signed in 2008.

The main problem is that the Chinese consortium awarded the contract made unrealistic promises that would be impossible or highly unprofitable to fulfill, resulting in a need to renegotiate contract terms in its favor, which the Afghan government has been reluctant to go along with.

Weekly Graphic: Turkey and a Dangerous Power Vacuum in Northwestern Syria

Turkish forces recently began massing on the southwestern border with Syria. As many as 80 military vehicles, including an unknown number of tanks and medical aid trucks, were dispatched to a part of Hatay province that’s approximately 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the border. Another convoy of an unspecified number of military vehicles was reportedly sent to another area of Hatay, just 2 miles from Syria’s border, and a third collection of 20 army vehicles was seen close to the border near Bab al-Hawa in Syria, about 7 miles from Reyhanli.



The recently resolved military standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the border separating India, China, and Bhutan has drawn fresh attention to the predicament of smaller countries against the backdrop of rising Sino-Indian competition in Southern Asia. Border disputes notwithstanding, China’s deepening economic inroads in the region have created new strategic dynamics in a region dominated by India.

Meet the 17-Year-Old Who Hacked the Air Force


Jack Cable is 17 years old. With a thin build and large, square glasses, he looks like any unassuming high school senior from the Chicago suburbs. Except he’s a military-grade hacker.

How China's Social Media Giant Compares To Facebook

Written by Felix Richter

-- this post authored by Felix Richter with contributions by Econintersect

Due to the fact that social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are inaccessible in China, there exists a whole ecosystem of social networking and messaging platforms that are immensely popular in and around China but hardly known anywhere else in the world.

Please share this article - Go to very top of page, right hand side, for social media buttons.

Platforms such as QQ, Qzone and WeChat in particular have hundreds of millions of users and, just as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, they’re all owned by the same company. Their parent company Tencent became China’s largest tech company in terms of market capitalization last year, and is currently going back and forth with e-commerce behemoth Alibaba in the race for this title.

As our chart illustrates, there's no need for Tencent to shy away from comparisons with the world's largest social networking company. While Tencent's social networking and messaging services have yet to reach the billion-user mark, its financial results are nearly on par with Facebook's. In fact, until as recently as 2015, Tencent was more profitable than Facebook, and has been for many years prior. From an investing standpoint, both companies have been doing great over the past 12 months: Tencent's stock price soared more than 60 percent since August 2016, Facebook's is up by 35 percent.

25 September 2017

Pakistan's nukes stored at nine different locations, at risk of landing up with terrorists

Today’s Times of India has published a news item on 

There is nothing new in it. I have posted the original paper by Hans M. Kristensen & Robert S. Norris on 18 Sep 2017 in my blog site at http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2017/09/worldwide-deployments-of-nuclear.html

I have a feeling that these issues are deliberately thrown up whenever Pakistan in cornered. For example the recent example of the statement of our Foreign Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj in United Nations.

What do your think. 


Text of Sushma Swaraj's speech at U.N. General Assembly
Sushma Swaraj addressed the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2017.

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj addressed the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly on September 23, 2017.

Mr. President

Let me begin by offering my heartiest congratulations on your election as President of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly. For those of us fortunate to represent our nations as Foreign Minister this is a particularly happy event: one of us has this honour.

Mr. President

2: India welcomes your efforts to place people at the heart of international diplomacy as you shape policy and lend direction to world affairs from your august chair. I thank you for the theme you have chosen: ‘Focusing on people: Striving for peace and a decent life on a sustainable planet’. People, peace, decency, sustenance and focus define a noble objective.

Mr. President

3: The United Nations was established for the welfare, security, harmony, rights and economic progress of the people of our world. India fully supports your efforts in this great mission.

4: I had spoken before this Assembly last year as well. It is a year that has seen much change both in this Assembly and in the world it represents. We have a new Secretary General at the United Nations. He is determined to prepare and strengthen the United Nations to meet the challenges of the 21st century. We welcome his efforts, and see in him a leader who can give practical shape to a vision.

23 September 2017

Major U.S. Military Bases Near North Korea

-- this post authored by Niall McCarthy

Amid rising tensions with Pyongyang, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that American forces are "locked and loaded" to respond to an attack by North Korea.

While the U.S. military presence in South Korea is well placed defensively, any offensive strike against the North would require the deployment of a huge number of military assets, and the Pentagon has confirmed that no such deployment has taken place.

Around 23,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea and nearly 40,000 more are stationed in Japan. The following infographic provides an overview of the key U.S. military bases in the region that would prove indispensable in any conflict with North Korea.

Notable installations include Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea, where American A-10 and F-16 aircraft are permanently based. Yokosuka in Japan is home to the only permanently forward-deployed U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. The carrier strike group and its escorting destroyer group are some of the most potent U.S. military assets in the region.

You will find more statistics at Statista.

21 September 2017


Immediately after my Defence Service’s Staff College course, I was posted in Baramulla Divison as DAQMG. We had a very fine set of officers at grade 1 and 2 level and we gelled perfectly. Our GSO1 (Int) was Lt Col JDS Rawat who later went on to become the first 3 star officer from Intelligence Corps. I had shared lot of cigarettes, not to mention Buddha Baba(Old Monk) with him. The GSO-1 (Ops) was a Sword of Honour winner from Sappers. I served again with Maj Gen Shah in HQ Northern Command in 2017 when he was MG-ic-Adm.

Our AQMG was an outstanding professional from EME. My Staff Captain (Q) was ACA from NDA and belonged to Sikh regiment. Once we complained to our AQMG that why does he did not leave any job for us as he used to do everything himself. He smiled and said “why to bother you when I can handle all this”. And boy, Lt Col Umesh could handle anything.

I had a false sense of pride that I was one hell of a rum drinker. In the first get together of Q branch that we had, Col Umesh let us know who is the boss. The other common thread in the Q branch was all three of us were 6 ft and above. We were very professional and happy team. The best place to have a drink was the jetty in front of Officers’ Mess. It was a divine feeling in moon lit evenings in the jetty where Jhelum flows under you. You can see the glad PK. 

Major Venkatash popular known as Venky, was our RVC rep in Divisional HQs. He was our Man Friday and was loaded with all the stupid board of officers and court of inquires that Q branch had to undertake. We did not used to pass these to the lower formations. This man without any crib did all these back breaking jobs with a smiling face. We all admired him. No wonder today he is a two star officer posted at RVC directorate in Army HQ. 

Capt KP Singh from Madras Regiment was staff captain Q in the then HQ 16 Sector in Nagaum. He was fiercely loyal to his paltans and extracted everything possible from us by his professional work, requests and sometimes cajoling so that his troops didn’t suffer. In 2013, he was commanding the Siachen Brigade. I have lost track of him after that. 

Our DADH was Lt Col PK Som. Som Dada was lean and thin and was oldest serving officer in the Div sector. Obviously he had no maibap. He used to tell us stories about how the GOC was shot and the Col GS designate was killed in the middle of old Baramulla town and how difficult it was to extricate the GOC and how he was ultimately evacuated at night to Srinagar. On popular demand he was our permanent Mess Secretary. Somehow by cajoling, requesting, brow beating the supply depot and the CO of ASC battalion and Military Firm he kept us very well fed. He had his own way of getting excellent cooks from somewhere to give us those delicious Kashmiri meat preparations on Sundays. When the medical officer at MI room went on leave he used to officiate in his place also.

Our GOC was a very frugal eater, through out the day he used to have couple of cups of soup/kahwah and one odd apple or some other fruit. He never went back from office during lunch. We were at liberty to go and come back to office as per our convenience. But the GOC from 8 GR would always have his quota of two thullow rakshi in the evening. No wonder all Q branch officers, JDS Rawat, Som dada and others were avid fan of Buddha Baba.

A Swedish firm was constructing the Uri Hydro electrical Power project. They had huge Volvo vehicles and earthmoving equipments. One day one of the 3 ton vehicles carrying troops of an Artillery unit met with an accident with a big Volvo vehicle at Rampur. There were a lot of casualties. As the casualties started coming to MI room, Som Dada was already there as the medical officer was on leave. The two nursing assistants were busy assisting him. The two telephones were being manned by GSO1 (OPS) and AQMG. They were tying up details of QRT and administrative details. The Base Hospital (BH) at Srinagar was forewarned about what to expect. 

It was a ghastly sight in MI room. There were grey brain material on the floor, broken limbs and blood were everywhere. It was twilight hour, Som Dada suddenly shouted an expletive and said without looking behind “move away from the window, you are obstructing light”. I saw a shadow silently move away. It was Rostum Nanavatty, the GOC. After a quick bit of first aid activities and packing up, the casualties were sent on fast track to BH Srinagar. The BH Srinagar had a fearsome reputation that anybody who reaches there alive would never die. In the most trying circumstances the BH always lived up to its reputation. The Surgeons themselves donated blood number of times when there was no time.

It was a textbook demonstration of professionalism of the highest order. The job had to be done and was done with professional elan. Later on there was no hankering after awards or citations. A job had to be done and that’s it.

I was posted at Katihar known as Kala Pani of Bihar in 1983. One of my Jawans with his wife met with a scooter accident at Katihar town. The lady had severe stomach injury. I do not wish to describe the inside of Katihar district hospital. Suffice is to say, the attending doctor did not even know how to insert drip. My nursing assistant did that job. The attending doctors said that the journey of 230 kms to BH Bengdubi cannot be withstood by the patient. She had internal hemorrhage. Seeing the condition of the hospital, I took a command decision. I sent her in our 1 ton ambulance with our nursing assistant and oxygen cylinder directly to BH Bengdubi. I spoke to the hospital authority about the casualty. 

Immediately on arrival she was wheeled into the OT. There was internal injury. During the operation the Anesthetist shouted “I can’t keep the patient!”. The surgeon kept the gauges inside and stopped the operation. After transfusing lot of blood, when the patient’s condition stabilized a bit after two days she was operated upon again. The lady survived.

I was posted at Binnaguri in 1990. There was no video/tv coverage, STD telephone. Electricity was only for a few hours that too about 150 volt. Akashvani Kurseong was very faint. There was no entertainment. 

Once we woke up in the morning as some sound was coming from our kitchen garden when we peeped from the first floor balcony we saw couple of elephants munching away the banana plants to glory. They were so happy.

The Adm Commandant was a Signals officer. He was the proud owner of a well fed, well groomed German Shephard dog. In the evening he was as usual walking the dog. The dog was not chained and following him. Suddenly he realized the dog was not there. The leopards are very fond of dog. The good Colonel could not even realize that his dog was taken away.

After all the Adm Commandant was not amused. He contacted the forest department people and a trap in cage was laid. The bait was a live goat provided by our supply depot. The leopard came but the goat died of heart attack. It was below the dignity of the leopard to eat dead animal. He did not enter the cage. 

The next day a strong live goat was procured from the local market. The trap was set. The leopard came at night and the shutters went down.

In the morning it was a scene. The leopard was angry, trying to get out of the cage it had injured itself. He was bleeding, snarling. The whole of Binnaguri including all the tea garden workers lined up to see how the caged animal was being taken out. One felt sorry for the magnificent animal. Leopard can get used to changed environment very fast and are survivors. I suppose even today if you travel at night by road in the route Chalsa - Odlabari - Mong Pong - Coronation Bridge, you can have a sight of this beautiful animal.

The MH had medical, surgical and gynecologist specialist. When the surgical specialist would go on leave the gynecologist used to officiate and vice versa. One of my Jawan’s wife was admitted in MH. She had been complaining of stomach pain for a long time. There was a circus show at Banarhat nearby. The gynecologist was officiating as surgical specialist who was taking out his car for going to the circus show with his wife and children in the evening. There was a persistent ring in his telephone. Very reluctantly he went inside the house picked up the phone. The nursing officer on duty wanted him to come to the hospital immediately. The doctor was slightly irritated and said I will come directly to the MH after the show but the nursing officer was adamant and firm and insisted that he must come immediately. The doctor sent his disappointed wife and children inside his home and went to MH. He carried out an operation immediately. When I went to the MH he showed me the rotten putrid stinking part of the intestine that was taken out. The lady survived although she had to take bland diet throughout her life. Lt Col Rana told me that because of this nursing officer the lady is alive today. 

The doctors and the nursing staff carry out some impossible tasks at extreme odds in far flunk frontiers of the country to keep our armed forces and their families safe and fit. No amount of praise is sufficient enough for them.

I salute the men and women of Army Medical Corps and Military Nursing Service.

20 September 2017

Indian Strategic Studies has crossed 5 million hit

On 16 September 2017 my blog site www.strategystudyindia.blogspot.in has crossed 5 million hits. My present health doesn't permit me to enjoy a quiet drink from "buddha baba" as I'm recuperating from a bad Typhoid. I can be quietly proud of this long journey. I have never missed a single day, come what may.

Spending 6-7 hours a day on this blog site is not easy. I wanted to monetize this site so that I can employ some people to carry this forward. I had approached google add sense for ads. Since I do not write anything myself, it was not possible for google to put adds in my blog. I have been told by many you don't write yourself, what is the use? Can somebody help me so that I can employ people to take this job forward? I was told that I had to open an account in Paypal or such other account, take permission from Department of Revenue Intelligence and then only I can think of getting some revenue.

I have not been able to update my knowledge on line (http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/) website much in last two years. One requires a good internet connection to do it. Recently I was reading a paper on China : The Three Warfares published by Andy Marshall,Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. To my pleasant surprise, I found that a number of references were quoted from my knowledge on line website. Many scholarly papers quote from my knowledge on line website as a source material.

The countrywise distribution of my blogsite is given below 

Pageviews by Countries

United States     1466178
India                   812627
Russia                429382
Germany            370071
France               291533
Ukraine              101294
China                 76579
Netherlands       75675
Poland               60073
United Kingdom 57536

I have neither the time nor the the energy to do all these. I am taking a deep breath and will stop this blog site for sometime till I decide in which form, if at all it, it should take. It is time now to move on and write some papers on my own and prove my detractors wrong!

PS. Do not send a message saying good job, keep up the good work, etc.

I don't need those.

19 September 2017

*** The Dirty Work of Russian Assassins

At 6:08 p.m. on Sept. 8, the cacophony of Kiev's Friday evening rush hour was pierced by an explosion under a black Toyota Camry in the middle of heavy traffic near Bessarabska Square in the heart of the capital. The car's driver, Timur Mahauri, a Chechen with Georgian citizenship, was killed instantly. His wife and their 10-year-old child who were riding with him were hurt, but they survived.

Mahauri was reportedly a member of a Chechen militant group fighting with Ukrainian troops against separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Media reports suggested that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov considered him an enemy. In addition to these two possible motives for his assassination, Kiev has recently become a hot spot for the assassination of Moscow's enemies, and opponents of the Chechen government are being killed in a worldwide campaign. Indeed, given Mahauri's enemies and location, it is surprising that he didn't check his car for bombs before he got into it. This case provides important lessons for others.
Moscow's Wetwork

As I've discussed elsewhere, Russia's intelligence agencies have a long history of involvement in assassinations, refered to by its intelligence officers as "wetwork" or "wet affairs." Indeed, they have pursued the enemies of the Russian government around the globe: Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London in November 2006; and Mikhail Lesin died under mysterious circumstances in Washington, D.C., in November 2015. They are not the only examples. It should come as no surprise then that people considered to be enemies of the Kremlin — including opposition politician Boris Nemtsov — are being murdered in Russia itself as well as in adjacent countries.

* Is China’s ‘Frontline State Strategy’ going out of Control or North Korea Crazy?

By Maj Gen SB Asthana
The Frontline State Strategy of China

When President Trump on taking over tried to outsource the problem of resolving North Korean Crisis to China presumably in exchange of some trade concessions, his administration overlooked the fact that China was part of the problem. The disappointment which his Administration suffered and expressed later was an expected outcome. The Chinese Strategy of North Korea being used as a ‘Frontline State’ against US and its ally South Korea, dates back to Korean War of 1953, when China entered the War with an aim to avoid US/South Korea to be its neighbour, as a permanent continental military threat. This deep rooted strategy continued helping North Korea a militarily strong nuclear state with autocratic regime, making it a major global threat. The strategy is still applicable to the same extent, with China’s overt and covert support to North Korea involved in nuclear and missile test misadventures, posing a threat to its greatest competitors. This strategy now seems to become a liability with North Korea irresponsible actions post UN sanctions, and Beijing’s announcement that ‘If North Korea invades another country, China will not defend them’.

In fact China has adopted this successful ‘Frontline State Strategy’ to Pakistan in a different, modified form by getting warm water connectivity to gulf with port facility. They have been able to buy over the strategic choices of Pakistan, by potentially getting them into long term debt trap. In this case also China reaps the fruits of Pakistan’s Kashmir fascination and keeping its regional competitor (India) engaged by ongoing export of terror by Pakistan, by continuously ignoring it. The worldwide criticism of Pakistan’s role in harboring terrorists, and China’s criticism of supporting an irresponsible regime sponsoring it has led to actions like condemning some Pakistan based terror groups in BRICS Summit, as a midcourse correction. The risk of propping up a semi autocratic power (Pakistan being a sham democracy, with autocratic power of Pakistan Army) having nuclear power is marred with uncontrollable risks, slightly similar to its Frontline State North Korea.

Current State of North Korean Crisis

India’s Strategic Choices: China and the Balance of Power in Asia

India is a rising power, but its transformation is occurring in the shadow of China’s even more impressive ascent. Beijing’s influence will almost certainly continue to grow and has already upset Asia’s geopolitical balance. India must decide how to secure its interests in this unbalanced environment by choosing among six potential strategic options: staying unaligned, hedging, building indigenous military power, forming regional partnerships, aligning with China, or aligning with the United States. A closer alignment with Washington likely represents India’s best chance to counter China, while efforts to foster regional partnerships and cultivate domestic military capabilities, although insufficient by themselves, could play a complementary role.

Challenges Posed by China’s Rise

China is a direct military threat to India, particularly in light of the two countries’ border disputes. Though India has considerable military power, China’s forces are already stronger and better-funded; Beijing’s outsized wealth will likely allow it to outspend New Delhi for the foreseeable future.

Beijing’s influence in both established international organizations like the United Nations and in new institutions China is setting up, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, gives Beijing opportunities to hamper Indian interests and goals in multilateral forums, especially when it comes to reforming these institutions and giving India a greater voice in global affairs.

China’s alignment with Pakistan and deepening relations with other South Asian countries represents a significant challenge to India’s position in the region, which New Delhi has dominated for decades. Beijing’s ability to provide financial assistance and balance against New Delhi may tempt India’s smaller neighbors to play one power against the other, undermining India in its own backyard.

China’s economic power allows Beijing to spread its influence around the world, which could be used to India’s detriment.

India’s Potential Policy Responses

Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh (1919-2017): Man of Stupendous Achievements

By Commodore C Uday Bhaskar (Retd.)

It is appropriate and befitting, given his stature and distinctive profile, that the only Marshal of the Air Force (MAF), Arjan Singh, was accorded a state funeral with the national flag flown at half-mast.

The MAF is the equivalent of a five-star Field Marshal (FM) in the army and India had earlier elevated only two officers to that rank – Sam ‘Bahadur’ Manekshaw and later ‘Kipper’ Cariappa. Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh was elevated to Marshal of the Air Force in January 2002.

In an unprecedented but welcome gesture, the President and the Prime Minister led the country in paying tribute to an ‘icon’ – not just of the Indian Air Force, or the Indian military – but for the entire nation.

Born in 1919, the MAF was just two years short of his ‘century’ and while his demise is indeed very sad, he lived a life that will remain an inspiration for a younger generation that can only glean some part of his professional trajectory from military history books and related documentation.

The bare statistics about the MAF’s life are stupendous. Commissioned in the erstwhile Royal Indian Air Force in December 1939, he began life as a fighter-pilot in the earliest bi-planes of the time and was awarded for high gallantry with a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) during the Burma campaign in 1944.

Armies of US, India Begin Joint Military Drills

The Indian and U.S. armies have started the thirteenth iteration of their Yudh Abhyas series of joint military exercises.

The exercise began on September 14 at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state in the United States and will go on until September 27.

The United States and India trade off on hosting iterations of the exercises. The first-ever drill under the Yudh Abhyas moniker was carried out in 2004 at the platoon level and has since been expanded.

The exercise this year will focus primarily on the counter-terrorism operations and will also included strategic consultations between senior armed forces officers on both sides.

Last year’s Yudh Abhyas was held in India, in the Chaubatia foothills in India’s state of Uttarakhand near the Sino-Indian border.

the “focus of the exercise will be counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in mountainous terrain under a UN mandate.”

Though the U.S. Department of Defense or Pacific Command has not publicly confirmed the exact scope of this year’s exercise, it is likely intended to focus on similar operations under a United Nations mandate.

The Indian Defense Ministry released a statement noting that the exercise would allow troops from both sides to “hone their tactical skills in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations under a joint brigade headquarter.”

“Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations,” it added.

Indian must Doggedly Preserve its Strategic Independence

By Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee

A nation’s foreign policy is strongly influenced by the imperatives of its neighbourhood, its strategic environment and the perception of its own status in the international community. India’s extended neighbourhood, outlined in Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’, the ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, as one of widening concentric circles around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalities, is an appealing definition which is a rational mean of demonstrating India’s future great power status. 

India is proactively pursuing a vigorous bilateral and multilateral agenda, based on its national security templates, at a time when the world is facing many new global strategic challenges. What are these new challenges? To what extent have our decision makers in the making of foreign policy been successful in addressing them?

The remarkable continuity in Indian foreign policy despite change of governments has some advantages, but also drawbacks.

There are certain principles in our foreign policy which we are reluctant to shed even if the global scenario starkly demonstrates our need to move on and find new strategic paradigms.

Non-alignment is one of them. We have never formally jettisoned non alignment. After the present government came to power, we have only sent our former Vice President to attend Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit meetings.

This is a clear signal of our distancing ourselves from NAM. Today, our lip service to NAM makes a mockery of our continued membership.

With the end of the Cold War, a new era of globalisation and, in an increasingly uni-polar world, India should have analysed and thought through its foreign policy and strategic directives based on its definition of strategic autonomy and its national security interests.

The Search for Crime and Justice on America's Indian Reservations

New Mexico is quietly wild. Its multicolored sunsets, volcano-pocked terrain and unique cultural landscape attract tourists, inspire artists and mask its dark side. After all, one of the perks of the sparsely populated state is that it's wide-open spaces offer a makeshift sanctuary to those who seek isolation and freedom, but with that magnitude of freedom comes the danger of believing that the day-to-day social and legal restrictions that govern society no longer apply. Anything seems possible under the desert sun, and many people have gone out of their way to test that theory.

Crime in the desert is like a flower on a cactus. It flourishes in unexpected places. It is not easily beaten back by brutal or unexpected elements. It does not shy away from the brink of extinction or the occasional danger.

It is difficult to kill.

This has sometimes been a harsh reality for the sprawling territories that are governed by the state’s twenty-three Indian tribes.

New Mexico is no stranger to unusual crimes, so it is unlikely that authorities were shocked when they caught Loren Lloyd Wauneka and Lisa Benally stealing jewelry, furniture and firearms from a law-enforcement officer’s residence on the Navajo Nation reservation in January 2016. Both had criminal histories. Wauneka was convicted of the crime and sentenced to thirty-seven months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to an August 10 Department of Justice press statement. Benally is still awaiting her day in court. She faces ten years in federal prison.



Editor’s Note: This is the seventh installment of “Southern (Dis)Comfort,” a new series from War on the Rocks and the Stimson Center. The series seeks to unpack the dynamics of intensifying competition — military, economic, diplomatic — in Southern Asia, principally between China, India, Pakistan, and the United States. Catch up on the rest of the series

As a revolutionary state, Iran’s grand strategy is perennially torn between the rigid imperatives of ideological consistency and practical considerations of its national interests. Since the onset of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iranian leaders have struggled to achieve a balance between these currents in the pursuit of broader objectives in the surrounding regions. The result has been a demonstrably different foreign policy approach to Southern Asia than to the Middle East.

In the resource-rich, Arab-dominated Middle East, Iran’s long-term strategic aim has been to resist the emergence of a powerful U.S.-backed Sunni coalition that could challenge the Islamic Republic’s pan-Islamic appeal and ambitions. Since the advent of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Iranian leaders have consistently linked the survival of their regime with successful resistance of a U.S.-Sunni Arab-Israel axis, which they regard as obstinately bent on overthrowing it. To this end, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – the regime’s praetorian guards and chief purveyors of its revolutionary mission – have over the years cultivated a resilient network of Shi’a militant groups and political parties stretching from southwestern Iraq to the shores of the Mediterranean (the so-called “Shi’a Crescent”). This strategy has played a significant role in the intensification of conflicts along sectarian lines since the onset of the Arab uprisings in 2010, but IRGC commanders have framed it as merely the fulfillment of their revolutionary duties to fellow Shi’a Muslims. They have been especially open about their financial, military, and intelligence support for the Hezbollah-Assad nexus, which offers the Islamic Republic a major strategic foothold in the Levant.

sense of strategic opportunity, rather than existential angst, in Iranian leaders’ imaginations.

America Could Be in Afghanistan for Another 16 Years

Dave Majumdar

American forces could still be in Afghanistan sixteen years from now—or even generations from now—under the White House’s current strategy of maintaining an open-ended commitment to that war-torn nation.

“I think we will be there in sixteen years,” retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told an audience at the Center for the National Interest during a lunch-time discussion on Sept. 13. “But I don’t think this is a sixteen-year loss on our part.”

Allen said that American forces in Afghanistan could be “holding the line” indefinitely into the future under President Donald Trump’s new strategy. The United States drew down its forces very quickly during the waning days of the Obama administration, which inevitably led to the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. “President Trump has removed the end date and has given us an end state,” Allen said. “With this president committed to an outcome that is whatever he calls winning...then I think we can hold the line at the security level.”

Holding the line at the security level would allow the Afghans to develop greater capacity in governance and greater capacity in economic development. “If we can get those two going—where we’re holding the line at the security level—and we’ve got a chance,” Allen said. “So we may well be there for another sixteen years, we’ve been in Kosovo for a very long time. We’ve had troops in the Sinai for a generation.”