23 November 2015

ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits: India's Opportunity to 'Act East'

November 21, 2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the 2015 ASEAN-India and East Asia Summit in Malaysia. 

It’s late November and Asian summitry is in the air. India, which has long sought to “Look East” and, of late, has sought to “Act East,” won’t be left on the sidelines. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi left on a trip to Malaysia and Singapore on Friday to attend two important summits: the ASEAN-India and East Asia Summits. Modi will also meet with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to discuss bilateral issues in India-Malaysia relations. In Singapore, Modi will focus on building private sector interest in investment opportunities in India and tout his “Make in India” initiative, which aims to bolster India’s manufacturing sector.

“India is the only country trying to become a global economic power with an uneducated and unhealthy labour force” – Amartya Sen

On 6 November Amartya Sen visited LSE to discuss his new collection of cultural essays Country of First Boys with Nicholas Stern. Before taking the stage in the packed Old Theatre, he spoke to Sonali Campion and Taryana Odayar about the Indian government’s approach to development, Kerala as a model for universal education and healthcare in India, and his faith in democracy.

SC: You have said that looking at the end point of a debate is not an ideal way of understanding the wider discussion. This seems relevant in relation to economic policy today, where developing countries aspire to high and continuous growth. What’s your view on the current Indian government’s manner of pursuing growth?

AS: Let me make a clarification first. The point about the end point not being the only issue asks what were the counter arguments that were considered? What were the different points of view that may or may have not have been aired, even if the end point is correct? That only becomes relevant when you agree with the end point. In the case of the policy as it stands now, that is not the case. I think the end point is wrong. The argumentation process is wrong as well, but there are two distinct issues here.

India Warms Up to Climate Action

Authors: Varun Sivaram, Douglas Dillon Fellow, and Annushka Shivnani
November 19, 2015

In October 2015, India unveiled a comprehensive strategy to curb its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reduce its vulnerability to a changing climate. Climate advocacy groups hailed the document—which in the parlance of international climate negotiations is known as India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)—because it signaled a historic shift in India’s stance on climate action. Altogether, 185 countries have now submitted INDCs, accounting for nearly 90 percent of global GHG emissions and raising hopes for a successful accord at the UN climate talks being held in Paris at the end of 2015. 

But some analysts caution that such optimism is unfounded. The pessimist’s take is that India, the world’s third-largest GHG emitter behind China and the United States, has committed to little more than business as usual. Despite ambitious commitments, for example to rapidly deploy renewable energy sources, India’s emissions are set to more than double by 2030 as the country burns more coal to fuel a growing economy. Left unchecked, India’s annual GHG emissions could be the highest in the world by 2050. 

Trenchcoat City The city of dreams sleeps with an eye open. But the new terrorist is protean. Will Mumbai hold up?


Heavy Metal: Anti-terrorist squad troopers stand by an armoured vehicle near Haji Ali seaface
At the Gateway of India, there is no dearth of tourists, even on a weekday afternoon. Noisy sight-seeing families, larger groups, foreigners, youngsters, locals taking ferry rides to Elephanta or Alibaug or for an hour or so at sea, are all queuing to get past the security check. They file through rickety metal detectors, separate for men and women. Across from the arched, sea-facing monument built by the British stands the iconic, vintage Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, with the Taj Mahal Tower besides. People barely notice the ropes and barricades, police vans, the guards, engrossed as they are in selfie moments marking ‘I was here, at the site of the 26/11 attacks....”

How Can Climate Change Trigger Conflict in South Asia?

NOVEMBER 20, 2015

Policymakers in South Asia need to act fast before the region’s inherent conflicts entwined with the ravages of climate change overtake them.

Food insecurity, migration, water stress and economic recession are some of the impacts associated with climate change. Termed as a “threat multiplier,” climate change is increasingly being recognized as a trigger of violent conflict around the world. It has been identified as a factor in raising the threshold for open conflict in Syria. The perils of climate change can’t be more emphasized than in the conflict-straddled region of South Asia, home to two nuclear powers, and neighboring China, a key player in the power dynamics of the region.

Boasting a trans-national drainage system, the Tibetan Plateau is the main source of water for the region. It is the point of origin for the region’s major rivers – Indus, Ganges, Yangtze, Mekong and Brahmaputra, catering to 40 percent of the world’s population. In fact shared waters, and the contests they conjure lie at the heart of the region’s most disparaging conflicts.

The Cold War and Holy War: A Chinese Take on the ‘Clash of Civilizations’

November 21, 2015

People in front of the Bar Hotel Le Carillon pay tribute to victims of the November 13, 2015 terrorist attack in Paris.

Blogger Yang Hengjun on the Paris attacks and the idea of a “clash of civilizations” — and where China fits in. 
Many countries in the past half-century have entered into some sort of comprehensive conflict. Samuel Huntington attributes it to the “clash of civilizations,” highlighting the cultural and religious roots of conflict, while others see it as a fight between political systems and values. I personally think it’s a combination of both — things like political systems and culture or religion and values are inseparable in the first place. I don’t agree with perspectives that over-emphasize one side: there is definitely a problem with “cultural determinism,” but it’s also problematic to think that systems determine everything. Confucian-influence countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are all enjoying their democracies, while India, no matter how perfect its democracy, may never reach attain a political environment and social status comparable to that of the United States and Europe.

Explainer: Why Islamic State Is Proving So Hard To Defeat

-- this post authored by Natasha Ezrow, University of Essex

The terror attacks in Paris that killed well over 120 people and injured many more mark a particularly deadly turn in the West's struggle to crush Islamic State (IS) - but they fit a pattern of behaviour the group has been pursuing for months.

IS and its affiliates have also claimed responsibility for gunning down 38 tourists on a Tunisian beach in June, bringing down a Russian airliner and killing its 224 occupants over Egypt in October and bombing a Shia area of southern Beirut, killing 44 people, on November 12. It's also suspected of being involved in a suicide attack in Ankara that killed 102.

This is a big change of tack. Initially focused on building a functioning caliphate/state and eliminating opponents in Syria and Iraq, the group has shifted strategy and is now staging attacks on opponents outside the region. IS is often labelled a terrorist group, but dealing with it is much more complicated than eliminating a typical terrorist organisation.
What makes IS so different?

ISIS Trying to Produce Chemical Weapons, Intelligence Sources

November 20, 2015

Officials: IS determined to produce chemical weapons 

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Islamic State group is aggressively pursuing development of chemical weapons, setting up a branch dedicated to research and experiments with the help of scientists from Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the region, according to Iraqi and U.S. intelligence officials.

Their quest raises an alarming scenario for the West, given the determination to strike major cities that the group showed with its bloody attack last week in Paris. U.S. intelligence officials don’t believe IS has the capability to develop sophisticated weapons like nerve gas that are most suited for a terrorist attack on a civilian target. So far the group has used mustard gas on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria.

Still, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Thursday warned that Islamic extremists might at some point use chemical or biological weapons.

“Terrorism hit France not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria … but for what it is,” Valls told the lower house of Parliament. “We know that there could also be a risk of chemical or biological weapons,” he added, though he did not talk of a specific threat.

The enemy within - Does Europe need to fear West Asian refugees?

Sunanda K. Datta-Ray 

It was surprising to hear Theresa May, Britain's home secretary, speak of the 2008 Mumbai bombings in connection with last week's massacre of innocents in Paris. But despite the barbarity of such "acts of war" (quoting France's president, François Hollande) and despite warnings that the enemy is not always outside the border, India's demographic mix argues for caution about being drawn into a collective campaign to stamp out the terrorists who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

India is usually regarded - when regarded at all - as sui generis. The millions of refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Tibet and elsewhere are seldom included in the challenge of global homelessness. The many bombings and other outrages on Indian soil tend to be treated as expected eruptions of the legacy of the Partition riots. But even before May's reference, security experts in London and Paris were comparing the multi-target shootings in Paris with the Mumbai mayhem.

The Starfish Caliphate: How ISIL Exploits the Power of a Decentralized Organization

November 20, 2015

The Starfish Caliphate: How ISIL Exploits the Power of a Decentralized Organization

Until recently, Islamic terrorist groups generally adapted themselves to one of two models. The first model was an underground resistance network that could appear anywhere and carry out spectacular attacks. This was Al Qaeda, who sought to inspire jihadists to their cause. The second model, used by groups like the Taliban, was hierarchal and geographically centered, but did little to recruit outside their location.

Today a hybrid has emerged, and that is ISIL. The recent Paris attacks demonstrate how they have managed to combine these two models to deadly effect. ISIL utilizes a leadership structure necessary to hold territory and implement Sharia law, but their real strength comes from an ability to operate as a decentralized network that helps them project power on the battlefield and in the information sphere.

In their 2006 book, The Starfish and the Spider, Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom describe starfish organizations as those that survive without leadership. Centralized organizations are like spiders: cut off the head and the spider dies. Decentralized organizations are more like starfish, which multiply when you try to cut them to pieces. Groups like Napster, Wikipedia, or Alcoholics Anonymous have strength in their decentralized, leaderless nature. ISIL is a spider organization that acts like a starfish. It is a formidable challenge because it utilizes the power of the starfish and exploits advantages of decentralization, while maintaining a hierarchy of leadership. ISIL possesses aspects of all five legs of decentralization that are common to open system organizations: 

Obama’s Overlooked Challenge to Muslims

NOV 19, 2015 

The president has a more realistic and tragic understanding of the dysfunctions afflicting Islam than his critics acknowledge.

Indian Muslims protest against ISIS after the Paris attacks.Manish Swarup / AP

Earlier this week, Barack Obama, eager to pivot to Asia (and who wouldn’t be?), held a press conference in Turkey that was notable for the repetitive and sometimes-posturing nature of the questions asked of him, and also for the frustrations he occasionally vented. His condemnation of certain Republicans for their retrograde and analytically deficient understanding of the Syrian refugee crisis received a good deal of attention (and criticism), but the president’s comments about the responsibilities of Muslims in the current struggle—comments a) that cut against the grain of what we’ve been conditioned to expect from him, and b) that he went out of his way to make—received comparatively little attention.

Islamic State becoming urban guerrilla threat, expert tells AFP

19 NOV 2015

A miniature Eiffel tower, candles, flowers and a bottle of red wine are seen at a makeshift memorial outside "Le Carillon cafe" in Paris on November 17, 2015 after the Paris attacks

The West must ramp up air strikes by 10 to 20 times to have any hope of disrupting the Islamic State group, which risks turning Europe into an urban guerrilla warzone, warned one of the world's leading counter-terrorism experts.

David Kilcullen, an Australian army veteran, became the senior counter-insurgency advisor to US General David Petraeus during the Iraq War and is considered a key architect of the "surge" strategy that helped turn the conflict around.

In an exclusive interview, he told AFP the Paris attacks showed the Islamic State group (IS) was morphing from a terrorist threat into a "structured organisation" like the IRA in Ireland or ETA in Spain during the 20th century.

Slashtagged @Jehadi Joes ISIS understands that the internet is key in carrying the war to the West


Islamic State could never have achieved its territorial ambitions, nor could it have recruited such a large army in so short a time, without its mastery of the internet. Al Qaeda was the first major jehadist network to sense the potential of the worldwide web, using its darker recesses in a covert manner to share ideology, information, plans and correspondence. Its younger operatives also launched early cyber attacks on ‘enemy’ websites, presaging the emergence of the ‘cyber jehad’ that is raging today.

Barrel Bombs ISIS’s war runs on oil. A look inside its crude-smeared war chest.

A Bank Of Blood Money

Soldiers of fortune they’re not, but ISIS has effectively monetised their loot

Where is the money coming from? 
Oil: The largest component. Opinion on earnings from oil smuggled to the global markets (via Turkey) ranges from $500 million to $2 billion. Some say most of the oil is used within the region. 
Extortion: Taxes on local residents, all goods, roads and transport, protection money from non-Muslims (jazia); refugee smuggling; smuggling; ransom; sale of rare artifacts, looting of banks 

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

NOV. 20, 2015 

Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.

Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book, and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious religious laws. That translates into an obsessive hatred of imagery and representation and therefore art, but also of the body, nakedness and freedom. Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it.

Think ISIS Is Not Islamic? Think Again


Roy Abbas is an accountant, finance professional and investigative counter terrorism analyst. He writes on politics, religion and terrorism. He lives and works in Manchester, U.K 

The internet has been awashed with a hackneyed platitude amid the horrific Paris terror attacks last week. It's basically become the mother of all clichés. Almost no one can resist it. It's employed by everyone from President Obama to social media bloggers. It crops up everywhere from Qatar's Al Jazeera to propagandist, Putin - funded Russia Today, to the keyboard revolutionary Russel Brand's YouTube Channel.

Glen Greenwald, Noam Chomsky and Robert Fisk cannot seem to live without it, and it has become a slogan for the myriads of Islamic Scholars.

ISIS, we're told, "has nothing to do with Islam."

Even a cursory examination of the history and literature of Islam, Quran and Hadithcould easily debunk this above claim as preposterous and could irrefutably establish the fact that not only is ISIS inspired from the Islamic concept of the Caliphate but is also heavily influenced by the radical Islamic jurisprudence of the 13th century Scholar Sheikh Taqi ibn Taymiyyah and later the 18th century scholar Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab.

Does France Have the Firepower to Fight the Islamic State?

NOVEMBER 20, 2015

The French military has long been waging the war against terrorism. But without help from its allies, France won’t be able to hold the line much longer.

“France is at war,” President François Hollande announced in an address to the French Congress just three days after Friday’s coordinated attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State.

Though French authorities meted out some very strong rhetoric and action in response to the attacks in Paris, the fact is France was already at war with jihadi terrorist organizations. Since early 2015, France has been engaged in three significant military operations, all directly connected to the terrorist threat. (There is a fourth operation still ongoing in the Central African Republic though not directly related to the fight against jihad.)

Connect with Your ‘Inner-net’: Living and Working with Purpose

Nov 19, 2015 

Gopi Kallayil on Connecting with Your "Inner-net"

In today’s world, a common refrain is, “There is not enough time” — whether to complete a task or to take time for ourselves or to be with our families. But Google’s Gopi Kallayil emphatically disagrees with that idea. In The Internet to the Inner-Net: Five Ways to Reset Your Connection and Live a Conscious Life, Kallayil shares how he has come to use his brain, body and consciousness to gain control of his perception of time and his choices about how to use it.

Kallayil recently spoke with Knowledge@Whartonabout his new book and how to live a life with more purpose and fulfillment.

An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Knowledge@Wharton: Gopi, please start with the title of your book: The Internet to the Inner-Net. What exactly is the “inner-net,” and what is its connection to the Internet?

Former Israeli Spy Chief Slams the Performance of French Intelligence Services

Lio Akerman
November 20, 2015

The (non) existence of French intelligence 

The recent terrorist attack in Paris, which was made up by a series of perfectly coordinated and timed bombings planned and carried out by Islamic State, took the French by surprise since they were still under the illusion that they were doing a good job of preventing terrorist activity.

Just last January, though, two serious terrorist attacks took place in France – the first at the newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the second at the Hyper Cacher supermarket. French and European Union leaders should have internalized by now that things have changed on the continent.

The government needs to carry out dramatic emergency legislative amendments and the intelligence and law enforcement communities need to adapt their modus operandi immediately.

Cyber Spying Is Out, Cyber Lying Is In

NOVEMBER 20, 201

From doctored drone videos to bogus stock prices, Washington’s top spies worry digital deception is the cyberwar of the future.

Let’s say a military commander — the captain of a destroyer, for example — walks into a darkened room packed with screens and can no longer trust the pictures his radar and other sensors are generating, Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, wondered aloud at a defense forum earlier this month. “What happens if what I’m looking at, in fact, leads me to make decisions that only exacerbate the problem I’m trying to deal with?”

“Our system — whether it’s in the private sector or for us in the military — is fundamentally founded on the idea of trust of the data we’re looking at,” Rogers said, speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum, a who’s-who gathering of the U.S. national security establishment in Simi Valley, California. “What happens if the digital underpinning that we’ve all come to rely on is no longer believable?”

Why Washington and the West Are Losing Once Again the Online Fight Against ISIS

Der Spiegel
November 19, 2015

‘Punching in the Dark’: Why Islamic State Is Winning the Online War

It sounded like jihadi megalomania. “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women.” Every Muslim is to kill a “Crusader,” the extremists wrote, especially in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, France and Germany. What the West was about to face, they warned, would be more terrible than anything in the past.

These words were printed in Dabiq, the elaborately produced Internet magazine of Islamic State and appeared in February, just a few weeks after the attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

We now know that the extremists meant what they wrote.

Until last Friday, there had been only one incident in which suicide bombers blew themselves up in a major European city – in London in 2005. Now German security experts believe almost anything is possible. The German government reacted promptly to the Paris attacks, increasing controls at borders, train stations, airports and other vulnerable locations. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany’s domestic intelligence service, began paying even closer attention to the roughly 420 individuals in Germany classified as potentially dangerous Islamists. The surveillance network in the Salafist community was tightened to the greatest extent possible.

In Wake of Paris Attacks, Privacy Rights Decline Sharply as Spies and Police Intensify Their Hunt for Terrorists


As France and Belgium Strengthen Security, a Classic Debate Arises

PARIS — Shocked by the carnage of the Paris attacks, France and Belgiummoved aggressively on Thursday to strengthen the hand of their security forces, pushing Europe more deeply into a debate that has raged in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001: how to balance counterterrorism efforts and civil liberties.

With their populations stunned and nervous and political pressure growing on the right, the French and Belgian governments made it clear that, for now, they would put protecting their citizens ahead of other considerations.

With time, the United States has moved to ease some elements of the U.S.A.Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. It has also strengthened oversight of intelligence agencies and of mass domestic surveillance in the wake of the revelations by Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency who leaked documents about surveillance.

The New Debate on Restarting Mass Antiterror Surveillance in the Wake of the Snowden Revelations

November 20, 2015

The Decline of Antiterror Surveillance

The Islamic State attacks in Paris have reopened the debate over antiterror surveillance, and a good thing too. President Obama’s CIA director John Brennan said this week that it has become more difficult to identify terrorists and break up their plots “because of a number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role.”

Mr. Brennan mentioned no names, but by “unauthorized disclosures” he surely meant Edward Snowden, the spook who stole and absconded to Russia with details of the National Security Agency’s most highly classified antiterror surveillance programs. Jihadists responded by changing their communications habits, making them harder to detect.

We’ll learn more about why the French failed to prevent the Paris massacre, but it’s already obvious that it was in part an intelligence failure. French security had at least one, and maybe more, of the jihadists on their watch lists. But they either lost track of their movements, or failed to find or properly read clues about their intentions. The French are good at local surveillance—and you can bet they aren’t following the U.S. Army Field Manual in their interrogations—but the West needs global intelligence collection to fight global jihad.

NSA Continuing to Analyze Social Media Data in Americans’ Emails, But Without Collecting the Data En Masse

Charlie Savage
November 20, 2015

File Says N.S.A. Found Way to Replace Email Program

WASHINGTON — When the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of records about Americans’ emails came to light in 2013, the government conceded the program’s existence but said it had shut down the effort in December 2011 for “operational and resource reasons.”

While that particular secret program stopped, newly disclosed documents show that the N.S.A. had found a way to create a functional equivalent. The shift has permitted the agency to continue analyzing social links revealed by Americans’ email patterns, but without collecting the data in bulk from American telecommunications companies — and with less oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. 

The disclosure comes as a sister program that collects Americans’ phone records in bulk is set to end this month. Under a law enacted in June, known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, the program will be replaced with a system in which the N.S.A. can still gain access to the data to hunt for associates of terrorism suspects, but the bulk logs will stay in the hands of phone companies.

U.S. High-Tech Industry Group Rejects Latest Calls for FBI Backdoor Access to Encrypted Communications

November 20, 2015

Tech group rejects post-Paris call for data encryption ‘backdoors’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading U.S.-based technology industry group on Thursday, in its first statement since last week’s Paris attacks, rejected calls to give U.S. law enforcement authorities backdoor keys to let them circumvent encryption technology for cellphones.

Weakening encryption to help the government monitor electronic communications in the name of national security “simply does not make sense,” the Information Technology Industry Council said in a statement released to Reuters.

“After a horrific tragedy like the Paris attacks, we naturally search for solutions: weakening encryption is not a solution,” said Dean Garfield, president of the Washington-based organization, which represents Apple, Google, Microsoft and dozens of other blue-chip tech companies.

The attacks in Paris last Friday killed 129 and wounded hundreds. The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility.

17 Books Everyone Should Read, According to Bill Gates

Nov. 19, 2015

Bruce Glikas—FilmMagic/Getty ImagesBill Gates at the backtage of the musical 'Hamilton' on Broadway in New York City on Oct. 11, 2015.

While Bill Gates has a schedule that’s planned down to the minute, the entrepreneur-turned-billionaire-humanitarian still gobbles up about a book a week.

Aside from a handful of novels, they’re mostly nonfiction books covering his and his foundation’s broad range of interests. A lot of them are about transforming systems: how nations can intelligently develop, how to lead an organization, and how social change can fruitfully happen.

We went through the past five years of his book criticism to find the ones that he gave glowing reviews and that changed his perspective.

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012 by Carol Loomis

Norms of Cyber War in Peacetime

November 15, 2015

Editor’s Note: Cyber attacks and the appropriate response are new territories in national security. On the one hand, most attacks do little damage, and their perpetrators are often unclear. On the other hand, the potential risk is growing, and no one wants to wait until it is too late to draw a line. Fergus Hanson, my colleague at Brookings and the author of the new book Internet Wars: The Struggle for Power in the 21st Century, unpacks the cyber threat and offers his thoughts on how to best respond.

Cyber attacks regularly make the headlines. There have been military cyber attacks, like those used by Russia during its invasion of Georgia. Political cyber espionage such as the NSA programs revealed by Edward Snowden. And there has been state-backed economic cyber espionage, which topped the agenda during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States in September.

Reliance Defence gets conditional approval for 12 industrial licenses

Reliance Group has roped in Rajesh Dhingra, former MD of Lockheed Martin India, to lead the new initiative

Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence has received conditional approval for 12 industrial licenses for eight of its subsidiaries for making defence equipment including aircraft, helicopters, missiles, night vision gear and naval and land systems.

The approval is important as Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra), the parent of Reliance Defence, has decided to focus on the defence business.

Reliance Group has roped in Rajesh Dhingra, former MD of Lockheed Martin India, to lead the new initiative.

Reliance Defence plans to make Gujarat as its hub for making naval systems and warships as RInfra has acquired Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Ltd. for Rs.2,000 crore and plans to spend another Rs.5,000 crore for expansion there.

Reliance Group has selected Mihan, near Nagpur, to build the Dhirubhai Ambani Aerospace Park (DAAP) with investments of $1 billion. The company will set up assembly lines and manufacturing facilities for fixed-wing aircraft, aero structures for commercial transport aircraft, and helicopters for both defence and commercial use.

The IAF and Indian Army have a requirement of more than 600 light utility helicopters to replace the existing fleet of Chetak and Cheetah helicopters.

#Reviewing The Future of Land Warfare

What happens if we bet too heavily on unmanned systems, cyber warfare, and special operations in our defense?

Legged Squad Support System. Today’s dismounted warfighter can be saddled with more than 100 pounds of gear, resulting in physical strain, fatigue and degraded performance. Reducing the load on dismounted warfighters has become a major point of emphasis for defense research and development, because the increasing weight of individual equipment has a negative impact on warfighter readiness.. Photo courtesy Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Future of Land Warfare. Michael E. O’Hanlon. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute, 2015.


By Dominic J. Caraccilo
November 12th, 2015

The query was presented to the brigade commander at the morning battlefield update, “How many patrols did you go on today?” Scratching his head in bewilderment as to why that information—or, more accurately, that data—was so important that a division commander was incessant on knowing it, the colonel struggled to answer. In an attempt to combine sarcasm, frustration, diligence and honesty into a formed response, the colonel responded, “All of them.”

While this answer didn’t appease the senior commander’s appetite for collecting data on his own forces, it did make everyone else in the room uneasy. The uneasiness displayed itself in a realization that there existed a propensity in the senior command to persistently query commands on a whole host of needs; to require the attainment and collection of untethered data; and to overly direct the actions of subordinate commands. In short, it was apparent to those in the room that the commander was a micromanager.

The French Way of War

November 17, 2015

A French soldier from Operation Barkhane rides in an armoured vehicle in Timbuktu, November 5, 2014

France's military may suffer from a poor reputation in American popular imagination, dating from historical events like the rapid fall to Nazi Germany in World War II and the colonial-era defeat at Dien Bien Phu. This is a mistake: The French airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria are only the beginning of the counterattack against ISIS, as French officials themselves are promising. And as anyone familiar with France's military capabilities can attest, when it comes to war the French are among the very best.

Refreshing Strategic Thinking

NOVEMBER 22, 2015

Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center 

Since World World I, armed combat around the world have changed significantly, in part, due to technological changes. Various types of forces are no longer with us, and other types of forces have taken over. Cavalier forces and diggers of trenches have been replaced hi-tech air forces, missiles and anti-missile systems, and cyber warfare forces. However, these types of changes are primarily tactical in nature, reflecting various technological advances.

However, beyond technological advances, the modern world has done little to cope with the new type of warfare. The Third World War, which is currently taking place before our eyes, is completely different than previous wars. This type of warfare can be call a war of terror – a general label which includes numerous activities committed by state and non-state actors beyond specific acts of violence against civilians. The strategies used by terrorist organizations are different in nature than any traditional type of warfare. State-sponsored terror also part of this equation, as various states utilize terror in numerous locations to advance their strategic interests.