27 February 2019

IAF Mirage-2000: All You Need to Know About Dassault-designed Fighter Jet Used for Surgical Strikes 2.0

Arjit Garg

In the early hours of Tuesday, 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter jets, made by Dassault Aviation, the French company who also manufactures the Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts, entered Pakistani airspace and dropped 1,000-kg laser-guided bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror launch pads across the Line of Control. While India has many new-age fighter jets like the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG 29, apart from the indigenously developed Tejas LCA in its arsenal, it was again the Mirage-2000 jet, which was used in the Kargil war, that was used for the unprecedented cross-border strike. Indian government sources told CNN-News18 that there were over 200 casualties in the strike, which targeted the biggest JeM hideout in Balakot in a counter-terrorism operation. 

Why Balakot: Defence Officials Explain Choice Of Target For Air Strikes


The choice of the Jaish-e Mohammed terror camp at Balakot for the "non-military, pre-emptive" air strikes that took place before dawn today was carefully thought out, top sources in the defence ministry told NDTV today.

The 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force had targeted the camp of the Pakistan-based terror group, which had accepted responsibility for the February 14 suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama. Forty men of the Central Reserve Police Force had lost their lives.

The government said the air strikes were planned in view of intelligence reports that Jaish was planning more terror attacks in India.

The camp at Balakot -- around 80 km from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or PoK -- was the "heart of suicide bombers," sources told NDTV. The huge facility, located on a hilltop and hidden by thick forests, housed a number of terrorists.

Pakistan’s Pulwama game plan: It is obsessed with changing maps in Kashmir and retarding India’s global rise


Pakistan has a problem. Pakistan is obsessed with changing maps in Kashmir. Pakistan, founded on the inherently communal, non-democratic and philosophically depraved “two nation theory”, believes that it is entitled to the entirety of Muslim-majority Kashmir.

This claim is not based on any defensible procedure or proclamation. After all, neither the Indian Independence Act nor the terms of reference for Partition bestowed the territory upon Pakistan and indeed the former allowed the sovereign of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, to pick the dominion he would join. While he held out for independence, Pakistan dispatched invaders to seize it by force despite signing a stand-still agreement with Singh. Singh, unable to defend himself, requested Indian assistance. India agreed provided that he sign the instrument of accession to join India. Singh did so after which India dispatched forces to defend what became sovereign Indian territory.

Since then, Pakistan has supported subterfuge in Kashmir, waged a proxy war since 1990 in addition to starting wars in 1965 and 1999. As time marched on and India continued to expand and modernise its defences, Pakistan’s aims have actually expanded. While seeking to wrestle all of Kashmir from India, it risibly also sees itself as the only power to retard India’s rise in the international system.

Pakistan.Will.Not.Change.

ASHLEY J. TELLIS

Summary: India must recognize that any response to the attack at Pulwama can at best mitigate—not eliminate—Pakistani terrorism. But India can do much more to equip and protect its security forces.

The February 14 vehicle bomb attack perpetrated by the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) at Pulwama, Jammu & Kashmir, tragically confirmed yet again that India remains a persistent target of terrorism. The details pertaining to the bombing and its linkages to Rawalpindi will occupy India’s intelligence agencies for some time to come.

In the interim, the public clamor for retribution persists, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi promising to avenge “each drop of tear shed” due to the atrocity. Simultaneously, Indians of all stripes are once more engaged in a national discussion about what could have been done to prevent such an attack from occurring.

'Give Peace a Chance,' Pakistan PM Imran Khan Tells Narendra Modi

Sajjad Hassan

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday asked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to “give peace a chance” and assured him that he “stands by” his words and will “immediately act” if New Delhi provides Islamabad with “actionable intelligence” on the Pulwama attack.

Khan’s remarks came a day after Modi in a rally in Rajasthan said, “There is consensus in the entire world against terrorism. We are moving ahead with strength to punish the perpetrators of terrorism…The scores will be settled this time, settled for good…This is a changed India, this pain will not be tolerated…We know how to crush terrorism.”

Recalling his conversation with Khan during a congratulatory call after he became Pakistan’s premier, Modi said he told him “let us fight against poverty and illiteracy” and Khan gave his word – saying he is a Pathan’s son – but went back on it.

‘We Were Friends, and Then We Started Killing Each Other.’ India Recalls Partition. Carefully.

By Kai Schultz
Source Link

AMRITSAR, India — How do you memorialize a holocaust that even now, seven decades after it took place, may still not be entirely safe to talk about?

In 1947, as the British prepared to pull out of India, they put pen to map and, with a last bit of swagger from a fading colonial power, severed the country in two, creating Pakistan.

What happened next as authority collapsed and more than 10 million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs scrambled to get to the right side of the new borders is recorded in witness accounts at the Partition Museum here in Amritsar.

India’s New Anti-Tank Guided Missile to Enter Production By End of 2019

By Franz-Stefan Gady

The third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) Nag is slated to enter production by the end of 2019, according to a senior Indian defense industry official.

Speaking to IHS Jane’s at the Aero India 2019, a biennial air show and aviation exhibition held in Bengaluru, India at the Yelahanka Air Force Station, MSR Prasad, director general of Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS) at India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), told the trade publication that the Nag ATGM will undergo final user trials in May and June this year with production of the weapon system expected to kick off later in 2019.

Winter user trials of the Nag ATGM were successfully completed in December 2018. This was preceded by extensive validation trials of the a fire-and-forget ATGM’s imaging infrared (IIR) seeker head, which caused repeated delays due to the technical inadequacies of the thermal sensors. In February 2018, DRDO successfully tested the Nag against in desert conditions against two tank targets.

The War in South Asia

By KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON

Foreign-policy intellectuals have worried about a possible confrontation between South Asia’s nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, since the two engaged in tit-for-tat bomb tests in the late 1990s. As the nationalist government of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi weighs its retaliatory options after a mass-murder attack by Jaish-e-Mohammad — a terrorist organization based in Pakistan and sustained by the Pakistani covert-operations service — there is talk of open war on both sides, and more than a little anticipation of it.

Such a conflict would not serve U.S. interests and should be prevented if possible.

In a sense, India and Pakistan already are at war — a slow, grinding, desultory one rather than an open and more terrifying one, but one that is no less dangerous for that — and that danger extends to American interests, which are not limited to the prevention of a nuclear exchange in the region.

The Future of Women in Afghanistan

by Lawrence J. Korb 

Among the important concerns that should be raised about the proposed ceasefire between the Trump administration and the Taliban—and the possible withdrawal of U.S. troops—is the future of women in Afghanistan.

There remains an unacceptable risk that without U.S. forces there to uphold U.S. interests and values, the Taliban will resume its unacceptable treatment of Afghan women. For example, Ryan Crocker, who served as ambassador to six Muslim countries including Afghanistan, argues that although women made extraordinary gains in education, business, in the legislature, and elsewhere in society, those gains are fragile and only possible if the United States defends core values, such as women’s rights. Instead, the current framework, which was reached without the involvement of the Afghan government, feels like a surrender, Crocker argues. What makes this surrender particularly grave is what is going to happen to Afghan women after we leave.

Nuclear Ethics? Why Pakistan Has Not Used Nuclear Weapons... Yet

by Sannia Abdullah


The Pakistan Army’s prior reluctance to use nuclear weapons has been neither because of deterrence nor a nuclear taboo, but the absence of military utility so far. Those conditions when Pakistan might determine that a nuclear first-strike has military utility and would be ethically justified, however, are constantly being considered today.

China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative

by Andrew Chatzky and James McBride

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, infrastructure development and investment initiatives that would stretch from East Asia to Europe. The project, eventually termed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) but sometimes known as the New Silk Road, is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever conceived. It harkens back to the original Silk Road, which connected Europe to Asia centuries ago, enriching traders from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Some analysts see the project as an unsettling extension of China’s rising power, and as the costs of many of the proposed projects have skyrocketed, opposition has grown in some participant countries. Meanwhile, the United States shares the concern of some in Asia that the BRI could be a Trojan horse for China-led regional development, military expansion, and Beijing-controlled institutions. Under President Donald J. Trump, Washington has raised alarm over Beijing’s actions even as it has abandoned some U.S. efforts to isolate China and deepen its own ties with economic partners in the region.
What was the original Silk Road?

Reports of Belt and Road’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated Don’t Underestimate China’s Resilience

By Nadège Rolland

With the vast, ambitious investment project known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China meant to pull the world closer, making itself the political and economic center of gravity for more than 60 countries within the project’s sweep. But domestic and international opposition to the initiative has mounted in the five years since President Xi Jinping announced its start. Intellectuals within China have expressed concerns about wasteful spending and overstretch. Several governments that were initially enthusiastic about Chinese investment have faced popular backlash to the terms of the loans and the potential for corruption. And the United States has recently joined countries in Europe and the Indo-Asia-Pacific region in an effort to counter the Chinese endeavor with an alternative investment scheme.

Instead of expanding its “circle of friends” and gaining influence, China seems to have done the opposite, spurring a group of disgruntled countries to band together to resist its predatory practices. Some observers claim that the Chinese leadership fails to understand the dynamics that have led other countries to push back and that this blindness increases the likelihood that Xi’s “project of the century” will soon become a fiasco. 

GCHQ: Chinese tech 'threats' must be understood


The UK's cyber-security agency has warned that Britain must understand the potential "opportunities and threats" of using Chinese technology.

In a rare speech, GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming emphasised the need for better cyber-security practices in the telecoms industry.

"It's a hugely complex strategic challenge," he said.

The US is pressuring its allies to not use Chinese firm Huawei's technology to build new 5G networks.

Its officials are concerned that China could be using Huawei products to spy on other countries.

China Will Likely Corner the 5G Market—and the US Has No Plan


You may have heard that China has cornered much of the world’s supply of strategic metals and minerals crucial for new technology, including lithium, rare earths, copper, and manganese used in everything from smartphones to electric cars. As of 2015, China was the leading global producer of 23 of the 41 elements the British Geological Society believes are needed to "maintain our economy and lifestyle" and had a lock on supplies of nine of the 10 elements judged to be at the highest risk of unavailability.

China's Military Modernization Takes To the Seas


While the United States Navy struggles to figure out if, how and when it can expand the size of its combat fleet by 47 ships—a 15 percent increase—China’s military modernization efforts are cranking out around a dozen new large warships a year. Recently, the busy shipyard in the port city Dalian put to sea China’s second aircraft carrier, following up on that milestone two months later by simultaneously launching two Type 055-class cruisers. With the U.S. Navy being the only other fleet to operate a large number of vessels of such size and capability, the pace and scale of production at Chinese shipyards is a sign of Beijing’s desire for a fleet commensurate with its perceived status as a great power. 

Displacing more than 10,000 tons, the Type 055-class cruisers are large, multirole warships similar to the U.S. Navy’s high-end Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. Such warships constitute the backbone of navies focused on high-intensity naval combat. Even a decade ago, the Chinese navy had only a handful of ships capable of providing a broad range of naval combat capabilities over a large area. Today, by contrast, China has 20 large and modern multirole cruisers and destroyers in service, with another 10 in the water awaiting completion and a further seven under construction. Remarkably, most of these warships have been built since 2010.

In China, Aircraft Carrier Construction Is A Sign Of Things To Come

China aims to 'optimize' spread of controversial Confucius Institutes


BEIJING (Reuters) - China plans to “optimize” the spread of its controversial Confucius Institutes, the government said, institutions to promote Chinese language and culture that have been criticized by some for spreading Communist Party influence.

In 2004, China began setting up the government-run bodies, whose stated mission is to satisfy soaring global demand to learn Chinese.

But they have drawn criticism, especially in the United States, for being little more than a propaganda arm of the ruling Communist Party, assertions denied by both the institutes and the government.

The Confucius Institute will remain a key government policy, a document on modernizing China’s education system issued late on Saturday by the party’s Central Committee and the cabinet showed.

Should the United States Fear China’s Rise?

by Joshua Shifrinson


In the grand scheme of power shifts, concerns over China’s rise are overblown. China is far from issuing an outright challenge to the United States and is likely to continue avoiding one for some time. U.S. strategists need to recognize that an overly assertive response to China’s rise is counterproductive.

Chinese and Iranian hackers increase cyber attacks on US

Rozina Sabur

Chinese and Iranian hackers have been aggressively targeting US businesses and government agencies because of Donald Trump's ongoing conflicts with the two countries, the New York Times has reported.

According to the newspaper, dozens of US banks, businesses and government offices have been hit amid a marked increase in cyber attacks

Security experts reportedly believe the US president's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement and his trade war with China are behind the escalation.

It follows a report by US intelligence chiefs last month, which warned that China, Iran, North Korea and Russia, the country’s main cyber adversaries, “increasingly use cyber operations to threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways – to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure."

The United States Is Already at War With China

By Michael T. Klare

In his highly acclaimed 2017 book, Destined for War, Harvard professor Graham Allison assessed the likelihood that the United States and China would one day find themselves at war. Comparing the US-Chinese relationship to great-power rivalries all the way back to the Peloponnesian War of the fifth century BC, he concluded that the future risk of a conflagration was substantial. Like much current analysis of US-Chinese relations, however, he missed a crucial point: For all intents and purposes, the United States and China are already at war with each other. Even if their present slow-burn conflict may not produce the immediate devastation of a conventional hot war, its long-term consequences could prove no less dire.

To suggest this means reassessing our understanding of what constitutes war. From Allison’s perspective (and that of so many others in Washington and elsewhere), “peace” and “war” stand as polar opposites. One day, our soldiers are in their garrisons being trained and cleaning their weapons; the next, they are called into action and sent onto a battlefield. War, in this model, begins when the first shots are fired.

Iran’s Cyberattacks On Foreign Targets A Growing Threat – OpEd

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh*

While the Iranian regime’s military adventurism and increasing efforts to ship advanced weaponries to militia and terror groups across the region have grabbed international headlines, Tehran’s decision to renew its cyberattacks against foreign entities is receiving less attention.

According to an in-depth report published by the New York Times last week, Iran’s cyberattacks against the US have increased significantly, becoming more sophisticated and intense. The article states: “Recent Iranian attacks on American banks, businesses and government agencies have been more extensive than previously reported. Dozens of corporations and multiple United States agencies have been hit, according to seven people briefed on the episodes.”

Technology is Making Terrorists More Effective—And Harder to Thwart

by Ilan Berman

In January, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats appeared before Congress to deliver the U.S. intelligence community’s most recent assessment of “worldwide threats” facing the United States. Of these, Coats’ report made clear, terrorism continues to rank as among the most pressing. The collapse of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphat e in Syria and Iraq has ushered in a new stage in the “war on terror”—one defined by an ongoing threat from ISIS factions, a resurgence of the Al Qaeda global network, and a growth in the capabilities of assorted Sunni jihadist groups in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

What Coats didn’t say directly, however, is that each of these dynamics is being empowered by technological advances that are making extremist groups more connected, more resilient and more capable than ever before. Today, this can be seen along four main axes.

Exploitation of Cyberspace

The caliphate crumbles: the last days of Islamic State

BY QUENTIN SOMMERVILLE

In Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, in the village of Soussa, I held the end of the Islamic State’s empire in the palm of my hand. It was in Hajin, on the road to Baghouz, as the last scrap of a caliphate prepared to submit finally to the ceaseless bombardment against it, that I was given a handful of IS coins.

All around, there were wide craters from coalition airstrikes, marking the rich, soft soil of the Euphrates riverbank. The smell of cordite hung in the air and the deep pits in the road were bigger and more plentiful than those that gouged the earth in Raqqa, the former de facto capital of Islamic State in Syria, and its Iraqi stronghold, the city of Mosul. Hollowed out towns and broken minarets had become a familiar sight in the long war against the black-clad fighters of IS. But the heavy brown coins were a new discovery.

The Arab tribes fighting with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had great, dirty handfuls of them, and gave them freely to journalists at the front. On a freezing night patrol through some orchards in IS territory, the men, filthy and exhausted, carried blankets with them through the gloom of the dust stirred up by their vehicles. They looked like an army from another age.

On North Korea, press for complete denuclearization, but have a plan B

Robert Einhorn

This piece was originally delivered as a speech at the Chey Institute of Advanced Studies in Seoul, South Korea on February 14, 2019. 

The goal President Trump will try to advance in Vietnam – the complete denuclearization of North Korea – is a goal genuinely shared by the ROK, China, Japan, Russia, and many other countries.

For the ROK, it would remove a major asymmetry with its northern neighbor and a barrier to North-South reconciliation.

For China, it would reduce a source of regional instability and perhaps result in a decrease in the presence of U.S. military forces in Northeast Asia.

For Russia, it could reduce U.S. incentives to build up homeland missile defenses and boost economic activity in Siberia.

Armenia And The Velvet Revolution: The Merits And Flaws Of A Protest-Based Civil Society – Analysis

By Simon Hoellerbauer*

(FPRI) — The 2018 Velvet Revolution in Armenia that swept Serzh Sargsyan from power and brought Nikol Pashinyan to power as Prime Minister was surprising. Sargsyan had brutally repressed previous protests in 2008—in which ten people died—and had managed to successfully navigate broad protests in 2011 and 2013 by offering some largely cosmetic concessions. Few would have predicted that he could be pushed out of power in the space of less than two months. Even fewer would have predicted that snap elections in December 2018 would completely remove Sargsyan’s party from power—the Republican Party of Armenia did not win a single seat. At the same time, the form the revolution took—protests carried out by a broad coalition of individuals upset at the state of political affairs—was not surprising, given the nature of Armenian civil society.

The Lebanon, Natural Gas And Local Political Equilibria

By Giancarlo Elia Valori*

As can be easily foreseen, the huge amount of natural gas that is being discovered throughout the East Mediterranean region is bound to quickly change the whole economic, strategic and military system of the Middle East.

As well as the links between the Greater Middle East and the European Union.

While, before the discoveries of the East Mediterranean region, the primary theme was the network of contacts between the EU West and the Arab-Islamic universe, currently these productive transformations change the internal relations among traditionally producing countries and place Israel in a new economic context, thus making the EU countries enter this new maritime production system as full members.

FIVE YEARS (IS/IS NOT)* A LONG TIME IN UKRAINIAN POLITICS (*DELETE AS APPLICABLE)

Ian Bond

It is five years since Ukraine’s then president, Viktor Yanukovych, fled the country for Russia. Since then, some commentators say a lot has changed, while others say not much. But however confused the picture, Ukraine still merits attention.

On March 31st, Ukraine will hold its second presidential election since 2014’s so-called ‘Revolution of Dignity’. None of the leading candidates is scandal-free: the incumbent, Petro Poroshenko, formerly a successful businessman, turned up in the Panama Papers in 2016, allegedly transferring funds out of Ukraine illicitly. Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who made a fortune in the murky gas business in the 1990s, has long been suspected of corrupt ties to another former prime minister, Pavlo Lazarenko (imprisoned in the US in 2006 for money laundering). And Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an actor and comedian whose best known character is a school teacher who becomes president of Ukraine, seems to be backed by Ihor Kolomoiskiy, accused by a business rival in 2015 of ordering contract killings in Ukraine. 

The Era of Two-Party Politics Is Over

Leonid Bershidsky

The emergence of the Independent Group in the U.K. parliament, where 11 legislators from the two dominant parties have broken ranks to form a new centrist entity, poses important questions for the world’s remaining two-party systems: Are these systems still relevant, sustainable and fit for purpose? It’s possible that the two-party mold is obsolete and just needs somebody to wield a hammer resolutely enough.

The Independent Group was born of centrist politicians’ frustration with the demands of partisanship. As a Conservative in the U.K. these days, one must support Brexit even if one doesn’t believe in it – to preserve party unity. As a Labour Party member, one has to accept, if not agree with, leader Jeremy Corbyn’s far-left views as well as what some members see as the party’s anti-Semitic bend. But what if you consider Brexit, especially a hard one, fundamentally stupid and communism a dead end? Is there a political home for you in today’s U.K. apart from the largely irrelevant Liberal Party? A case can be made for a new beginning, just as one could be made in France in 2017, when the hidebound two-party system failed to respond to challenges from the far left and the far right and Emmanuel Macron had to start a centrist force from scratch to score a win for political moderation.

The Sources of the West’s Decline

ANDREW A. MICHTA

Only five years ago, the general consensus among U.S. and European policy wonks was that, notwithstanding occasional glitches, the so-called liberal international order would remain the dominant global paradigm. For decades, the cognoscenti had assumed that export-driven modernization would eventually transform the likes of communist China into a mega-scale Japan, and that Russia, though authoritarian, would nonetheless adhere—at least in Europe—to the rules-based order. In hindsight it doesn’t really matter whether we fell victim to our own wishful thinking or refused to admit what was in front of us all the time—namely, a brief pause in great power competition followed by two great powers intent on revising the international order, in terms of both its principles and its geostrategic fault lines. We finally awoke to the geostrategic dimension of the ongoing rivalry when Russia seized Crimea and stoked a war in eastern Ukraine, and when China militarized the South China Sea by deploying military assets on its artificial islands. But the West has yet to fully grasp the realities of the system’s overall transformation, and especially its emerging axiology. The reason for the latter is not a lack of data points, but rather our inability to own up to the ideological shift underway within our own culture.

The Future of International Order(s)

by Shiping Tang


When it comes to the future of the international order, we are now in a new Age of Anxiety. The international order will persist, but it will be less West-centric and fragmented. Although the rules will be more contested, that will not necessarily be politically violent or morally bad, but it will be more bottom-up–increasingly built upon regionalization and coordination.

Deepfakes and the New Disinformation War The Coming Age of Post-Truth Geopolitics

By Robert Chesney and Danielle Citron

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but there is nothing that persuades quite like an audio or video recording of an event. At a time when partisans can barely agree on facts, such persuasiveness might seem as if it could bring a welcome clarity. Audio and video recordings allow people to become firsthand witnesses of an event, sparing them the need to decide whether to trust someone else’s account of it. And thanks to smartphones, which make it easy to capture audio and video content, and social media platforms, which allow that content to be shared and consumed, people today can rely on their own eyes and ears to an unprecedented degree.

Therein lies a great danger. Imagine a video depicting the Israeli prime minister in private conversation with a colleague, seemingly revealing a plan to carry out a series of political assassinations in Tehran. Or an audio clip of Iranian officials planning a covert operation to kill Sunni leaders in a particular province of Iraq. Or a video showing an American general in Afghanistan burning a Koran. In a world already primed for violence, such recordings would have a powerful potential for incitement. Now imagine that these recordings could be faked using tools available to almost anyone with a laptop and access to the Internet—and that the resulting fakes are so convincing that they are impossible to distinguish from the real thing.

Putin’s One Weapon: The ‘Intelligence State’

By John Sipher

According to this year’s National Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment and Senate testimony by top-ranked intelligence officials, Americans can expect Vladimir Putin’s Russia to continue its efforts to aggravate social, political and racial tensions in the United States and among its allies.

So, to best prepare for future Russian assaults, we should look to the past and study the mind-set of the Cold War K.G.B. — the intelligence service in which President Putin spent his formative years. The history of the brutal Soviet security services lays bare the roots of Russia’s current use of political arrests, subversion, disinformation, assassination, espionage and the weaponization of lies. None of those tactics is new to the Kremlin.