Showing posts with label Blog Master Recommended Reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog Master Recommended Reading. Show all posts

29 June 2018

DIAGNOSING ISLAM'S DISQUIET

Priyadarshi Dutta

Bernard Lewis, who passed away recently, was a doyen of Ottoman and Arab history. In his work, he explained why Muslims have shared an uneasy relationship with modernity and the West  Bernard Lewis (1916-2018), the renowned American scholar of Islamic and Middle Eastern history, passed away recently at 102. He will be remembered for his penetrating insight into the Ottoman Turkish and Arab history. He coined the term “clash of civilisations”, which later became famous in an essay for The Atlantic magazine in 1990. Lewis was one of the illustrious alumni of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Born in a Jewish family in London in 1916, he grew up through times when Islam had ceased to be a factor in global discourse.

28 June 2018

My Blogsite https://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in

In my blog I routinely put lot of important papers every day. For example please see today's blog.




However it is the Europeans and the Americans who are reading these. Today's page view by countries is given below.


Pageviews by Countries

Entry                                      Pageviews

United States                         3318
Netherlands                           2570
Turkey                                    229
Norway                                   210
India                                       172
Italy                                        158
France                                    148
Ukraine                                   138
Germany                                 83
Portugal                                   75

I am seriously wondering why should I continue doing this when nobody is willing to support my effort. It takes huge amount of time, energy and money to keep this blog going.

Very soon I will take a call. Kindly don't send me any mail saying : well done, keep it going, great effort etc. I get pissed off.

3 May 2018

Testimony of Admiral Michael S. Rogers and Implications for India

By Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM(Retd)

Admiral Michael S. Rogers is the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Commander of the U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and Chief of the Central Security Service (CSS) since April 3, 2014. He is going to be replaced by US Army’s Army Cyber Command Chief Lt. Gen. Paul Nakasone. On 27 February 2018 Admiral Michael Rogers testified before the Senate Committee on Armed Services. In his prepared speech the Admiral explained the various progress made by the USCYBERCOM. This was his last testimony to the Senate.

In the USA the top officials of the Government are madae to undergo hearings before taking over, during the tenure and while handing over the responsibilities. They are grilled by the Senators and often asked very searching and sometime uncomfortable questions. The top official has to answer on his own without any support from his staff.

25 April 2018

What is Happening in Tibet

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM(Retd)

On November 26, 2017 a 63-year-old Tibetan popular monk and volunteer teacher of village children named Tenga from Kardze self-immolated in Sichuan province's Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He called out for freedom in Tibet before he set himself aflame. These self-immolation protests have explicitly called for greater freedom for the Tibetan people. They represent the deep frustrations and yearnings of the Tibetan people. Since 2008-2009, the unrest of resorting to self immolation by the Tibetans to protest against the Chinese has gained huge momentum and till now more than 150 Tibetans have resorted to this extreme step of protest. Even sending a picture like this abroad can, and has, cost Tibetan men and women their freedom and resulted in lengthy prison sentences. Read More.......

19 March 2018

Super Dan and Roger Federer

Maj Gen P K Mallick,VSM (Retd)

Two days back I wrote in my FB page: 

Only person who has a realistic chance to defeat Roger will be standing across the net at the finals. The beanpole from Tanda is in impressive form. He is serving bombs, his forehand has the most devastating power in the game. To add his backhand up the line has now added lot of venom, he is not depending on his slices alone in his back hand side. 

But Federer being the supreme artist and craftsman is still my favourite. He has not been at his best in this tournament, though lost only a set in the semifinals where he has again made a Houdini act. But his impeccable serve is bailing him out, 

Best wishes to Roger, sorry Del Potro. 

My premonition has come true. The tall and handsome man from Argentina has beaten Roger in 3 sets. Juan Martín del Potro rallied from three match points down in the third set and beat top-ranked Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 to win the BNP Paribas Open, handing the world No1 his first loss of the year. 

Del Potro held a match point at 8-7 in the second-set tiebreaker, but he lost the final three points on his own errors and allowed Federer to force a third set. They were on serve in the third until Federer broke for a 5-4 lead with a backhand winner off del Potro’s serve. Federer had a chance to serve out the match, holding two match points but del Potro staved both off to force deuce and broke to force a deciding tiebreak. In the tiebreaker, Del Potro raced to a 6-1 lead, helped by two Federer double faults. He closed out the win on his third match point when Federer’s forehand failed. Roger serving 2 double faults in the decider tie break! After all the GOAT is human. 

This year the biggest threat to Roger is the Argentine. Make no mistake about it. Of all the players playing now only he has the game and numbers of Roger. 

Lets see how Roger plans to counter that humungous forehand of Del Potro. 

On Sunday it was All England Open badminton championships in Birmingham. On one side stood the aging superstar, the GOAT, 6 times All England champion Lin Dan, the Super Dan and on the other side the rising Chinese star last year's finalist Shi Yuqi. It was a pulsating match. Lin Dan fought hard in the first game but lost narrowly at 19. The grate man levelled the match by winning the second game. But in the third he was blown away by the power of the young pretender. Shi Yuqi toiled for 75 minutes to beat his senior 21-19, 16-21, 21-9 for his first All-England title. The 22-year-old Shi lost to Lee Chong Wei in the men's singles final last year. 

It was not a nice sight to see one time alpha male of badminton world sprawling on the ground to retrieve the powerful smashes of his opponent though he managed to make winners even from there. 

Old order changeth yielding place to new. Surely. But the great man ( October 83 born) is still good enough to reach the finals! The familiar debate will start. Look at Super Dan’s achievements : 

  • He is a two-time Olympic champion, five-time World champion, as well as a six-time All England champion. 
  • He won Malaysia open in April, 2017 by defeating Lee Chong Wei in straight sets to complete winning all the major world titles available in the world of badminton. 
  • He is the first and only player to complete the “Super Grand Slam” by the age of 28, which includes all nine major titles in the international badminton. 
  • Dan was nicknamed “Super Dan” by his fans for his amazing achievements including 5 gold and a silver in World Championships, 2 gold medal in badminton World Cup, 5 gold and 2 bronze medal in Thomas Cup, 3 gold medal in Asian Games, 3 gold medal in Asian Championships and the title of Hong Kong East Asian Games in 2009. 
  • He is the only badminton player in history to win the Olympic gold medal twice consecutively in 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. 
In his younger days fans used to soon over his powerful acrobatic smashes and diving retrievals. Today he is more of a craftsman, uses a cat and mouse game, though the old power comes out once in a while. 

Let’s leave it to the Super Dan to decide when he quits. Till then NJOY his game. 

Is there an uncanny similarity between the two GOATS: Roger and Lin Dan?

Blog has crossed six million visitors

On 16 Sept 2017 this blog https://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/ crossed five million hits.

It took exactly six months to add one more million. Today the blog has touched six million visitors.

Distribution of last months visitors country wise is given below. For Latin America I need Spanish! Africa has still not caught up. When I visited China I found the great wall of China has blocked my site as I do post lot of papers concerning China. Some hits probably from Think Tanks/ universities do come from China which I suppose have the necessary permission.

Happy reading !

Pageviews by Countries
EntryPageviews
United States
81677
Netherlands
73160
Ukraine
22461
France
8680
India
8148
Turkey
6420
Norway
4030
Poland
3119
Brazil
2851
Canada
2188

3 February 2018

2018 Review of Ongoing Wars Around the Globe

Islamic terrorism no longer dominates the news, but one of its primary causes, reviving ancient empires, still is. This a common thread with all the major troublemakers in the early 21 st century (and most of the 20 th ). This is an ancient curse that has reappeared recently in multiple forms. Some of these efforts are more media friendly than others but all share the same characteristics; mobilizing popular support for rebuilding lost empires. The most obvious one (the Islamic caliphate) grabs most of the headlines because Islamic terrorism has been a common symptom of desperate, longshot efforts to restore the caliphate for a long time (over a thousand years). As a religion based empire (“Islam” literally means “submission”) that has been hostile to any kind of progress (especially technology, economic or religious) past revival efforts have been unsuccessful. Thus the quick and brutal demise of ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) because it also tried to use self-righteous fanaticism as its primary weapon and motivation in a world that was largely hostile to such a

2 February 2018

18 Cyber Security Trends We Are Watching in 2018


by Joey 

We had an interesting year in 2017. If any trend is obvious, it’s that 2018 will continue to be interesting for the cybersec industry. How interesting? Here is are the 18 trends that we think will be making the headlines and should be on your radar for 2018.

The Return of the Spam

In 2004 Bill Gates said that spam would be dead in 2 years. Over a decade later, things are still pretty bad. While we can stop greater than 99.95% of spam email, it’s the very few that do get through that are increasingly sophisticated and preying

Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better

Ida Auken

Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much. 

1 February 2018

5 predictions for what life will be like in 2030

By Mike Moradi

Fourth Industrial Revolution 

You are just waking up in the spring of 2030. Your Internet of Things bedroom opens solar powered e-windows and plays gentle music while your smart lighting displays a montage of beachfront sunrises from your recent vacation. 

How Cyberwarfare Will Evolve Over 2018


Cyberwarfare is out of the shadows, USA and UK have declared cyber warfare against ISIS officially. Large number of countries are developing cyber warfare capabilities. While cyber weapons were mostly developed and used by intelligence agencies as part of secret missions, they are now becoming an acknowledged military option during conflicts. Here are predictions about how cyberwarfare will evolve over the next year.

The cyber arms race will accelerate 

31 January 2018

2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

This is from ORF website : http://www.orfonline.org/orf-ranked-best-indian-think-tank-asian-region/



Observer Research Foundation (ORF) once again led the Indian think tanks in Asia in the latest Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, released globally today, retaining the leadership in Indian think tanks.

ORF also became the largest ranked institution from Asia with 25 appearances in various categories in the 2017 Index, prepared by the Pennsylvania University.

In the China, India, Japan and Republic of Korea region, ORF has been ranked 5th, ahead of Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (7th), Centre for Civil Society (14th), Delhi Policy Group (16th), Centre for Policy Research (18th), Indian Council for Research in International Economic Relations (21st) and Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations (26th).

In this category, Centre for Study Science, Technology and Policy came 29th, Development Alternatives 30th, Energy and Resources Institute 33rd, Centre for Land Warfare Studies 37th and the Vivekananda Foundation 41st, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies 46th, Institute of Economic Growth 48th, Indian Council of World Affairs 50th, United Service Institution of India 55th, Hindu Centre for Politics 58th and Council on Energy, Environment and Water 62nd.

Korea Development Institute also retained its position as the number one in this category, while Japan Institute of International Affairs was once again second.

ORF also jumped 16 points in the world ranking list as it finished 114 in the latest index, as against 130 last year. In the ‘Top Think Tanks Worldwide (non-US)’ too, ORF finished 35th. IDSA came 28th. Brookings India was 119th, Gateway 126th and USI 132nd.

Brookings Institution, USA, continued to be world number one while the French Institute of International Relations dethroned Chatham House, UK, from the second rank. Carnegie Endowment, USA, retained the third position.

In the world’s ‘Top Defence and National Security’ category, IDSA was ranked 37th while ORF came 46th, ahead of Centre for Land Warfare Studies (67th) and the USI (104th).

In the ‘Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks’, ORF came 120th, the fifth highest ranked in India. ICRIER came 68th, Institute of Economic Growth 106th, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research 112nd and National Council of Applied Economic Research 119th.

In the ‘Top Education Policy Think Tanks’, ORF came 59th, and the only Indian think tank in the list.

In the ‘Top Energy and Resource Policy Think Tanks’, ORF has been ranked 34th, well ahead of Centre for Science and Environment 38th and Council on Energy, Environment and Water 40th.

ORF also came as the top Indian think tank in the ‘Top Foreign Policy and International Affairs Think Tanks’, coming at 37th, much ahead of IPCS (80th), Delhi Policy Group (105), Gateway House (111), Indian Council of World Affairs (115) and the IDSA (117).

In the ‘Top Domestic Health Policy Think Tanks’, Institute of Economic Growth was the topmost in India (30) while ORF was ranked 53rd worldwide.

ORF was ranked the best Indian think tank in ‘Best Managed Think Tanks’ with a worldwide rank of 51 while the IDSA came second with 71 rank and third Development Alternatives with 74 ranking.

In the ‘Best New Idea or Paradigm Developed by a Think Tank’, ORF was ranked second worldwide, behind Resources for Future, USA.

ORF, which organises Raisina Dialogue and CyFy, was the topmost in India in the Best Think Tank Conference category, with a worldwide ranking of 11. It also came on top in India in the Best Use of Social Networks as well as the top think tank to watch in 2018.

ORF was also the best think tank in ‘Best External Relations/Public Engagement Program’. It again topped the category of Indian ‘Think Tanks with the Best Use of the Internet’ as well as the ‘Best Use of Media (Print)’ and ‘Think Tanks with the Most Innovative Policy Ideas/Proposals’.

Six Cyber Threats to Really Worry About in 2018

By Martin Giles

Hackers are constantly finding new targets and refining the tools they use to break through cyberdefenses. The following are some significant threats to look out for this year. The cyberattack on the Equifax credit reporting agency in 2017, which led to the theft of Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other data on almost half the U.S. population, was a stark reminder that hackers are thinking big when it comes to targets. Other companies that hold lots of sensitive information will be in their sights in 2018. Marc Goodman, a security expert and the author of Future Crimes, thinks data brokers who hold information about things such as people’s personal Web browsing habits will be especially popular targets. “These companies are unregulated, and when one leaks, all hell will break loose,” he says.

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2018 From North Korea to Venezuela, here are the conflicts to watch in 2018.

BY ROBERT MALLEY

It’s not all about Donald Trump.

That’s a statement more easily written than believed, given the U.S. president’s erratic comportment on the world stage — his tweets and taunts, his cavalier disregard of international accords, his readiness to undercut his own diplomats, his odd choice of foes, and his even odder choice of friends. And yet, a more inward-looking United States and a greater international diffusion of power, increasingly militarized foreign policy, and shrinking space for multilateralism and diplomacy are features of the international order that predate the current occupant of the White House and look set to outlast him.

What’s In Store For The Cyber Threat Landscape In 2018 — Be Afraid…..Be Very Afraid; What Are The Potential Sick & Twisted, Dangerous Cyber Attacks We Might See In 2018


Is 2018 the year that America suffers the devastating cyber attack that many experts have been warning about for the past decade? Maybe…..but, let’s hope not. Like economists predicting the next recession, cyber security and national security experts have been warning that America is ripe for a Cyber Pearl Harbor…that has yet to manifest itself. Are we that vulnerable? I am afraid so. But, this kind of devastating attack has not materialized, likely for a number of reasons; and, hopefully, we’ll successfully avoid that kind of event in 2018. Outside of a Black Swan cyber attack, what does the cyber threat landscape in 2018 look like. We can only make an educated guess of course; but, there are some known knowns about where the cyber threat appears to be maturing and, becoming more worrisome.

30 January 2018

Where will our energy come from in 2030, and how green will it be?

Katherine Hamilton
Source Link

How can the energy industry adapt to meet the needs of a growing population while also supporting low-carbon growth? Katherine Hamilton, Director of the Project for Clean Energy and Innovation, and co-chair of the Global Future Council on the Future of Energy, says that this essential transition will not happen without collaboration between large energy companies, entrepreneurs, the finance sector and consumers.

Why should we be thinking about the future of energy?

Life in 2030: these are the 4 things experts can't predict


Alvin Toffler predicted a future in his 1970 bestseller Future Shock that looks much like today’s reality. He anticipated the rise of the internet, the sharing economy, companies built on “adhocracy” rather than centralized bureaucracy, and the broader social confusions and concerns about technology. He foresaw that the evolving relationship between people and technology would shape how societies and economies develop.

26 January 2018

The GOAT, AO2018 and 20th Grand Slam

The GOAT, AO 2018 and 20th Grand Slam
                                                                                  -----   Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The final stages of AO 2018 has arrived. Cilic has reached the finals. The mouth watering contest between the nextgen champion Hyeon Chung, the Professor from South Korea and the GOAT, unarguably in my book, will be in Friday afternoon, being a holiday I cannot miss. The Swiss star is the out-right favourite to win the competition but world number 58 Chung stands in his way of a final showdown against Marin Cilic.

In the remaining semifinals the latest heart throb of South Korea, Hyeon Chung, Next Gen prodigy they’re calling mini-Novak, will be across the net. And in the most ironic of twists, it was Hyeon Chung who sent Djokovic on his way in the fourth round here, out-elasticking his elastic-limbed hero in a stupendous display of scrambling, hustling, counterpunching tennis earlier this week. Make no mistake, a star is emerging. Chung, 21 years old and has never been in the last four of a slam before. But good judges expect him to be in the top 10 before the year’s out.

After upsetting six-time Australian champion Open Novak Djokovic in straight sets became the first South Korean to advance to a grand slam quarter-final. But it wasn’t just the calibre of the opponent that won over a new legion of fans, it was the matter in which the game was won. The braces-wearing, bespectacled world is winning hearts with his boyish innocence, speed, athleticism and freakish retrieval skills. His unbelievable movement has even drawn comparisons with Djokovic, while his fearless ball-striking has delighted the spectators inRod Laver Arena. 

Chung, according to coach Neville Godwin, succeeded in “out-Djokovic-ing Novak Djokovic”. “There are definite similarities, he’s incredibly flexible, moves very well, does the splits most of the time ... but you could argue he [Chung] has got more firepower from the back, he can pull the trigger a bit more. I don’t want him running around too far back behind the court. I’d like to see him use his phenomenal speed to get to the net more.” Hyeon Chung had taken out fourth seed Alexander Zverev in the third round and then disposed of Novak Djokovic in such thrilling style. There were fears that Chung might suffer a dip after two such marquee wins, but he kept his focus in the quarters and disposed of the American Tennys Sandgren in straight sets. Chung has been punching above his weight all fortnight. 

The South Korean will need to try and get into his opponents head claim a shock win. “I think if he starts well and gets inside Federer’s head he will have a chance,” an expert says. “The danger for Federer is he thinks he has already won it. “Nadal is out, Djokovic is out, Murray is not even here. Maybe it’s all too easy for him - that’s the thing he has to be aware of.” These two have never actually played before, but Novak Djokovic has a winning record against Federer, and Chung beat Djokovic on Monday so that makes him the favourite today right? Right?

Even Federer has been impressed. "I'm very excited to play Chung," the Swiss said on Wednesday. "I thought he played an incredible match against Novak. To beat him here is one of the tough things to do in our sport. I know that Novak maybe wasn't at 110 per cent, but he was all right. To close it out, that was mighty impressive."I think it's an interesting match for me. I'll definitely have to look into how I need to play against him because he has some great qualities, especially defensively, like Novak has. "It's a good situation to be in. He can hit freely now. No expectations whatsoever.

The reigning champion is bidding for his 20th grand slam title this week, and is yet to drop a set all tournament. Chung's entertaining approach should at least make for an exciting match even if, as expected, Federer ultimately proves too strong. Though Chung has incredible speed Roger is no slouch either even at 36+ years. Where Chung will be most vulnerable is on his serve, it's not the strongest part of his game. He rarely went over 170 - 180 km/h, Federer will smell the opportunity there and as such, the South Korean is in for some potentially disastrous returns coming his way. Chung's second serve will be punished mercilessly. If he tries to up the ante on his second serve, chances that he will serve some double faults. It will be interesting to see if Roger's versatility can open up Chung's movement and possibly bring him forward with the short slice. Federer's second serve again is the best the game has ever seen. Federer can win even if he plays at 70%. One is not sure whether Chung can win playing 110%.

It looks hugely one-sided. Federer, a 19-time Grand Slam champion and veteran of 382 Slam showdowns over 20 years, up against an unseeded 21-year-old lining up for just his 17th match at a major. At 36 and 169 days, Federer is not only the oldest man in 41 years to reach the semi-finals in Melbourne, but also the only player in history to make the last four on 14 occasions. He’s the champion. He’s the GOAT. He’s been here before. He’s seen it all. Chung will have his work cut out proving he’s the new Djokovic in this one.

Chung is young, has lot of potential. But he has to travel miles before he can take on Roger in a grand slam semis. Best of luck to Chung and thanks for giving all the entertainment.

However, I am worried.

The reigning champion is bidding for his 20th grand slam title this week, and is yet to drop a set all tournament. Strangely enough though, he hasn't actually been playing that well. Sure, he's been cruising through his matches and winning easily, but there's been a bit more irritation than we're used to, and just a little less stardust. The main reason for this could be that Federer has not yet been properly tested. Maybe that's about to change. 

There are worrying signs. Against Berdych, Roger was 4 - 1 down, was serving for the set 5- 3. A set point went begging,Roger was defending for his life,a short backhand to the Czech was asking to be hit and Berdych hit it in the net. At 5 - 6 Roger served two double faults in the same game, was a set point down, got out of jail because of some wonderful shots including an exquisite backhand drop shotthat he can only make and some unforced errors from the Czech. In the third set also the Swiss superstar was broken. At 32 Berdych is not exactly a spring chicken. He was nursing an injury. It was their 10th meeting at Grand Slams, and an eighth win for the Swiss player. His career record against the Czech to 20-6.

In 2015 US Open Cilic had beaten Roger, then in his prime in semifinals in straight sets before winning the only grand slam has taken. Then it was predicted that he was the next best thing happening in tennis. He somehow has not been able to fulfill his promise. He has no apparent weakness, has a monstrous serve, powerful ground strokes, slides : everything. In 2017 Wimbledon finals he had an injury, but in the first set he had a break point, missed an easy backhand. This year he looks healthy, sharp, more determined. Only question mark may be he is too much a gentleman, and does he believe that he can beat GOAT in 2018 AO Finals.

If Roger reaches finals, which he will, he will be worried. Federer may be giving excellent interviews on the courtside with Jim Courier but he has to come out sharp in the finals. His recent tendencies to suddenly lose concentration , make easy mistakes and lose can hurt him dearly. Remember the year end ATP Masters semifinals against Goffin.

We all want Roger to win. GO ROGER GO for 20th grand slam, sixth AO. We will be cheering for you.-

22 January 2018

AO 2018

AO 2018
                                                        --- Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Australian Open (AO) Tennis tournament has reached the second week. Men have been separated from the boys as also women from the girls. Barring some upsets which are normal, more familiar faces are there in the second week for the real battles.

As in recent times the new balls failed to impress. The most touted world number four German A. Zverev was shown the door by the rising young Korean H. Chung in five sets, last in 6-0 ! The German’s miserable run in grand slam tournaments continues. With all his potential he has only one grand slam last 16 in Wimbledon to show. The 6ft 6 inches tall German has all the weapons in his arsenal : a good serve, solid ground strokes, fluent in both flanks specially in his double handed back hand , volleys well, can slice. His mental strength most certainly comes into question, specially after his capitulation at love in fifth set. He was booed off the court as he joins bagel club. More importantly he was slated to meet Roger in semis. And he, amongst very few, has Federer’s number! I am not complaining!

Another young Canadian Shapovalov created stir in last US Open. Where was he this time? Shapovalov fell 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (4), 5-7 to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round. A young coloured TIAFOE Frances of USA took Roger Federer to five sets in US Open last year and gave him a mighty scare. This year he was dumped out in the first round by Del Potro. The thin hard hitting Rusian teen ager A. Rublev did his rising reputation no harm when he went down fighting and hitting to baby Federer in a close four set match.

The last ATP year end Masters Champion, the Bulgarian G. Dimitrov popularly known as baby Federer because of his similar style has now come out of the shadows of the big man, it seems. The way he has taken out A. Rublev and the mercurial but volatile Aussie N. Kyrgios in a very close four setter, three sets went to tie breaks, augers well for him. He has all the weapons in his bag : a superb service, a powerful one handed back hand, solid ground strokes, slices, ability to change the game and supreme fitness. His next opponent is the Brit K Edmond, who? Potential semifinals with Rafa awaits.

Rafa came to AO 18 without any preparatory tournament. But that has not shown in his game. He is pounding his opponents down with his customary brutal top spin ground strokes. With a sleeve less shirt he has his female fans swooning and opponents fearing his bulging biceps. Today the diminutive 5 ft 7 inches Argentine D. Schwartzman put him under test. Rafa won in four sets, but he made some uncharacteristic unforced errors which will come down.

In the quarterfinals he meets the 6ft 6 inches hard serving powerful Cilic from Croatia. Cilic is only four of the surviving players in this AO 18 with a grand slam trophy. No guess for naming the other three. Guess the number of grand slams the three have got? It is a whopping number, 47. Cilic was the last Wimbledon finalist. He has the game to trouble Rafa, point is has he that will power and believe? Today Rafa was down 0-40 on his serve, nonchalantly he won next five points to win that game. Again no point for guessing which side I will be rooting for. I do not want the gap between the grand slam titles of Rafa and Roger to narrow down!

Nextgen Korean H. Chung awaits Novac Djokovic. Novac is coming back from an injury break. You can see lot of work has been done on him led by Agassi. He has a modified serve action, has added some muscles specially on his legs, his elasticity and ground strokes remain potent. Point is can he survive even he wins the next match against the rising Australian, the fifth seeded Thiem. There is no denying the pedigree of Novac, but even Novac possibly cannot beat the heroics of Roger and Rafa of last year’s AO. We will see.

Roger’s next opponent in round of 16 is a journeyman M. Fucsovics of Hungary. Did you hear his name earlier? He is a smart player, has an all round game, has been a junior champion, will come out swinging freely as he has nothing to lose. But I can’t see him troubling Roger as he does not have some big weapon. Rogers will probably meet the powerful Czech T. Berdych, whom he did beat in Wimbledon semis in a close fought match. But for me Berdych has done a great favour to Roger by taking out the beanpole Argentine Del Potro in straight sets. Del Potro defeated Roger in US Open, had almost beaten Roger in Federer’s backyard Bassel in a close fought final. In present form Federer should win against Berdych, the head to head statistic also demand that. Then either Thiem or Djoker will be standing across the net in the semis.

Roger has not lost a set. He is playing like only he can play. My worry is: some times he loses concentration or something happens and he gets broken. The it becomes very difficult to get back as the other player now knows that the great man is vulnerable. In 2017 year ending ATP Masters Roger was playing like a king, won all his group matches. In the semis his opponent was the Belgian Goffin. The pint sized Belgian has a twinkle feet, has all the shots in the game and was playing well. But Roger was providing a masterclass tennis lesson and won the first set easily. When we were thinking of the finals, all of a sudden Roger shanked couple of shots, netted some easy volleys and was broken. Goffin played a match of his life and did not allow Roger to come back. Where is Goffin now? Do you see him as a grand slam champion?

I am a hopeless fan of Roger, like millions of them world wide. Time is not on his side. We all want to enjoy the show he puts in till it lasts, May some more grand slams come to his basket. Sorry Rafa, I can’t help. You are surely the next best.

The way the German A Kerber is playing I don't see any other women to win AO 18.

Well, did I predict prematurely? Today morning the thin affable Hsieth from Taiwan was leading Kerber 6- 4 and making the only surviving grand slam winner un the women’s draw run around the court like a maniac. At 4-5 Kerber was serving to stay in the match.You don’t become world number 1 and grand slam winner just like that. Kerber held on grimly, her first serve percentage was in high 80s, she broke Hsieth and won the second set 7-5. After that the superior speed, strength, stamina of Kerber held sway. Hsieth known more as a doubles specialist physically could not cope up with those legs of German machins and lost gallantly. Kerber remains on coursr for AO 18 Women’s Champion.

Meanwhile my single handed backhand has improved. It has strated crossing the service line. I shall inform all when my backhand cross court reaches the base line. Till that time I keep watching backhands of Roger, Dimitrov, Thiem, Gasquet not to forget Stan the man.

17 January 2018

Nobody cares for internally displaced people for whom Aadhar Card is of great value.

Five years after the first petition was filed challenging the validity of Aadhaar, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra will begin final hearing of the petitions against it today. In August, a nine-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice of India J S Khehar had ruled that privacy was a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution. Now the government has to convince the Supreme Court that forcing citizens to give a sample of their fingerprints and their iris scan does not violate privacy. The petitioners are challenging the nature of information collected, which includes biometrics, and its alleged unlimited use by government agencies. A recent report in The Tribune had exposed how access to the Aadhaar database could be bought on the internet only for Rs 500.

Today Nandan Nilekani, the father of Aadhar has written an excellent article in Times of India. It should clarify lot of cobwebs in the mind of doubting Thomases.

It would be most beneficial to a large number of our poor people who are internally displaced and move to cities/ J&K or Punjab for livelihood. There is no ration card or other identity cards for them to access the benefits government gives them. In this cacophony it is these poor people of our country who are getting sidelined. 

There are some excellent schemes of the government for the marginalized people. I request you to check, for example from your domestic helps: whether they have Aadhar card, ration card. Bank account in jan dhan yojana, Insurance and other benefits the government gives. The domestic helps are in better position then the others.

While the NPAs of banks are in thousands of crores courtesy Anil Ambani, Ruia. Aggarwal and host of other big wigs ask any of these poor people hoe the banks treat them if they want loan. What is the accountability of these bank officers who have sanctioned theses NPA loans.

My country cries.

              ---- Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)


We’re all in this together: Aadhaar isn’t building a surveillance dystopia, it asserts your individual identity vis-à-vis the state

John F Kennedy popularised an important idea from one of GK Chesterton’s books, known as Chesterton’s Fence. Imagine a fence in the middle of a road. Chesterton postulated that the modern reformist who sees no point of the fence, must first figure out why it is there, before proposing to destroy it. If you don’t know why the fence exists, you should be humble enough to admit you don’t know enough to change it. Self-regulating communities such as Wikipedia uphold Chesterton’s fence as a way to temper ugly debates and encourage empathy for opposing views.

When we started the Aadhaar project in 2009, we had a clean slate. Instead of jumping right in, we spent a lot of time understanding how ID systems work around the world, the trade-offs between a central database and a smart card, how ration cards are being used in India, models for enrollment, etc. We recruited some of the brightest in the world to help us research the possibilities, challenges and opportunities of building Aadhaar. In other words, we studied the fence. The quality of the debate on Aadhaar today would be a lot better, if all of us could do the same.

First of all, the need for Aadhaar arose because Indians did not have a universally acceptable, portable, unique identification. Ration cards, the most popular ID before Aadhaar, varied from state to state. Many included a photo only of the head of the household. This meant dependents didn’t have their own individual ID. This particularly impacted women and minor children. Aadhaar promised to be a unique, individual identification to empower every individual – woman, child or man – and who were increasingly migrant and mobile.

Second, getting an ID and its associated entitlements was rife with corruption. The state relied on the use of BPL (below poverty-line) cards issued by its own offices. Since these cards became the de facto passport to many entitlements, they also became a focus point for corruption. To get a BPL card usually meant a bribe of Rs 5,000 or more. In India, the sad irony was that you had to be rich enough to get a BPL card. Aadhaar promised to be free for every individual, and enrollments would not be restricted to government operators only.

Third, Aadhaar was designed for inclusion – it included transgender as an option, did not ask women for their husband’s or father’s name, it didn’t need an address proof in case you were homeless or even a proof for your age. The express objective was to give an ID to as many residents as possible. Enrollment could be done anytime, anywhere. The inclusion mandate has driven many decisions within UIDAI. The latest fusion face matching authentication demonstrates UIDAI’s continued commitment to evolve solutions that include, not exclude.

Fourth, inclusive IDs serve no purpose if they are not verifiably unique. India’s many ID systems before Aadhaar were plagued with fake records and duplicates. Developed nations have a robust birth registry system, predicated on the fact that almost all their births take place inside a hospital. India, unfortunately, does not have this. Hence, centralised biometrics was the only option to deduplicate and increase trust in Aadhaar. The use of the yes/no only biometric authentication through registered devices, provides a safe and privacy protecting way of authenticating identity.

Fifth, not just inclusion, privacy by design was another guiding tenet for Aadhaar. We built this into the architecture, and to this day, UIDAI will only know that you used your Aadhaar for authentication. It won’t know why or where. Linking to Aadhaar is not a two-way process. When you link your bank account to your Aadhaar, for example, UIDAI gets no data back from your bank. Further, UIDAI responded to the needs of the public and introduced mandatory tokenisation and Virtual IDs. This is a first for any national ID system, and a giant leap for protecting user privacy.

Sixth, the government’s push to link Aadhaar is often oversimplified as simply removing ‘ghosts’ from the system. Most experts wrongly project their simplistic understanding of Aadhaar on to the UIDAI’s intention. Aadhaar is not just about removing ghosts, it is the backbone of digitisation of old systems, that brings numerous benefits. Consider a ration shop. If every end transaction is linked to an Aadhaar number and verified by authentication, suddenly the entire backward supply chain becomes transparent and auditable and rations are accessible from any shop. Neither the shopkeeper nor the wholesaler can fudge the digitally signed authentication from UIDAI.

The problem with the discourse today is that some modern reformists either don’t or don’t want to understand the history and context within which Aadhaar was conceived. Moreover, they are eager to paint UIDAI as either thoroughly incompetent – unable to keep its ship from leaking – or alternatively, a sinister organisation eager to build a surveillance dystopia.

I want to emphasise that it is neither. UIDAI is a hard working group of committed individuals doing their best to evolve an empowering identity solution for 1.3 billion Indians without compromising user privacy or excluding them from services. Aadhaar is not a surveillance tool by the state, on the contrary, it is an assertion of your individual identity vis-à-vis the state. Like it or not, we’re all in this together to achieve opportunity, development and empowerment of our billion people, even if we disagree on how exactly to get there.