Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

20 January 2019

Preventing the Next 26/11: Intelligence and India's Security Apparatus

Alok Joshi 

There is a long-standing debate on the role, means, and end goals of intelligence. Is dissemination the purpose? Do ownership issues come into play between intelligence and law enforcement only in the event of success or failure? Such issues that bedevil the current debate are self-defeating and certainly not in consonance with the challenges that India faces. Across the world, intelligence agencies have restructured themselves to be embedded in operational work - it is no longer about 'them' and 'us'. Instead, they focus on building synergies, enhancing their technological wherewithal, and working out the best processes that can deliver the greatest advantages. For this to take place in India, there must be better dialogue between various arms of the security apparatus and serious thinking on how best to use available resources and anchoring new technologies.

The events of 26/11 provide an instructive backdrop to discuss the range of technologies that allow a state to prepare for similar security eventualities. Institutional changes are important, particularly in the interplay between intelligence and executive policing, to absorb and benefit from these technologies. This is not to critique the way events were handled in 2008, nor an attempt to cover every aspect related to it. Instead, it is a look at expanding the current discourse on the possibility of such a situation recurring, and India's preparedness to meet threats with all the resources at its command. This article will limit itself to the technologies that are available to India today, and will presuppose the development of advances in big data analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

19 January 2019

A Cold Start to Nuclear War in South Asia

BY: Aaron Kliegman

The number of foreign-policy challenges facing President Trump is daunting—from a nuclear-armed North Korea to a revanchist Russia, from an imperialist Iran to an increasingly belligerent China. These global threats garner numerous headlines each day, and deservedly so. Amid this chaos, however, one conflict receives too little attention in Western media.

South Asia is home to the ongoing rivalry between India and Pakistan, the international dispute most likely to produce, in the near term, a war between two large, powerful countries in which the belligerents use nuclear weapons. Indeed, the neighboring countries, each with well over 100 nuclear warheads, have gone to war four times since 1947, in addition to several other standoffs, skirmishes, and crises that nearly escalated into war. A primary reason this bilateral tension is so concerning today is that both India and Pakistan have adopted military doctrines that make another war—a large-scale one with nuclear weapons involved—all too foreseeable. A new development from India just last week provides the latest reminder of this reality.

Why the Indian Ocean region might soon play a lead role in world affairs

Craig Jeffrey

In recent days, Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne announced efforts to strengthen Australia’s involvement in the Indian Ocean region, and the importance of working with India in defence and other activities. Speaking at the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi – a geopolitical conference co-hosted by the Indian government – Payne said:

Our respective futures are intertwined and heavily dependent on how well we cooperate on the challenges and opportunities in the Indian Ocean in the decades ahead.

Among Payne’s announcements was A$25 million for a four-year infrastructure program in South Asia (The South Asia Regional Infrastructure Connectivity initiative, or SARIC), which will primarily focus on the transport and energy sectors.

She also pointed to increasing defence activities in the Indian Ocean, noting that in 2014, Australia and India had conducted 11 defence activities together, with the figure reaching 38 in 2018.

18 January 2019

Raja Mandala: Alliances and strategic autonomy

by C. Raja Mohan

Indian foreign policy debate would be less metaphysical and more pragmatic if it stops obsessing about ‘non-alignment’

Is “non-alignment” a special attribute of Indian foreign policy? Given Delhi’s continuing preoccupation with the idea of non-alignment, most visible recently at last week’s Raisina Dialogue in Delhi, you would think it is.

More than a hundred countries are members of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). They swear, at least formally, by the idea of non-alignment and show up at the triennial NAM summits. But few of them of think of non-alignment as the defining idea of their foreign policies. Even fewer believe it is worth debating on a perennial basis.

The governments in Delhi might have been the last, but they have certainly moved away from the straitjacket of non-alignment — in practice if not in theory. The rhetoric too has changed under the present government. As Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale put it in response to a question at the Raisina Dialogue, India is now “aligned”. “But the alignment is issue-based”, Gokhale said. “It is not ideological. That gives us the capacity to be flexible, gives us the capacity to maintain our decisional autonomy.”

The real butchers of Punjab

Ajai Sahni

Those who KPS Gill described as the ‘defeated rump of terrorism’ in Punjab, the disgraced and beaten dregs of the Khalistani movement, have, for decades, kept up a campaign against him and the Punjab Police, from the safe havens in Pakistan and the West. Now, nearly two years after his death, a more local variety of rabble-rousers are gathering courage to initiate a campaign of abuse against Gill. A flood of unfounded allegations, false claims of genocide, an unending whisper campaign, and demonisation grow more voluble against a background of rising radicalisation and incidents that signal an incipient resurgence of Khalistani terrorism. 

17 January 2019

NATO does not want India at Afghanistan peace talks table


India has prominent place, but there are hundreds who have stake there, says NATO.

New Delhi: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has denied that India plays a crucial role in the Afghanistan peace and reconciliation process, and instead believes that Pakistan has the “most important role”, along with the US, in establishing truce with the Taliban.

Alejandro Alvargonzález, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO, told ThePrint that the peace process is led by the Afghanistan government where the US is “playing a crucial role” along with Pakistan, but India cannot be party to those talks just because Pakistan is a player in it.

Is India ready? China steps up military build-up in Tibet as America passes law of Reciprocal Access

Srikanth Kondapalli

All provincial military commands were integrated with National Defence Mobilisation Department of the Central Military Commission, except for Tibet Military Command which was brought under the jurisdiction of the PLA.

In the light of India acquiring UAVs from the US, China appears to be already putting the anti-dotes. (IE)

Despite the recent bonhomie exhibited at Wuhan meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in April last year, China is quietly stepping up of military deployments and capabilities in Tibet with the intention to fight a war.

Firstly, after the late 2015 reorganisation of the armed forces (PLA) was announced, Chengdu Military Region (which has operational jurisdiction over most borders with India) and the Lanzhou Military Region (which has jurisdiction over Aksai Chin) were merged into the Western Theatre Command.

16 January 2019

Japan’s Growing Strategic Footprint in South Asia

By Sarbhanu Nath

With attention focused on the rapid rise of China and its increasing influence in the South Asian neighborhood, it would be easy to overlook the increasingly engaged role that Japan is playing in the same region. The fact that Japan is taking notice of the changing geopolitical realities of the world is evidenced from the changes it is making in its defense outlook along with the economic engagement of Japan with major South Asian nations. Japan already has strong ties with India and is increasing its engagement with countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Japan enjoys a largely positive image in Bangladesh with millions of dollars of direct invest and hundreds of Japanese nationals residing in Bangladesh. The Matarbari deep sea port is being developed by a Japanese consortium and will ease the pressure on Chittagong port. The important geographical location of the port and rising economic potential of Bangladesh prompted Japan to invest in the operation, which is sure to yield long-term benefits. To date, Japan has been the largest donor to Bangladesh with almost $1.8 billion given in loan support in 2018.

15 January 2019

Bill to terminate Pakistan designation as major non-NATO ally introduced in Congress

An influential US lawmaker has introduced a legislation in Congress to terminate the designation of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally.

Introduced by Republican Congressman Andy Briggs, the resolution 73, introduced in the House of Representatives, seeks termination of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally and also sets conditions for its re-designation if any.

The resolution has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.

It states, for future redesignation, the US President need to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in that country.

It also seeks certification from the Congress that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistani territory as a safe haven and that the Government of Pakistan actively coordinates with the Government of Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants, such as the Haqqani Network, along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

India has lost highest number of personnel in UN peacekeeping mission

Varun B. Krishnan

India has suffered the highest number of fatalities (164 out of 6,593 personnel) among countries that have sent forces to the United Nations peacekeeping mission since 1948.

Ethiopia and Rwanda have contributed the highest number of personnel, followed by three Asian countries — Bangladesh, India and Nepal. These five nations together account for a third of the total peacekeeping force.

The interactive below shows the number of personnel contributed and the number of lives lost in each country. The top right corner indicates countries which have contributed the most personnel, but also have the most number of deaths.

Close to 3,800 personnel have been killed during missions since 1948. Of them, 164 were Indians. Most of the deaths occurred during missions to Congo in the 1960s and former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

14 January 2019

India set to become third-largest consumer market, says WEF; these factors to drive consumption growth

By: Anuradha Choudhary 

Rising income will transform India to a middle class-led one from a “bottom of the pyramid economy”, with consumer spending in the country to grow from the current $1.5 trillion to $6 trillion by 2030, a World Economic Forum report said Wednesday. At present, India is the sixth largest economy in the world with an annual GDP growth rate of 7.5% and domestic private consumption accounts for about 60% of the GDP. Bottom of the pyramid- also called the base of the pyramid – is a phrase in economics that refers to the poorest two-thirds of the economic human pyramid.

With this, the country is expected to emerge as the third-largest consumer market, just behind the US and China, WEF said in a report titled ‘Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market – India’. Rising incomes and the expansion of the middle class and high-income segment will reshape future consumption, the report said, adding that the growth in the middle class will lift approximately 25 million households out of poverty.

13 January 2019

Is Democracy Still Relevant to the US-India Relationship?

By Raymond E. Vickery, Jr.

Over the past three decades, a standard opening line for U.S. policymakers dealing with India has been to observe that the U.S.-India relationship is between “the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy.” Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have all used variations of this refrain. Although Indian Prime Ministers have been less active in the use of the phrase, the president of India has employed it, and a plethora of high-level speakers from both sides have observed, with great solemnity, that the “common values” of democracy are a cement binding the two countries together.

But is this still the case, and, if not, should it be?

China’s unconventional war is inflicting greater damage on India

Brahma Chellaney 

China is emphasising public diplomacy to help soften Indian public opinion and mute Indian concerns over an increasingly asymmetrical trade relationship. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in New Delhi the new people-to-people mechanism will “help consolidate the public-opinion foundation” for bilateral ties. China’s public diplomacy aims to underpin its “win-win” policy toward India — engagement with containment.

New Delhi, however inadvertently, is lending a helping hand to Beijing’s strategy of engagement as a façade for containment. India has done little more than implore China to rein in its spiralling trade surplus. The lopsided trade relationship makes India essentially a colonial-style raw-material appendage of the state-led Chinese economy, which increasingly dumps manufactured goods there.

12 January 2019

Challenges of Migration

Arvind Gupta
Source Link

The main dimensions of the challenge are well-known. Tens of millions of illegal migrants have come to India and changed the demographic profile of several areas of the country, particularly in the North-East. Many of them have acquired access to citizenship documents through illegal means and are even participating in the electoral process. Their presence has created serious tensions at the local level. Undoubtedly, migration poses a great risk to national security. A comprehensive approach is required to deal with that problem.

Persecution of Minorities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

The fiery flavours of East Bengal’s dried and fermented fish are all the notes of life

by Amrita Dutta 

The memory is cloudy. As was the day. Black lines of pine against the cold, colourless sky as I walked home from school. But on my lunch plate, there was a dab of darkish maroon. As I ate, slowly mixing the shidol chaatni — a mash of dried, fermented fish, smooth but for the prick of delicate, easy-to-chew bones — with the rice, the afternoon’s gloom seemed to lift. My eyes watered from the heat of chilli and garlic, my ears reddened, my mouth came alive with a burst of flavours. I was warmed. Hours after the meal, I could find it on my fingers — the smell, like a secret, hot, fierce, and illicit.

Growing up in the tiny Sylheti community of Shillong, I knew there was something not kosher about shidol and shutki (dried fish). The preserved fish eaten by Bengalis who originally belonged to the Sylhet and Chittagong districts of what is now Bangladesh was — if not a secret — then definitely an embarrassment. For one, it marked us out as ungainly, rustic outsiders — much like our angular Bengali accent — as we ventured out of our tiny outposts in the Northeast and into Kolkata. Its cooking was preceded by nervous shutting of windows and worry at neighbours’ noses wrinkling in disgust. Those who know not how they sin have associated the fragrance of shutki with that of mildewed, rotting socks or decaying animals. I still recall the pang of regret when a friend in Kolkata — from epaar Bangla (this side of Bengal) — exclaimed, “It does stink, you know.”

11 January 2019

Significant steps towards modernization of armed forces, but challenges remain

NEW DELHI: The bitter Doklam episode as well as the evolving regional security matrix forced India's defence brass in 2018 to hasten work on long-pending reforms and modernisation of the armed forces, resulting in a plethora of strategically key initiatives aimed at boosting India's military prowess 

The efforts, however, were marred by the political firestorm over the Rafale deal with the defence ministry and the Indian Air Force having to focus on rebutting charges of graft in the Rs 58,000- crore contract. 

As concerns mounted over Chinese infrastructure build-up in Tibet Autonomous Region and near Doklam tri-junction, the government expedited implementation of pending projects like laying of roads, construction of bridges, strengthening of key military airfields and enhancing surveillance along the nearly 3,600-km Sino-India border. 

India walking a tightrope with US and Russian defense systems


India is aiming to modernize its strategic arsenal with the introduction of advanced US and Russian defense systems. However, some military experts say that while the South Asian giant needs foreign technologies to become a self-sufficient arms manufacturer – and autonomous global geopolitical player – technical problems could limit their coexistence.

The Indian government finalized the acquisition of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system earlier this month and is said to be considering the purchase of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II(NASAMS-II) from the United States.

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10 January 2019

Citizen's Amendment Bill and the Need for a Refugee Policy

Amb Satish Chandra, Vice Chairman, VIF

Today's interaction will see most dwelling on the Citizen's Amendment Bill (CAB) and going into its fine details and its pros and cons. I would, however, like to avail of this opportunity to underline two points.

First, that the Prime Minister is spot on in pointing out that it constitutes a move to rectify the mistakes of partition and second that it is animated by India's ethos and rooted in its historical experience.

The mistake committed by the Congress government at the time of partition was to believe that the minorities in Pakistan, inclusive of East Pakistan, would be able to live there in safety and security. The holocaust of 1947 which saw the largest mass migration known to mankind and the subsequent squeezing out of the minorities from East and West Pakistan proved them wrong. In 1947, as many as 7.5 million Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India, around 5 million from West Pakistan and around 2.5 million from East Pakistan. While the bulk of these minorities were driven out of West Pakistan by 1951, those from East Pakistan and later Bangladesh faced with persecution came to India over a longer time span. The steady minority migration from the area of East Pakistan is borne out by decrease of the Hindu population there from 27% in 1947 to 22% in 1951 to 13.5% in 1974 and to about 9% in 2011.

Opinion: Why Modi deserves another chance

The Bharatiya Janata Party's decisive electoral defeat in its bastion, the Hindi heartland, has come as a boon and a life-saver for a near terminal Opposition and injected a much-needed bolus of adrenaline into its adversaries, both political and ideological.

However, in their haste to capitalise on the moment and exploit the BJP's discomfiture to the hilt, Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi's detractors are embarking on a dangerous and dubious path of vile disinformation and reckless populism that does not augur well for the country.

The shrill, high decibel campaign emanating from these disparate entities reeks of negativism and skullduggery; a blatant attempt at obfuscation that takes recourse to hyped up incidents of intolerance, exaggerated projections of gloom and doom and outright falsehoods to create an overall impression of despondency.

This 'Remove Modi' crusade needs to be countered and called out for what it is, so that the nation gets a legitimate perspective prior to May 2019.

36 Things India Has Done for Afghanistan

By Krzysztof Iwanek

“I get along very well with India, Prime Minister Modi. But… he is constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan. […] That’s like […] five hours of what we spent [in Afghanistan].[…] I don’t know who is using it.” So declared U.S. President Donald Trump on January 3, 2019.

That was just one spoonful in a jar of errors and disrespectful opinions that the president recently served in his statements on Afghanistan. Trump also claimed that the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan to fight terrorists, that the USSR collapsed because of the failed Afghan war, and that countries like India do not do enough for the mountainous country. None of this is true.

The thing is: India has actually helped Afghanistan in a number of ways ever since the Taliban were pushed out of power in 2001. A part of a much broader assistance included building many objects. But, to my knowledge, a library was not one of them.