14 May 2018

What Did China Really Think of the Xi-Modi Meeting?

By Merriden Varrall and Charlie Lyons Jones

Many have written on the recent meeting in Wuhan between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian President Narendra Modi. However, these articles tend to focus on either the agenda for the meeting, what it did or didn’t achieve, or what to make of it in terms of geostrategic gains or losses. Few, if any, articles have looked at China’s perspective on the meeting. This is an important oversight as how the visit was described in the Chinese media reveals a great deal about how China sees its relationship with India.

Walmart’s Flipkart Buy Creates Two New Billionaires; We Need A Policy To Soak Up World’s Excess Capital

by R Jagannathan

Why we now need to act fast on the policy front to ensure that most of the gains of current and future entrepreneurship remain with India.  The $16 billion Walmart purchase of 77 per cent of Flipkart, India’s No 1 e-tailing marketplace, marks a turning point in the evolution of Indian entrepreneurship. It is now obvious that great ideas will ultimately get taken over by Big Money from outside India. Even if there are laws to enable Indian entrepreneurs to retain higher voting rights after equity dilutions in the companies they founded, the trend is irreversible.

Alignment with Autonomy: India’s Evolving Foreign Policy in Light of China’s Regional Ambitions

By Melanie Berry

India’s relations with China were contentious in 2017 and often seemed to push the country toward greater cooperation with the United States and its regional partners. Among other developments, India has shown interest in renewing formal quadrilateral cooperation with Australia, Japan, and the United States, a multilateral partnership that has provoked strong Chinese opposition in the past. This push toward forging closer strategic ties, particularly with the United States, in order to address regional challenges is the most recent manifestation of the long-term tension in Indian foreign policy between retaining strategic autonomy and building cooperation and strategic partnerships. In this Q&A, Jeff Smith (Heritage Foundation) discusses Indian foreign policy in light of the tumultuous past year and comments on how New Delhi might strike a balance between autonomy and cooperation in the current strategic environment.

The One Reason India Might Not Become a Navy Superpower

Robert Beckhusen
Source Link

Disaster struck the first of a new class of Indian frigates in late April 2018 when a towering, 250-ton crane came toppling down onto the vessel during heavy winds as she sat in dry dock. The vessel — which is under construction — was not damaged, according to the Indian Ministry of Defense. The images of the disaster look bad, though. The crane is destroyed and there is an indeterminate amount of damage to nearby buildings, but the Indian Navy alleged a conspiracy to exaggerate the damage in the press. “Somebody may have taken this opportunity to tarnish our image,” one official quoted in the Times of India said.

Commentary: Why S-400 Will Make Sense Despite (Un)Likelihood of US Sanctions

Lt Gen (Dr) V K Saxena (Retd), PVSM,AVSM,VSM, Distinguished Fellow, VIF 
Source Link

The open source is abuzz with the news that India and Russia are close to finalising the deal for the purchase of S-400 System despite the threat of US sanctions1. Making it a central issue during the visit of Defence Minister, Mrs Nirmala Sitharaman to Russia from 3-5 Apr 18 for participating in the VII Moscow Conference on International Security, it was stated in the press, that the deal will get its finality besides likely progress on several other issues related to military technical cooperation, such as Kamov helicopter deal, fifth generation fighter aircraft, ammunition for Russian made defence systems, maintenance and up-gradation issues related to existing Russian inventory and more2,3.

Mattis, Dunford Defend Strategy: Afghan Force Smaller But Better


WASHINGTON: Yes, Afghan forces are shrinking even as violence grows, but that smaller force is better trained, better advised, and better at taking the offensive against the Taliban, the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told the Senate. The ongoing increase in US and other NATO advisors is crucial to this turnaround, Sec. Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford argued to skeptical Democratic senators this morning.

America Cannot Afford to Lose Pakistan to China

Matthew Reisener
Source Link

Nearly two decades into America’s War on Terror, policymakers remain perplexed about how to navigate the United States’ relationship with Pakistan, an ostensible ally that has long been accused of offering tepid support or creating outright impediments to American counterterrorism operations. While America’s relations with Pakistan were weakened by the Trump administration’s January decision to withhold over one billion dollars in security assistance from the Islamic Republic, Pakistan’s relations with neighboring China have been greatly strengthened by China’s promise of $57 billion in economic investment through its One Belt One Road Initiative. U.S. policymakers should be concerned by America’s rocky relationship with Pakistan, as well as Pakistan’s deepening economic and security ties with China. A Pakistan that is squarely in China’s orbit could contribute to a dramatic rise in security competition and an increased risk of great power conflict in South Asia. It is in America’s best interest to repair its relationship with Pakistan to prevent such a scenario from coming to pass.

China Has Already Won the Drone Wars


AMMAN, Jordan — At a military airfield on the outskirts of the Jordanian capital, three American businessmen stood admiring the star exhibit, which looked eerily familiar: a large drone, armed with weapons under its wings, with a domed front. “They brought the Predator here,” said one, in reference to the ubiquitous U.S. drone used in wars from Bosnia to Iraq. Chinese companies are proving that America is not first in the UAV export market. Can Trump roll that back?

“That is not a Predator,” another countered.


Satellite imagery from April 28 reveals the first image of a military aircraft, a Shaanxi Y-8, deployed to China’s base at Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands. This follows Chinese media reports from March 2018 that a Y-8 had landed on the reef to evacuate a fisherman who required medical assistance. The Y-8 was designed as a military transport aircraft, but some variants are used for maritime patrol or signals intelligence. This should be particularly concerning to the Philippines, which has about 100 civilians and a small military garrison on Thitu Island just 12 nautical miles away.

How China’s Port Investments are Strategically Reshaping the Indo-Pacific

Over the last decade, China has significantly increased its global investments, particularly in international and maritime infrastructure. Chinese firms have pledged billions of dollars to develop maritime ports and related projects across the Indo-Pacific Region since China announced its strategy to increase global trade connectivity through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI, China’s guiding foreign policy doctrine and one of the most ambitious economic initiatives in modern history, is portrayed by Chinese leaders as creating win-win economic development for all nations. Yet, some states question whether China’s infrastructure investments are driven by strategic interests.“Wherever there is Chinese business, warships will have a transportation support point.” —Deng Xianwu (邓先武), commanding officer of the PLAN warship Changbaishan (长白山) (2016)

China’s jets come into their own with superior missiles

China identified more than a decade ago that transforming its air force’s capability in the area of air-to-air missiles was an important part of its military modernization. Efforts since then appear to have paid off, with experts forming a consensus that China’s air power is already capable of challenging that of the US in certain scenarios, in part thanks to indigenious missiles.  Chief airpower specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Douglas Barrie, noted recently that some of the new weapons being introduced on Chinese aircraft are equal to Western equivalents. In the case of one missile, it has surpassed any other country’s capabilities.

China Is Turning Old Tanks into AI-Equipped Robots

China’s military aims to give its ground forces some extra traction in increasingly challenging battlefield scenarios by testing unmanned tanks that could potentially be equipped with artificial intelligence-based systems. Aging four-man T-59 tanks, thousands of which are being retired and scrapped after years of service, have been fitted with remote-control technology that is operated by a soldier at a nearby console equipped with a video game-style steering wheel. “A large number of due-to-retire Type 59 tanks can be converted into unmanned vehicles if equipped with artificial intelligence,” Liu Qingshan, chief editor of Tank and Armored Vehicle, told The Global Times newspaper.

Inside the Cutthroat World of Billion-Dollar Military Supply Contracts


Lines of vehicles ready for a combat logistics patrol alongside American forces and Afghan National Army on Operation Herrick 11, which carried essential supplies from Camp Bastion to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in a 100-vehicle convoy. The U.S. Government Accountability Office is expected to rule soon on a disputed contract worth more than a billion dollars to supply food to American forces in the Middle East. The big-dollar decision will mark the most recent twist in a battle over giant U.S. military logistics deals dating back nearly a decade, and includes allegations of sanctions busting, corruption, and fraud. The ruling could also prove troublesome for the Defense Department, which for years has faced criticism over its contracts with Gulf-owned logistics companies the military has used to feed deployed troops.

Can International Organizations Help Prevent Civil Wars?

By Johannes Karreth and Jaroslav Tir

At the recent Kuwait International Conference on Reconstruction of Iraq, countries and international organizations pledged US$30 billion to reconstruct Iraq after years of war, falling well short of the US$80 billion estimated necessary by the Iraqi government. As this case aptly demonstrates, civil wars create lasting damage that can take decades to overcome. Despite such huge costs, the international community struggles to find effective ways to prevent conflict escalation, relegating their involvement to the post-conflict reconstruction phase. But might there be ways to address conflicts before they erupt into all out war?

The New Turkey: Making Sense of Turkish Decision-Making

By Aaron Stein for Center for Security Studies (CSS)

In this article, Aaron Stein uses survey data to reveal the views of Turkish citizens towards NATO, Turkey’s EU accession process and European allies. In general, he finds that the Turkish public is suspicious of Europe and unfavorable towards the Alliance. This is clearly concerning for the West, suggests Stein, particularly given how Turkish politicians have used foreign policy as a tool for populist political gain. As a result, he also explores what these findings suggest about the future direction of Turkey’s foreign policy and US-Turkey relations.

Why Marx Was Wrong


On the occasion of Karl Marx's 200th birthday, the co-founder of communism has received a more than a few positive reappraisals, even from Western leaders. But those arguing that Marx cannot be blamed for the atrocities that his ideas inspired should reexamine his ideas.  STOCKHOLM – The bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth has occasioned a surge of interest in the man’s work, complete with the unveiling of a statue in his hometown of Trier, Germany.

Russia confirms its armed robot tank was in Syria

By: Kelsey Atherton  

When Russia shows off equipment at this year’s annual victory parade, included in that number will be an armed robot that Russia claims saw action in Syria. The Uran-9 looks like a tank in miniature ― 30mm cannon on a turret on top of a small tracked body. But unlike the armored beasts of war seen on battlefields for over a century, there’s no human nestled inside. And, according to statements published today in Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti, Deputy Minister of Defense Yuriy Borisov confirmed that the country tested Uran-9 robots in Syria.

The Art of the Regime Change


As long expected, Donald Trump has bowed to his ego, his petulant envy of Barack Obama, his hard-line donors, his new set of hawkish advisors, and above all his own ignorance and walked away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the international agreement that prevents Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Together with his foolish decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership, this is likely to be his most consequential foreign-policy blunder yet.

The View From Olympus: Israel, Gaza, and 4GW

Hamas, which rules the Gaza strip, has traditionally been less competent than Hezbollah at Fourth Generation war. Its rocket attacks on Israel, although they have frightened Israelis, have done little physical damage while they have created a moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel that hurts the former. Now, however, it is beginning to look as if Hamas has gotten smarter in a way that poses a real 4GW strategic threat to Israel. On successive Fridays, Hamas has sponsored demonstrations at the border fence between Gaza and Israel. On April 27, the demonstrators broke through the fence. Israel responded, as it has before, with live fire that killed several Gazans. Anytime that happens, Israel suffers a defeat at the moral level, which in 4GW is the decisive level.

After dumping the nuclear deal, Trump has no strategy for Iran

Suzanne Maloney

After months of speculation and a flurry of last-minute European diplomacy, Donald Trump has taken perhaps the most consequential decision of his unconventional presidency with the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran in a deliberately provocative breach of the 2015 nuclear agreement. By torpedoing U.S. adherence to the accord, Trump has all but guaranteed its collapse, a move that opens the door to the unfettered resumption of Iran’s nuclear program and unleashes unpredictable escalatory pressures in an already volatile Middle East.