The Pentagon is considering a major overhaul of its geographical combatant commands, possibly realigning oversight within hot-button areas of the world and eliminating thousands of military and civilian positions,according to defense sources.. While the plans for combatant command (COCOM) realignment and consolidation are still notional, sources say some options include: Combining Northern Command and Southern Command to form what what some are calling “Americas Command” or “Western Command.” Dissolving Africa Command and splitting it up among European Command and Central Command.
South and East Asia have become the world’s major oil consumers, but they lack the supply. Energy security thus lies at the heart of Asia’s economic transformation, prosperity and development. Jean-Pierre Lehmann and Suddha Chakravartti explain how China, India and their smaller neighboring economies are scrambling to find ways to secure and deliver enough oil from suppliers to consumers. The vastness and heterogeneity of Asia contrast with the relative compactness and homogeneity of Europe. Nevertheless, Asia does exist as a geopolitical, geo-economic and analytical entity.
Circle of Blue, with the Wilson Center, is looking at what’s probably the most important drama unfolding on the planet today, and that’s this confrontation between water, food, and energy. We created a project called Choke Point: U.S. Then we backed up and said, “Let’s take a look at China.” Our next Choke Point lens is to take a look at India, the world’s second-largest, second-most-populated nation. Keith Schneider: In the ’60s and the ’70s, the policy was to make energy, electricity, and water free to the agriculture sector in a nation that knew serious starvation.
A $US500 million Chinese-built port opens this week in Sri Lanka, giving Beijing a vital foothold on the world’s busiest international shipping lane as it seeks to secure maritime supply routes. The massive terminal in Colombo is located mid-way on the lucrative east-west sea route and has facilities on a par with Singapore and Dubai. The Colombo International Container Terminal (CICT), which is 85 per cent owned by the state-run China Merchant Holdings International, is designed to handle mega ships – a first for Sri Lanka which is aiming to become the region’s shipping hub.
Amid a spate of incursions by China in Ladakh, its troops are also resorting to tactics like preventing the Indian Army from patrolling posts in this sector along the border which was well within India’s territory. In what is being described as an aggressive approach by China, the tactics have come to the fore in the wake of yet another incident last week when Indian troops launched its patrol “Tiranga” from Trade Junction area in North of Ladakh for two posts located 14 km up in the higher reaches along the LAC.
DEFENCE ministers have admitted the UK has been forced to pull out of key Nato naval defence groups in a sign of just how stretched the Royal Navy has become. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has acknowledged it has not provided a frigate or destroyer for Nato’s maritime group defending the North and East Atlantic since 2009. Written answers also reveal the Royal Navy stopped providing either of the ships for Nato’s second standing maritime group in the Mediterranean since 2010.
Kolkata, Guwahati and Shillong have of late emerged as India’s new smuggling hub, due to a spurt in trans-border smuggling through Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. According to custom department statistics, the three eastern Indian cities are more preferred as routes for narcotics, arms smuggling and transfusion of contraband notes than even Mumbai, the den of underworld bigwigs. The country recorded a total of 35,500 cases of smuggling and commercial fraud in 2012-13 as compared to 33,251 cases in the previous year, according to Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) statistics.
Even as the security establishment counters the pan-Indian network of Laskher-e-Taiba (LeT) and its indigenous arm Indian Mujahideen, the Pakistan-based terror outfit is busy opening another front close to the northeast region, along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Inputs with R&AW, India’s external intelligence agency, confirm that LeT and its over ground avatar, Jamaat ud Dawah (JuD), are working to extend their footprint along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by riding piggyback on the sectarian violence targeted against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The doctrine of the Indian secret agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is based on the principle of waging continuous secret battles through its agents. Since its creation in 1968, RAW has assumed a significant status in formulation of Indian foreign policy. RAW’s operations against the regional countries are conducted with great professional skill and expertise, which include the establishment of a huge network inside the target countries. It has used propaganda, political dissent, ethnic divisions, economic backwardness and criminal elements to foment subversion and terrorism to weaken these states in consonance with Indian regional ambitions.
The Indian government this week reportedly paved the way for the creation of a new military corps of 50,000 troops near its border with China. If correct, analysts say this is a sign that New Delhi, which has been largely focused on its frontier with Pakistan, is now shifting its attention to the long, disputed Sino-Indian boundary. The creation of a strike corps would give India thousands of war-ready soldiers, trained and equipped to respond rapidly to a military threat, stationed close to the border between India and China, known as the Line of Actual Control.
By opening its doors to India, Iran and Pakistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will increase its legitimacy and effectiveness among regional and international powers, and enhance its power posture in the international scene. An observation of the map of the Eurasian region, which includes the members as well as observers of the group, clearly shows the interconnectedness of the whole region. The famed Silk Road stands witness to this connectivity and places like Kashgar, Samarkand and Bukhara in the region were once centres of this Silk Road trade.
Boosting Army’s war fighting capabilities along the line of actual control (LAC), the government on Wednesday has given the go ahead to the creation of a corps including deployment of 50,000 additional troops along the China border at a cost of around Rs 65,000 crore. The Cabinet committee on security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the proposal in its meeting, sources told PTI. The 1.3 million-strong Army is expected to raise the new corps’ headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal.
India, China and Pakistan are vying for supremacy in weapon technology as never seen before. The inventory attained by the three is formidable. Kashmir is embroiled in these equations because a sharp tilt in one direction will influence an outcome on politics here. China has a vested interest in Kashmir as demonstrated not only by its belligerency on LAC with India and Ladakh but by stapled visa on passports from Kashmir and provoking inclusion of Indian administered parts of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh in their official maps as Chinese territory.
The much-publicised agreement to speed work on developing a 2,000-km trade corridor linking Gwadar Port on Pakistan’s Makran Coast to Kashgar in China’s Xingjian province has been called a “game changer” by Sharif. While credit must be given to the Pakistan premier for his plans to speed up this ambitious project — perceived as pivotal to the country’s economic prosperity — there are several underlying factors, especially security and political differences within Balochistan, that will have to be incorporated in policy formulation for the corridor’s implementation.
ndia is stepping up training ofAfghan National Army (ANA) in a major way, even as it also considers supply of military equipment to the fledgling force, in the backdrop of the US-led coalition preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014.
Defence ministry sources say “a major Indian effort has been launched for capability enhancement of the ANA” to ensure it can handle the internal security of Afghanistan after the progressive exit of the 100,000 foreign soldiers from there by end-2014.
Asserting that there has been no change in the attitude and policy of Pakistani military towards India, a former American diplomat has said the next frontier of conflict between the two nations could be Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan is going to be in mess after we leave. India’s equity are now deeply engaged in Afghanistan and danger is that the next frontier of India-Pak conflict is going to be in Afghanistan,” said Robert Blackwill, the former US Ambassador to India said.
The size of Britain’s military budget is set to be surpassed by India’s in the next few years, a development that would see the United Kingdom spend less on defense than its former colonial subject, a defense analysis firm said Wednesday. HIS Jane’s said that projections show that Britain — once No. 4 in terms of global military spending — had fallen into fifth place behind Russia this year and is due to slip into sixth place behind in India in 2017. “The U.K.’s standing is not a strong as the public perceive it to be,” Ben Moores, an IHS Jane’s analyst, said in a statement.
The biggest exporter of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are fast becoming essential to governments worldwide for both military and civilian uses, isn’t the United States, China or other major power. The big winner in this booming global market is Israel. And that creates a lot of geopolitical complications, for the obvious reasons. Thanks to massive budget cuts and tanking economies, many Western governments, especially in Europe and the United States, are slashing defense spending and eliminating big-ticket weapons systems.
The new middle class is “much more likely to engage in political activism to get their way.” Not just protests and civil unrest but revolutions — the kind predicted by the Pentagon a decade ago. This “threatening gap between rapidly rising expectations and a disappointing reality” will have enormous implications for China’s stability. Reading “Middle-Class Revolution” and other Fukuyama works, it is obvious that the “Pentagon 2020” war scenario is accelerating everywhere — across Asia, India, Africa, Europe, South America and the United States — fueled by capitalists who only see population growth as an opportunity for new consumer markets.
On July 1, 2013 Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) received another boost by the launch of a geostationary satellite. Though the rocket has a presumable reach of 6000 km but this apparently peaceful advancement in space has military potential. For instance, it is a step towards India’s gradually building anti-ballistic missile defense shield and enhancement of its reconnaissance potential. One wonders if this potential militarization of space will ultimately lead to weaponisation and compel New Delhi’s current and future adversaries to respond in letter and in spirit.
On a dusty field in Israel’ s southern desert, the military is gearing up for the next battle against a familiar foe: Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon. As the Syrian civil war intensifies, military planners are growing increasingly jittery that the fighting could spill over into Israel, potentially dragging the Islamic militant group that is allied with President Bashar Assad into the fray. After battling Hezbollah to a stalemate in 2006, the Israeli military says it has learned key lessons and is prepared to inflict heavy damage on the group if fighting begins again.
India and South Korea share remarkable common interests – all the more remarkable considering how far apart they are geographically, in area, population, average income, living conditions and climate. And then consider how different are Indians and Koreans in ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, religious beliefs and influences. It’s hard to imagine two such important nations and societies with so little in common, yet so closely bound by security and economic considerations.
How many nuclear weapons and delivery systems does a country need as an effective deterrent against the threats of attack? Finding an acceptable balance is critically important in Asia, where four of the world’s nine nuclear-armed states are located.Asia may be sliding into a nuclear arms race, aggravated by underlying tensions and mistrust. As one nuclear weapons state enlarges its arsenal, other regional atomic powers do the same. SIPRI estimated that China, India and Pakistan had each added about 10 warheads to their operational stockpiles in 2012.
While it may be a lesser-known region, Gilgit-Baltistan serves as a buffer between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. The development of water resources flowing from Gilgit-Baltistan could improve the livelihood of rural Pakistan and thus lessen manpower heading towards extremist groups. Empowerment of the region could be accomplished through development assistance and encouragement of the local population by the transatlantic community. The dispute between India and Pakistan over the territory of the former princely state Jammu and Kashmir is mostly referred to as the Kashmir dispute.
India will sign a trilateral maritime cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in a move to counter China’s bid to spread its strategic footprint in the Indian Ocean region, the Deccan Herald reported. Sources told Deccan Herald that the agreement, to be signed during the NSA’s visit to Sri Lanka, will seek to set up a mechanism for trilateral cooperation in maritime security, information sharing, cooperation on search and rescue in the Indian Ocean region, surveillance of the Exclusive Economic Zones, collective response to marine oil pollution and capacity building through training and exercises.
The Indian navy and army are looking East and pursuing strategic defence ties with regional allies FOUR Indian Navy ships’ voyage last month through the strategic Malacca Straits, calling at Port Klang, Da Nang and Manila, though not extraordinary, points to a significant trend. Slowly, India seems to be shedding what critics call its “landlocked mindset” and is surveying the vast expanse of water around it. A country conducting maritime trade from times immemorial rarely flaunted its naval power. Its navy came into being, thanks to the British East India Company only four centuries ago.
China National Petroleum Co is set to acquire a stake in Kashagan, a huge oilfield in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea, according to a senior executive in the Kazakh state oil company, in a deal worth $5bn.
It would represent the largest overseas acquisition by CNPC and reinforce China’s dominant position in Kazakhstan’s oil industry. Chinese groups already account for more than a quarter of the country’s oil and gas production.
You’ve heard of planned obsolescence — tactical nuclear weapons are a case of deferred obsolescence: a weapon that has long ago worn out its welcome in the U.S. arsenal. Politically, however, there are still voices that argue that even a bomb with no military utility is “reassuring” to certain allies, and that storing this artifact in European bunkers and maintaining allied aircraft capable of dropping this bomb is a valuable demonstration of NATO “burden sharing.” Moreover, these proponents are prepared to pay — or rather, have the U.S. pay — $10 billion to modernize and store the B61.
First it was the Pacific Century, then the Asia Pacific Century, then the Asian Century with a recent nod towards the Chinese Century. Now we are hearing of the Indo-Pacific Century. Hollywood to Bollywood, as one US military officer put it recently. A great sweep of ocean from India to the eastern shores of California is the strategic big picture, we are told. But while Australian policymakers debate every chess move by China, India and the US a more urgent Indo-Pacific shift, this time Indonesia versus the Pacific, is happening in two areas not even named in the Australian defence white paper 2013: West Papua and Melanesia.
The youth riots in Brazil, Chile, the European Union, the Arab Middle East, Turkey, and even the “Occupy” movement in the West all reflect what political theory broadly calls the “legitimacy crisis” of modern democracy – the notion that participation in democratic politics does little to change the actual process of government, that elites are dug-in and immoveable, that cronyism is endemic, and so on. Young voters particularly become cynical of the formal electoral process, either dropping out in disdain, or expressing their grievances “extra-parliamentarily”, i.e., on the street.
International concerns have been raised by Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal, while Beijing has faced much criticism for its co-operation over nuclear energy with Islamabad.
Pakistan’s newly elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who turned the country nuclear in 1998, sought Chinese assistance in the field of civil nuclear technology to overcome the country’s energy crisis during a meeting with visiting Premier Li Keqiang in Islamabad last month. Indeed, there are indications that nuclear co-operation is now going to be the prime driver of the Sino-Pakistan strategic partnership.
After intruding into the Indian territory of Ladakh, China has made a foray into Bhutan, India’s neighbor and one of its closest allies, according to an intelligence note in possession of the Indian news channel, Times Now.
The channel reported that China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) had intruded into Bhutan and set up three camps and was carrying out patrols. The report comes just months after New Delhi and Beijing had a diplomatic row over a border dispute.
The hostility between India and Pakistan, ongoing for more than 60 years, lies at the heart of the current war in Afghanistan. Most observers in the west view the conflict as a battle between Nato on one hand, and al-Qaida and the Taliban on the other. In reality this has long since ceased to be the case – we think this is about us, but it’s not. Instead our troops are now caught up in a complex war shaped by two pre-existing conflicts: one internal, the other regional.
After a substantial phase of people’s disenchantment with violence and a gradual movement away from an armed struggle toward nonviolent protests and social media campaigns, the gun seems to be returning to the center stage of Kashmir’s fight against Indian rule. New Delhi missed an opportunity to engage with a changed environment where the focus was on nonviolence and instead started terming the absence of violence as peace and silence of guns as Kashmir’s acceptance of the Indian rule.
The emergence of China and India as global powers may become inevitable and may have significant implications for the Gulf region and beyond. The U.S. National Intelligence Council in its latest report ‘Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds,’ describes a world that will be radically transformed from what we know today. In a tectonic shift, by 2030, the reports says ‘Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment.’
China has offered Sri Lanka new loans for infrastructure projects, worth US$ 2.2 billion dollars. In a reply to a question, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mr. Hong Lei told the news media that in addition to infrastructure loans, both countries agreed to further deepen defence cooperation and maintain exchanges between two defence ministries, whilst they continue to carry out in cooperating defence technology, personal training and other fields. Yet, the spokesperson did not reveal further details regarding the nature of the new strategic cooperation.
China has, for the first time, attempted to spell out its strategy and plans to secure its interests in the Indian Ocean in its first “blue book” on the region, released here on Saturday. The blue book makes a case for China to deepen its economic engagements with the Indian Ocean Region’s (IOR) littoral states, but stresses that Beijing’s interests will be driven by commercial rather than military objectives. However, it warns that the Indian Ocean could end up “as an ocean of conflict and trouble” if countries like India, the U.S. and China failed to engage with each other more constructively as their interests begin to overlap.
China is looking to revive the ancient “Southern Silk Road” linking its southwestern regions with Southeast and South Asia, as it aims to boost cooperation with countries along the once-booming trade route.
With a history of more than 2,000 years, the ancient trade route, stretching over 2,000 kilometers long, was dubbed the “Southern Silk Road” by historians.
The route, originating from Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan province, wandered through cities in Sichuan and finally took traders to Myanmar by way of Yunnan province. Then, it extended through to India, Bangladesh and even the Middle East.
Myanmar’s opening to foreign investment has been compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the start of an economic growth story to emulate Vietnam. How those views pan out will be largely decided by natural gas.
Exxon Mobil Corp., Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and Oil India Ltd. are among 59 global energy companies lining up for a share of Myanmar’s estimated $75 billion bounty of the fuel, according to the country’s energy ministry.
Pakistan’s military is all set to adopt a “new concept” of war for fighting future conventional threats, specifically pre-empting India’s cold-start military doctrine, revealed security officials.
The new war concept, developed after four years of war games and military exercises, seeks to improve the mobilisation time of troops and develop an integrated response from the combined fighting arms of the army, navy and air forces, in case of a conventional military threat.
As the United States pivots away from the Western world to face the burgeoning Pacific Rim, what wisdom can it carry over from its former stomping grounds to the new cockpit of geopolitics? Perhaps Washington can take a page out of Leopold Kohr’s book. The obscure Austrian philosopher once popularized the slogan “Small is Beautiful” — which has clearly never caught on in the States. Yet his theories on the importance of size in international relations might help Washington manage its decidedly outsized geopolitical challenges in Asia.
Despite Beijing’s fulminations, India and Japan on Wednesday lifted their strategic convergence to a new level by vowing to work together for ensuring stability in the Asia-Pacific region in the face of growing muscle-flexing by China. The two sides agreed to institutionalize joint exercises by their navies and to increase their frequency even as Japan offered its highly advanced sea plane Shinmaywa or US-2 in what is the first instance of Tokyo’s willingness to offer a technology that has both military and civilian applications.
Port Blair might not be anything more than a vacation spot for most Indians, but a new Pentagon- commissioned report seeks to turn it into something radically different: a base for American drones.
In possibly the first reference to the use of Indian territory for the US military in recent times, the paper, put together by the RAND Corporation, suggests that the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be ideally suited as a base for American drones in the event of an offensive against China.
After the pullout by Chinese troops from Daulat beg Oldi area of Ladakh, infrastructure development programme along the Line of Actual Control is expected to be stepped up besides beefing up of the presence of Indian Army there.
The government is also planning to give final clearance to a Rs. 84,000 crore army proposal for raising the Mountain Strike Corps along the northeastern borders which will include deployment of IAF assets as per Army’s plans, they said.
A conversation on Afghanistan has already begun, not least because China has bought the rights to mine copper ore in Mes Aynak in northern Afghanistan as well as gold and oil deposits elsewhere. For the time being, at least, the Chinese have quietly resisted a public role in the post-2014 scenario, in deference to the lead role its all-weather friend and partner Pakistan hopes to play in Afghanistan once the Americans leave. China is also happy to watch its chief rival, the US, lick its wounds as it withdraws battered.
Turkmenistan plans to begin production at Galkynysh, the world’s second largest gas field, by June 30, which will allow it boost exports to Asia and help Europe lessen its dependence on Russian gas.
Turkmenistan, a post-Soviet Central Asian country of 5.5 million which borders Afghanistan and Iran, holds the world’s fourth-largest natural gas riches after Russia, Iran and Qatar. British auditor Gaffney, Cline & Associates has estimated the reserves of Galkynysh, named after the Turkmen word for “renaissance,” at 13.1 trillion to 21.2 trillion cubic metres.
India has launched an ambitious programme to use its array of geo-stationary satellites (G-sats) to monitor missile activities in an area of 6,000 km. With this, the country’s constellation of G-sats will become the first line of defence in its anti-missile shield. This programme is independent of the observation grid installed by defence and intelligence agencies. The advantage of using geo-stationary satellites is their fixed position at a height of 36,000 km and synchronised with the earth’s movement.
China’s all-weather fighter base in Tibet is now widening its range of options in the event of a conflict with India. Intelligence intercepts and satellite monitoring has confirmed that China may have to some extent overcome Tibet’s extreme altitude and temperatures to operationalise an all-weather airfield near the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The airfield is Gonkar, where China has deployed Su-27 fighters. Sources told CNN-IBN that the Gonkar airfield will enable Chinese fighters to widen their selection of Indian targets from Ladakh to Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh
China is spending billions to develop Kyaukpyu as its international gateway in Myanmar, but the development threatens to be derailed by communal violence. “Kyaukpyu is the new gateway to China and Asean. Kyaukpyu is the ocean exit for China. Kyaukpyu offers the shortest trade route from India to China. The port city in Rakhine state, on the northwest coast of Myanmar, saves ships 5,000 kilometres of sailing through the Straits of Malacca to China. Kyaukpyu lies next to the offshore Shwe gas fields in the Bay of Bengal, the Southeast Asian country’s biggest gas project.
India is still at significant risk of having its credit rating downgraded to junk status by Standard & Poor’s, despite the government’s efforts to secure an upgrade. S&P on Friday reiterated its negative outlook on India, with its rating sitting just one notch above “junk”.
“The negative outlook signals at least a one-in-three likelihood of a downgrade within the next 12 months,” S&P said. “High fiscal deficits and a heavy government debt burden remain the most significant constraints on our sovereign ratings on India.
Russia remains concerned about the volatile situation in Afghanistan, fearing the return of the Taliban and other terrorist groups to power once the US-led coalition troops leave Afghanistan by the end of next year. Predicting instability in the violence-wracked country, Russia plans to deploy troops on the Tajik-Afghan border to prevent the spillover of violence into Russia. Moscow’s envoy to Kabul, Andrey Avetisyan, told Reuters that if Russia didn’t guard its border with Afghanistan, it might face multiple challenges, ranging from the transport of narcotics to terrorism, and therefore the only solution was to guard the border.
Offshore from Syria, Russia’s navy is conducting probably its largest naval deployment outside its own waters since the Soviet breakup. The Chinese navy is in another potential confrontation today with Japan in the East China Sea, and raising questions about where it is headed next.
But the BRIC nations as a whole—a force in the global economic conversation since the acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs to refer to the high-growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China—are becoming an increasing naval presence on the high seas.
Ahead of its President’s visit here from May 20, Afghanistan on Thursday said it was looking for enhanced defence cooperation with India, from where it was expecting supply of lethal and non-lethal military equipment.
The two sides will discuss a range of issues of mutual concern and interest and will discuss cooperation at a “critical time” for Afghanistan, which is witnessing the withdrawal of NATO combat troops, the envoy said.
India’s long-range maritime snooping and anti-submarine warfare capabilities will get a huge boost when the first of the eight contracted Poseidon-8I aircraft touches down at theArakkonam naval air station in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
Armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, these sensor and radar-packed aircraft will be the country’s “intelligent hawk eyes” over theIndian Ocean Region (IOR) that is increasingly getting militarized.
India continues to view Pakistan as the “real threat” even though it is adjusting its military strategy to include the possibility of a limited two-front war with both Pakistan and China, the first Blue Book on India published by a Chinese think tank said.
Pakistan is India’s main “real threat” to maintain a high degree of vigilance and preparedness, the summary of the Blue Book released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, (CASS) said. The report says Indian military deployment on land is mainly fixated against Pakistan but in recent times, it is also being adjusted for both China and Pakistan.
Addressing the top commanders of the Indian Navy on Tuesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced that additional naval bases and air stations are required to extend the Navy’s reach.
“Antony said the construction of additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands is necessary to further extend our operational reach,” said a Defence Ministry statement. India is concerned about the growing Chinese maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, said an Indian Navy official.
For someone who spent a lonely life in a Pakistani jail for more than two decades of his life, the public farewell that Sarabjit Singh received on his death was rather remarkable.
After news broke that Singh – held by Pakistan since 1990 for allegedly being a spy and plotting two bomb attacks that killed 14 – had succumbed to his injuries after being beaten by fellow inmates, anger and outrage swept India. Stung by the mood on the street, the government organised a state funeral for him – televised live after a visibly embarrassed Pakistan sent back his body.
Increasing presence of the Chinese maritime forces in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and disciplinary issues in the force are expected to be discussed by the top Navy brass in their commanders’ conference starting on Tuesday.
The Navy has been concerned over the increasing presence of Chinese navy’s submarines and other warships in the IOR. In a recent report submitted to the defence ministry, the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters had informed the government quoting the data by American agencies that 22 encounters of Chinese submarines have taken place outside its territorial waters in the IOR.
Two pipelines in the highlands of northeast Myanmar will soon begin pumping oil and gas into China, representing a major step in Beijing’s quest for energy security. The $2.5 billion pipeline project, scheduled for completion this month, is part of China’s land-based network of import routes that includes completed pipelines from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia. In a region increasingly defined by its quest for energy, the new pipelines could help China tip the geopolitical landscape in its favor.
The icy Arctic is emerging as a global economic hot spot — and one that is becoming a security concern for the United States as world powers jockey to tap its vast energy resources and stake out unclaimed territories.
Diplomats from eight Arctic nations, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will meet this week over how to protect the thawing region as its waterways increasingly open to commercial shipping traffic. U.S. officials estimate the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits.
Although the government maintained on Monday that no concessions were offered to the Chinese to end the face off in east Ladakh, India forces appear to have agreed to the removal of bunkers built by the army in Chumar close to the line of actual control (LAC) to facilitate an agreement.
Sources in the security establishment familiar with the negotiations and the local topography told TOI that the 21-day confrontation on Ladakh’s desolate Depsang plains ended only after the Indian Army agreed to demolish bunkers it had built in the region of Chumar near the LAC.
However, NDTV has learnt from sources that the stand-off was resolved partly due to the halting of construction of bunkers by Indian Army in the Chumar sector of southern Ladakh, which borders Himachal Pradesh.
The Indian Army was reportedly building seven bunkers in Chumar. The general area of Chumar is disputed and claimed by both sides. According to existing agreements, neither side is allowed to construct any permanent structure, more so if they are either offensive or defensive in nature. The assurance that has been reportedly given to China is that the constructions of the bunkers will be stopped for the time being.
The FBI is asking for is the ability to fine those companies that don’t comply with a wiretap order, even if they’re technically unable to do so within a time limit set by the FBI.
In other words, if you can’t provide the feds with a back door to your system, the government will keep piling on fines until you go out of business. The idea, of course, is to compel companies that provide secure communications to also build in a means for the feds carry out get their wiretaps.
In a strategically significant move to counter China’s presence in the region, India has announced that it will upgrade Iran’s crucial Chabahar port that gives a transit route to land-locked Afghanistan.
India’s decision was conveyed by Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Tehran today during his meeting with his counterpart. An expert team from India will visit Iran to assess investment needed for the upgradation of the port on the Iran-Pakistan border facing the Arabian Sea.
The army on Wednesday briefed the UPA government on the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, giving it a slew of options to deal with the Chinese incursion, including a proposal to increase troop levels on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian soldiers have been eyeball-to-eyeball with the Chinese in the Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) sector since April 15, after Chinese soldiers pitched tents 19km inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control. Army sources have maintained that it is possible to cut off the supply lines of Chinese troops, but some in the military establishment believe it could escalate tensions along the disputed border.
BJP today cautioned that the Chinese incursions into Indian territory in Ladakh could snowball into a “Kargil-like” situation and urged the government to take the issue seriously instead of treating it as merely a local issue. “The Prime Minister has said the incursions in Ladakh are a localised issue. To say so is wrong. After all, what had happened in Kargil?” BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters. Incidentally, NDA was in power when the Kargil conflict took place in 1999. The then government was taken by surprise when the incursions from Pakistan were detected. Naqvi said India should give up its “confused and contradictory” policy towards China and take some serious measures.
Analyzing Beijing’s foreign policy is a relatively simple exercise. That’s because, unlike the United States and other Western nations, China doesn’t even pretend to operate on any other principle except naked self-interest. On one hand, China has courted Israel as a partner in developing Mediterranean gas fields — but it also has been happy to do business with Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran, and has sold weapons that ended up in Hezbollah’s arsenal. In South Asia, meanwhile, China has cynically helped Pakistan check India’s regional role, even as China’s state-controlled press has warned Pakistan that Beijing may “intervene militarily” in South Asia if Pakistani-origin jihadis continue to infiltrate Muslim areas of Western China.
With the Sino-India standoff in Ladakh now in it’s third week, Chinese are showing no signs of withdrawing from the territory they occupied after their incursion in Ladakh two weeks ago. On Monday news reports said Chinese troops have erected an additional tent in the Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector raising to five the number of such structures in the area. The Chinese troops have also deployed Molosser dogs to keep a vigil, according to latest reports on Monday from the site of incursion, 70 km south of Burtse in Ladakh division. A banner hoisted outside the camp reads in English “you are in Chinese side” with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel maintaining a round-the-clock vigil, official sources said.
The current tensions on the disputed India-China border – known delightfully for its vagueness as the ‘Line of Actual Control’ – in the western sector of the Ladakh region bordering China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region hark back to the scenario five decades ago when little skirmishes snowballed into a major outbreak of hostility. Fortunately, however, this time around there is a fundamental difference, too, which obviates the danger of a catastrophic slide to armed conflict. On a systemic plane, there are disquieting signs that the Indian establishment has not been pulling together on the country’s China policy and this disconnect, which has been suspected through the recent past, threatens to introduce its own disharmony.
The intriguing ‘leak’ of a draft Status of Forces Agreement [SOFA] between the United States and the Maldivian government has led to reluctant confirmation by both countries that they are indeed involved in discussion with each other to conclude such an agreement.
The draft agreement “incorporates the principal provisions and necessary authorisations for the temporary presence and activities of United States forces in the Republic of Maldives and, in the specific situations indicated herein, the presence and activities of United States contractors in the Republic of Maldives.”
China’s plan to build a second aircraft carrier and the Indian navy’s recent test-firing of a submarine-launched cruise missile should be ringing alarm bells in the Persian Gulf. Beijing and New Delhi are squaring off militarily in the Indian Ocean, the key energy artery from the Middle East and Africa to the Asian giants who need the oil and gas to fuel their expanding economies. At the same time, both states — but China in particular — have sharply boosted investment in Middle Eastern and African energy resources.
A panel of experts at the recent SISO CEO Summit did a great job describing where they’d put their money now—and in five years. Interestingly, they are looking at, and investing in, MIST: Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. Some say the “S” should stand for South Africa.
In spite of the over-hyped press, Mexico is safe and on the rise. Between rising wages and transportation costs in Asia, the maquiladora business in Mexico is booming. Mexico has more free trade agreements in place than any other country in the world. There are good (privately owned) venues in the major cities and great suppliers, hotels and services.
The Arctic Ocean is deceptively vast, spanning 5.4 million square miles. In comparison, Russia in its entirety spans 6.6 million square miles. While most of the Arctic Ocean remains inaccessible, the shrinking of permanent sea ice has roused global economic interest for two reasons. First, the Northern Sea Route runs from the Bering Strait to the Barents Sea, and condenses the traditional “Royal Road” route by about 2500 nautical miles (approximately 10 days’ travel). If viable, the opening of this route would radically alter the transport of goods from Asian industrial hubs to Western consumer markets.
As the Army’s Military Intelligence (MI) and Military Operations (MO) directorates study the Chinese troop incursion into Indian territory at Daulat Beg Oldi, below the towering Karakoram Pass in Ladakh, military analysts are also scanning a newly-released Chinese document for information that might be of help.
Indian military planners who prepare for eventualities like the current PLA incursion spiraling out of control, perhaps even into actual fighting, focus less on total numbers than on the units and formations that can quickly come into action. The White Paper fully corroborates the Army’s estimates of Chinese formations on the Sino-Indian border.
US preoccupation with Sri Lanka’s internal affairs is a cause for concern. Every incident has prompted a comment from the US. If the office of a newspaper is attacked, it is an attack on the independence of the media despite the fact that any number of possibilities not connected with media freedom exists for such attacks.
The compelling reason for US preoccupation with Sri Lanka is attributed to Sri Lanka’s extended engagement with China. The need to counter or balance China’s engagement in Sri Lanka has been recognized by the US and India. While India’s concern has both national and geostrategic ramifications, to the US it is primarily geostrategic.
On 15 April, 2013, several dozen soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered as deep as ten kilometers inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Daulat Beg in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) and set up a camp there. The audacity of the Chinese operation is reflected from the fact that their ground troops were given cover and logistic help by two helicopters to enable them to set up a camp on the Indian territory. Why did the Chinese choose Daulat Beg? The Chinese have not forgotten that it was at this place where the Indians had set up its landing strip during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
The Indian ocean once regarded as a ‘neglected ocean’ has, today, become the hub of political, strategic and economic activities because of the presence of conventional and nuclear vessels of the major powers in the area and because of its own economic and strategic significance. The ocean contains several important minerals: 80.7% of world extraction of gold, 56.6 % of Tin, 28.5 % of manganese, 25.2 % nickel and 77.3% natural rubber. Highest tonnage of the world goods, 65% of world oil, and 35% of the gas, located in the littoral states, passes through it. The region today is an arena of contemporary geopolitics.
In the way China made land grabs across the Himalayas in the 1950s by launching furtive encroachments, it is now waging separate stealth wars—without firing a single shot—to change the status quo in the South and East China Seas, on the line of control with India, and on international river flows. Although China has risen from a backward, poor state to a global economic powerhouse, the key elements in its statecraft and strategic doctrine have not changed. Since the Mao Zedong era, China has adhered to ancient theorist Sun Tzu’s advice, “The ability to subdue the enemy without any battle is the ultimate reflection of the most supreme strategy.”
One of China’s most influential military strategists has made headlines by saying that a new, lethal strain of bird flu is a “U.S. bio-psychological weapon” conspiracy designed to harm China.
Senior Col. Dai Xu, an air force officer in the People’s Liberation Army, has written several best-sellers, mostly on U.S. military strategy toward China, and enjoys a national following. He is a prominent voice inside China on military strategy and national security.Though many in the West view him as an aberration, Col. Dai is a core member of China’s strategic community and his views are backed by a huge following in Chinese military circles.
“We understand what kind of regime North Korea is, but we also understand that North Korea is playing games,” said Sun Zhe, director of the Center for U.S-China Relations at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.
“Most importantly, we are complaining that the United States is using military drills as an excuse to continue to do this (rebalancing), putting up B-2s and other advanced weapons systems,” he said. B-2 and B-52 bombers, radar-evading F-22s and anti-missile system vessels like the USS John S. McCain represented the initial U.S. response to North Korea
In order to further strengthen the defence of Gwadar Port and to enhance the security of vital PN assets and installations along the western coasts, Pakistan Navy has achieved a significant milestone by commissioning the 3rd Pak Marines Battalion. The commissioning ceremony was held today at Gwadar. Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Muhammad Shafiq was the chief guest on the occasion. Addressing the ceremony, the chief guest said that at present the country is faced with internal and external threats, which makes security today’s main concern.
Only too aware of the threat of east Mediterranean supply if Europe is able to diversify away from Russian gas dependency, Moscow has been steadily feting Israel to buy into a piece of the action.Moscow has already advanced a $3.5 billion loan and attempted to gain more leverage over Cyprus’ economic and energy assets during the recent bitter negotiations in the banking crisis.
The Kremlin is playing a much bigger game. Gazprom is already eyeing a role in the development of Israel’s gigantic Leviathan gas field. With its estimated 25 tcf of gas Leviathan is due to come on-stream by 2016. And the eastern Mediterranean bonanza is potentially huge. The US Geological Survey estimates the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin contains around 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
China has sparked off a fresh scare in India’s national security establishment, this time with its little-known collaboration with neighbouring countries’ space-related programmes, adding a new dimension to fears among intelligence agencies the eastern neighbour was encircling India strategically with large communication networks. A string of satellite deals China has struck with Sri Lanka, potential space-related partnerships in Maldives and Bangladesh and their security implications have raised concern in New Delhi.
China has become the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, a respected Sweden-based think tank said on Monday, its highest ranking since the Cold War, with Pakistan the main recipient.
China’s volume of weapons exports between 2008 and 2012 rose 162 percent compared to the previous five year period, with its share of the global arms trade rising from 2 percent to 5 percent, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said. China replaces Britain in the top five arms-dealing countries between 2008 and 2012, a group dominated by the United States and Russia, which accounted for 30 percent and 26 percent of weapons exports, SIPRI said.
Japan plans to strengthen its maritime security alliance with Sri Lanka to curb China’s growing influence on countries with Indian Ocean coastlines. A joint statement on maritime security cooperation will be issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 14, sources said.
China, which replaced Japan as the largest aid provider to Sri Lanka in 2009, has been helping with construction of a number of port facilities in countries around India in a strategy known as the “String of Pearls.” A government source said tightening ties with Sri Lanka is “a step toward driving a wedge into the String of Pearls.”
India and China are fuelling mutual suspicion by their ongoing military build-up, even though neither of them currently appear to seek to overturn the strategic balance on their borders, US spy chief said today.
“Neither India nor China currently seeks to overturn the strategic balance on the border or commit provocations that would destabilise the relationship. However, India and China are each increasing their military abilities to respond to a border crisis,” James R Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said during a US Congressional hearing on global threats.
Wary of China’s defence modernisation and infrastructure building in the Tibet Autonomous region, India will be raising a new formidable corps-sized formation of 30,000 infantry in the 13th Five-year Plan period that ends in 2022. This new infantry force will be over and above the new Mountain Strike Corps with nearly 40,000 soldiers that India will raise, to act as a counter to China, in the northeastern region. Independent infantry brigades and armoured brigades that are being raised to plug the operational gaps along the 4,057-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) and for building offensive capabilities against the giant neighbouring nation’s powerful military.
The US and its allies must be viewing this convergence of Chinese, Pakistani and Iranian strategic and economic interests in Gwadar and Balochistan with extreme trepidation. In one fell swoop, the Straits of Hormuz and the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) to and from the Persian Gulf have come under Chinese oversight.
Furthermore, regional economies are getting integrated “independent” of Western influence and domination. The prospects of a network of oil and gas pipelines (IP, even TAPI) flowing from the Middle East (ME) and CARs to Pakistan and China are that much brighter now.
The Indian Ocean remains a tumultuous zone, where a lack of governance along its shores has spawned a series of security chasms offshore. This spillover effect has been most apparent off the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, where rampant piracy has prompted a continuous rotation of multinational naval taskforces. Meanwhile, an upsurge in Islamic extremism in countries such as Pakistan and Somalia has heightened regional anxiety over maritime terrorism and seaborne infiltration.
In a recent interview, Afghanistan’s Deputy National Security Adviser (DNSA) Rahmatullah Nabil accused the ISI of plotting terror attacks to destabilise the country. He reportedly said that Afghanistan would push the United States to put the ISI on its terror ban list and demand sanctions on it.
The strongly-worded official Afghan reaction would certainly affect outside efforts to stitch an agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan on bringing the Taliban into government. However, India refused to back Nabil’s latest call for a ban on the ISI.
Chinese and Indian consumers are living well and eating well. And that could spark a global crisis. The consumer boom in China and India will touch off global inflation and could lead to food and water riots if investment, policy, and technology don’t keep pace.
Without smart, quick action by the private sector and government alike, surging Chinese and Indian demand for premium foods will lead to commodity volatility, runaway food prices, and worldwide water shortages as the “boomerang effect” brings the unexpected impact of Asian growth to U.S. shores. That’s the conclusion of research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The main findings are presented in “The Boomerang Effect,” a Perspective that is being released today
Sri Lanka will start storing bunker fuel at the $1.5-billion (U.S.) Hambantota port in June, a senior official said, after years of delays to the Chinese-built installation that sits on strategic shipping lanes, and a key step to making it commercially viable.
The $130-million storage project contains eight tanks of bunker oil for ships and six tanks of aviation fuel and LPG. The port is envisioned as a refuelling and service point for cargo ships which pass a few kilometres away off the southern tip of the Indian Ocean island nation, on one of the world’s busiest east-west shipping lanes.
Here are six of the 1962 principles China replicated in its subsequent aggressions: (1) take the adversary by surprise to maximize political and psychological shock; (2) strike only when the international and regional timing is opportune; (3) hit as fast and as hard as possible by unleashing “human wave” assaults; (4) be willing to take military gambles; (5) mask offense as defense; and (6) wage war with the political objective to “teach a lesson” — an aim publicly acknowledged by Beijing in the 1962 and 1979 attacks.
In 1971, India intervened militarily on behalf of Bengalis in the civil war in East Pakistan, dividing the country in two and helping to create Bangladesh. In 2013, prospects of another civil war in Pakistan — this time one that pits radical Islamists against the secular but authoritarian military — have led once again to questions about what India would do. What would trigger Indian intervention, and who would India support?
In the context of a civil war between Islamists and the army in Pakistan, it is hard to imagine Pakistani refugees streaming into India and triggering intervention as the Bengalis did in 1971.
The idea of south-south co-operation evokes a positive image of solidarity between developing countries through the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge. It’s an attractive proposition, intended to shift the international balance of power and help developing nations break away from aid dependence and achieve true emancipation from former colonial powers. However, the discourse of south-south co-operation has become a cover for human rights violations involving southern governments and companies.
The balance of power in the world is changing, with many new power players emerging — in some cases re-emerging — with growing militaries that challenges U.S. interests in the world and highlight the increasing security challenges of the 21st century.
While the U.S. ponders cutting its military spending, her competitors and allies are ramping up their military strength to advance their interests in their part of the world and beyond. In Asia, China, Japan, and India stand as the leaders in military spending with an emphasis in quantity for the purpose of improving their standing and to uphold their national pride.
There are about 79 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide—and India’s government wants to hand its spy agency data on every one of them. In late 2012, back when it was still officially known as Research in Motion, the company behind BlackBerry handsets worked with the Indian government to enable surveillance of Blackberry Messenger and Blackberry Internet Service emails. But now India’s authorities are complaining that they can only spy on communications sent between the estimated 1 million BlackBerry users in India—and they want a list of all BlackBerry handsets across the globe.
“India’s grand strategy divides the world into three concentric circles. In the first, which encompasses the immediate neighbourhood, India has sought primacy and a veto over actions of outside powers.” – C. Raja Mohan
India with a population of 1.24 billion and GDP of $2.19 trillion in nominal terms looms large on the South Asian subcontinent. None of the other South Asian countries comes even close to the size of India’s population and economy. In fact, its population and GDP are more than the combined population and GDP of all the other South Asian countries.
Will armies battle each other, as the cry for “blue gold” gets furious? Will “water wars” be as prevalent as conflict for the “black gold” of oil? Two documentary films have wetted public interest – Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and Last Call at the Oasis, and a dystopia novel – The Water Wars – warns of its imminence.
In actuality, history’s pages are already splashed with dozens of conflicts. In 2,450 B.C. the Sumerian cities of Lagash and Umma warred over Tigris-Euphrates water. More recently, Senegal and Mauritaniabattled in 1989 over grazing rights in the Senegal River Valley – hundreds were killed, 250,000 fled their homes. The Pacific Institute provides an excellent map and timeline of 225 water skirmishes.