23 September 2017

Major U.S. Military Bases Near North Korea


-- this post authored by Niall McCarthy

Amid rising tensions with Pyongyang, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that American forces are "locked and loaded" to respond to an attack by North Korea.

While the U.S. military presence in South Korea is well placed defensively, any offensive strike against the North would require the deployment of a huge number of military assets, and the Pentagon has confirmed that no such deployment has taken place.

Around 23,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea and nearly 40,000 more are stationed in Japan. The following infographic provides an overview of the key U.S. military bases in the region that would prove indispensable in any conflict with North Korea.

Notable installations include Osan and Kunsan Air Bases in South Korea, where American A-10 and F-16 aircraft are permanently based. Yokosuka in Japan is home to the only permanently forward-deployed U.S. aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan. The carrier strike group and its escorting destroyer group are some of the most potent U.S. military assets in the region.

You will find more statistics at Statista.

21 September 2017

SALUTE TO THE ARMY MEDICAL FRATERNITY


Immediately after my Defence Service’s Staff College course, I was posted in Baramulla Divison as DAQMG. We had a very fine set of officers at grade 1 and 2 level and we gelled perfectly. Our GSO1 (Int) was Lt Col JDS Rawat who later went on to become the first 3 star officer from Intelligence Corps. I had shared lot of cigarettes, not to mention Buddha Baba(Old Monk) with him. The GSO-1 (Ops) was a Sword of Honour winner from Sappers. I served again with Maj Gen Shah in HQ Northern Command in 2017 when he was MG-ic-Adm.

Our AQMG was an outstanding professional from EME. My Staff Captain (Q) was ACA from NDA and belonged to Sikh regiment. Once we complained to our AQMG that why does he did not leave any job for us as he used to do everything himself. He smiled and said “why to bother you when I can handle all this”. And boy, Lt Col Umesh could handle anything.

I had a false sense of pride that I was one hell of a rum drinker. In the first get together of Q branch that we had, Col Umesh let us know who is the boss. The other common thread in the Q branch was all three of us were 6 ft and above. We were very professional and happy team. The best place to have a drink was the jetty in front of Officers’ Mess. It was a divine feeling in moon lit evenings in the jetty where Jhelum flows under you. You can see the glad PK. 

Major Venkatash popular known as Venky, was our RVC rep in Divisional HQs. He was our Man Friday and was loaded with all the stupid board of officers and court of inquires that Q branch had to undertake. We did not used to pass these to the lower formations. This man without any crib did all these back breaking jobs with a smiling face. We all admired him. No wonder today he is a two star officer posted at RVC directorate in Army HQ. 

Capt KP Singh from Madras Regiment was staff captain Q in the then HQ 16 Sector in Nagaum. He was fiercely loyal to his paltans and extracted everything possible from us by his professional work, requests and sometimes cajoling so that his troops didn’t suffer. In 2013, he was commanding the Siachen Brigade. I have lost track of him after that. 

Our DADH was Lt Col PK Som. Som Dada was lean and thin and was oldest serving officer in the Div sector. Obviously he had no maibap. He used to tell us stories about how the GOC was shot and the Col GS designate was killed in the middle of old Baramulla town and how difficult it was to extricate the GOC and how he was ultimately evacuated at night to Srinagar. On popular demand he was our permanent Mess Secretary. Somehow by cajoling, requesting, brow beating the supply depot and the CO of ASC battalion and Military Firm he kept us very well fed. He had his own way of getting excellent cooks from somewhere to give us those delicious Kashmiri meat preparations on Sundays. When the medical officer at MI room went on leave he used to officiate in his place also.

Our GOC was a very frugal eater, through out the day he used to have couple of cups of soup/kahwah and one odd apple or some other fruit. He never went back from office during lunch. We were at liberty to go and come back to office as per our convenience. But the GOC from 8 GR would always have his quota of two thullow rakshi in the evening. No wonder all Q branch officers, JDS Rawat, Som dada and others were avid fan of Buddha Baba.

A Swedish firm was constructing the Uri Hydro electrical Power project. They had huge Volvo vehicles and earthmoving equipments. One day one of the 3 ton vehicles carrying troops of an Artillery unit met with an accident with a big Volvo vehicle at Rampur. There were a lot of casualties. As the casualties started coming to MI room, Som Dada was already there as the medical officer was on leave. The two nursing assistants were busy assisting him. The two telephones were being manned by GSO1 (OPS) and AQMG. They were tying up details of QRT and administrative details. The Base Hospital (BH) at Srinagar was forewarned about what to expect. 

It was a ghastly sight in MI room. There were grey brain material on the floor, broken limbs and blood were everywhere. It was twilight hour, Som Dada suddenly shouted an expletive and said without looking behind “move away from the window, you are obstructing light”. I saw a shadow silently move away. It was Rostum Nanavatty, the GOC. After a quick bit of first aid activities and packing up, the casualties were sent on fast track to BH Srinagar. The BH Srinagar had a fearsome reputation that anybody who reaches there alive would never die. In the most trying circumstances the BH always lived up to its reputation. The Surgeons themselves donated blood number of times when there was no time.

It was a textbook demonstration of professionalism of the highest order. The job had to be done and was done with professional elan. Later on there was no hankering after awards or citations. A job had to be done and that’s it.

I was posted at Katihar known as Kala Pani of Bihar in 1983. One of my Jawans with his wife met with a scooter accident at Katihar town. The lady had severe stomach injury. I do not wish to describe the inside of Katihar district hospital. Suffice is to say, the attending doctor did not even know how to insert drip. My nursing assistant did that job. The attending doctors said that the journey of 230 kms to BH Bengdubi cannot be withstood by the patient. She had internal hemorrhage. Seeing the condition of the hospital, I took a command decision. I sent her in our 1 ton ambulance with our nursing assistant and oxygen cylinder directly to BH Bengdubi. I spoke to the hospital authority about the casualty. 

Immediately on arrival she was wheeled into the OT. There was internal injury. During the operation the Anesthetist shouted “I can’t keep the patient!”. The surgeon kept the gauges inside and stopped the operation. After transfusing lot of blood, when the patient’s condition stabilized a bit after two days she was operated upon again. The lady survived.

I was posted at Binnaguri in 1990. There was no video/tv coverage, STD telephone. Electricity was only for a few hours that too about 150 volt. Akashvani Kurseong was very faint. There was no entertainment. 

Once we woke up in the morning as some sound was coming from our kitchen garden when we peeped from the first floor balcony we saw couple of elephants munching away the banana plants to glory. They were so happy.

The Adm Commandant was a Signals officer. He was the proud owner of a well fed, well groomed German Shephard dog. In the evening he was as usual walking the dog. The dog was not chained and following him. Suddenly he realized the dog was not there. The leopards are very fond of dog. The good Colonel could not even realize that his dog was taken away.

After all the Adm Commandant was not amused. He contacted the forest department people and a trap in cage was laid. The bait was a live goat provided by our supply depot. The leopard came but the goat died of heart attack. It was below the dignity of the leopard to eat dead animal. He did not enter the cage. 

The next day a strong live goat was procured from the local market. The trap was set. The leopard came at night and the shutters went down.

In the morning it was a scene. The leopard was angry, trying to get out of the cage it had injured itself. He was bleeding, snarling. The whole of Binnaguri including all the tea garden workers lined up to see how the caged animal was being taken out. One felt sorry for the magnificent animal. Leopard can get used to changed environment very fast and are survivors. I suppose even today if you travel at night by road in the route Chalsa - Odlabari - Mong Pong - Coronation Bridge, you can have a sight of this beautiful animal.

The MH had medical, surgical and gynecologist specialist. When the surgical specialist would go on leave the gynecologist used to officiate and vice versa. One of my Jawan’s wife was admitted in MH. She had been complaining of stomach pain for a long time. There was a circus show at Banarhat nearby. The gynecologist was officiating as surgical specialist who was taking out his car for going to the circus show with his wife and children in the evening. There was a persistent ring in his telephone. Very reluctantly he went inside the house picked up the phone. The nursing officer on duty wanted him to come to the hospital immediately. The doctor was slightly irritated and said I will come directly to the MH after the show but the nursing officer was adamant and firm and insisted that he must come immediately. The doctor sent his disappointed wife and children inside his home and went to MH. He carried out an operation immediately. When I went to the MH he showed me the rotten putrid stinking part of the intestine that was taken out. The lady survived although she had to take bland diet throughout her life. Lt Col Rana told me that because of this nursing officer the lady is alive today. 

The doctors and the nursing staff carry out some impossible tasks at extreme odds in far flunk frontiers of the country to keep our armed forces and their families safe and fit. No amount of praise is sufficient enough for them.

I salute the men and women of Army Medical Corps and Military Nursing Service.

20 September 2017

Indian Strategic Studies has crossed 5 million hit



On 16 September 2017 my blog site www.strategystudyindia.blogspot.in has crossed 5 million hits. My present health doesn't permit me to enjoy a quiet drink from "buddha baba" as I'm recuperating from a bad Typhoid. I can be quietly proud of this long journey. I have never missed a single day, come what may.

Spending 6-7 hours a day on this blog site is not easy. I wanted to monetize this site so that I can employ some people to carry this forward. I had approached google add sense for ads. Since I do not write anything myself, it was not possible for google to put adds in my blog. I have been told by many you don't write yourself, what is the use? Can somebody help me so that I can employ people to take this job forward? I was told that I had to open an account in Paypal or such other account, take permission from Department of Revenue Intelligence and then only I can think of getting some revenue.


I have not been able to update my knowledge on line (http://indianstrategicknowledgeonline.com/) website much in last two years. One requires a good internet connection to do it. Recently I was reading a paper on China : The Three Warfares published by Andy Marshall,Director, Office of Net Assessment, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C. To my pleasant surprise, I found that a number of references were quoted from my knowledge on line website. Many scholarly papers quote from my knowledge on line website as a source material.

The countrywise distribution of my blogsite is given below 

Pageviews by Countries


United States     1466178
India                   812627
Russia                429382
Germany            370071
France               291533
Ukraine              101294
China                 76579
Netherlands       75675
Poland               60073
United Kingdom 57536

I have neither the time nor the the energy to do all these. I am taking a deep breath and will stop this blog site for sometime till I decide in which form, if at all it, it should take. It is time now to move on and write some papers on my own and prove my detractors wrong!

PS. Do not send a message saying good job, keep up the good work, etc.

I don't need those.

19 September 2017

*** The Dirty Work of Russian Assassins



At 6:08 p.m. on Sept. 8, the cacophony of Kiev's Friday evening rush hour was pierced by an explosion under a black Toyota Camry in the middle of heavy traffic near Bessarabska Square in the heart of the capital. The car's driver, Timur Mahauri, a Chechen with Georgian citizenship, was killed instantly. His wife and their 10-year-old child who were riding with him were hurt, but they survived.

Mahauri was reportedly a member of a Chechen militant group fighting with Ukrainian troops against separatist and Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Media reports suggested that Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov considered him an enemy. In addition to these two possible motives for his assassination, Kiev has recently become a hot spot for the assassination of Moscow's enemies, and opponents of the Chechen government are being killed in a worldwide campaign. Indeed, given Mahauri's enemies and location, it is surprising that he didn't check his car for bombs before he got into it. This case provides important lessons for others.
Moscow's Wetwork

As I've discussed elsewhere, Russia's intelligence agencies have a long history of involvement in assassinations, refered to by its intelligence officers as "wetwork" or "wet affairs." Indeed, they have pursued the enemies of the Russian government around the globe: Alexander Litvinenko was murdered in London in November 2006; and Mikhail Lesin died under mysterious circumstances in Washington, D.C., in November 2015. They are not the only examples. It should come as no surprise then that people considered to be enemies of the Kremlin — including opposition politician Boris Nemtsov — are being murdered in Russia itself as well as in adjacent countries.

* Is China’s ‘Frontline State Strategy’ going out of Control or North Korea Crazy?

By Maj Gen SB Asthana
The Frontline State Strategy of China

When President Trump on taking over tried to outsource the problem of resolving North Korean Crisis to China presumably in exchange of some trade concessions, his administration overlooked the fact that China was part of the problem. The disappointment which his Administration suffered and expressed later was an expected outcome. The Chinese Strategy of North Korea being used as a ‘Frontline State’ against US and its ally South Korea, dates back to Korean War of 1953, when China entered the War with an aim to avoid US/South Korea to be its neighbour, as a permanent continental military threat. This deep rooted strategy continued helping North Korea a militarily strong nuclear state with autocratic regime, making it a major global threat. The strategy is still applicable to the same extent, with China’s overt and covert support to North Korea involved in nuclear and missile test misadventures, posing a threat to its greatest competitors. This strategy now seems to become a liability with North Korea irresponsible actions post UN sanctions, and Beijing’s announcement that ‘If North Korea invades another country, China will not defend them’.

In fact China has adopted this successful ‘Frontline State Strategy’ to Pakistan in a different, modified form by getting warm water connectivity to gulf with port facility. They have been able to buy over the strategic choices of Pakistan, by potentially getting them into long term debt trap. In this case also China reaps the fruits of Pakistan’s Kashmir fascination and keeping its regional competitor (India) engaged by ongoing export of terror by Pakistan, by continuously ignoring it. The worldwide criticism of Pakistan’s role in harboring terrorists, and China’s criticism of supporting an irresponsible regime sponsoring it has led to actions like condemning some Pakistan based terror groups in BRICS Summit, as a midcourse correction. The risk of propping up a semi autocratic power (Pakistan being a sham democracy, with autocratic power of Pakistan Army) having nuclear power is marred with uncontrollable risks, slightly similar to its Frontline State North Korea.

Current State of North Korean Crisis

India’s Strategic Choices: China and the Balance of Power in Asia

RAJESH RAJAGOPALAN
India is a rising power, but its transformation is occurring in the shadow of China’s even more impressive ascent. Beijing’s influence will almost certainly continue to grow and has already upset Asia’s geopolitical balance. India must decide how to secure its interests in this unbalanced environment by choosing among six potential strategic options: staying unaligned, hedging, building indigenous military power, forming regional partnerships, aligning with China, or aligning with the United States. A closer alignment with Washington likely represents India’s best chance to counter China, while efforts to foster regional partnerships and cultivate domestic military capabilities, although insufficient by themselves, could play a complementary role.

Challenges Posed by China’s Rise

China is a direct military threat to India, particularly in light of the two countries’ border disputes. Though India has considerable military power, China’s forces are already stronger and better-funded; Beijing’s outsized wealth will likely allow it to outspend New Delhi for the foreseeable future.

Beijing’s influence in both established international organizations like the United Nations and in new institutions China is setting up, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, gives Beijing opportunities to hamper Indian interests and goals in multilateral forums, especially when it comes to reforming these institutions and giving India a greater voice in global affairs.

China’s alignment with Pakistan and deepening relations with other South Asian countries represents a significant challenge to India’s position in the region, which New Delhi has dominated for decades. Beijing’s ability to provide financial assistance and balance against New Delhi may tempt India’s smaller neighbors to play one power against the other, undermining India in its own backyard.

China’s economic power allows Beijing to spread its influence around the world, which could be used to India’s detriment.

India’s Potential Policy Responses

Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh (1919-2017): Man of Stupendous Achievements

By Commodore C Uday Bhaskar (Retd.)

It is appropriate and befitting, given his stature and distinctive profile, that the only Marshal of the Air Force (MAF), Arjan Singh, was accorded a state funeral with the national flag flown at half-mast.

The MAF is the equivalent of a five-star Field Marshal (FM) in the army and India had earlier elevated only two officers to that rank – Sam ‘Bahadur’ Manekshaw and later ‘Kipper’ Cariappa. Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh was elevated to Marshal of the Air Force in January 2002.

In an unprecedented but welcome gesture, the President and the Prime Minister led the country in paying tribute to an ‘icon’ – not just of the Indian Air Force, or the Indian military – but for the entire nation.

Born in 1919, the MAF was just two years short of his ‘century’ and while his demise is indeed very sad, he lived a life that will remain an inspiration for a younger generation that can only glean some part of his professional trajectory from military history books and related documentation.

The bare statistics about the MAF’s life are stupendous. Commissioned in the erstwhile Royal Indian Air Force in December 1939, he began life as a fighter-pilot in the earliest bi-planes of the time and was awarded for high gallantry with a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) during the Burma campaign in 1944.

Armies of US, India Begin Joint Military Drills


The Indian and U.S. armies have started the thirteenth iteration of their Yudh Abhyas series of joint military exercises.

The exercise began on September 14 at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state in the United States and will go on until September 27.

The United States and India trade off on hosting iterations of the exercises. The first-ever drill under the Yudh Abhyas moniker was carried out in 2004 at the platoon level and has since been expanded.

The exercise this year will focus primarily on the counter-terrorism operations and will also included strategic consultations between senior armed forces officers on both sides.

Last year’s Yudh Abhyas was held in India, in the Chaubatia foothills in India’s state of Uttarakhand near the Sino-Indian border.

the “focus of the exercise will be counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in mountainous terrain under a UN mandate.”

Though the U.S. Department of Defense or Pacific Command has not publicly confirmed the exact scope of this year’s exercise, it is likely intended to focus on similar operations under a United Nations mandate.

The Indian Defense Ministry released a statement noting that the exercise would allow troops from both sides to “hone their tactical skills in counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations under a joint brigade headquarter.”

“Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in UN peace keeping operations,” it added.

Indian must Doggedly Preserve its Strategic Independence

By Ambassador Bhaswati Mukherjee

A nation’s foreign policy is strongly influenced by the imperatives of its neighbourhood, its strategic environment and the perception of its own status in the international community. India’s extended neighbourhood, outlined in Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’, the ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, as one of widening concentric circles around a central axis of historical and cultural commonalities, is an appealing definition which is a rational mean of demonstrating India’s future great power status. 

India is proactively pursuing a vigorous bilateral and multilateral agenda, based on its national security templates, at a time when the world is facing many new global strategic challenges. What are these new challenges? To what extent have our decision makers in the making of foreign policy been successful in addressing them?

The remarkable continuity in Indian foreign policy despite change of governments has some advantages, but also drawbacks.

There are certain principles in our foreign policy which we are reluctant to shed even if the global scenario starkly demonstrates our need to move on and find new strategic paradigms.

Non-alignment is one of them. We have never formally jettisoned non alignment. After the present government came to power, we have only sent our former Vice President to attend Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit meetings.

This is a clear signal of our distancing ourselves from NAM. Today, our lip service to NAM makes a mockery of our continued membership.

With the end of the Cold War, a new era of globalisation and, in an increasingly uni-polar world, India should have analysed and thought through its foreign policy and strategic directives based on its definition of strategic autonomy and its national security interests.

The Search for Crime and Justice on America's Indian Reservations



New Mexico is quietly wild. Its multicolored sunsets, volcano-pocked terrain and unique cultural landscape attract tourists, inspire artists and mask its dark side. After all, one of the perks of the sparsely populated state is that it's wide-open spaces offer a makeshift sanctuary to those who seek isolation and freedom, but with that magnitude of freedom comes the danger of believing that the day-to-day social and legal restrictions that govern society no longer apply. Anything seems possible under the desert sun, and many people have gone out of their way to test that theory.

Crime in the desert is like a flower on a cactus. It flourishes in unexpected places. It is not easily beaten back by brutal or unexpected elements. It does not shy away from the brink of extinction or the occasional danger.

It is difficult to kill.

This has sometimes been a harsh reality for the sprawling territories that are governed by the state’s twenty-three Indian tribes.

New Mexico is no stranger to unusual crimes, so it is unlikely that authorities were shocked when they caught Loren Lloyd Wauneka and Lisa Benally stealing jewelry, furniture and firearms from a law-enforcement officer’s residence on the Navajo Nation reservation in January 2016. Both had criminal histories. Wauneka was convicted of the crime and sentenced to thirty-seven months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, according to an August 10 Department of Justice press statement. Benally is still awaiting her day in court. She faces ten years in federal prison.

ANGLING FOR ADVANTAGE: IRAN’S DIFFERENTIAL APPROACH TO SOUTHERN ASIA

HUSSEIN BANAI

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh installment of “Southern (Dis)Comfort,” a new series from War on the Rocks and the Stimson Center. The series seeks to unpack the dynamics of intensifying competition — military, economic, diplomatic — in Southern Asia, principally between China, India, Pakistan, and the United States. Catch up on the rest of the series

As a revolutionary state, Iran’s grand strategy is perennially torn between the rigid imperatives of ideological consistency and practical considerations of its national interests. Since the onset of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Iranian leaders have struggled to achieve a balance between these currents in the pursuit of broader objectives in the surrounding regions. The result has been a demonstrably different foreign policy approach to Southern Asia than to the Middle East.

In the resource-rich, Arab-dominated Middle East, Iran’s long-term strategic aim has been to resist the emergence of a powerful U.S.-backed Sunni coalition that could challenge the Islamic Republic’s pan-Islamic appeal and ambitions. Since the advent of the Islamic Republic in 1979, Iranian leaders have consistently linked the survival of their regime with successful resistance of a U.S.-Sunni Arab-Israel axis, which they regard as obstinately bent on overthrowing it. To this end, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) – the regime’s praetorian guards and chief purveyors of its revolutionary mission – have over the years cultivated a resilient network of Shi’a militant groups and political parties stretching from southwestern Iraq to the shores of the Mediterranean (the so-called “Shi’a Crescent”). This strategy has played a significant role in the intensification of conflicts along sectarian lines since the onset of the Arab uprisings in 2010, but IRGC commanders have framed it as merely the fulfillment of their revolutionary duties to fellow Shi’a Muslims. They have been especially open about their financial, military, and intelligence support for the Hezbollah-Assad nexus, which offers the Islamic Republic a major strategic foothold in the Levant.

sense of strategic opportunity, rather than existential angst, in Iranian leaders’ imaginations.

America Could Be in Afghanistan for Another 16 Years

Dave Majumdar

American forces could still be in Afghanistan sixteen years from now—or even generations from now—under the White House’s current strategy of maintaining an open-ended commitment to that war-torn nation.

“I think we will be there in sixteen years,” retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told an audience at the Center for the National Interest during a lunch-time discussion on Sept. 13. “But I don’t think this is a sixteen-year loss on our part.”

Allen said that American forces in Afghanistan could be “holding the line” indefinitely into the future under President Donald Trump’s new strategy. The United States drew down its forces very quickly during the waning days of the Obama administration, which inevitably led to the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. “President Trump has removed the end date and has given us an end state,” Allen said. “With this president committed to an outcome that is whatever he calls winning...then I think we can hold the line at the security level.”

Holding the line at the security level would allow the Afghans to develop greater capacity in governance and greater capacity in economic development. “If we can get those two going—where we’re holding the line at the security level—and we’ve got a chance,” Allen said. “So we may well be there for another sixteen years, we’ve been in Kosovo for a very long time. We’ve had troops in the Sinai for a generation.”

U.S., NATO still trying to map out Afghanistan strategy

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff

A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter conducts a medical mission in support of Afghan Commandos in Afghanistan, April 10, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Sara Wakai/ Released)

TIRANA, Albania — Even though President Trump announced his strategy for the war in Afghanistan in August, the Pentagon and NATO are still trying to map their way forward in the nearly 16-year-old conflict, according to U.S. officials.

The delay is the byproduct of the U.S. commander’s vision for the war and the alliance’s ability to provide the troops required to make it a reality, according to a U.S. official who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing deliberations.

In recent weeks, the United States deployed additional forces into Afghanistan — a move that coincided with the announcement of Trump’s strategy — to help bolster Afghan forces during the final months of this year’s fighting season. The immediate surge was a short-term solution, requested by battlefield commanders, but the Pentagon is still assessing how U.S. troops will be deployed in the country in 2018, according to a U.S. official in Afghanistan.

Speaking to a small group of reporters, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the head of the U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, said that he expects to have a “full picture” on NATO commitments by October.

“There is still a lack of clarity which positions, which functions, to focus their contributions,” said Czech Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee. Speaking at a news conference here, Pavel added that the recently announced U.S. strategy provides a clearer picture of the way forward, but the alliance won’t make final troop decisions until another conference in October.

China Pressuring Pakistan on Terrorism?

By Arushi Kumar

President Donald Trump, in an announcement on the recent overhaul of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, admonished Pakistan for sheltering “the same organizations that try every single day to kill our people” in the fight against the Taliban. Yet analysts have questioned whether Pakistan really needs to heed the United States’ call to “demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order, and to peace,” given the growing warmth of its relationship with China. Despite China being the first to rush to Pakistan’s side and denouncePresident Trump’s remarks, the declaration following the 2017 BRICS Summit held in Xiamen proved to be significant – it marked the first time Beijing agreed to condemn Pakistan-based terror groups like the Haqqani Network, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), despite repeatedly blocking the United Nations Security Council from listing JeM leader Masood Azhar as a globally-designated terrorist in the last year.

China’s diplomatic support for Pakistan at these critical moments prevented sanctions that could have had negative political and economic ramifications on Islamabad. At the time, India deemed China’s action at the international forum to be a confirmation of the “prevalence of double standards in the fight against terrorism.” So, what has changed? Despite public statements in support of Pakistan, China’s increasing economic stakes and evolving security concerns in the region seem to be forcing Beijing to reorient its internal calculus and tighten its grip over security in Pakistan.

Chinese Interests in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Testing Pakistan’s Conventional Response Below the Nuclear Threshold


By Rameshwar Roy

The Doklam issue stands resolved after a nearly 73-day standoff, at least for the time being. It has been a tremendous battle of nerves and resolve on part of the Indian Army’s to not only intervene in time, but hold on to their positions steadfastly and give adequate time until diplomatic parleys finally found a successful breakthrough. This has once again shifted focus back to India’s traditional adversary - Pakistan.

Time and again, whenever there is a terrorist strike in J&K or elsewhere in the country, there are endless debates in the media, news papers get filled with all kinds of ideas on responses that must be galvanised into powerful actions in order to make Pakistan pay more for its misadventures against India which it routinely denies and stresses the activities as having been carried out by ‘non-state’ actors that they are never aware of. This hide and seek has been going on since the decade of the nineties more proactively, but at large for close to seven decades.

Often enough, there has been a debate on the possibilities of a conventional war under the nuclear threshold. However, it is about time to debate and discuss Pakistan’s threshold of conventional response to India’s trans LoC raids that Delhi should decide to undertake at a time and place of its choosing the moment it is able to trace back its linkages of terrorists striking Indian territory that lead back to the Pakistan establishment or terrorist outfits based inside Pakistan. The latest trend in Pakistan is that these terrorists outfits are in the process of being ‘converted’ into a legitimate political force by forming political parties with stakes in governance making it even more difficult to detect and act against them.

Will jihad kill China-Pakistan Economic Corridor!!!

By RSN Singh

China and Pakistan have signed an Anti-Terror Cooperation Agreement devoted exclusively for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The imperative being increasing threat to the CPEC from jihadi groups. The agreement was signed in Beijing after extensive talks between Meng Jianzhu, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party Central Committee with his Pakistani counterparts Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and National Security Advisor, Nasser Khan Janjua. The timing of the visit by this Pakistani delegation assumed importance because it was in the wake of BRICS Summit, wherein Pakistan was indirectly castigated for harbouring terrorist groups and sponsoring terrorism. The agreement in a way reiterates China’s surprise position in BRICS on jihadi terror groups in Pakistan. It appears that these groups have begun to cause anxiety amongst the Chinese authorities with regard to the security of CPEC. It may also be mentioned that Pakistan has already deployed some 15,000 personnel, i.e. 9,000 army and 6,000 para-military, for the security of the CPEC.

All jihadi tanzims are ultimately global jihadi organizations in orientation and treat Pakistan as merely a base.

This anti-terror cooperation agreement exclusively for the CPEC is a tacit admission that many of the jihadi groups operating from Pakistani soil are against the project. All jihadi tanzims are ultimately global jihadi organizations in orientation and treat Pakistan as merely a base. It is the concept and mission of global jihad that the factories of jihad, i.e. Mosques and Madrasas relentlessly purvey,, invoking relevant suras of Quran.

In the Quran, there is no mention of entity called Pakistan. Of course, there is indeed mention of Ghazwa-e-Hind, which prophesizes that the ultimate battle of Islam will be fought in the Indian Subcontinent. So, bereft of any mention in Quran, Pakistan has absolutely no Islamic sanctity in the scheme of global jihad. The jihadis are weaned on the idea of global jihad rather than Pakistan in their indoctrination. The strategic agenda of Pakistani State is only an adjunct of global jihad.

Here's How Private Contractors Can Help Win the Afghan War

September 17, 2017

The president has declared a “path forward” for Afghanistan. Given that the United States is at a nexus for strategic change, might there be an increased role for private contractors in positions previously held by U.S. troops? A proposal from Erik Prince, formerly the head of Blackwater Worldwide, claims that with the use of his “corporate warriors” he can end the war in Afghanistan. Can it work? History suggests that it can. But to be successful, it would require a level of commitment and integration not yet demonstrated. It also relies upon the imperatives of capability, capacity and efficiency, as well as the effectiveness of those chosen to perform the task that the U.S. military has been unable to accomplish: winning the war. First, though, there must be a real understanding of what private security contractors (PSCs) actually do, and how they can and will be held accountable for their actions.

What We Are Doing Is Not Working

As has been evident since the earliest forms of combat, exclusively conducting one method or way of war is rarely effective in the long term. Sustained victory requires an adaptable force that understands and adjusts to changing political, social and economic landscapes. This force does not need to be drawn only from national militaries, or provided by the UN or so-called “coalitions of the willing.” PSCs have been used effectively in the past to stop civil wars and to bring parties to the table in moves toward peace. Successful PSCs understood the physical terrain as well as the human terrain, something Erik Prince claims his warriors know from their years of experience in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world. Where U.S. troops rotate every year to eighteen months, Prince says that if given the chance his forces will be there over the long term, and see the war to its conclusion. He contends that consistency of personnel and experience will make all the difference. In contrast, our current model of rotating soldiers (and leadership: seventeen commanders in sixteen years) through Afghanistan has not worked.

A Baseline for Success

Suspected U.S. drone strike targets militants in Pakistan, regional official says


PARACHINAR/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected U.S. drone strike killed three people in the tribal area of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border on Friday, a senior regional official said, in what Afghan Taliban sources say was an attack targeting a Haqqani network militant.

If confirmed, it would be the first U.S. drone strike inside Pakistan since President Donald Trump outlined a new Afghanistan strategy and pushed Islamabad to take greater action against Pakistan-based Haqqani militants who are allied to the Afghan Taliban.

Baseer Khan Wazir, the political agent and the most senior administrator in the Kurram Agency region in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), said the drone strike took place close to the border with Afghanistan.

“Two missiles were dropped on the home of Maulvi Mohib and three people have been killed,” Wazir said.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led international force in Kabul had no immediate information on the report but said he would look into it.

Two Afghan Taliban sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Mohib was affiliated with the Haqqani network.

“He remained associated with the Haqqani network but wasn’t a prominent figure,” said one senior Taliban member.

A second commander confirmed that Mohib was part of the Afghan Taliban: “We don’t differentiate the Haqqani network and Taliban. This is just a propaganda of the western media,” he said.

End Of The Oil Age: Not Whether But When

17 September 2017

from the International Monetary Fund

A transportation revolution is underway that could completely transform the oil market in the coming decades.

When oil prices suddenly halved from over $100 a barrel in 2014, our IMF studyconcluded that supply-side factors such as the emergence of shale and new technologies would be a key force keeping oil prices “lower for longer." More recent studies suggest that other new technologies, such as the spread of electric cars and solar electricity generation, could even more profoundly affect the oil market and the long-term demand for oil. As Sheikh Zaki Yamani, a former Saudi oil minister, once said, “The stone age came to an end not for a lack of stones, and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil."

A hundred years ago, coal accounted for close to 80 percent of US energy consumption. Within 20 years, that share fell to one-half, and within 40 years to only one-fifth as oil displaced coal as the world’s main energy source. This happened even though coal was cheaper than oil, because there was no real alternative to power motor vehicles, which quickly went from an exotic luxury to the preferred means of personal transportation. Today, automobiles account for about 45 percent of oil consumption in the world.

What Is China Thinking with Its Newest Plane Design?

Lyle J. Goldstein

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy) recently announced that the various naval flying and engineering schools in Yantai (Shandong) have been consolidated and elevated to the status of the “China PLA Navy Aviation University” [中国人民解放军海军航空大学]. For a rising power with grand naval ambitions that just launched its second aircraft carrier, the move to consolidate and upgrade its institutions for training naval pilots is not at all surprising. Even putting carrier aviation aside, Chinese aircraft development (both manned and unmanned) has been a veritable beehive of activity in the last decade, producing numerous sleek fighters and attack aircraft, transports, trainers, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft, not to mention a slew of UAVs and helicopters too. Moreover, rumors regarding a long-range bomber, as well as vertical takeoff and perhaps tilt-rotor aviation need to be taken seriously. In combination with China’s bristling conventional missile strike forces, these new air capabilities are slowly but surely altering the military balance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Against that somewhat perturbing background, Beijing’s new large amphibious aircraft AG-600, which was first revealed at the Zhuhai airshow back in 2016, forms rather an anomaly since it is neither sleek, nor stealthy, nor bristling with weapons and sensors. Chinese sources readily admit (as discussed below) that the AG-600 falls short of the world’s leading designs for such aircraft. Deepening the mystery, moreover, is the fact that the U.S. Navy has not operated seaplanes of any type for decades, implying they are not cost-effective and have numerous operational limitations in modern naval warfare. So what exactly are Beijing’s planners thinking? Is this China’s “Spruce Goose”—the product of aircraft engineers run amok without strategic sense or fiscal constraints?