Sunday, April 30, 2017

PAK SCAN: Why Pakistan Is Pursuing Full Spectrum Deterrence Against India

A Chinese supplied M-11 ballistic missile renamed as the "GHAZNAVI" by Pakistan

by Beenish Altaf 

Pakistan’s former envoy to United Nations, Amb Zamir Akram said that Pakistan is not seeking parity with India in terms of nuclear weapons, but is rather pursuing Full Spectrum Deterrence to ensure that there are no gaps in its deterrence capability. It is the need of the hour, while looking at the growing Indian aspirations of becoming a giant South Asian nuclear power. It includes both the nuclear weapons development and the missile development.

The number of nuclear weapons, enough to maintain nuclear deterrence, has continued to trouble nuclear deterrence theorists, strategists and policymakers since the post-Cold War period. Meanwhile, the world’s nuclear weapons stockpile is estimated to be at 16,000 approximately, and all states possessing nuclear weapons, in one way or another, are constantly modifying and modernizing their nuclear inventories. No state will place a number or cap on what it considers to be a sufficient nuclear force for credible deterrence.

In South Asia, India and Pakistan, nuclear armed rival neighbors, have estimated stockpiles of 90-110 and 100-120 respectively, according to estimates from the SIPRI Yearbook 2015. Both countries have committed policies of minimum nuclear deterrence and no-nuclear arms race. While India seeks to maintain a nuclear force sufficient to deter mainly China and Pakistan, Islamabad maintains that it seeks a deterrent equilibrium vis-a-vis New Delhi and not nuclear parity.

Amb Akram, with a practical command on the subject, viewed that the threats were growing in the region due to large scale acquisition of military hardware by India, its public rejection of the policy of No First Use of nuclear weapons, determination to carry out disarming strikes against Pakistan, and its espousal of dangerous and destabilizing doctrines like the Cold Start Doctrine.

Ironically the revolving ongoing speculation on the transformation of NFU policy of Indian Nuclear doctrine is getting a lot of hype nowadays. The strategy might be to keep all options open by putting ambiguity in its nuclear doctrine. Diplomatically, the Indian doctrine is only to show the international community that New Delhi has maintained a responsible use of its nuclear weapons by declaring a written doctrine, which, paradoxically, was never credible enough.

Only due to the above mentioned espousing weaponry expansion and military enlargement, ‘this has required us to move towards Full Spectrum Deterrence for responding to threats at the tactical level, the counter-force level, and the counter-value level. We need to cover all levels of threat.’ It should be taken into account that the strategic stability in South Asia was not just about Pakistan and India, but also involves China and the US in the sphere.

Referring to a recent statement by Massachusetts Institute of Technology scholar Vipin Narang, and assertions by former Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon in his book suggesting that India could shed its No-First Use doctrine and carryout disarming pre-emptive strikes against Pakistan, the former envoy said this did not come as a surprise because Pakistani security quarters never believed in an Indian declaratory statement of No-First Use, which could not be verified.

It is important to note here that India is the largest arms importer, and is engaged in several nuclear deals worldwide for which US is the biggest helper. An evidence estimated that for the US it would be desirable if a friendly Asian power beat Communist China to the punch by detonating a nuclear device first for which the very likely country was no other than India. So, the US assisted by helping India acquire nuclear explosive, for balancing communist China that is evident from the recently declassified Sept 1961, top secret memorandum from State Dept official George McGhee to Secretary of State Dean Rusk.

There were various national and international factors behind the Indian nuclear program. Internationally, New Delhi perspective is that its program was driven by its reservations about China, which had nuclear weapons, and its desire to achieve “great-power status”.

Nevertheless, posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence has remained a principle option of Pakistan’s nuclear policy. This principle is based on the concept that Pakistan’s nuclear policy is driven by its perceived threat to its security from India and is therefore India-centric. Deterrence is the sole aim and a small arsenal is considered adequate for satisfying it. But ironically this is also a fact that with the introduction of Tactical Nuclear Weapons in the region or with the introduction of battlefield weapons is actually a modernized advancement in the inventories. Those are ironically meant to balance out this superiority complex.

So, it could be concluded that it is only when states feel threatened they opt for defending their territory and sovereignty that actually compels them to maximize their security measures under the perceived threat of vulnerability. But for maintaining a deterrent posture, according to my understanding, the quantitative number is not necessary, as the possession of a nuclear weapon is itself enough for crafting deterrence. Because even by possessing one nuke, the nuclear aggression from the other state can be discouraged. So the question of numeric parity or nuclear sufficiency does not make sense. Therefore, it would not be in correct to conclude that credible minimum deterrence is not the same as nuclear parity and nuclear supremacy.

Beenish Altaf is working as a Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute, an Islamabad based think tank


Jammu And Kahsmir: Farooq Abdullah Insults Security Forces Again, Says Mention Of Kupwara Martyrs Insults Muslims

Abdhullah has insulted the security forces of India several times, and this is only the latest of them

by Arkadev Ghoshal

National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday, April 29, once again insulted the Indian security forces, claiming that repeated mention of of the Kupwara martyrs was an insult to Muslims. He was referring to the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in the Kupwara district of J&K in which three Indian soldiers were martyred and two terrorists were also killed.

This is not the first time Abdullah has insulted the Indian security forces in some manner or the other. Before the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-elections, he had said that stone-pelters in J&K were "fighting" for their "nation." And yet he had managed to win that by poll, never mind the fact that the voter turnout was a mere seven percent.

Recent Transgression

Abdullah's latest transgression came at a meeting on Saturday, where he said: "The noise is not so much about 25 CRPF jawans getting killed in Chhattisgarh, rather, the noise is about three Army men killed in Kupwara.They are beating the drum to increase hatred towards Muslims, please keep this in mind."

He was also critical of the ban on several social media sites across the Valley, saying: "I called on the government and told them don't take such types of measures. They are mistaken that the by imposing ban, conditions will improve. The situations will not improve until and unless talks are not held with all. They think they can suppress us with force. The more they try to suppress it, the more fire it will create."

Where Abdullah Is Wrong

Farooq Abdullah's mere suggestion that more "noise" was being made about the Kupwara attack may be fundamentally wrong. And there are several developments that have taken place since the Sukma encounter in Chhattisgarh that can prove him wrong.

For starters, the BJP has not overtly celebrated its win in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections. Additionally, cricketer Gautam Gambhir has pledged hefty sums towards the welfare of the families of those martyrs. He must also remember that outrage over the martyrdom over security personnel – be they in J&K or Chhattisgarh – is never "noise." Like we said, it is outrage.


Unprecedented PM Modi Gambit Boosts India's Space Faring Efforts Like Never Before


PM Modi, who is a known visionary space buff, is placing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a new orbit.

by Pallava Bagla 

NEW DELHI: India embarks on space diplomacy like never before.

For the first time, New Delhi is flexing its prowess of space technology by embarking on an unprecedented and un-chartered 'stratospheric diplomacy' through a special Rs 450 crore gift for south Asians.

India is carving a very unique place in the universe, this week New Delhi will 'gift' a heavyweight bird in the sky to its neighbors through the 'South Asia Satellite'.

India is opening its heart out to its neighbors, explains External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay, adding "neighborhood first is now being extended beyond the stratosphere".

It seems this 'gift' of a communications satellite for use by neighbors at no cost has no parallels in the space- faring world, all other current regional consortia are commercial for-profit enterprises.

So it seems Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a known visionary space buff, is placing the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a new orbit by providing this space- based platform that would cost the participating nations almost USD 1,500 million over the 12-year life of the satellite.

Prashant Agarwal, an IIT Kanpur-trained engineer and the point-person in the Ministry of External Affairs piloting the project, says, "Prime Minister Modi has actually extended his slogan 'Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas' to India's neighborhood essentially to service the needs of the poor in South Asia."

On May 5, the skies above the island of Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal will be lit up as the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) also called the 'naughty boy of ISRO' on its 11th mission will carry a message of peace like never before.

The nearly 50-m-tall rocket that weighs about 412 tons will carry what is now dubbed as the 'South Asia Satellite' or what the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) still prefers to call GSAT-9.

The 2230-kg satellite has been fabricated in three years and is purely a communications satellite costing Rs 235 crore.

The uniqueness of this satellite is that it will have a footprint that extends all over South Asia and India is gifting this heavenly messenger to its neighbors who according to India's assessment could be helped in better utilizing these space based technologies.

The South Asia Satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which India's neighbors can utilize to increase communications. Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they could beam their own programming and there could be common 'south Asian programming' as well.

Each country has to develop its own ground infrastructure though India is willing to extend assistance and know-how.

According to the government. the satellite will "enable a full range of applications and services to our neighbors in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications viz. television, direct-to-home (DTH), very small aperture terminals (VSATs), tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support".

The satellite also has the capability to provide secure hot lines among the participating nations in addition since the region is highly prone to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, tsunamis, it may help in providing critical communication links in times of disasters.

In this unusual message of peace, India's most hostile neighbour Pakistan has fully opted out. Rest of the seven nations part of the South Asian Association for Regional Co- operation (SAARC) are already on-board with Afghanistan still to ink the deal with some minor technical details still to be fixed in Kabul.

Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to be part of this mission, confirms Baglay.

When Prime Minister Modi was just a fresher and just four weeks into his new position on June 30, 2014, he surprised the world while speaking to the scientists at ISRO in Sriharikota as he asked "the space community to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite that we can dedicate to our neighborhood as a gift from India".

The proposal emerged directly from Modi and the leadership at ISRO was stunned into silence not knowing what this space animal will look like.

A highly-impassioned Modi, who had just witnessed a successful launch, said "I believe that the fight against the poverty of the countries of SAARC is the fight against illiteracy, the fight against superstitions, the challenge of moving forward in the scientific field is the possibility of providing opportunities to young people of SAARC countries.

"Our dream of this SAARC Satellite will work in the welfare of all our neighboring countries. And that's why I have proposed in front of you today that we offer a valuable gift to our SAARC countries through a SAARC Satellite launch so that we also become partners in their welfare."

Modi reinforced this idea five months later when speaking in Kathmandu at the SAARC Summit on November 26, 2014.

He said, "India's gift of a satellite for the SAARC region will benefit us all in areas like education, tele-medicine, disaster response, resource management, weather forecasting and communication.

"We will also host a conference in India for all South Asian partners next year, to strengthen our collective ability to apply space technology in economic development and governance. And, we plan to launch our satellite by the SAARC Day in 2016."

Modi's sincere efforts got a jolt when even after participating in the planning meeting on June 22, 2015, Pakistan decided to 'opt out' from the proposed SAARC satellite suggesting that 'Pakistan has its own space program'.

So the project was renamed to 'South Asia Satellite' but sources say Pakistan was not allowed to veto the development project. Meanwhile frequency co-ordination activities took longer than expected and the launch got postponed by almost six months.

Among India's neighbours, three nations already possess full-fledged communication satellites with Pakistan and Sri Lanka having been helped by China; Afghanistan also has a communication satellite actually an old India-made satellite acquired from Europe.

Bangladesh is likely to have its first bird in the sky later this year made with help from Thales.

Essentially, it is the tiny nations of Bhutan and Maldives that may benefit in the long run. Incidentally, Nepal has already floated a tender to acquire two communications satellites.

Experts say "Pakistan has missed an opportunity" since its own space program is currently in a primitive stage as compared to India's.

This is despite the fact that Pakistan actually launched its first rocket five years ahead of India and its space agency Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) is older than ISRO.

Pakistan has had five satellites in space but today lacks heavy duty launchers and satellite fabrication facilities.

But will India's strident regional space diplomacy yield results? 

There is no doubt that through the South Asia Satellite India is actively trying to counter China's growing influence on its neighbors. But in the 21st-century Asian space race, China already has the first mover advantage.

Better late than never is prevailing mood and for this unique space diplomacy it is almost certain that India is likely to get applauded by the world's powers for this one of a kind friendly confidence building measure.

Hopefully friendly skies can result in reduced hostilities on Earth.


Brahmos Supersonic Cruise Missile's Air Version Ready For Trial

CGI of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile firing by Su-30MKI front-line strike fighter aircraft

by Hemant Kumar Rout

BHUBANESWAR: BrahMos Aerospace Limited is finally getting ready to conduct the maiden test of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile’s air version soon. This world class weapon system, which can surprise enemies with its maneuvering capability, will be fired from an aircraft in June.

Defense sources said the integration of the weapon with Su-30MKI fighter aircraft is near complete. After a couple of drop tests, it will be fired against a live target.

“Sukhoi has successfully demonstrated its integration with the missile. If everything goes according to the plan, the missile will be launched from the aircraft in June. Two aircraft have been earmarked by the air force for the initial trials,” said a BrahMos Aerospace official.

If test-fired successfully, BrahMos will be first weapon system in the world to have such capability. As of now, there is no such weapon available in the world which can be fired from land, sea and air platforms. The Navy had recently conducted a test of the missile’s land attack variant after its range was extended from 290 km to 450 km following India’s membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

Jointly developed by India and Russia, the 8.4-meter BrahMos missile, fastest in the world, can carry warheads up to 300 kg. Having devastating power at a supersonic speed of Mach 2.8, it is capable of delivering warhead with high precision.

Defense sources said the BrahMos Aerospace has reduced the weight of the air version of the missile as it will be launched from a moving platform unlike its land and sea versions. Some modifications have also been made in its design to easily integrate with Sukhoi aircraft.

“Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has also made some structural changes to Sukhoi for the finest integration of the missile. The design changes have been validated through various tests including most important ground vibration test,” the official added.

Equipped with an inertial navigation system and global positioning system, the missile can effectively engage ground targets from an altitude as low as 10 meters for surgical strikes at terror training camps across the border without causing collateral damage.

BrahMos is the only supersonic cruise missile-possessing this advanced capability in the world providing an edge to the user with a precise hit. The Army and Navy have already inducted the missile system.


Turkey Keen To Offer Drone To India

Anka medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system

Turkey keen to boost defense ties with India

Turkey is keen on expanding defense industrial cooperation with India and will offer its armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during the upcoming visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Ilnur Cevik, senior adviser to the Turkish President on Saturday.

He indicated that Turkey’s support to Pakistan on Kashmir at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was likely to continue.

“A defence cooperation agreement has to be signed. It is in the offing and a draft is being prepared. The head of defence industry of Turkey is part of the delegation,” Mr. Cevik told The Hindu on the sidelines of a discussion at the Observer Research Foundation.

Mr. Cevik said that the areas of cooperation were aviation, space and ammunition, etc. “India is strong in aviation and space ... We produce armoured personal carriers. Some of the ammunition we need can be procured from India ... We can introduce India to our successful drones. We have produced drones which are identifying and killing Kurdistan Workers Party terrorists. They would be discussed,” he said.

On Pakistan’s continued support to cross-border terrorism and Kashmir, he said the issue was for the two countries to discuss.

“On Kashmir, don’t pull us into the kind of problems between India and Pakistan. We are trying to build our relationship with India. You have to sit and solve the problems, but this does not mean that once we have achieved a strong relationship, we will not be an innocent bystander. It means the kind leverage on our side," he said speaking at the discussion on India-Turkey relations. Stating that Turkey was trying to promote relations with India, while its brotherly ties with Pakistan continued, Mr. Cevik said, “We are trying to rediscover old friends.”


ISRO Is Working On A Human Space Flight Program, Despite The Mission Falling Off The Priority List


More than a decade after an eminent group of scientists gave the green signal for India to undertake a human spaceflight, the ambitious venture is nowhere near take-off in the absence of government approval. In November 2006, at a meeting convened by the Indian Space Research Organisation, scientists were highly appreciative of the study undertaken by the space agency on such a mission and were unanimous in suggesting that the time is appropriate for the country to undertake the venture.

But the mission seems to have fallen off the priority list of the Bengaluru-headquartered ISRO since then. “We need to get the approval for that program, till that comes we are working on some critical technologies, like an environmentally-controlled laboratory, flight suit,” ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar told PTI. “We have also done some re-entry experiment. Certain technology elements we will continue to develop until the country is ready for taking up this as a full-fledged program,” he said.

“For this (the human space flight program), the requisite priority has to be there, funding has to be there, then only activities will happen.”. Kiran Kumar said ISRO’s immediate priority is to meet the basic needs of communication, navigation and remote sensing. “First, we have to ensure all this is done adequately, there itself, we are trying to push the envelope and then (we have to undertake) more frequent launches so that we provide the requisite number of satellites in orbit for meeting all these requirements,” he said.

“So, that is still happening, not yet happened. That will remain the bigger priority,” he said. According to him, work towards such a mission would continue. “As and when the approval etc. comes, then we will take it up in a bigger way. At this point, priority is not that,” Kiran Kumar said. Nearly 80 scientists from across the country had participated on November 7, 2006, meeting to discuss the issues related to the mission, an ISRO press release at that time said.

The ISRO had conducted studies for four years from 2002 to examine the technological challenges of such a mission and the Indian capability to undertake it. The concept for the venture included the development of an autonomous orbital vehicle which could be launched by India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV-Mk II or GSLV-Mk III, the release had said. Studies highlighted that the ISRO has maturity in many technologies required for the mission. However, new developments are required in life support systems, improved reliability and safety and crew escape system, among others.

The meeting was attended by eminent scientists like U R Rao, Yash Pal, R Narasimha, R M Vasagam, N Pant, P S Goel, N Balakrishnan, A R Upadhya, T S Prahlad, S Vasantha and Avinash Chander, then ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair and Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel in space.


JNU Professor Says His Car And House Was Vandalized For Paying Tribute To Death of Jawans In Sukma And Kashmir

JNU assistant professor Buddha Singh alleged his car and home were attacked by unknown people

New Delhi: An assistant professor at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU today alleged that his car was vandalized and stones were thrown at his house by unknown attackers for organizing an event on the university campus to condole the death of jawans in Sukma and Kupwara.

"My car vandalized and stone-pelted at home at midnight as a reward for organizing condolence meet at JNU and mass gathered for Sukma and Kupwara Martyrs (sic)," Buddha Singh tweeted.

Along with the tweet, he posted two pictures of the damaged windshield of his car.

"I had parked my car near Periyar hostel, which is opposite to the students' union office. I do not suspect anyone, but I have filed a case at Vasant Kunj police station," Mr. Singh told Press Trust of India.

Twenty-five men of the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF were killed in an ambush by Maoists in Chhattisgarh on Monday. Three days later, three soldiers including a captain were killed in an apparent suicide attack on an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara. Mr. Singh said his event was organized to commemorate them.

The JNU Students' Union however in a statement said Mr. Singh was trying to gain "cheap publicity".

"Buddha Singh made a diversionary statement for cheap publicity that his car has been vandalized because he organized a program on Sukma. The RSS always resorts to such tactics to divert attention, so that tough questions are not put to Home Minister Rajnath Singh," JNUSU president Mohit Kumar Pandey said in the statement.

The students' union demanded that the matter is inquired properly by the police or the administration.

Delhi Police sources confirmed that a non-cognisable report has been registered in connection with the matter, which means that the complainant can claim insurance for the damage caused.


North Korea-Us Tension: Modi Is Right In Severing India’s Embarrassing Connections With Pyongyang

DPR Korea's communist dictator Kim Jong-Un

With the Korean peninsula in the north-east Asia appearing to be a tinderbox, thanks to North Korea (Democratic Republic of Korea) threatening to fire a nuclear missile on the American West Coast (say Los Angeles) and the Trump administration talking of a preemptive strike against North Korea from a US Navy carrier placed nearby in the Pacific Ocean (the US has already docked a submarine in the Republic of Korea, better known as South Korea, and deployed the THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system there), India under Modi seems to be changing its traditional stance towards North Korea.

It is becoming increasingly clear that this changed stance has got something to do with the visit of US National Security Advisor HR McMaster to India last fortnight, in course of which he met the prime minister. Arguably, it is for the first time that India has agreed to comply with the United Nations’ existing sanctions on North Korea and limit trade with the reclusive communist nation to limited quantities of food items and medicine. As these sanctions include “prevention of direct or indirect supply, sale, transfer or export of all weaponry and related material through a member nation’s territories or by its nationals to North Korea,” the Modi government has issued a gazette that prevents any Indian national or entity from supplying directly or otherwise any material to North Korea that augments its war-fighting capabilities.

The gazette, which was apparently issued on 21 April but made public on Friday, bans all military, police and scientific training to North Korean officials in India and threatens to expel any North Korean government representative found violating the UN sanctions.

It may be noted that North Korea has been facing a series of UN sanctions in some form or the other ever since 2006 when it went back on its promise to desist from nuclear and missile testing in lieu of massive economic assistance, including food and fuels, from the US and other western countries; it has conducted five nuclear tests since then. It is also a fact that three countries — China, Pakistan and Iran — have always come to the rescue of North Korea, thanks to the clandestine and illegal nuclear and missile business.

But, what may sound really surprising to the readers that until recently New Delhi happened to be Pyongyang’s second largest trading partner! From an average total trade of barely $100 million in the middle of the 2000s, it shot up to over $1 billion in 2009. In the year 2011-12, the figure was about $800 million. The trade is overwhelmingly in India's favor, though. This figure does not include the massive food aid of soybeans, rice, and wheat that India has provided since 2011 for North Korea’s famine-stricken people.

But what is most noteworthy is that while every Indian was badly affected by the rising oil prices and the government-run oil companies were expressing their helplessness in view of the fluctuating price mechanism of global crude production during second term of the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh, the same oil companies were exporting diesel and other petroleum products to North Korea regularly. Of course, fuel was not supplied directly but sold through a network of traders and banks in Dubai and elsewhere. Besides, as revealed by Aljazeera last year, North Korean scientists regularly studied at the Dehradun-based Centre for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (CSSTEAP) on subjects such as remote sensing and space technologies.

It is really difficult to fathom our government’s love for North Korea all these years unless we take into account the fact that it is a fellow “non-aligned” country. Way back in 1999 as the Seoul Peace Prize Scholarship Fellow and a visiting professor at Yonsei University, I had authored a book titled “Nuclearisation of Divided Nations: Pakistan, India-Koreas”. In this book I had highlighted how Pakistan and North Korea were helping each other – North Korea helping Pakistan in developing its missiles and in return Pakistan helping North Korea developing its nuclear weapons, with China playing the perfect role of a middleman. This is true even today; in fact relations between the two countries have become much stronger.

In my considered view, Pakistan and North Korea have been the perfect partners in blackmailing the rest of the world; they demonstrate their nuclear and missile prowess but do not go the extent of actually using them with the hope that the rest of the world, nervous with their destructive capabilities, will accede to their demands of security and economic assistance. For them, doing something is less important than appearing to be “about to do something”. In other words, they do what they know the best: getting everyone tied up in nervous knots.

Viewed thus, it is least likely that North Korea will really attack the United States. In any case, despite its bravado, the fact remains that North Korea has not conducted a single test of its intercontinental ballistic missiles (a series of testing is necessary before any missile, let alone an ICBM, is deployed into the forces of a country – one must be sure of the guidance systems, the tracking capacity, the targeting technology and heat-shield material that hit the target). Likewise, it is equally unlikely that North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un will ever agree to President Trump’s demand that the peace in the Korean peninsula must be based on the commitments to make it free from nuclear weapons and missiles. As argued above, North Korea, like Pakistan, perceives its weapons and missile programs as the best guarantees for its survival, at least that of the regime (strongly dominated by the military or force).

The only reasonable course towards peace that has got some chance of success is to ensure that the international community desists from doing anything that contributes directly or indirectly towards the augmentation of the nuclear and missile programs of North Korea (the same is true for Pakistan). I agree here with noted defense analyst Harry J Kazianis: "If you seek to profit from helping one of the world's most rogue regimes build nuclear weapons or long-range missiles you will pay the most severe of prices — slapped with the label of international pariah. While sanctions won’t solve the problem entirely, or erase the nuclear knowledge from the minds of North Korea’s scientists, such measures could greatly slow the rate of technological development and raise the costs of such work for Pyongyang.”

But will China listen? The answer has got implications for the overall peace and security of the Asia-Pacific, India included certainly.


Erdogan’s Visit To Regain Lost Respect?


by Sunanda K Datta-Ray

ERDOGAN probably hopes a visit to India might help to regain some of the international respect he once enjoyed. But he must resist the temptation — common in political adversity — of pandering to extremists to gain popularity. Even apart from Ataturk, his country’s ancient history offers some splendid instances of rewarding ecumenism.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit on Sunday should not be affected by the revelation confirming the 1915 massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by the collapsing Ottoman Empire, an atrocity widely recognized as the 20th century’s first genocide. Turkey has always been in denial on the subject, and New Delhi has never allowed any concern for human rights to interfere with realpolitik.

Narendra Modi will be the Turkish leader’s first foreign host since the April 16 referendum armed him with sweeping powers. It may be relevant in this context that while European Union leaders viewed his victory with some concern, Donald Trump called to congratulate him, together with the leaders of the Palestinian militant movement Hamas, which has been on the US State department’s “designated foreign terrorist organisations” list since 1997. Others who congratulated Erdogan were the rulers of Qatar, Guinea, and Djibouti. Again, this is unlikely to be of any great interest to Modi and his advisers. But the common points between Modi and Erdogan are of interest to others, even if they themselves don’t acknowledge all of them or always. First, there is a certain anomaly about the democratic credentials of the two men, as well as of Trump. Second, Modi and Erdogan are both in search of religious labels for their respective countries. Third, all three are men whose currency is the exercise of power, although this is less easily substantiated by tangible facts.

To take the democratic aspect first, Trump, Modi and Erdogan have none of them emerged as the people’s unquestioned favourites. While Hillary Clinton’s 65,844,610 votes (48.2 per cent) was the third highest of any presidential candidate in American history, Trump trailed behind with only 62,979,636 votes (46.1 per cent). The contrast between vote and result was even more glaring in Modi’s case. Despite his exuberant self-confidence, the Bharatiya Janata Party won only 31 per cent of the votes in 2014 although it captured 283 out of 520 seats. That was the lowest ever vote share for a single party to win a Lok Sabha majority. In contrast, Indira Gandhi’s Congress, which held the previous record for the lowest vote share for a single party, won a similar 283 seats in 1967 but with 40.8 per cent of the votes cast.

Erdogan did indeed obtain popular endorsement of his ambition to become an all-powerful executive president. But the desperately close margin of his victory indicates rampant discontent in a bitterly divided nation. With only 51.5 per cent of voters approving his ambition, and 48.5 per cent opposing it, the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) and its major ally, the Nationalist Action party (MHP), have obviously slipped in the popularity stakes since the last general election in 2015 when their combined share of vote was 62 per cent.

Although this may not enter their discussions, Modi and Erdogan also share the distinction of leading governments that are trying to bestow a religious label on the nations they rule. In the former case, every move seems to be towards a thinly veiled form of a Hindu Rashtra which mixes Puja with politics, exalts the cow, bans beef, promotes vegetarianism, treats religious lore as history and temples as national monuments, foists Hindi on the populace and tacitly supports bands of marauding thugs who attack everything their half-baked perception tells them is not desi. Turkey’s transition was apparent when our guide in Istanbul two years ago said his wife had started wearing the hijab because, otherwise, she might not be promoted in her government job.

Just as Erdogan, who was prime minister for 11 years and is in his third year as president, doesn’t admit any Islamist ambitions, Modi is coy about Hindutva. But as mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan was sentenced in 1998 to 10 months in jail for “inciting religious hatred” after reading out verses by an Ottoman Islamist poet at a public event while his Welfare Party was banned for “threatening the Kemalist nature of Turkey, especially [its] secularity.” Released from jail, he started mobilizing supporters on an Islamist agenda, and in two years co-founded the AKP, the vehicle of his rise to power. Although many Turks still revere Kemal Ataturk as the first Asian modernist, the April 16 referendum empowers Erdogan to dismantle Ataturk’s secular democratic legacy and lay the foundations of a personal regime with expanded powers that could continue till 2029.

Turkey’s domestic polity is Turkey’s concern, but Indians may well ask about Turkey’s value as an ally. Despite Trump’s greetings, Turkey is no longer quite the linchpin of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation it once was. Nor do Arabs any longer look up to it with quite the same degree of respect as a modernizing Muslim nation. The referendum took place at a time when Turkey faces huge security challenges. Last year’s multiple terror attacks were mostly the handiwork of the so-called Islamic State and Kurdish rebels against whom the Turkish military is waging a brutal war. The massive purge in government and private institutions that followed last July’s abortive coup meant the dismissal and imprisonment of thousands of Turks, including judges, academics and security personnel. Over 100 journalists are said to be behind bars and 15 universities, 1,000 schools, 28 TV channels, 66 newspapers, 19 magazines, 36 radio stations, 26 publishing houses and five news agencies have been shut down. The leading Kurdish Opposition politician is also in jail, while the country is still reeling under emergency rule. Erdogan is as ambivalent on the war in neighboring Syria and on Bashar al-Assad’s future as the European Union is on his pending application. Turkey’s once buoyant economy has been badly disrupted by the resultant instability.

Erdogan probably hopes a visit to India might help to regain some of the international respect he once enjoyed. But he must resist the temptation – common in political adversity – of pandering to extremists to gain popularity. Even apart from Ataturk, his country’s ancient history offers some splendid instances of rewarding ecumenism. Despite being Caliph of Islam, the Ottoman sultan sent a fleet of ships to rescue Jews whom Catholic Spain expelled after Moorish Granada capitulated in 1492. That demonstration of secular enlightenment, which helped Turkey’s commerce and arts, occurred a full 150 years before Britain, which had expelled Jews in 1290, allowed them back again.

Erdogan can gain from applying that liberal precedent to Turkey’s ethnic (especially Kurdish) and other minorities and by not using the referendum verdict to trample on secular democracy. A first step would be to come to terms with history and voluntarily concede a genuinely impartial inquiry into the grim killing of Armenians in 1915.

The writer is the author of several books and a regular media columnist


IAF Asked To Be Ready For ‘WARS’ With Pakistan, China

IAF's Mirage-2000 nuclear capable strike fighter

 by Sanjib Kr Baruah

The IAF is the world’s fourth largest air force in terms of personnel and aircraft and it operates in an air space spanning more than 40 million cubic km.

New Delhi: In keeping with changing military needs, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been asked by its chief to maintain a state of combat readiness for a possible 10-day war with Pakistan. The force has also been told to be ready for a possible 15-day conflict with China.

The direction and necessary instructions were issued during an IAF commanders’ conference held in New Delhi during April 19-21.

“Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa has directed the IAF commanders to prepare for a short duration but intense wars of 10 days in case of Pakistan and 15 days with respect to China to maintain razor-sharp operational preparedness and enhanced combat effectiveness,” a high-level source familiar with the developments told this newspaper.

Accordingly, the Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI) has been asked to ascertain preparedness of all operational units to keep personnel and aircraft combat-ready with fully stocked-up weapons, missiles, and alert radar systems.

DASI is the IAF’s inspecting body that assesses the tactical and operational level of IAF aircraft to ascertain if they are capable of meeting wartime requirements besides also rating the performance of IAF pilots and squadrons.

Besides the traditional IAF role of counter-air, strategic-air (including space) and counter-surface operations that formed the three elements of air strategy, combat-enabling operations have now come to form the fourth pillar of air operations.

It is well accepted that possible future wars between India and its neighbors won’t be long and protracted because of the looming nuclear threat and the possibility that more countries will be sucked into such a war in case it is prolonged.

The“Joint Doctrine of the Armed Forces — 2017”, a document released by the Indian military on Tuesday, also says that the character of future wars is likely to be “ambiguous, uncertain, short, swift, lethal, intense, precise, non-linear, unstructured, unpredictable, and hybrid”.

As a result, the IAF’s role is changing due to the availability and deadly potential of cruise missiles like the Brahmos, long operational endurance of its combat fleet and much faster aircraft like the Su-30s, MiG-29s, and Mirage-2000s.

For example, the Su-30 flies at about 2,100 kph, with a range of 3,000 km and a capability to be airborne for more than 3.5 hours, making it technically possible to fly deep into Tibet, then to Pakistan, curve along the Arabian Sea seeking naval targets before touching down in airbases in central India or in Northeast India.

The IAF role has changed also because modern aerial platforms and weapons allow a commander to conduct independent, parallel operations with, or in support of surface and maritime operations both within and outside the battle space.

But certain factors also cramp the IAF’s capability. The current fleet strength of about 33 fighter squadrons or about 600 aircraft is far less than the required strength of at least 42 squadrons or about 790 fighter aircraft. The IAF is the world’s fourth largest air force in terms of personnel and aircraft and it operates in an airspace spanning more than 40 million cubic km.


Captain Ayush Yadav, Killed In Kupwara Attack, Cremated

From the captain's residence, the mortal remains were taken to Sidhnath Ghat in a truck where he was cremated with full military honors

KANPUR: The mortal remains of Captain Ayush Yadav, who was killed in a terrorist attack at an army camp in Kashmir's Kupwara district, were consigned to flames here with full military honors today.

The body was taken to Yadav's house in Jajmau Defence Colony here from the mortuary of the 7 Air Force Hospital around 7.30 AM, ADM K P Singh said.

People paid their tributes to the martyr at his house. From the captain's residence, the mortal remains were taken to Sidhnath Ghat in a truck where he was cremated with full military honors, Singh said.

Capt Yadav had joined the service some three years ago.


Leonardo May Look To Invest In India: Italian Dy Minister of Economic Development


Leonardo is a very successful company in many markets with USD 13 billion in revenues and USD 12 billion of new orders in the pipeline, said Ivan Scalfarotto, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Italy.

Italian defense major Leonardo, formerly known as Finmeccanica is set to pitch for Indian defense contracts.

CNBC-TV18’s Rituparna Bhuyan caught up with Ivan Scalfarotto, Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Italy and asked him about the investment plans of Italian companies in India.

Leonardo is a very successful company in many markets with USD 13 billion in revenues and USD 12 billion of new orders in the pipeline. The company has been reorganized and restructured and would be happy to work in India, he said.

Overall there are 600 Italian companies with an investment of USD 3 billion in to India in the past three-years and there would definitely be more investments, he said.

He said Italy was looking forward to a free trade agreement (FTA) with India and would need to negotiation geographical indicators and duties and non-tariff barriers.


One Belt, One Road And The Concept of The India-Pacific Maritime Space

Hambantota Port, Sri Lanka
by Shin Kawashima

As the Trump administration closes in on its 100th day, in the area of military security guarantees, some have argued that its policies represent a continuation of those of traditional Republican administrations. Compared to the Obama administration, however, there are some real differences. In particular, two major changes have been made regarding East Asia, scene of remarkable shifts in the international order, most notably the rise of China.

First, while the Obama administration advocated a policy of re-balancing that placed importance on a multinational framework of regional cooperation centered on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ASEAN, the Trump administration has recoiled from this, for instance by pulling out from the TPP. It is likely that the frameworks advocated by the Obama administration were functioning effectively to restrain the regional superpower that is China.

Second, while the Obama administration placed importance on horizontal cooperation with allies and related countries when it came to military and security guarantee matters, and also favored the building of networks, Trump has shown little interest in multilateral security frameworks. Although the Trump administration favors bilateral security frameworks, such as America’s alliances with Japan and South Korea, it has yet to take any action on multilateral frameworks.

Meanwhile, not only is China trying to take the lead with free trade agreements such as RCEP and FTAAP, on the security guarantee side it is advancing into the Indian Ocean with the construction of sea ports in Brunei and Sri Lanka, the building of a “friendship bridge” in the Maldives, and the construction of pipelines from Myanmar and Pakistan. Although this is all happening under the name of the One Belt, One Road economic strategy, in fact the policies are closely tied to military and security guarantee issues. The construction of the ports and other activities serve to secure routes for the People’s Liberation Army Navy to places as far away as Djibouti, while also diversifying crude oil transport routes from Africa.

For China, which is now squaring off against the United States in the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean is a region of high strategic importance; and if the Trump administration has a negative stance towards multilateral cooperation and security structures, the Indian Ocean could become a blank space for the United States. There is also the fact that while the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans directly adjoin the United States, the Indian Ocean does not.

Of course, defense in the Middle East is important, but U.S. engagement in the Indian Ocean needs to be watched. It is, after all, an important sea lane for Japan and other nations in Northeast Asia, so even if the Trump administration shuns the India-Pacific – the geographical space that spans from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean – East Asia is hardly likely to follow suit, particularly given the existing frameworks of multilateral economic and security cooperation that include India and other South Asian nations.

As the countries of the region maintain this spatial awareness, the foundations for stability and peace will be to continue and strengthen multilateral economic and security frameworks that go beyond bilateral relationships.

Shin Kawashima is a professor at the University of Tokyo


Agencies Across The World Working To Tackle Space Junk: Scientific Adviser Satheesh Reddy

Several hundreds of micro & nano satellites are launched every year

“Space debris is a serious concern today for the entire world The ISRO has conducted a conference on this That is going to be an emerging subject and also a serious issue as a large number of satellites are launched every year all over the world

The space debris has emerged as a new cause of global concern prompting the relevant agencies world-wide to make a joint bid to find a solution to the menace, says defense minister's Scientific Adviser Satheesh Reddy.

“Space debris is a serious concern today for the entire world. The ISRO has conducted a conference on this. That is going to be an emerging subject and also a serious issue as a large number of satellites are launched every year all over the world.

"All space agencies of respective countries (including ISRO) are working to have a coordinated system to tackle this problem," Reddy told PTI on the sidelines of a program at Osmania University here.

According to European Space Agency (ESA), over 4,900 space launches since 1957 have led to an on-orbit population of more than 18,000 tracked objects. Only 1,100 are functional spacecraft. The remaining are space debris - the objects no longer serving any useful purpose.

About 64 per cent of the routinely-tracked objects are fragments from some 250 breakups, explosions and collisions of satellites or rocket bodies. In addition, there is an evidence of a much larger population of the debris that cannot be tracked operationally.

An estimated 7,00,000 objects larger than 1 cm and 170 million objects larger than 1 mm are expected to be orbiting around earth.

This large amount of space hardware has a total mass of more than 7,500 tons.

Speaking about the research programs in Space Science, Reddy said that Osmania University has the calibre to undertake the subject and work with the government.

"Osmania University has a very good telescope with a very good object viewing capacity. Why not Osmania University revive its subject and work in this area so that we have much more flexibility tomorrow in launching our satellites," Reddy said.

Replying to a query, he said India needs a large number of cyber security professionals in future and universities across the country need to focus on the subject, given its importance.

According to him, only National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra is offering a masters degree in cyber security.


India’s Space Agency Saves Over US$ 2 Billion per Year For The Country


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is not just building satellites or driving innovation by sharing its Lithium-ion batteries for powering vehicles, the space agency is helping fishermen locate better catchment areas. By doing this, ISRO is helping India save over $ 2 billion per year.

New Delhi — Speaking at the Osmania University, Hyderabad on ‘India in Space’, ISRO chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said the space agency is issuing cyclone alerts to fishermen and early warnings in the southern state of Kerala. Not only that, ISRO zeroed in on a fishing hamlet and advised fishermen from its development center near Thiruvananthapuram.

The locals volunteered to give up their land to ISRO for developing the center although initially there was some resistance, Kumar added.

Shedding light on future plans, the ISRO chairman said the agency will launch five communication satellites by the year-end. "The five communication satellites will be used to improve the number of transponders available for communications and will significantly improve our capabilities,” Kumar said.

“ISRO aims to tap into the lucrative global space industry and these communication satellites will add to its list of achievements. ISRO’s success lies in offering reliable, cost-effective technology amid experienced players such as Russia, the US, Europe, and China. We have the advantage of English which makes the entire process more transparent for others,” Dr Mayank Vahia, Department of Astrophysics, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, said.

Experts said communication satellites will further improve ISRO’s profile in the global space industry.