Monday, January 22, 2018

The S-400 Missile Deal Will Make Pakistan's Nuclear Ballistic Missiles Obsolete

This Rs 39,000 crore India-Russia missile deal could help corner Pakistan

New Delhi: India is all set to acquire five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia as the negotiation for the Rs 39,000-crore deal is in its final round, a report by the Times of India stated.

In 2017, the S-400 was described, as of 2017, as “one of the best air-defence systems currently made.” The missile systems can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of up to 400 km and altitude of 30 km, the report adds.

With this deal, India would be the second customer of the prized missile system after China which had struck a USD 3 billion contract in 2016.

A defence ministry source told TOI that India wants to finalise the deal in this financial year and all the five S-400 systems are likely to be delivered to India in the next 54 months.

Reports suggest that the S-400 can be used to completely neutralize Pakistan’s short-range NASR (Hatf-IX - Chinese supplied Weishi-2 short range missile) nuclear missiles. The neighbouring country has on multiple occasions brandished its NASR missiles as a threat to counter India’s aggressive counter to its ceasefire violations.

The S-400, an upgraded version of the S-300, had previously only been available to the Russian defence forces. It is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in service in Russia since 2007

The missile system has different kinds of supersonic and hypersonic missiles to intercept incoming aerial threats at different ranges. India is finalizing the deal for the long range (120-370 km) interception missiles. Carried on mobile launchers, the missiles can engage targets at the ranges of – 120 km, 200 km, 250 km and 380 km. The missiles can hit targets at the speed of 17,000 kilometres per hour, which is faster than any existing aircraft.

The missile can target strategic bombers, electronic warfare airplanes, reconnaissance airplanes, early-warning radar airplanes, fighter airplanes, strategic cruise missiles and even ballistic missiles.

Naval Tejas Stalled, No Flights For 8 Months

TEJAS Naval version during an earlier test flight at National Flight Test Centre

Halt in testing jeopardises development of Naval Tejas Mark 2

Even as the Indian Air Force version of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) powers ahead, the naval version of the Tejas has ground to a worrying standstill. Neither of the two Naval LCA prototypes has taken off in eight months. Since the last Naval LCA sortie on May 20, one of the prototypes lies half dismantled in Hindustan Aeronautics, its interiors gaping open. The other stands forgotten on one side of the hangar.

Even as the Indian Air Force (IAF) version of the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) powers ahead, the naval version of the Tejas has ground to a worrying standstill.

Neither of the two Naval LCA prototypes has taken off in eight months.

Since the last Naval LCA sortie on May 20, one of the prototypes lies half dismantled in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), its interiors gaping open. The other stands forgotten on one side of the hangar.

Meanwhile the other 14 Tejas prototypes, which are flight-testing the IAF’s Tejas Mark 1, flew 406 test sorties last year — more flights than any preceding year, except 2013.

Navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, has publicly rejected the Naval Tejas Mark 1 as too heavy to fly combat missions off an aircraft carrier. Instead, he has backed the Naval Tejas Mark 2, which will have a more powerful engine. But, with the Mark 1 effectively grounded, the Mark 2’s development is also crippled, if not actually halted.

That is because many systems essential for the Naval LCA Mark 2, such as the arrestor hook and leading edge vortex controllers (Levcons allow the fighter to land on a carrier deck at a slower speed), are being designed and tested on the Mark 1 prototypes. The Mark 1 is a crucial technology test-bed and data generator for developing the Mark 2.

That would be a serious setback for the navy, which urgently requires the Tejas for its next aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, which will join the fleet in 2020, says Lanba. He said the Vikrant “is designed to operate the MiG-29K and the LCA.”

The eight-month gap in flight testing the Naval Tejas has been a major setback for the test program. At the “shore based test facility” (SBTF) in Goa – a concrete runway-cum-ramp that replicates an aircraft carrier deck — the easterly winter winds and furious west coast monsoon allow aircraft to take-off only in the February-to-June period. It was planned that the Naval Tejas would carry out an “arrested landing” in 2018, using the arrestor cables on the SBTF but, with no preliminary work done over the past eight months, this will now be possible only in February-to-June 2019. That means a project already heavily criticised for delay has just lost another full year.

Asked why HAL — which builds, repairs and operates Tejas prototypes — is going slow on the Naval Tejas, a senior HAL officer says the navy has turned its back on the program.

“We have limited resources and manpower for Tejas flight-testing. The air force has committed to buying 123 Tejas fighters. The navy, on the other hand, has publicly rejected the Tejas. Why waste resources on the Naval Tejas?” says a top HAL executive.

However, technology development processes should not be linked with production orders, as HAL is doing, says a senior MoD official.

The navy chief insisted last month that he continues backing the Navy LCA. He said the navy has paid Rs. 6 billion towards the Mark 1, Rs. 3 billion for the Mark 2, and would pay more as development continues. “As far as the LCA Navy is concerned, we are committed to indigenisation. We have supported the project and continue to [do so]”, said Lanba.

But merely allocating funds will not energise the Naval Tejas program, retorts a senior officer in the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), which oversees the Tejas program. “A user service’s intent is evident from what it commits to the project in terms of test pilots, finance, oversight and most importantly moral support,” he says.

The navy has never committed more than three officers to the Tejas LCA. An ADA officer estimates that is one-fifth to one-tenth what the IAF has committed over the years.

Despite its protestations of support, the navy has steadily backed away from the Tejas program. In March 2016, in the LCA Tejas Empowered Committee in the defence ministry, top admirals first declared the Tejas Mark I inadequate, but committed to supporting the Mark 2.

In May 2017, the navy declined to pay its 25 per cent share of the Rs. 12.31 billion cost of enhancing the capacity of the LCA Mark I manufacturing line from 8 to 16 aircraft per year. The IAF is paying its share.

Difficulty is inevitable in translating an air force fighter into a naval, carrier-deck version, says aerospace expert Pushpinder Singh. It involves strengthening the entire aircraft, especially the undercarriage, to withstand the jarring impacts of carrier deck landings, which are often described as “controlled crashes”. This makes naval fighters

Since the last Naval LCA sortie on May 20, one of the prototypes lies half dismantled in HAL, its interiors gaping open. The other stands forgotten on one side of the hangar.


Despite the navy’s pusillanimous approach to the Tejas, that fighter remains crucial to the future of carrier deck aviation in India. The Russian MiG-29K has not proved a success and the navy is grappling with the consequences of that purchase. Procurement is under way of 57 multi-role carrier deck fighters, but that will take time and a cheap, light fighter like the Tejas will still be required on future aircraft carriers. “Realising the Tejas Mark 2 will require deeper reserves of fortitude and clarity than the navy, HAL and ADA have displayed so far”, says a senior naval officer.

Light Combat Helicopter Trial At Pokhran

JAISALMER: Under 'Make In India', Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has made attacking Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). The trial of its strike capabilities is going on at Pokhran Field Firing Range in Jaisalmer. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Air Force and HAL scientists are supervising the testing. During the trials, DRDO, Air Force and HAL officers and scientists are present who are checking the LCH on various parameters.

According to information from reliable sources this trial has been going on at the firing range for last one week under desert conditions. While the helicopter itself is being tested on different parameters, its firing capability is assessed from variable heights. Earlier similar trials were held at Siachen also.

The LCH had also participated in the IAF's Iron Fist 2016 exercise that was held in March 2016. Here it test-fired its weapons systems including missiles. Though the 5.5-ton helicopter is a multipurpose weapons platform, it is primarily an attack helicopter and can be used against enemy tanks, armoured personnel carriers, slow-moving aircraft, surface warships and even submarines.

The LCH can also be deployed in search and rescue missions and battlefield surveillance. It is different from combat version of ALH, Rudra, since Rudra can carry soldiers and has weapons in support role, LCH has a purely attack role with better manoeuverability, agility and armour and weapons. It has a better climb rate, is more stealthy and has better aerodynamics than Rudra and can function as a gunship.

Sources said HAL has custom-designed the 5.8 tonne LCH to provide fire support to the army at mountainous deployment areas on the northern borders, which can be as high as 6,000 metres (almost 20,000 feet). It has an operational ceiling limit of 6,000-6,500 meters (19,700-21,300 feet). At these rarefied altitudes, where the shortage of oxygen prevents troops from carrying heavy weapons into battle, the LCH will provide crucial fire support with its 20 millimetre turret gun, 70 millimetre rockets and, to be incorporated later, a guided missile.

Souce said LCH has demonstrated capability to land and take off from Siachen with considerable load, fuel and weapons that are beyond any other combat helicopter. The helicopter can carry out operational roles under extreme weather conditions at different altitudes from sea level, hot weather desert, cold weather and Himalayan altitudes.

Russia's S-400 Is Way More Dangerous Than You Think

One use of the S-400 long-range missile is against stand-off systems including flying command posts and aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS. These aircraft, which are used by the US and its NATO allies with a squadron stationed in Japan at Kadena AFB and in the UAE at al-Dhafra, are vulnerable to S-400 interceptors and lose their stand-off range protection. We may be reaching the end of the AWACS capability, which were originally designed in the 1960s

Saudi Arabia’s agreement to purchase the S-400 anti-aircraft Triumf anti-missile system from Russia is a major blow to the United States and its European allies

The deal follows Turkey’s $2.5 billion agreement to buy the S-400, and ongoing negotiations with Egypt for the S-400. Egypt already has the S-300VM system (also known as the Antey 2500) which can engage short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, precision guided weapons, strategic and tactical aircraft, as well as early warning and electronic warfare aircraft. (Originally the S-400 was called the S-300 PMU-3.)

Among other countries with the S-300 system are Greece, a NATO ally who got them from Cyprus when the Turks threatened Cyprus with war unless the country gave up its missiles. Thus, they were given to Greece to defuse a crisis with Turkey.

There are other users of these systems. There is China, of course, but also India, Ukraine, Venezuela and NATO member Bulgaria, to name a few.

But the S-400 is the real game changer. The reason is the multiple intercept missiles the S-400 system can fire. The S-400 supports four different missiles – the very long range 40N6E-series (400 km), the long range 48N6 (250 km), the 9M96e2 (120 km) and the short range 9m96e (40 km). By comparison the US Patriot system supports only one interceptor missile with a range of 96 km.

But there is more. The 9M96E2 is one of the jewels of the S-400 system. It flies at Mach 15 (around 5,000 meters per second or 18,500 kph), it can engage targets as low as 5 meters off the ground, and it can maneuver pulling up to 20 Gs (a human can withstand no more than 9 Gs with special pressure suits and helmets and for only a few seconds). It is designed to knock out penetrating aircraft and missiles flying “off the deck” or just above ground and neutralize cruise missiles.

Dr. Carlo Kopp, one of the world’s top aerospace experts, says the S-400 has optional acquisition radars designed to defeat modern stealth aircraft such as the F-22 and the F-35. They work by operating in multiple frequency bands including both VHF and L bands that can “see” stealth-protected fighters.

Stealth designs have been built on low-detection by X-band radars, the most common military and civilian radars (others such as C-band – now known as the G/H band – are less prevalent). The F-35 has stealth protection mainly in the front of the aircraft, meaning that when it turns away from its target it is vulnerable. In time, the entire air defense system of the US and its allies, all based primarily on X band, will become obsolete as China and Russia move toward stealth aircraft and missiles.

Along with the radar enhancements (which may or may not be delivered to foreign customers), Russia has a formidable integrated air defense system even though the size of its truly modern aircraft fleet is quite small compared to the United States and NATO. Russia lost a decade in the arms race when it had no money to develop and build new aircraft, and its economy today barely supports acquisition of effective numbers of new equipment. Indeed, one of the reasons Russia developed its air defenses along with wanting to counter US stealth aircraft and cruise missiles is because it could not afford a big fleet of modern fighter aircraft. (The US administration and Congress should pay close attention to Russia’s limited offensive capabilities, not too often done these days of anti-Russian hysteria in Washington.)

One use of the S-400 long-range missile is against stand-off systems including flying command posts and aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS. These aircraft, which are used by the US and its NATO allies with a squadron stationed in Japan at Kadena AFB and in the UAE at al-Dhafra, are vulnerable to S-400 interceptors and lose their stand-off range protection. We may be reaching the end of the AWACS capability, which were originally designed in the 1960s.

The S-400 also has capability against ballistic missiles, a feature that surely attracted Saudi Arabia’s interest. How good it is against ballistic missiles? No one knows for sure.

The Saudi decision to buy the S-400 is probably linked to Egypt’s earlier purchase of the S-300VM and desire to get the S-400. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states probably paid for Egypt’s weapons.

The Russians have definitely made a breakthrough with sales of weapons to some NATO countries with uncertain futures in the bloc (e.g. Greece, Turkey) and strong US client countries such as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states such as the UAE. One immediate new example: Russia says the UAE is just months away from buying the formidable Su-35 multirole fighter jet, the current Queen of the Russian Air Force fighter fleet.

The Russian breakthrough makes sense in technological terms. The US does not have a true competitor to the S-400 system and the US is not anxious to see such systems proliferate. Too bad and too late.

India, Japan To Introduce Artificial Intelligence, Robotics In Defence Sector

While the latest buzzword in international geopolitics, 'Indo-Pacific', might sound American, its actually Japanese in origin, having been articulated by Abe himself as far back as 2007

NEW DELHI: India and Japan will work together to introduce artificial intelligence and robotics in the defence sector, the next level of strategic cooperation between the two Asian partners.

Kentaro Sonoura, Japan's state minister for foreign affairs and a close adviser to PM Shinzo Abe, told TOI in an exclusive chat, "You should expect to see increased bilateral cooperation between us to develop unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and robotics."

The strategic sphere is where the bulk of India-Japan convergence lies. After the nuclear agreement was ratified by the Japanese parliament late 2017, Sonoura said India and Japan would be setting up a joint task force for commercial agreements by the end of January. With the legislation behind them, the Japanese minister said Tokyo was keen to get this going. "The two PMs agreed to launch a working group, which will work on cooperation between nuclear companies. Japan's intention is to start this quickly, possibly by the end of this month," he said.

With an aggressive and expansionist China growing as a challenge to both India and Japan, the two countries are increasingly looking at the world from a similar lens. While the latest buzzword in international geopolitics, 'Indo-Pacific', might sound American, its actually Japanese in origin, having been articulated by Abe himself as far back as 2007.

In 2018, Japan's is aiming for a "free and open Indo-Pacific", a theme Sonoura expounded on at the recent Raisina Dialogue. This, he told TOI, was a coming together of Japan's Indo-Pacific policy and India's Act East policy. "We need to share the importance of rule of law and freedom of navigation among related countries. The next step is infrastructure development based on global standards, so that connectivity among countries is increased. The third step would be maritime law enforcement and disaster management that would ensure the stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Therefore, we would like to connect and combine our Indo-Pacific strategy and India's Act East policy as a one big picture. That's the synergy we seek," Sonoura said.

This is the kind of grand strategy that incorporates a stronger bilateral relationship as well as a multilateral one, between Japan-India-US, Japan-US-Australia and the Quadrilateral, Japan-US-India-Australia, seeking to tilt the strategic balance away from China.

The Great American Arms Bazaar

Donald Trump’s attempt to rework the commercial-strategic equation spells an opportunity for India

In a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump made up the name of a non-existent fighter plane, “F-52,” while lauding the F-35 fighter sale in a new defence deal with America’s NATO ally. While the gaffe yielded a heavy round of Twitter humour at the expense of Mr. Trump, what has not been adequately noticed is the significance of weapons sales in his diplomatic pitch throughout. He has been an aggressive salesman for American defence manufacturers during his foreign tours and to visiting heads of foreign countries in his first year in office. Promoting the sale of U.S. arms could soon become a key result area for the country’s embassies around the world, according to a Reuters report earlier this month. Arms supply has been a key tool of U.S. strategy for years. Mr. Trump wants to make arms sale itself a strategy.

The Existing Policy

Arms transfers by the U.S. happen primarily through Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales, and Foreign Military Financing, all controlled by stringent laws, the most important of them being the Arms Export Control Act. The U.S. government sells defence equipment worth about $40 billion every year under Foreign Military Sales. Direct Commercial Sales are worth around $110 billion a year, in which a foreign buyer and the American seller negotiate the deal directly. Foreign Military Financing is done through American grants. Of the roughly $6 billion under that head, $3.7 billion goes to Israel each year. Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan have been other significant recipients of Foreign Military Financing in recent years, followed by 50 countries that receive smaller amounts totalling $1 billion. Arms supplies to foreign countries is critical to the U.S. for at least three reasons: it is a key leverage of global influence, it reduces the cost of procurement for the U.S. military by spreading the cost, and by employing 1.7 million people, the defence industry is a key component in the country’s economy and consequently, its politics.

But the sale of weaponry, traditionally, is guided less by commercial considerations rather than strategic ones. The Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the Department of State is the lynchpin of this process; the other players are the Department of Defence, the White House and the U.S. Congress. Each proposed sale is vetted on a case-by-case basis and approved “only if found to further U.S. foreign policy and national security interests”, according to the Bureau’s policy. The actual process of a sale could be long-winded, and could take months even after it is approved in principle, an example being the ongoing negotiations to acquire 22 Guardian drones for the Indian Navy from American manufacturer General Atomics.

“We are very concerned that our partners have the ability to buy what they seek, within their means,” a U.S. official explained. “So we assess the capability. If someone asks for [the] F-35, we have to ensure that they have the money, the capability to operate it and protect the technology as well as we can. So if we conclude that we cannot sell F-35s, we have at least 10 different types of F-16 fighters that we match with the capability and importance of the partner country.” The process of initial assessment of selling arms to any country involves the State and Defence Departments. There are around 100 military officers attached to the State Department and around the same number of diplomats assigned to the Pentagon, who help in such decisions. It is also sought to ensure that the systems sold to one country do not end up with a third party.

The White House, through the National Security Council, plays a key role in this process. Once all of them are on the same page on a particular proposal, Congressional leaders of the House and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations are informally consulted. Once they are on board, the sale is formally notified. Significant sales require a tacit approval by lawmakers.

Changes Mr. Trump Wants

Mr. Trump has not hidden his disapproval for the American strategy, which he thinks has been a big failure. His views on defence partnerships are in line with this thinking. He wants to reduce the Foreign Military Financing to the least, except for Israel. He wants American partners to buy more weapons from it, and it is also a move towards reducing trade deficits with key partners such as South Korea and Japan. He is hammering NATO partners to ramp up defence spending and believes that all these partners have taken the U.S. for a ride. He has little patience for linking human rights to arms sales. The fact also is that the actual practice of American arms supplies does not often live up to its professed objectives. The Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine weapons supplies for Syrian rebels reached the Islamic State and al-Qaeda for instance, and Mr. Trump has ordered the discontinuation of the program. So, overall, the President is pushing for a liberalisation of U.S. arms sales to partner countries, guided less by any grand strategic vision, but by commercial and domestic political calculations. He is seeking to flip the equation between commercial and strategic calculations behind arms sales in favour of the first.

The security establishment and Congress will not easily accede to major changes in existing U.S. laws in order to further Mr. Trump’s ideas. However, Mr. Trump holds the last word on defining what U.S. national interests are, and his thinking could turn out be an opportunity for India, one of the largest importers of major arms. India has bought $15 billion worth of defence equipment from the U.S. over the last decade, but Indian requests for arms often get entangled in the U.S. bureaucracy for multiple reasons. The honorific title of ‘major defence partner’ notwithstanding, the traditional American propensity to link sales to operational questions such as interoperability and larger strategic notions dampens possibilities. India’s robust defence partnership with Russia is a major irritant for American officials.

If Mr. Trump manages to emphasise the commercial benefits of arms sales, and de-emphasise the strategic angle, it could lead to a change in the dynamics of the India-U.S. defence trade, and bilateral trade in general. India, always wary of military alliances, will be more comfortable with weapons purchases as commercial deals. For America, India could be a reliable, non-proliferating buyer of its arms. The U.S. also has a trade deficit with India. It was the out-of-the-box thinking of a President that led to the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal. With his unconventional thinking, could Mr. Trump offer F-35s to India?


MQM Distances Itself From #Freekrachi Campaign

The meeting was attended by seniors from Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Belgium, South Africa and other countries. It deliberated on issues relating to Pakistan, international and MQM organisational matters

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leadership has distanced itself from the recently launched Free Karachi campaign in the United States.

"The meeting also unanimously informed hereby that the Movement and its founder and leader Hussain has nothing to do with the recently surfaced "#FreeKarachi" campaign", the MQM said in a statement.

The decision was taken in a meeting of its senior leaders held at the MQM International Secretariat here.

The meeting was attended by seniors from Pakistan, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Belgium, South Africa and other countries.

It deliberated on issues relating to Pakistan, international and MQM organisational matters.

The statement comes after taxis lined up with #FreeKarachi banners to participate in the Dr Martin Luther King Day parade earlier this week in Washington and similar demonstrations were held in New York. ​​​​​​​

Opinion: Trump's Racialised Immigration Policy Is A Threat To Indians In US

by Pallavi Banerjee

Donald Trump’s comment about “shithole countries” during the infamous immigration deal on January 11, 2018, has created widespread outrage across the US and the world. He said this in reference to potentially stopping immigration from countries like Haiti and Nigeria. The assertion that was lost in the furor on his disparaging statement was the bit that followed his comment – that he’d rather welcome immigrants from places like Norway. As a sociologist of immigration, this is the part that struck me as the most alarming. 

That remark, substantiated by the numerous anti-immigrant measures taken in the last year by the administration, is heavily reminiscent of the racalized history of American immigration policy of the early late 19th and 20th centuries. This was an era when immigration policies were constructed to protect the American identity as white and European. Any other identity was perceived as a threat to American way of living.

Laws were created to keep Blacks, Asians, refugees and anyone perceived as non-assimilable out of the United States. All this changed in 1965 when national origin quotas were abolished and laws were passed to allow humanitarian immigration, family-based immigration and employment-based immigration from most countries in the world. 

Trump’s rhetoric and actions are uncannily similar to some of the most racist immigration policies the US have had in the last century. 

Within days of taking office, Trump with help of his appointees, such as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, signed a series of executive orders that amplified the fears that many immigrants and people of colour were feeling during his controversial presidential campaign. These ranged from the travel ban from six predominantly Muslim countries, trying to cut all federal funding for sanctuary cities for immigrants, to announcing the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program passed by Obama. The latter program helped to protect 800,000 young undocumented immigrant children from deportation who came to the US as children. 

Most recently, the Trump administration announced the stripping of the Temporary Protected Status program, an immigration programme that allows immigrants whose countries are affected by war and natural disasters, to stay and work legally in the US. Thousands of Salvadoran refugees are likely to be affected by this ruling.

In the new year, Trump has escalated his hardline on immigration, presenting a list of demands, that include construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border, hiring 10,000 immigration agents, cracking down on unaccompanied minors from Latin American countries and stopping family reunification policies for American residents.

His administration has also threatened to roll back the Obama era ruling that allows spouses of temporary highly-skilled workers on H-1B visa to obtain work permits if they are in a queue for lawful permanent residency or green card approval. The people, who are to be most affected by this rollback, are Indian workers on H-1B visas and their spouses on H-4 visas, as they comprise the largest group in the US on those visas.

My research on Indian families on employment visas shows that they are definitely in a precarious position. It will further destabilise immigrant families and make them insecure and less optimistic about their futures in the United States. The macro-and micro-economic considerations and fallouts of this policy remain to be examined. The administration seems to have reacted to populist positions, not data-driven ones. Families like Indian families on H-1B and H-4 visa who can leave will probably plan on returning to their home countries or move to other parts of the world with better family-friendly immigration policies.

The Trump administration is making clear it’s anti-immigrant stance. The actions and threats of this administration are, perceptibly and clearly, directed toward immigrant families of colour and are based in ideologies of American protectionism – a protectionism that is racialized and based on further othering of already marginalised populations. It has managed to create a constant strain of fear and panic that has deeply destabilised immigrant families of color.

One positive outcome that I hope for is solidarities across immigrant groups and concerted efforts at organising and resistance. Immigrants with higher social, cultural and economic capital like highly-skilled Indian immigrants in the US often see themselves as model minorities and as more desirable and deserving of rights and privileges. The stance of this administration is forcing all immigrants of colour to reassess their safety and security in the US.

I hope that more privileged immigrants, American citizens and concerned individuals see this as an opportunity to reach out and form alliances with marginalised immigrant groups, people of colour and those whose rights are being dismantled every day by this administration. As history has shown that the only real way that America stands out in the world is when it comes together to fight against injustices levied at people on whose back the nation was built and on whose backs it runs.

Has India Done Enough For Tibet’s Cause?

by N S Venkataraman

More than six decades have gone after China forcibly entered Tibet and occupied the land and unjustifiably claimed that Tibet belongs to it. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had no alternative other than leaving Tibet with his disciples and he entered Indian territory on 31st March, 1959.

When China occupied Tibet India led by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru just kept watching and did nothing to stop China from its aggressive move. Obviously, Nehru was very friendly at that time with Chinese government and he did not want to upset China by commenting on China’s occupation of Tibet. While Nehru took such stand, there were many sane voices in India who felt concerned about the inaction of Jawaharlal Nehru and reminded him that he was doing historical mistake.

The fact is that the Jawaharlal Nehru not only kept silent but also virtually recognized the occupation of Tibet by China. If he would not combat China on the Tibetan issue, he could have at least refrained from providing recognition for China’s occupation of Tibet.

History is certainly pointing to Jawaharlal Nehru for this lapse and many Indians continue to express their anguish about this.

It is now a matter of speculation whether India had the military strength at that time to combat China. When India just remained silent, the rest of the world thought that China could have a case in occupying, though western countries made some protest noise which appeared to be a cosmetic exercise even at that time.

At that time when China occupied Tibet, China certainly did not have the type of military or economic strength that it now possesses. Certainly, if western countries were to have interfered to stop China from its heinous act, things could have been different. The net result was that Tibet went under China and China had the last laugh.

However, the silence of Jawaharlal Nehru while Tibet was suffering disturbed the conscience of large segment of Indians and such disturbed conscience state amongst Indians continue till today.

Jawaharlal Nehru was a great historian and a scholar who would have certainly known about the great traditions and the value systems that the Tibetans cherished. He certainly failed the conscience of India and perhaps, conscience of Nehru also might have disturbed him.

This explains the fact that when the Dalai lama and his disciples entered India, practically no restriction was placed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Tibetans were allowed to settle down with refugee status. Though Nehru placed restrictions on Tibetans that they should not indulge in politics, in practical terms government largely ignored or allowed the protests by Tibetans against the Chinese occupation of their dear country.

The Dalai Lama was treated with the respect that he deserves and was allowed to travel all over India, meet people and attend programmes and meetings. He was also later on allowed to go abroad and convey to the rest of the world about the harm done to Tibet by China. The Tibet government in exile was allowed to be formed in Indian territory and the Central Tibetan administration have a number of office bearers including the Prime Minister in exile.

Jawaharlal Nehru and subsequent governments did not accede to the demand of China that the movement of the Dalai Lama and Tibetans in India should be restricted. While the Indian government was certainly guilty of remaining silent over China’s occupation of Tibet, it tried to make amends to its grave mistake by standing up to China and treating the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans in India with dignity.

Coming to the question whether India has done enough for Tibet’s cause, the fact is that the present approach of Indian government towards the Tibetan cause is similar to the act of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Obviously, the present government of India seem to think that the occupation of Tibet should have been prevented from happening but it’s sympathy for the cause of Tibetans now appears to be too late.

The ball is in the court of Tibetans and it is for them to chart their course of action, utilizing the goodwill that they enjoy in India and in several parts of the world.

Edward Snowden: Sticking His Nose Into Someone Else's Business

A constant critic of Aadhaar, American whistle-blower Edward Snowden on Sunday called Aadhaar an "improper gate to services" and suggested that demands to link Aadhaar to bank and telecom services should be criminalised.

While tweeting his comments, Snowden shared an article on Aadhaar written by former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), KC Verma.

Snowden has spoken against Aadhaar in the past. Earlier in January, he said the database conceived of by the Indian government could be "misused and abused".

Snowden also spoke out in support of an English daily journalist who did an investigative piece on Aadhaar data being sold for as little as Rs 500. Snowden said the the journalist deserved an award, not an FIR.

Snowden is a former CIA employee famously known for leaking classified information that exposed a massive surveillance operation run by the CIA. He is currently living under asylum in Russia.

While tweeting his comments, Snowden shared an article on Aadhaar written by a former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Kargil Hero Now Wins Cyber War, Beats Chinese Hackers

by Ajit Kumar Dubey

An Army officer and Kargil hero is now winning wars on the virtual battlefield. He recently foiled attempts by suspected Chinese and Pakistani hackers to break into his system, which prevented critical information from being compromised.

The officer discovered that the cyber attackers were trying to access his passwords after which he took steps to throttle their efforts.

If the hackers had managed to break in, they could have stolen sensitive material, sources in the Army told Mail Today.

It is suspected that the foiled attacks were launched by hackers from China and Pakistan who have been quite active over the past few years, targeting Indian military officers and networks.

The officer had taken part in the Kargil war and was awarded a gallantry medal for his valiant actions against Pakistani intruders who had taken over Indian posts located on higher peaks that are traditionally vacated in winter months to protect troops from harsh cold.

Experts say hackers and even nation states are increasingly using cyber attacks to knock out electrical grids, disable domestic airline networks, jam Internet connectivity, erase money from bank accounts and confuse radar systems across the world.

In recent times, groups backed by Chinese and Pakistani authorities have been trying to break into the networks of Indian defence forces to extract information.

Along with fighting against Pakistan in Kargil, the officer also has significant exposure of operations along the Line of Actual Control with China.

The cyber attacks come at a time of simmering tensions at the border with both Pakistan and China. While Pakistani forces have been resorting to frequent ceasefire violations, the Chinese are involved in a war of words with India over the Doklam plateau row.

Hackers have in recent times made several attempts to break into military networks but the forces and officers have helped thwart a majority of them by following the laid-down procedures.

In April last year, the Army Cyber Group had uncovered a coordinated effort to hack into the computers of its senior officers with decoy emails that purportedly contained links of “their sex videos”.

At least four officers of lieutenant general-rank posted at South Block headquarters were the target of the malicious bid. In an effort to enhance its combat capabilities in the virtual domain, the defence ministry is working towards establishing a new cyber agency to tackle attacks by Chinese and Pakistani hackers.

To test its capabilities, the new agency has also carried out its first cyber warfare exercise under which Indian forces hit their own networks to check for loopholes and steps required to strengthen the system, sources informed.

After a few incidents of virtual honey-trapping by Pakistani agents, the Army has been on an overdrive to educate its personnel to guard against such attacks.

One example of this is evident in calling an official Army telephone number, which plays a recorded message about the need to be careful from foreign agents who have been trying to extract information by all means.

If Needed, Indians Forces Destroy Enemies On Their Own Soil: Union Minister Rajnath Singh

by Namita Bajpai

NEW DELHI: Handing out a clear warning, Union home minister Rajnath Singh cautioned Pakistan that if needed, Indian forces were capable of crossing over and attack the enemy on its own soil.

“India has emerged as a powerful nation in the world and it wants healthy ties with the neighbouring country which is not mending ways,” said the home minister while addressing a public rally here on Sunday.

Singh claimed that India had proved it could attack its enemies not only on its soil, but also in a foreign territory if the situation demanded so.

The Home Minister’s remarks was in reference to the cross-border action by Indian forces in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir killing three Pakistani soldiers. They had also destroyed an enemy post in a brief surgical strike with the help of five commandos. The operation was seen as avenging the killing of four Indian Army personnel by a Border Action Team of the Pakistan Army in Keri sector Rajouri district.

"A few months ago, Pakistan violated the ceasefire and martyred 17 of our Jawans. PM convened a meeting with all of us on the serious issue and we decided to teach Pakistan a lesson. As a result, Indian Army crossed the border into Pakistani area and killed the militants waiting to enter the country to carry out massive attacks," Singh claimed.

Assuring the gathering of a strong reaction to Pakistan’s misadventures, the minister said: "Let me assure you that we will not let the country’s head bow." He added that even the world has acknowledged India as a world power ans one of the most rapidly growing economies on globe. “Even global economists and experts have accepted it,” he stated attributing it to the leadership of PM Modi.

India-US Bonhomie: Time For A Reality Check

by Mathew Maavak

The ongoing India-US rapprochement has been couched in terms of a pact between the “two largest democracies in the world” and similar superlatives. While geographically-challenged Americans may be forgiven for not recognizing their immediate northern neighbor as both a larger nation and a better democracy, mnemonically-challenged Indian pundits should nonetheless subject India-US ties to trend-based reality checks.

Three recent notable sticking points below should deflate India’s pro-American media.

Why does the US continue to withhold David Headley aka Daood Syed Gilani – a key planner behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks—from the Indian justice system? Headley, long fingered as a CIA-ISI asset, is supposedly serving time in a US prison for terrorist crimes perpetrated on Indian soil and against Indian citizens. If one agrees with this bizarre judicial arrangement, then one shouldn't be offended by US President Donald J. Trump’s fecal rants against Third World nations. India might as well count itself in as a founding member of this lavatorial bloc as Trump’s sentiments have long been trailblazed by the US justice system.

Touching on the US justice system, why hasn't the State Department offered a formal apology to India over the barbaric treatment of diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who was stripped-searched and cavity-checked for an alleged minimum wage offence in 2013? The incident has no parallel in the history of modern international relations. Not even Nazi Germany had subjected a diplomat of an enemy power to such abject degradation.

Indian geopolitical savants should honestly ask themselves whether the US would dare subject a low-ranking female Iranian or North Korean diplomat to such indignities despite Washington’s daily sabre-rattling against both nations. Will either Trump or the State Department proffer an overdue apology or is that unwarranted for a s***hole country?

As for the State Department itself, one should ask whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been officially removed from a US visa sanctions list under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Even as late as August 2013, the bipartisan United States Commission on International Religious Freedom had opposed granting a visa to Modi due to “very serious” doubts lingering over his alleged role in the “horrific” 2002 Gujarat riots. What changed since then? Did a new US Justice Department review discover exculpatory evidence to exonerate Modi? Otherwise, Modi is still technically on course for a possible indictment at a future date when he no longer enjoys automatic diplomatic immunity as head of government.

Modi remains the only person sanctioned under the Act. Not even Al Qaeda financier sheikhs in the Gulf Arab world carry this stigma. No Pakistani politician has ever been sanctioned under the same Act for the routine rapes, murders and property confiscations of minority Christians and Hindus in his nation.

Yet, instead of questioning US motives; sense of moral proportion; and restitution for past misdeeds, a bovine Indian media is coaxed to play up the China hysteria. It is after all a publicly-stated US policy to use India – and inevitably the blood of Indian soldiers – as a buffer against China. And not just against China. US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis even had the temerity to demand an Indian military presence in Afghanistan during a recent visit to Delhi.

Why can’t the US ask Saudi Arabia, with its vast petrodollar wealth and millions in unemployed youths, to undertake the same task? After all, Washington remains an abiding military patron of Riyadh. Besides, what kind of “war on terror” is the US fighting when its soldiers are routinely photographed protecting opium fields in Afghanistan? This grotesque arrangement with Afghan opium growers has directly resulted in a runaway heroin crisis in Punjab – a state that ironically produces a disproportionate number of soldiers for the Indian army.

As for China, aside from an unresolved border issue and Beijing’s opprobrious support of Pakistan over Hafiz Saeed, no Indian diplomat has ever been arrested and cavity-checked in Beijing. Indian and Chinese soldiers have not exchanged bullets in Doklam or anywhere else along the Himalayas since the late 1960s. In fact, one potential Himalayan spoiler to the 1975 incorporation of Sikkim was Hope Cooke – the American consort to the 12th Chogyal King, Palden Thondup Namgyal. (David Headley is also incidentally half-American).

American spoliation is not just limited to geopolitics. Just about every notable Indian breakthrough in high technology came in the face of prior US opposition. While NASA may congratulate India on its rocketry and space milestones, it forgets how the US had forced the Soviet Union – or the “evil empire as then President Ronald Reagan called it– to cancel cryogenic technology transfers to Delhi. When India recently celebrated the unveiling of the Pratyush supercomputer, few retraced its developmental trajectory to PARAM machines that were built in the face of US denials of technology.

Despite its consistent record in stifling Indian innovation, Washington continues to dangle the carrots of military technology transfers along an eternally-stretched dirt road. India buys US weapons systems such as M777 howitzers and GE F404 engines in hard cash. Hardly any major technology transfer has been effectuated despite Washington’s perennial rhetoric.

While some Indian apologists attribute past frictions between Washington and New Delhi to realpolitik and the Cold War zeitgeist, there remains one overriding strategic reason for India to reject any military alliance with the US: None of Washington’s allies can militarily stand on their own in any major conflict despite possessing the technologies and potential manpower to do so. Take a look at Britain, France, Germany, Canada, South Korea, Japan and Australia, amongst numerous other nations, to see how military dependence on the US translates to foreign policy servitude.

Take a closer look at Israel. While US politicians love to bellow their “love for Israel” from the rooftops of Capitol Hill, nationalist Israelis will remember how the Reagan regime had deliberately scuttled the native Lavi fighter jet program and thereby kill a viable competitor to the F-16s and F-18s. The annual military aid to Israel, couched in vacuous civilizational and religious terms, is in reality a quid pro quo to purchase or improvise US weapons systems. India can never be a military-cum-economic superpower if it is ever subsumed into the US security hydra.

On the civilian and commercial fronts, US industrial contributions to India have been patchy, mundane or outright lethal. The 1984 Bhopal tragedy and the ongoing suicides of Indian farmers after the introduction of Monsanto GMO seeds are cases in point.

Of course, US multinationals are undeniably setting up software and R&D centres in India, creating hi-tech jobs in return for low-cost skills. Yet, there is a flip side to this development as Indian ingenuity may be prematurely swallowed up by cash-rich MNCs. Decades-old Indian software prowess has yet to produce native challenges to operating systems from Microsoft and Apple (US); Internet browsers like Yandex (Russia); and mobile apps like Waze (Israel), WeChat (China) or Telegram (Russia).

Finally, one only needs to study how Pakistan’s military alliance with the US had panned out. The global jihadi menace – nurtured by Washington as an ostensible bulwark against Soviet communism in Afghanistan –was predictably re-channelled by Pakistan into unremitting terror in Kashmir.

For now, the US is seen to be acting tough on Pakistan, much to the delight of the visceral Indian “intelligentsia”. However, Indians should remember that no other major power had applied more sanctions on New Delhi, post-WWII, than the United States of America!

So much for the ebullience over the “two largest democracies in the world”….

Mathew Maavak -  is a Malaysian consultant who specializes in Strategic Foresight & Planning; Defense and Security Analysis

WEF 2018: No Plans of Modi-Abbasi Or Modi-Trump Meet; Focus On Global Economy, Says MEA

When the External Affairs Ministry Vijay Gokhale (Secretary Economic Relations) was asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting the newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Vijay Gokhale said that there are 'no plans' of any meeting between the two leaders at WEF 2018. The MEA official also added that there will be no meeting between the US President Donald Trump and PM Modi as the two leaders won't be present on the same day.

The MEA official also added that there will be no meeting between the US President Donald Trump and PM Modi as the two leaders won't be present on the same day

On his first visit to World Economic Forum (WEF), Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the opening plenary on January 23 and later will be holding bilateral meetings with Swiss President, Alain Berset. However, PM Modi is expected to miss a meet with his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and close aide US President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, commenting on the reports of PM Modi’s meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, an official from external affairs ministry (MEA) said that there are ‘no plans’ of any meeting between Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers. Reacting to the questions if Modi and Trump will be sharing a ‘hug’ again at WEF, the official said that ‘there were never any plans for the two leaders to meet.’

The annual WEF meet which will witness an Indian Prime Minister after 20 years since HD Deve Gowda attended the event in 1997. The WEF will be beginning from January 22, with PM Modi to address an open plenary on January 23, Tuesday. Talking to the media, External Affairs Ministry Vijay Gokhale (Secretary Economic Relations) said, “As far as I am concerned there are no plans for meeting with the Pakistan Prime Minister.” The meet between the Indian Prime Minister and Pakistani PM Abbasi was being anticipated as the relationship between the two countries seemed to be going through a rough surface following series of attacks by Pakistan-based terror groups and incidents of ceasefire violations. The violations have resulted in massive bloodshed on both the side.

Reacting to the questions if PM Modi would be meeting US President Donald Trump, Vijay Gokhale said that the two leaders will not be there on the same day. Just like PM Modi’s first visit to Davos, this would be US President’s first visit to attend the event since Bill Clinton in 2000, and first for Donald Trump. Gokhale further added, “This is a multilateral event and the Prime Minister’s central message will be that we are an economy that can be an engine of global growth. We want others to participate in our growth and we also want to participate in others’ growth”. He also said, “Our focus has always been in a global economy that is open and inclusive”.

India Begins Talks With Russia For Rs 39,000 Cr Triumf Missile Shield Deal

Talks on for acquisition of five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems from Russia. S-400 can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles, drones at up to 400 km and altitude 30 km. All the five S-400 systems will be delivered in 54 months: Defence ministry sources

NEW DELHI: India has now begun final contract negotiations with Russia for the Rs 39,000 crore (over $5.5 billion) acquisition of five advanced S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of up to 400 km and altitude of 30 km.

India wants to conclude the major deal in the 2018-19 financial year, with the first S-400 surface-to-air (SAM) missile system, with its associated battle-management system of command post and launchers, acquisition and engagement radars, and all-terrain transporter-erector-launcher vehicles, slated for delivery two years after the contract is inked.

"All the five S-400 systems, which can even take on medium-range ballistic missiles, apart from cruise missiles, will be delivered in 54 months. The force-multiplier will change the dynamics of air defence in the region," a defence ministry source said.

India's final commercial negotiations with Russia after extensive field trials come at a time when China has already begun to get deliveries of six S-400 batteries - designated 'SA-21 Growler' by NATO - under a $3 billion deal inked in 2014.

There were, however, reports that some auxiliary components of the S-400 systems being shipped to China from Russia were damaged in a storm last week. Russia, which has deployed the S-400 in Crimea for airspace protection along the Ukraine border, is also set to sell the air defence systems to Turkey and Saudi Arabia. 

India can deploy the highly-mobile S-400 system to protect a city during war, or even use it to neutralise Pakistan's short-range Nasr (Hatf-IX) nuclear missiles. Pakistan often recklessly brandishes its Nasr missiles as a battlefield counter to India's 'Cold Start' strategy of swift, high-intensity conventional attacks into enemy territory. 

With long-range radars to track 100 to 300 targets simultaneously, the S-400 has different kinds of supersonic and hypersonic missiles to intercept incoming aerial threats at different ranges. The system's cost depends on the configuration a customer wants. India, for instance, is mainly going in for long-range (120-370-km) interception missiles.

TOI was the first to report in October 2015 that the Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) was finalising the game-changing acquisition of the S-400 systems to plug major operational gaps in airspace defence.