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WAR 10-12-2019-to-10-18-2019___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
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  1. #1
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    3 10-12-2019-to-10-18-2019___****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****

    Last week's got lost in the update and I didn't have time to restart it...HC

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    October 10, 2019
    Vietnam a lonely island of resistance to China

    Hanoi has deftly deployed a three-pronged strategy to counter and deter Beijing’s drive to control the South China Sea

    By Richard Javad Heydarian

    Locked for months in a naval showdown with China over a gas-rich reef, Vietnam is now arguably the last competing claimant to proactively resist Beijing’s push to control the South China Sea.

    Much of Southeast Asia, including United States treaty ally the Philippines, rival claimant Malaysia, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) chairman Thailand, have all taken more conciliatory tacks in apparent hopes of winning so far largely withheld Chinese concessions.

    In contrast, Vietnam has openly and frequently criticized China’s militarization of contested land features in the sea, while actively reducing its economic dependence on China via expanded trade relations with Western powers, including most recently the European Union.

    In an adroit display of omni-balancing, Hanoi has deftly solicited support from a myriad of powers, including both the US and Russia, in order to stave off Chinese intrusions into energy-rich waters claimed within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

    Speaking before the UN General Assembly on September 28, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called on China to “exercise restraint and refrain from conducting unilateral acts, which might complicate or escalate tensions at sea, and settle disputes by peaceful means.

    “Vietnam has on many occasions voiced its concerns over the recent complicated developments in the South China Sea, including serious incidents that infringed upon Vietnam’s sovereignty,” he added.
    Vanguard Bank area circled in red. Image: Wikimedia Commons

    There are rising voices, usually stifled in Vietnam’s closed and authoritarian political system, calling for greater internationalization of the nation’s disputes with China.

    A group of Vietnamese experts suggested this week that Vietnam should sue China for violating its sovereignty under international law at The Hague, a move that would raise the diplomatic ante on the Vanguard Bank and other contested features.

    Vietnam’s Institute for Research on Policy, Law and Development held a rare public forum in Hanoi on October 5 that openly criticized China’s actions at the Vanguard Bank and recommended legal action to “identify who is right and who is wrong in this matter.”

    The Philippines won a similar claim against China at The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration in July 2016, a ruling that debunked China’s wide-reaching claims under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

    China rejected the ruling as “baseless” and the Philippines has not pushed the legal win under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has instead taken a conciliatory tack towards China and their still-bubbling sea disputes.

    Vietnam has also openly welcomed US assistance, including through a greater American naval presence in the area. Hanoi is known to be perturbed by reports China has secured exclusive 30-year access to a naval base in neighboring Cambodia, opening a new strategic southern flank in its maritime contest with Vietnam.

    The Donald Trump administration has openly criticized Beijing’s actions against smaller claimant states. In response, the US has deepened its strategic ties with Vietnam, a relationship that could deepen if, as expected, Communist Party chief and de facto national leader Nguyen Phu Trong visits Washington in the coming weeks.
    US President Donald Trump (L) and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong at the Presidential Palace, Hanoi, February 27, 2019. Photo: AFP via Vietnam News Agency

    “Most of the attendees agreed that Vietnam needs to change its foreign policy, including coming up with a proposal for further developing relations with the US, to rid itself of Chinese influence,” said maritime expert Hoang Viet referring to the discussions at the October 5 forum, according to a Radio Free Asia report.

    Indeed, Hanoi needs all the naval help it can get, including at the Vanguard Bank, a feature perched at the western edge of the contested Spratly island chain that falls well within Vietnam’s EEZ.

    Hanoi has sought to develop energy resources in the area, which is close to Vietnam’s other offshore hydrocarbon fields. China claims the low-tide elevation and its surrounding waters as part of its expansive nine-dashed line map claim, which encompasses some 90% of the sea.

    The Reed Bank standoff marks the most dangerous escalation between the two neighbors since 2014, when China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) deployed its massive Hai Yang Shi You 981 oil rig close to Triton Island, the southwestern-most land feature in the contested Paracels.

    The incident sparked nationalistic, anti-China protests across Vietnam, resulting in riots that killed Chinese nationals and attacks on Chinese-owned companies. Beijing was forced to evacuate scores of its citizens amid the spasm of violence.

    But China is clearly playing a long game of encircling and squeezing Vietnam’s claims in the sea, replete with tactical retreats and naval misdirection tactics, likely employed to gauge how the US and other regional powers may react to the provocations.

    There was a temporary lull in the Vanguard Bank tensions when the Chinese surveillance vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 vacated the area in early August, in what many initially saw as an end to the standoff.

    But the vessel’s return a few days later, after refueling at the nearby Fiery Cross Reef, reignited fears of a protracted and potentially explosive confrontation that some feel could eventually drag in the US.

    The standoff has underlined not only China’s determination to restrict and block energy exploration activities by smaller claimant states, but also its sprawling network of military bases and state-of-the-art naval facilities in the maritime area.
    A satellite image of the China-controlled Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea. Photo: Planet Labs

    Beijing now clearly has the ability to constantly resupply and refuel its massive maritime fleet, both para-military and naval forces, after years of reclamation and militarization of contested land features in the sea.

    In addition to a rapidly modernizing navy, China has as many as 54 oceanic research ships and thousands of para-military and coast guard vessels in the sea. Under the so-called “People’s War at Sea” strategy, China deploys these vessels in mutually-supportive operations.

    China’s massive coast guard vessels, namely the 2,200-tonne coastguard ship 37111 and the 12,000-tonne armed coastguard vessel 3901, complete with a helicopter and armed personnel, have escorted Haiyang Dizhi 8 at Vanguard Bank.

    At the height of the Vanguard Bank standoff last month, as many as 20 armed vessels, including China’s ‘monster’ coast guard cutter 3901, the world’s biggest, squared off against Vietnam’s vessels. Neither side has shown a willingness to back down.

    Against overwhelming military odds, Vietnam has adopted what analysts see as a three-pronged response to China.

    First, it has adopted a pro-active diplomacy, seeking support from regional and international bodies, as well as encouraging global condemnation of real and perceived Chinese threats to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.
    Chinese PLA Navy soldiers on a naval vessel in the South China Sea. Photo: Twitter

    Second, Vietnam has also deepened its strategic partnerships with a myriad of regional powers, including the US, Russia, India and Japan – all of which have helped to enhance its maritime security and domain awareness capabilities.

    Long-time ally Russia has been key to Vietnam’s response, with Hanoi now seeking advanced military assets from Moscow, including kilo-class submarines and fighter jets that could be deployed in the South China Sea to deter China.

    Hanoi has also encouraged Russian energy companies, including Rosneft, Gazprom and Zarubezhneft, to undertake exploration in areas Hanoi claims within its EEZ in the sea.

    The invitations to Russian firms come after China pressured Spanish energy giant Respol to abandon a gas-field it was exploring under a Vietnam-granted concession.

    The moves may also aim to leverage into Russia’s strong ties to China, in hopes of warding off further Chinese adventurism in its claimed energy-rich waters.

    Third, Vietnam has actively sought to reduce its economic dependence on China, currently its leading trade partner.
    Vietnam is angling to strike a delicate trade balance between the US and China. Photo: Reuters
    A clothing boutique in downtown Hanoi. Photo: AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

    So far, Vietnam has been the leading beneficiary of the US-China trade war, as Western, Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese companies relocate from China to Vietnamese special economic zones (SEZs).

    Vietnam’s membership in the newly activated TPP-11 free trade agreement and a new free trade agreement with the European Union will further enhance Vietnam’s building trade diversification.

    A combination of strategic acumen and its trademark tenacity has made Vietnam the only regional state to actively resist China’s assertiveness, so far with a certain measure of success.

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    Worst Jihadist Attack in Years Stokes Anger Over Mali’s Response

    By Katarina Hoije
    October 12, 2019, 12:00 AM PDT
    Updated on October 12, 2019, 11:00 PM PDT

    Militant raid that killed 38 troops triggers widespread anger
    Protests in March forced Mali’s prime minister to resign

    One of the deadliest militant attacks in the seven-year Islamist insurgency in Mali has stoked fresh anger over the government’s failure to halt jihadist raids, months after protests forced the prime minister to resign.

    The Sahel region, the arid band on the southern fringe of the Sahara Desert, is experiencing unprecedented levels of violence as Islamist militants seek to extend their influence across West Africa. Terrorist threats are spreading in Burkina Faso and to border areas with Benin, Ghana and Togo to the south, according to the United Nations.....

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    Jul 2004
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    Posted for fair use.....

    India’s National Security Challenges: The Growing Chinese Footprint in Sri Lanka and the Maldives

    by Shantanu Roy-Chaudhury | Wed, 10/09/2019 - 3:14pm | 0 comments


    The Indian Ocean has gained geostrategic importance due to the volume of trade that passes through it. At the same time, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is increasing Chinese influence in numerous countries in Asia and across the globe. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to examine how the growing Chinese footprint in Sri Lanka and the Maldives can have implications for India’s national security and how the Chinese expansion is of strategic importance to New Delhi.

    The world’s third-largest body of water, the Indian Ocean is an extremely important region for India due to its connectivity and the volume of trade and energy resources that pass through it daily. Not only is most of India’s trade transported by sea, but also forty per cent of the world’s oil supply and sixty-four per cent of global oil trade travel through the Indian Ocean[1]. It provides critical sea trade routes that connect the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia with the broader Asian continent to the east and Europe to the west[2]. The region, therefore, is of immense security and strategic significance to India. To further place India in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), one analyst has stated that “India’s 7,500 km-long coastline is geographically contiguous with the Indian Ocean — the western side being flanked by the Arabian Sea and the eastern side by the Bay of Bengal. Indian islands on each side, Lakshadweep and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands respectively, host forward naval bases overlooking the vast spans of maritime waters. As a natural barrier, the Indian Ocean is central to India’s territorial defences, privileging it with a built-in strategic depth”[3].

    Furthermore, India is heavily dependent on the ocean’s resources, especially on the transit routes and on offshore oil platforms. Therefore, there is no doubt that the ocean is central to India and that the Indian Ocean is a priority to maintain India’s national security. Besides, as the littoral’s most populous country, India’s leadership role in the ocean is imperative for the region’s strategic future and the maintenance of the freedom of the sea lines of communication. From a security perspective, threats coming from the Ocean led to one of the worst terrorist attacks on the Indian mainland, as the terrorists of the 2008 attacks on Mumbai arrived by sea[4]. Piracy and smuggling also provide a security risk to India’s interests in the region, although piracy has declined noticeably as a result of collaboration with other nations. However, none of these compare to the security implications an increasing Chinese footprint could have in the region.

    With the rise of China and the proclamation of the BRI by President Xi Jinping, “the belt refers to a series of overland roads, pipelines, railways, and other infrastructure through Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East to Europe. The road refers to a series of ports and maritime trade routes through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Middle East, the east coast of Africa, and onward to Europe”[5], the IOR has seen an increase in Chinese activity and investments in the surrounding countries. Due to this expanding footprint, India naturally has tangible concerns.

    Sri Lanka

    The relationship between China and Sri Lanka has long been amicable, with Colombo being an early supporter of Mao’s communist government. The two countries grew closer during Sri Lanka’s brutal twenty-six-year civil war, and in the process China became an indispensable partner[6]. Without Chinese backing, the Rajapaksa government would have had neither the resources nor the finances to fight the Tamil Tigers. Furthermore, China’s backing was crucial in international institutions where Sri Lanka was getting increasingly isolated due to accusations of human rights violations. Since the end of the civil war in 2008, China has played a role in the reconstruction of the affected regions. Between 2005 and 2017 Colombo accepted close to $15 billion to repair war-damaged infrastructure and develop new projects. With the initiation of the BRI project, and Sri Lanka playing a central role in its maritime aspect due to its important geographic location just above the international sea lanes, China has been even more generous with its investments in the island nation. These funds have been channelled into roads, airports, and seaports, the two highest-profile initiatives being the Hambantota Port Development and the Colombo Port Project[7]. The change in attitude towards Sri Lanka can also be seen as China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) into Sri Lanka grew from $16.4 million in 2005 to $338 million in 2015. This incredible jump was also noticeable where in 2005 the amount constituted under one per cent of the total FDI received by Sri Lanka and in 2015 it constituted thirty-five per cent of total Sri Lankan FDI[8]. Other major projects include the rehabilitation of the northern roads ($302 million), Greater Kurunegala Water Supply and Sewerage Project ($79 million), Narochcholai Coal Power Plant ($891 million), Colombo-Katunayake Expressway ($104 million), Broadlands Water Project ($69 million), Colombo Lotus Tower ($104 million), Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga Development Project ($214 million), Hambantota Mattala International Airport ($292 million), Southern Expressway ($1.26 billion), and finally the Extension of the Southern Railway ($278 million)[9]. From a defence standpoint, China has been the largest supplier of arms to Sri Lanka since the 1950s. These transactions have included small arms, ammunition, landmines, naval vessels, and aircraft[10].

    The Maldives

    The Maldives, another island state historically under the Indian sphere of influence, has also recently seen a growing Chinese footprint slowly eroding India’s primacy in the region[11]. Like Sri Lanka, the Maldives’ geographical location is important for China’s BRI, however, Male does not share as much of a historical relationship with Beijing as Colombo does. The Maldives and China established diplomatic relations in 1972, and for a long time, economic cooperation was insignificant, with total trade in 2002 being only $3 million. Just like in Sri Lanka, economic ties have recently become more important, with China also becoming Maldives’ largest source of tourists. The Chinese ‘investment boom’ in the country began in 2014 when Xi Jinping made the first ever visit by a Chinese head to the island nation. This in itself reflects the islands strategic location[12]. The significance is also in the fact that its 1,200 islands claim an exclusive economic zone of 859,000 square kilometres (more than three times the economic zone the United Kingdom has privilege to) in a section of the Indian Ocean that touches the main shipping routes between East and West Asia and Europe[13].

    China’s flagship project in the Maldives was the $210 million, two-kilometre, four-lane China-Maldives Friendship Bridge connecting the capital Male with its international airport. The biggest resort development deal in Maldivian history was also funded by the Chinese through the state-owned China Communications Construction Company[14]. Other Chinese projects in the country include the $620 million project to upgrade the Maldives airport, a twenty-five-storey apartment complex, and a hospital. The island of Feydhoo Finolhu, the nearest uninhabited island to Male has also been leased to a Chinese company for 50 years at a cost of $4 million[15]. This by itself could have adverse strategic implications for India. Furthermore, China also seems interested in developing the Ihavandhoo and Maarandhoo islands of the island chain[16]. These islands situated in the north of the country are closest to India and Sri Lanka and would make strategic sense for China to have a presence in them.

    These enormous projects costing millions of dollars show how valuable Sri Lanka and the Maldives are in Beijing’s eyes and the extent to which they serve China’s strategic objectives. It has been elucidated above how after the introduction of the BRI, investments into these two island nations has increased manifold. Although at an initial glance, these seem to be developmental projects, there is no doubt that they have serious security and geopolitical implications, especially to India, which an increasing number of Chinese scholars view as a competitor and “replacing Japan as the second biggest threat to Beijing, following the United States”[17]. From a strategic lens, there are three main ways through which these projects and growing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives can affect India’s national security.

    Debt Crisis - The millions of pounds of investments from China have not been out of good will and to ensure development. Although these projects, initially seem lucrative and enticing, there is reason to believe that Chinese investments can ultimately be detrimental. Jonathan Hillman’s study examining the strategic stakes of foreign projects has conceptualised a framework through which states use foreign infrastructure to advance their own strategic objectives. According to Hillman, one nation’s influence in another’s is explored through three stages – “Financing is the first and broadest avenue, providing the opportunity to extract diplomatic concessions, reward supporters, shape project plans, access resources, and gain operational control. The second stage, design and construction, provides an avenue for setting standards, transferring technology, and collecting intelligence. During the final stage, ownership and operation, which are considered together since the owner selects the operator, can be leveraged for deeper intelligence collection and to restrict or deny a competitor’s access”[18].

    Through this framework, it is clear how these Chinese investments can be detrimental not only to the host country but also to other players in the region like India. This is particularly troubling if one looks at the second and third stage of Hillman’s work where intelligence collection, ownership, and operation can be dictated by the investors, i.e. China. Furthermore, the loans have come with interest rates which have racked up enormous debt for both island nations, potentially placing them in a ‘debt trap’. Approximately sixty per cent of Sri Lanka’s FDI has come from China between 2008-2012[19] while Maldives has a 1.3 billion dollar debt to China, which is more than a quarter of its gross domestic product[20]. This debt can increase dependence on China which Beijing can exploit and turn into political sway. Due to the strong links between the Chinese companies and the Chinese government, with most of them being state-owned entities, pressure can be applied to the island nations on political fronts. Political pressure from this angle includes but is not limited to undermining India’s position in the region. China’s overtures for BRI have also been termed as aggressive, as Chinese investments in Sri Lanka’s telecoms infrastructure were so pervasive that the measures garnered a ‘confidential’ United States diplomatic cable stating that “Huawei Telecommunications, a Chinese owned corporation, has worked diligently to corner the telecommunications infrastructure market in Sri Lanka…Huawei Sri Lanka is expanding aggressively into the new infrastructure market in the North and East, where they own more than 75 per cent market share”[21].

    Measures like these, along with the fact that China has been accused of business ambiguity makes India suspicious of China’s motives and results in heightening tensions[22]. The debt crisis in Sri Lanka has also led to an equity swap where the Hambantota port was handed over to China on a 99-year lease in 2017[23]. China was given control of the port in lieu of $1 billion of the Sri Lankan debt to them. This manoeuvre has serious strategic implications for New Delhi as Hambantota has the potential to turn into a naval base for China in the future. Given the nature of the deal, China no longer has to inform or request permission from Sri Lanka before docking at Hambantota. This can lead to the possibility of military vessels using the port even as Colombo has rejected the claim that China might set up a forward military base at the strategically located port[24]. Alarming enough as the use of a port in Sri Lanka by the PLAN is to the geostrategic scenario in the region, there is the possibility of this happening again with the growing debt being incurred by the two countries leading to a direct threat to India’s national security.

    Encirclement - Due to the proximity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives to India, some analysts believe that the Chinese are using the BRI project to encircle India and keep a check on her ambitions. Termed the ‘String of Pearls’, this theory states that China is taking on economic and investment projects with the various Indian Ocean states to secure ports or places where its military could potentially set up facilities. The location of these ports, which include the Kyaukpyu port in Myanmar and Gwadar in Pakistan, combined with Hambantota in Sri Lanka, are encircling India from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. Furthermore, there have been reports of China wanting to build a naval base on the Marao island in the Maldives. This combined with the perception of having an ulterior motive of utilising the ports for military purposes, there are valid reasons for India’s national security establishment to be apprehensive[25]. However, the Chinese building these projects around the Indian subcontinent solely to contain India has more to do with furthering their own strategic interests and global military actions than wanting to surround India, which has become a convenient consequence. To further the argument, both Sri Lanka and the Maldives have had visits and dockings from the Chinese navy (PLAN). Although it is natural for such visits to take place among friendly nations, it is concerning for India to have a Chinese navy presence so close to its waters. Tensions were heightened in 2014 when two submarines and a warship docked at Colombo port in Sri Lanka without notifying New Delhi. Chinese Submarine deployment is seen to project strategic capability and was until recently a relatively unknown occurrence in the Indian Ocean region[26]. India did not protest aggressively to the submarines in Colombo even though it was seen as a major breach of trust between New Delhi and Colombo and also heightened tensions with Beijing. Although the submarines in Colombo do not imply that Chinese submarine deployments are provocative in nature, they do cause anxiety and can be viewed as diminishing India’s naval superiority in the region. The frequency of Chinese visits has become a concern along with speculation that an aircraft maintenance facility could be built by the Chinese in the eastern port city of Trincomalee, which India considers a strategic location in terms of national security[27]. Apart from the potential of an increased PLAN presence in India’s backyard, there is the possibility of a Chinese blockade of India’s sea routes if the situation ever escalates. Such a blockade could enormously affect India’s energy and oil transport from the Middle East and has the potential to cripple the nation’s efforts as a whole.

    Eroding India’s Primacy - The Indian Ocean, along with the smaller littoral states of the region which include Sri Lanka and the Maldives, has traditionally been seen as being under India’s sphere of influence. China’s increasing influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives could pose a challenge to India’s position in the region and to India’s national security by eroding India’s primacy in the region. Beijing’s ability to provide financial assistance and balance against New Delhi has tempted India’s smaller neighbours to seek the backing of the ‘extra-regional’ power to diminish India’s influence in its own backyard. Instances where an infrastructure agreement signed by an Indian company have been terminated and subsequently handed to a state-owned Chinese company add to the eroding of India’s primacy in the region[28]. Situated in an already tough neighbourhood flanked by boundary disputes with both Pakistan and China, the smaller states of South Asia now have China to look toward to play off against India, further complicating India’s neighbourhood policies. With the security implications mentioned above, it is no surprise that China’s increasing influence in the region makes India’s position in its neighbourhood even more precarious along with simultaneously eroding India’s historical primacy. India seems to have transcended becoming a regional power looking towards global aspirations. However, India ought to diplomatically maintain friendly relations with its neighbours to be able to focus on global affairs, while at the same time protecting its own interests in the region. This is necessary due to the turbulent nature of South Asian political relations between India and its neighbours, where New Delhi has been bogged down focusing on the neighbourhood and managing its relations. China’s influence in Sri Lanka and Maldives only complicates this challenging situation, preventing India to transcend its neighbourhood while at the same time having increased national security challenges to worry about.

    For the government of India, it is important to not only take notice and track these investments, but to also be viewed from a strategic point of view thinking ahead. As a rising power, New Delhi must look at the wider geopolitical canvas and develop its own capacity for strategic investments. Although India cannot match and directly compete with the economic prowess of China, the government should build on indigenous corporations which can be used to invest abroad. With the rise of China bringing together like-minded countries who are apprehensive of its consequences, India should take advantage of this phenomenon as it has with Japan. India and Japan have come together, along with the Sri Lankans to develop projects in Sri Lanka which include building the east container terminal at Colombo port[29]. The United States is also taking a much stronger stance against China under President Trump, and a closer relationship with America could benefit New Delhi’s strategic aims. Another way through which India can keep a check on Chinese investments is by engaging with China and investing in Chinese funded projects. This will not only lead to collaboration but would also help reduce suspicions and could result in a positive-sum game which could be nurtured into ‘good neighbourliness’. To be better placed in contemporary times, India should adopt a more proactive than reactive foreign policy.


    India’s national security is challenged by the growing Chinese footprint in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. There is no doubt that the overall increased presence of the PLAN in the Indian Ocean can be looked upon with suspicion. However, the investments and projects initiated by China in the island nations, in the long run, could be of serious consequence to New Delhi’s national security challenges. According to Henry Kissinger, China’s leaders are masters of long-range strategic planning that have been inspired by timeless principles derived from China’s history and culture[30]. Michael Pillsbury, an American expert on China views the nation’s rise in a similar fashion and believes that China has a secret strategy to become the world’s dominant power by 2049, the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China[31]. Although this claim could be far-fetched, there is no doubt that Beijing is thinking of its investments in the Indian Ocean along geostrategic lines. It is in this light that China’s seemingly harmless manoeuvres through investments in ports and projects in Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the present could add a new dimension to challenge India’s national security in the future. This can be done through the debt trap China encapsulates them in, by encircling India through investments in ports and facilities in the IOR, and finally by eroding India’s primacy in its own neighbourhood, paving a way for further entrenchment of China in the region.

    End Notes

    [1] Jaishankar, Dhruva. 2016. Indian Ocean region: A pivot for India's growth. 12 September. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [2] Albert, Eleanor. 2016. Competition in the Indian Ocean. 19 May. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [3] Krupakar, Jayanna. 2017. “China's Naval Base(s) in the Indian Ocean - Signs of a Maritime Grand Strategy?” Strategic Analysis 41 (3): 207-222.

    [4] Jaishankar, Dhruva. 2016. Indian Ocean region: A pivot for India's growth. 12 September. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [5] Shatz, Howard J. 2016. “ Strategic Choices Abroad: China.” In U.S. International Economic Strategy in a Turbulent World, 85-110. RAND Corporation.

    [6] Abi-Habib, Maria. 2018. How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port. Accessed July 10, 2018.

    [7] Chazan, Yigal. 2017. India and China's Tug of War Over Sri Lanka. Accessed July 10, 2018.

    [8] Bhatia, Rajiv, Kunal Kulkarni, Lina Lee, and Shivani Gayakwad. 2016. Chinese investments in Sri Lanka. Accessed August 25, 2018.

    [9] Ibid.

    [10] Kumar, Surendra. 2017. “China's Strategic Engagement with Sri Lanka: Implications for India.” Contemporary Chinese Political Economy and Strategic Relations: An International Journal 3 (3): 1109-1138.

    [11] Roy-Chaudhury, Shantanu. 2018. Examining the roles of Bangladesh, Myanmar and Maldives in the rivalry for Indian Ocean supremacy. 27 August. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [12] Mundy, Simon, and Kathrin Hille. 2019. The Maldives counts the cost of its debts to China. 11 February. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [13] Ibid.
    [14] Ibid.

    [15] Roy Chaudhury, Dipanjan. 2016. Chinese company bags Maldivian Island on 50-year lease. 30 December. Accessed September 17, 2019.

    [16] Pandit, Rajat. 2011. China's stepped up moves in Maldives worries India. 10 October. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [17] Adlakha, Hemant. 2018. China is Starting to See India as a Major Threat. 11 January. Accessed September 17, 2019.

    [18] Hillman, Jonathan E. 2019. Influence and Infrastructure The Strategic Stakes of Foreign Projects. Washington D.C.: Center for Strategic & International Studies.

    [19] Moramudali, Umesh. 2019. Is Sri Lanka Really a Victim of China's 'Debt Trap'? 14 May. Accessed September 17, 2019.

    [20] Jeong-ho, Lee. 2018. Why are China and India so interested in the Maldives. 25 September. Accessed September 25, 2019.

    [21] Hattotuwa, Sanjana. 2012. Are Chinese Telecoms acting as the ears for the Sri Lankan government? Accessed March 5, 2019.

    [22] Crabtree, James. 2019. China needs to make BRI more transparent and predictable. Accessed April 26, 2019.

    [23] Abi-Habib, Maria. 2018. How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port. Accessed July 10, 2018.

    [24] PTI. 2018. Sri Lanka rejects US claims, says no Chinese military base at port. 11 October. Accessed September 17, 2019.

    [25] Mundy, Simon, and Kathrin Hille. 2019. The Maldives counts the cost of its debts to China. 11 February. Accessed September 16, 2019.

    [26] Singh, Abhijit. 2018. Decoding Chinese submarine ‘sightings’ in South Asia. Accessed April 26, 2019.

    [27] Aneez, Shihar, and Ranga Sirilal. 2014. Chinese submarine docks in Sri Lanka despite Indian concerns. Accessed January 28, 2019.

    [28] Ramachandran, Sudha. 2018. The China-Maldives Connection. 25 January. Accessed September 17, 2019.

    [29] PTI. 2019. Sri Lanka signs port deal with India, Japan. 28 May. Accessed September 18, 2019.

    [30] Kissinger, Henry. 2011. On China. New York: Penguin Press.

    [31] Pillsbury, Michael. 2015. The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's secret strategy to replace America as the global superpower. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
    Categories: India - China - Sri Lanka

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    About the Author(s)
    Shantanu Roy-Chaudhury

    Shantanu Roy-Chaudhury is a recent graduate of the University of Oxford, St. Antony's College. He specialises on the international relations of South Asia and has published extensively on the topic. He has written a book chapter contributing to India's foreign policy challenges, and has published in journals. He has also written for multiple online platforms like The Diplomat, South Asia Monitor, The Oxford University Politics Blog, and International Affairs Review amongst others.
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    No Sign of Brexit Breakthrough with Time Running Out by AFP
    Turkish-led Forces Film Themselves Executing a Kurdish Captive in Syria by WaPo
    European Leaders Criticize Turkish Offensive in Syria as US Accelerates Pullout by WaPo
    US-allied Kurds Strike Deal to Bring Assad’s Syrian Troops Back Into Kurdish Areas by WaPo
    US Forces Leave ‘High-Value’ ISIS Detainees Behind in Retreat From Syria by NYT
    12 Hours. 4 Syrian Hospitals Bombed. One Culprit: Russia. by NYT
    Turkey-Syria Offensive: Kurds Reach Deal with Syrian Army by BBC News
    Green Berets Feel ‘Ashamed,’ and Kurds Describe ‘Betrayal’ by NYT
    Trump Pulls Out Remaining Troops from N. Syria; Warns of 'Powerful Sanctions' on Turkey by VOA News
    Brexit: Weekend Talks Between EU and UK to Continue Monday, Says EU by WSJ
    Tunisia Polls Suggest Conservative Professor Wins Election by AP
    UN Warns Condition of Civilians Caught in Turkish Offensive in Syria by VOA News
    Turkey-Syria Offensive: US to Evacuate 1,000 Troops as Turkey Advances by BBC News
    Afghan Government Official Shot And Killed In Kabul by RFE/RL
    US Moves to Restart Taliban Peace Process by WSJ
    Hong Kong Protesters Use New Flashmob Strategy to Avoid Arrest by The Guardian
    Message to Turkey: France, Cyprus Hold Joint Naval Exercises by AP
    Somalia: Al-Shabab Mortar Attacks Hits Area Around Mogadishu Airport by VOA News
    Another WWII Series from Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on the Way by Military Times
    Typhoon Hagibis: Japan Deploys Military Rescuers as Deadly Storm Hits by BBC News
    Pakistan PM Says Ready to Host Iran-Saudi Peace Talks by VOA News
    Esper Says US Staying in Syria, But Withdrawing South of Turkish Advance, Deal in Works to Have Russians Protect Kurds by Military Times
    Q&A: What’s the China-India Summit All About? by AP
    Big Changes to Grueling Special Forces Course Draw Scrutiny by AP
    Hundreds of ISIS Supporters Flee Detention as US Prepares to Withdraw by NYT
    Trump Orders US Forces to Withdraw From Northern Syria by WSJ
    Trump Orders Withdrawal of US Forces From Northern Syria, Days After Pentagon Downplays Possibility by WaPo
    Voters in Poland, Hungary Vote in Parliamentary Elections by AP
    Tunisia Chooses a President: Media Magnate or Law Professor by AP
    Afghan Forces Retake Taliban-Controlled District by RFE/RL
    Turkey-Syria Offensive: 'Hundreds' of IS Relatives Escape Camp by BBC News
    Hong Kong Officials Label Democracy Protests Public Safety Threat by VOA News
    Caravan of 2,000 Migrants Detained in Southern Mexico by AP
    UN Food Depot in Mali Vandalized by VOA News
    Mnuchin: Trump Gave OK to Sanction Turkey for Syria Incursion by UPI
    A Mini-Truce Between America and China by The Economist
    Is Erdogan's Resettlement Plan For Syrian Refugees Really Viable? by Al-Monitor
    Russia’s Africa Summit Is the Latest Step in Its Resurgence by Quartz
    Pakistan's PM Leaves for Iran, Saudi Arabia to Ease Tensions by AP
    Ecuador Protest Talks Set for Sunday as Capital Locks Down by AFP
    Trump Says He's an 'Island of One' on Syria by AP
    Gunmen Strike Mosque in Burkina Faso by Reuters
    US Troops Believe Turkey Deliberately Fired Artillery At American Commando Outpost In Syria by Military Times
    Ecuador Violence: Protesters Agree To Talks With Government by BBC News
    Turkish Troops Appear to Seize Syrian Town in Fourth Day of Invasion by WSJ
    Here’s What We Know About ISIS Prisons Controlled By Syrian Kurds by WaPo
    France, Arab League Warn Turkish Offensive In Syria Could Aid Islamic State by RFE/RL

  4. #4
    Pictures & video at source....
    Posted for fair use....

    With Hypersonic Missiles, Israel's F-35s Are Upping The Ante In Syria
    October 13, 2019
    Iran has taken notice.

    by Zachary Keck
    Key point: The Middle East's skies belong to Israel

    Israel will soon have a new precision-guided supersonic stand-off missile for its F-35s and other fighter jets.

    The new missile was announced on June 11, 2018 in a press release by two leading Israeli defense firms, Israeli Military Industries Systems (IMI Systems) and Israel Aerospace Industries, which jointly developed the missile. The so-called Rampage missile is a precision-guided air-launched stand-off missile with a range of about 90 miles (145 kilometers). With a length of 4.7 meters, the Rampage weighs 570 kilograms. According to press reports, it will carry a warhead of around 150 kilograms.

    “The Rampage features optimal penetration capability into protected areas,” the companies said in the press release. “The targets that best fit the capabilities of the new rocket include communication and command centers, air forces bases, maintenance centers, infrastructures and valuable field targets protected by anti-air systems.” Its ability to penetrate difficult targets appears to come from a combination of different characteristics. As IHS Jane’s explains, these include the missile’s speed as well as its ability to be programmed to fly at different trajectories that confuse air defense systems, especially if the defense systems have to grapple with numerous different missiles.

    Meanwhile, the Rampage's ability to destroy specific targets is not merely due to the size of its warhead but also its accuracy. Although the companies didn't say exactly how accurate the missile is—one report said it is measured in centimeters—they did reveal that it uses a GPS system. Moreover, the Rampage will feature a backup algorithm-based navigation system in case adversaries jam or disrupt the missile's GPS. Furthermore, according to YNet News, an Israeli news outlet, the missile will have two different warheads, “with the first one designed for penetrating armor protected targets such as bunkers and those immune to shrapnel damage.“

    The Drive notes that Rampage is a modified version of Israeli Military Industries Systems’ ground-launched Extended Range Artillery (EXTRA) guided artillery rocket. “There appear to be only minimal changes to the weapon’s external design for the air-launched role, namely the addition of a reinforced section of the central body with the attachment lugs,” Joseph Trevithick wrote in The Drive. Among the other similarities with EXTRA is Rampage’s range and the use of the GPS-assisted inertial navigation system. Trevithick also points out that Russia recently created an air-launched version of its Iskander ground-based missile, which it calls the Kinzhal. Thus, he wonders if this is “the start of a trend of converting established guided rocket artillery and similar systems into lower-cost stand-off weapons for aircraft.”

    The Rampage missile has already been tested over the past year in conjunction with the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Although it will reportedly undergo further testing, the missile is expected to enter into production shortly, and possibly be ready as early as next year. While it is a near certainty that the IAF will purchase the missile, Israeli Military Industries Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries are clearly hoping to attract interest from foreign military services. Eli Reiter, a manager at IMI Systems, said in the press release that "Rampage complements the air response with a quantum leap in performance and extraordinary cost-effectiveness ratio, two factors which are important to many air forces around the world." The companies were especially keen to note how competitive the missile is from a cost standpoint, claiming that it only costs about a third of what missiles with similar capabilities are priced at. The companies also built the missile so that it will be able to fit on the broadest range of aircraft around the world.

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    Finally, the missile appears to be perfect for the Israeli Air Force as that service has increasingly relied on standoff missiles to attack targets in places like Syria. One example is the Delilah cruise missile that has evolved over the years to become one of Israel’s most trusted stand-off weapons. That missile was also developed by IMI Systems and can hit moving targets with an accuracy of one meter (circular error probable) at a range of 250 kilometers. One of the Delilah missile’s most attractive capabilities is that it can loiter and be redirected mid-flight. Israel also developed the Popeye stand-off air-launched cruise missile that many other countries (including, previously, the United States Air Force) have purchased.

    Zachary Keck (@ZacharyKeck) is a former managing editor of the National Interest. This first appeared last year and is being republished due to reader interest.

    Thoughts are things. Thus I'm careful of the thoughts I think, & the company I keep.
    She couldn't keep her colors inside the lines, so she drew new lines.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Central PA

    Russia to hold major test of its strategic missile forces (fair use)
    OCTOBER 14, 2019 / 10:13 AM / UPDATED 7 HOURS AGO Reporting by Andrew Osborn

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia announced on Monday it would hold a large test of its Strategic Missile Forces that will see it fire ballistic and cruise missiles from the land, sea and air this week.

    The exercise, from Oct. 15-17, will involve around 12,000 military personnel, as well as aircraft, including strategic nuclear bombers, surface ships and submarines, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

    The drills come at a time when President Vladimir Putin is warning of a burgeoning arms race spurred by the unraveling of a key arms control treaty, something he blames on the United States. Washington rejects that and says Russia is the one who has flouted its arms control commitments.

    The aim of this week’s exercise is to test the readiness of Russia’s command structure and how efficiently its orders are carried out, the defense ministry said.

    Missiles will be fired on military testing ranges in Russia’s Far East and at remote locations in its Far North.

    Russia’s Northern Fleet will be involved, the ministry said, saying the naval part of the exercise would cover the Barents, Baltic, Black, Caspian and Okhotsk seas.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    The card in the Syria/Turkey debacle that the MSM really hasn't touched yet ....

    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    The US is rethinking the 50-plus nuclear weapons it keeps in Turkey

    By Tim Fernholz
    October 13, 2019

    Turkish forces are pushing into northern Syria, replacing and sometimes even firing on the US troops retreating at Donald Trump’s orders.

    The question of whether Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is really a US ally was put to US defense secretary Mark Esper on Fox television this morning. “No, I think Turkey, the arc of their behavior over the past several years has been terrible,” he said.

    Which brings up a problem: The US is storing perhaps 50 air-dropped thermonuclear bombs at its Incirlik Airbase in southern Turkey, less than 100 miles from the Syrian border where this conflict is taking place.

    The nuclear stockpile dates back to the Cold War, when the US sought to keep a sufficient supply of atomic weapons deployed in Europe to deter potential Soviet aggression. Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy also host similar arsenals, and the US trains the participating nations in the use of the doomsday devices.

    Today, these bombs remain in place largely because of inertia, and the hope that countries like Turkey will see the depot as sufficient reason not to develop nuclear weapons of their own. It doesn’t seem to be working: Last month, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he could “not accept” efforts to prevent Turkey from developing its own atomic bombs.

    But instability in Turkey and the region, along with Ankara’s close relationship with Russia, have had American strategists talking about re-locating their weapons for years. (The US does not officially discuss the arsenal, but there is no indication that the stockpile has been removed.)

    A 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan saw power to the base cut off for several days, raising questions about the safety of the stash. More recently, Turkey has purchased advanced air defense technology from Russia, which has raised hackles in the US defense community because Turkey was a partner in developing the US F-35 fighter-bomber. The US Air Force canceled the partnership over worries that Russia would be able to learn from Turkey how to better shoot down US aircraft.

    Now, Russia and Turkey are coordinating military policy in northern Syria, with the US as a bystander. The move to exploit a civil conflict in Syria to gain a geopolitical advantage typify how strategists see a new era of great power competition playing out.

    One reason to be worried is that the recent shift in US strategy launched by Trump appears to have caught the US military establishment by surprise. It’s not clear how prepared the US is to deal with the knock-on effects of the about-face, whether it is disappointed former allies like the Kurds (paywall) or ISIS fighters escaping from prison camps, much less the calculus of nuclear deterrence.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    Australian Strategy at a Turning Point: Implications for the United States

    By Robbin Laird

    As Australia engages in shaping its role in the changing global dynamics of the 2020’s, a key challenge is to determine how best to protect its sovereignty with the rise of the 21st century authoritarianism and how to deal with the end, at least in its current form, of the American generated and sustained order or what the Aussies call the “rules-based order.”

    The 21st century authoritarian powers are clearly focused on changing the rules of the game let alone the rules-based order. Although the United States clearly is a key ally of Australia and the dominant liberal democratic military power, that relationship clearly is not enough to sort through how best to protect Australian sovereignty.

    The United States faced a key challenge in the early 1990s with the end of the Cold War. The United States could have chosen to strengthen its role as a global military power with the means most relevant to reinforce key allies, which would mean in military terms building an innovative, modernized and recapitalized naval and air force.

    Or it could do what it did, which was to operate at range and engagement levels in dealing with far-reaching countries with forces threatening to the United States, but only by using terrorism as power projection means.

    The United States went full bore down this path, expending significant human, material and financial resources in the Middle Eastern land wars. The United States built a large COIN oriented ground force with the navy and air force, not modernized for its global power projection role, but transformed into supporting elements of the ground forces.

    In the words of one Marine Corps General, significantly involved in the COIN epoch characterized how he saw the shift after the collapse of the Soviet Union: “The U.S. national military strategy continued to shift as our nation adjusted to become the world’s sole superpower, with a perceived responsibility for policing the world. Many small states and nonstate actors filled the void left by the loss of the checks and balances of a once bipolar world They grasped the opportunity to forward their agendas, often at the expense of other. This new world order presented ample work for the men and women in uniform.”1

    The General has put bluntly what clearly was the operative strategy of the Administration’s following General George H. Bush. This perspective was informed by the dominant belief in the liberal democracies, that globalization and the liberal democratic order went hand in hand.

    And regional crises, provided an opportunity, to do humanitarian interventions, or stability operations which had the goal not of gaining geopolitical advantage but of planting the seeds for another player evolving and becoming a participant in the liberal democratic world.

    The Iraq and Afghan engagements have transformed U.S. capabilities and policies. There is a clear exhaustion in the body politic with the “new world order,” and that certainly was one reason for the election of Donald Trump. What this should mean is that global engagement to simply enforce the “rules based order” needs to be replaced a sense of limits, husbanding of resources, and prioritization on dealing with the global authoritarian challenge. And in this regard, re-directing, replacing or recalibrating the worst effects of globalization.

    Australia clearly faces a turning point as it confronts the new global situation created by the rise of the 21st century authoritarian powers, and the return of geopolitics as well as the need to radically rethink globalization.

    Does Australia assume that the challenge is to protect the rules-based order and to contribute to global efforts, often but not exclusively led by the United States: Somehow China and Russia can become normal allies and by largely peaceful means can work a coda to the inherited “rules based order.”

    Or is it about geopolitical contest and conflict with the 21st century authoritarian powers at the heart of the challenge?

    In dealing with the second, Australia would need to expand the working relationship with core allies beyond the United States and to work with the United States as well with regard to how the rebuild of Australian infrastructure and the expanded use of Australian geography is in their joint extended deterrence interests.

    The later may be on the way as the Aussies have just concluded their first bilateral air combat exercise and through their shipbuilding programs expanding their working relationships with Britain and France in the defense domain.

    What this means for the United States is a return to the core question seen in 1991: Is the United States pursuing its global engagement driven by a liberal democratic ideology or is it going to focus on protecting its core national interests and rebuild its military to support those interests and to shape a strategic apparatus capable of using such instruments?

    The first really has no inevitable limits, because we live in a “global village.”

    The second is about a ruthless relook at what those interests are and whose allies the United States considers to be core ones.

    My position on this is clear and has been from 1991 on. In that year, I did work for senior DoD officials where I outlined how Air and Naval modernization coupled with a strategy of backing regional influentials would provide a key way for the U.S. to be a key global power, but not a superpower.

    And when we wrote our book on rebuilding American military power in the Pacific, our core focus was on how the United States with the new capabilities which it already had I hand or was developing such as the only tiltrotar force in the world, and the building of the F-35 enterprise could in fact shape a regional reinforcement strategy.

    I did not then nor now believe that the United States should try to build a high end warfighting force which can defeat the 21st century authoritarian powers, for this is neither feasible, realistic, nor necessary.

    At the recent Royal Australian Navy Seapower Conference held in Sydney from the 8th through the 10th of October, Paul Dibb, the noted Australian strategist provided his perspective on Australia’s strategy at a turning point.

    In it he clearly highlighted the importance of recognizing that the “rules-based order” was not the focus; rather it was dealing with the 21st century authoritarian powers which in his view are clearly working more closely together.

    What follows is the well-thought out presentation by Dibb:

    Australia’s international security outlook is starting to look very unpredictable and potentially threatening. Our defence planners must now deal with a world which is very different from any they have known before. America is undermining the international rules-based order and, at the same time, China and Russia are becoming increasingly assertive militarily and aligned in their anti-Western attitudes. All this is taking place as a crisis of democracy in the West is distracting it from wielding its national power more effectively.

    We are now in a period of unpredictable strategic transition in which the comfortable assumptions of the past are over. We need to encourage imaginative strategic thinking about Australia’s future in a more dangerous world.

    In this speech, I shall talk about two defence strategic planning challenges. First, I will address why we are now in defence warning time and the implications of this for mobilisation and the ADF’s expansion base. Second, I’ll explore with you my current research which analyses the new geopolitical alignment between China and Russia and what that means for the security of the West, including Australia.
    Warning time and the ADF’s expansion base2

    Australia’s strategic outlook is deteriorating and, for the first time since World War II, we face an increased prospect of threat from high-level military capabilities being introduced into our region.

    This means that a major change in Australia’s approach is needed to the management of strategic risk. Strategic risk is a grey area in which governments need to make critical assessments of capability, motive and intent. Since the 1976 Defence White Paper, judgements in this area have relied heavily on the conclusion that the capabilities required for a serious assault on Australia simply did not exist in our region.

    In contrast, in the years ahead, the level of capability able to be brought to bear against Australia will increase, so judgements relating to warning time will need to rely less on evidence of capability and more on assessments of motive and intent. Such areas for judgement are inherently ambiguous and uncertain.

    The potential warning time is now shorter, because regional capability levels are higher and will increase yet further. This observation applies both to shorter term contingencies and, increasingly, to more serious contingencies credible in the foreseeable future.

    How should Australia respond?

    Contingencies that are credible in the shorter term could now be characterised by higher levels of intensity and technological sophistication. This means that readiness and sustainability need to be increased: we need higher training levels, a demonstrable and sustainable surge capacity, increased stocks of munitions, more maintenance spares, a robust fuel supply system, and modernised and protected operational bases in the north of Australia.

    For the longer term, the key issue is whether there is a sound basis for the timely expansion of the ADF. Matters that would benefit from specific examination include: the development of an Australian equivalent of an anti-access and area denial capability (especially for our vulnerable northern and western approaches), an improved capacity for antisubmarine warfare, and seriously revisiting our capacity for sustained strike operations.

    The prospect of shortened warning times now needs to be a major factor in our defence planning. Much more thought needs to be given to planning for the expansion of the ADF and its capacity to engage in high intensity conflict in our own defence in a way that we haven’t previously had to consider. Planning for the defence of Australia needs to take these new realities into account, including by re-examining the ADF preparedness levels and the lead times for key elements of the expansion base.

    We must now refocus on our own region of primary strategic interest, which includes the eastern Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia including the South China Sea, and the South Pacific. The conduct of operations further afield, including in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and Defence’s involvement in counterterrorism, must not be allowed to distract either from the effort that needs to go into this planning or from the funding that enhanced capabilities will require.

    This will demand a major change in Australia’s approach to the management of strategic risk. To the extent that capability for offensive operations against Australia were developed by a foreign power, Australia would have to rely on the more judgemental indicators relating to motive and intent than on evidence of capability. This would be compounded by the likely absence of an obvious warning threshold. To help manage this ambiguity and uncertainty, it would be vital for Australia to continue to have high levels of intelligence collection and analysis.

    It needs to be acknowledged that recent strategic developments in our region also reflect a steady reduction in Australia’s strategic space. This is shortening the time that Australia has to understand, prepare, and – if necessary – to respond to adverse military developments.

    The transformation of major power relations in the Asia-Pacific region is having a profound effect on our strategic circumstances. Without increases in our defence preparedness the options available to the government for the ADF’s involvement in contingencies that would be characterised by higher levels of intensity and technological sophistication, would run the risk of being severely constrained.

    The issue for the longer term is whether we have built a sound basis from which to expand the ADF, especially our strike, air combat and maritime capabilities. Having such an expanded force would significantly increase the military planning challenges faced by any potential adversary and increase the size and military capabilities of the force it would have to be prepared to commit to attack us directly, or to coerce, intimidate or otherwise employ military power against us.

    Attacks on Australia of an intensity and duration sufficient to be a serious threat to our national way of life would be possible only by an adversary’s forces with access to bases and facilities in our immediate neighbourhood. This needs to be taken into account when considering the development of Australia’s strike forces so that they have sufficient weight to deny any future adversary such military bases. This involves reconsidering the range, endurance and weapon load of our strike forces and the numbers needed for repeated strike operations in the archipelago to our north.

    Any serious review of Australia’s evolving strategic circumstances will come to the conclusion that warning time is becoming shorter and that the management of strategic risk is becoming significantly more demanding. Thus, it is imperative that planning for the defence of Australia, and for operations in our region of primary strategic concern, resumes the highest priority. Re-establishing our foreign policy and defence presence in this part of the world should be our key priority.

    We need to get rid of the 2016 Defence White Paper’s ill-advised proposition that the defence of Australia, a secure nearer region, and our global defence commitments should be “three equally-weighted defence objectives to guide the development of the future force”.

    Finally, it needs to be recognised that the policy line that I am recommending is a continuation of Australia’s long-standing defence policy that we do not identify any particular country as a threat. Rather, we are responding to the significant improvement in high-tech military capabilities across the board in our region. We would simply be adopting an area denial force posture, like that of some other countries in our region.
    The Geopolitics of China’s Alignment with Russia

    We are in an era when the risks of major power conflict are growing. The most likely contenders are seen to be China, the rising power, and the US as the formerly dominant power now in decline. The other worrying contingency is conflict between Russia and NATO led by the US. But what about the third possibility: the prospect of China and Russia collaborating to challenge American military power?

    Zbigniew Brzezinski warned that the most dangerous scenario for America would be a grand coalition of China and Russia united not by ideology, but by complimentary grievances.3

    China and Russia are the two leading revisionist powers leagued together in their disdain for the West. Both these authoritarian states see a West that they believe is preoccupied with debilitating political challenges at home. Putin has disdain for what he sees as a Europe that is weak, divided, and bereft of morality. Xi Jinping believes that China is well on its way to becoming the dominant Asian power, possessing an alternative and successful model of political and economic development to that of the West.

    China and Russia have commonly perceived threats and are now sharing an increasingly close relationship, including militarily. If the China-Russia military partnership continues its present upward trend, it will inevitably affect the international security order, including by challenging the system of US centred alliances in the Asia-Pacific and Europe.

    This is not to argue that we are going to see a formal Russo-Chinese alliance but what we are observing is an ever-closer friendship of mutual alignment. Russia and China are economically complimentary; they are both secure continental nuclear powers; and they are both the dominant military powers in their own immediate regions. In their different ways, they probably see that the West’s current disarray favours them geopolitically.

    So, what are the chances of Beijing and Moscow concluding that now is the time to challenge the West and take advantage of what they both consider to be Western weaknesses? China and Russia are well aware of the impressive military power of the US. But they both know that the US no longer enjoys uncontested or dominant military superiority everywhere.

    Recognising this, it may be the time has come when Beijing and Moscow test America’s mettle and see if they can successfully challenge the US in both the European and Asian theatres at the same time. China and Russia may come to the decision they could successfully regain lost territories in such places as Taiwan and Ukraine. Beijing and Moscow perceive both these places as central to their rightful historical and cultural claims as great powers.

    Russia and China are increasingly joining forces in the international arena to balance against America and their militaries are becoming much closer. Recently, their partnership has deepened to provide for increasingly advanced Russian military equipment sales to China, as well as joint military exercises in the Baltic and the East China Seas. On the 23rd of July this year, Chinese and Russian nuclear capable bombers rendezvoused in East Asia and carried out joint patrols.

    Given Russia’s slow decline and China’s rapid rise, we might have expected that Russia would support Western efforts to balance China rather than undermine them. But the evidence now is accumulating to suggest that Russia’s relationship with China is deepening – especially militarily – and this carries distinctly negative geopolitical implications for the West.

    The distinguished American historian, Walter Russell Mead, has described current Russian and Chinese military activities as “the latest manifestation of a deepening alliance between Russia and China.”4

    So, what risks might Beijing and Moscow take to recover what both consider to be historical territories belonging to the motherland?

    It is important to understand that in China and Russia we have two long-established cultures different from the Western tradition. They have deep memories of humiliation at the hands of the West. Both Russia and China have experienced historical circumstances when their societies have been weak and where the West has taken advantage of them. And they reject what they see as Western interference in their domestic political systems.

    Both China and Russia have effectively used incremental territorial claims recently to their military advantage. China’s creeping militarisation of the South China Sea is now an established fact. Russia’s use of military force in Crimea and Ukraine has been imposed without effective military challenges from the West. In both Beijing and Moscow there is every reason why they should consider these as effective models to continue demonstrating their great power status.

    It now looks as though China and Russia are combining their forces to balance against the US, which they see as the common enemy. The fact is that Russia’s relations with China are now much closer than ever before. China is strong and decisive enough to serve as a strategic partner while Russia seeks to reassert itself as an independent great power in Europe. For its part, China is responding to its newly competitive confrontation with President Trump’s America by deepening its strategic relationship with Russia. China has no other strong major power relationships either in Asia or Europe.

    Both China and Russia are now allied in a quest to refashion the world order that is safe for their respective authoritarian systems. Both leaders have reasons to be gratified by global trends and they are “out-gaming” the West. Beijing and Moscow believe they cannot afford to have poor relations with the other at a time of great strategic opportunity and with the Western alliance now in disarray.

    There can be little doubt that the build-up of their respective military forces suggests they are both increasingly prepared for conflict with the West.

    The rapid development of China’s military capability, together with serious reforms in Russia’s military forces, is occurring at a time when America can only fight one major regional conflict and mount a holding operation in another regional conflict. Washington’s National Defence Strategy acknowledges that the central challenge to US security is the re-emergence of long-term strategic competition with China and Russia.5

    The actual words used are that the fully mobilised US force will be capable of “defeating aggression by a major power” and “deterring opportunistic aggression elsewhere.”

    America aims to maintain favourable regional balances of power in both the Indo-Pacific and Europe. But that will be a particularly challenging task, given China’s rising power in Asia and Russia’s flexing of its military muscles in Europe.

    So what are the implications of all this for the West?

    The fact is that the West is entering a period of great strategic disruption and instability. America’s obsession with looking inward and making America Great Again opens fresh geopolitical possibilities for China and Russia.

    Implications for Australia not only relate to the dangers of armed conflict involving China and Russia against the West. Some of these conflicts might involve Australia more directly. Moreover, there is another important issue for Australia: and that is Russia’s continuing supply of advanced weapons to China and their growing presence in our region.

    Which leads me to my final question: is there nothing that can be done about the growing strategic alignment between China and Russia?

    The classical balance of power response to such a question would be to postulate an American attempt to detach Russia and cement its partnership with the US. In my view, however, nothing is likely to change the current adversarial nature of US-Russia relations.

    Brzezinski’s warning that the most dangerous scenario facing US security would be a grand coalition of China and Russia is now becoming an established geopolitical fact.


    Brig. Gen Jason Q. Bohm, USMC, From the Cold War to Isil: One Marine’s Journey (USNI Press, 2019, p. 245
    For an earlier analysis of this topic, see Paul Dibb and Richard Brabin-Smith, Australia’s Management of Strategic Risk in the New Era, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, November 2017.
    Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives, New York: Basic Books, 2016, p. 35.
    Walter Russell Mead, “Why Russia and China Are Joining Forces,” The Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2019.
    National Defence Strategy of the United States of America, Washington DC, 2018, pp. 1-2.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Putin Responds to Trump's Kurdish Betrayal

    You mean the 50 nukes Erdogan has in his own bunker? The media won't touch that one!

    And I am waiting for Trump's response to the MASSIVE NUCLEAR READINESS TEST PUTIN JUST ORDERED?

    Russia to hold three-day strategic nuclear drills involving 12,000 troops and the launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles

    Three days of military drills at Kura testing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula
    Russian nuclear forces will take part in strategic drills involving 12,000 troops
    Up to 213 missile launchers, 105 planes, 15 surface warships and five submarines to be used in latest Russian war games amid rising tensions with the West

    By Associated Press

    Published: 05:42 EDT, 14 October 2019 | Updated: 13:49 EDT, 14 October 2019


    Russia's military will this week undertake a sweeping drill of its strategic nuclear forces in its latest show of strength.

    The Kremlin Defence Ministry said the three-day exercise will begin tomorrow and involve 12,000 troops, 213 missile launchers, 105 aircraft, 15 surface warships and five submarines.

    It said in a statement today that the war games will feature practice launches of missiles.

    Russia will test-fire 16 cruise and ballistic missiles, including Yars and Sineva intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during its Strategic Missile Force's drills.

    Major General Yevgeny Ilyin, the head of the ministry's international cooperation department, said at a briefing for foreign military attaches that two intercontinental ballistic missiles will be launched at practice targets on the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.
    Doomer Doug, a.k.a. Doug McIntosh now has a blog at
    My end of the world e book "Day of the Dogs" is available for sale at the following url

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    Russia's submarines are getting harder to find, and the Navy is sending more people to keep an eye on them

    Christopher Woody
    Oct 14, 2019, 1:29 PM

    The Russian navy, its submarine force in particular, is getting more sophisticated and becoming more active around Europe.
    The US and NATO are aware of this, and the US Navy is responding to a more complex environment with more robust command and control.
    Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

    The Russian sub fleet is growing and growing more active, and the US and its NATO partners are more concerned about what those boats and rest of the Russian navy are up to around Europe.

    For the US Navy, that means more focus on the Atlantic, especially the North Atlantic, closer to the home base of Russia's Northern Fleet on the Barents Sea.

    At the end of September, the Navy reestablished Submarine Group 2 in Norfolk, Virginia, five years after the unit was deactivated. The reactivation comes just over a year after the Navy reestablished its Second Fleet, which oversees the western half of the Atlantic up into the high north.
    Navy submarine Colorado sailor lookout
    Sonar Technician (Submarines) 3rd Class Christopher T. Woods stands lookout on the Navy sub Colorado in the Atlantic Ocean prior to its commissioning, January 11, 2018. US Navy/Mass Comm Specialist 1st Class Jeffrey M. Richardson

    The reestablishment of Submarine Group 2 is likewise "aimed at enhancing the Navy's capacity to command and control its undersea warfare forces seamlessly across the entire Atlantic area, from the eastern seaboard of the United States to the Barents Sea, and even into the Southern Atlantic, if the need arises," the Navy said in a release.

    Echoing the comments of the Navy's top officer upon the reestablishment of Second Fleet, Vice Adm. Charles Richard, commander of US submarine forces in the Atlantic, cited the "more challenging and complex" security situation as the reason for the return of Group 2.

    "To maintain America's undersea superiority, we must increase naval power and our readiness for high-end blue water warfare. How we're organized to command that employment will be a driving factor in our success — that's why we're re-establishing Sub Group 2 today," Richard said in the release.

    A submarine group, composed of squadrons, handles the organization, training, and equipping of those boats while they're state-side. Individual subs are attached to that squadron and group until they're assigned to a combatant command, six of which are responsible for operations in specific areas of the globe.
    Navy submarine South Dakota crew
    A US Navy chief petty officer of the boat aboard pre-commissioned unit (PCU) South Dakota, directs his team while underway in the Atlantic Ocean, November 27, 2018. US Air Force/Senior Airman Jared Bunn

    "Until [a submarine] makes that transition, it's part of Group 2," which owns it and operates it and tells it what to do, said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

    Reestablishing Submarine Group 2 doesn't necessarily mean there will be more subs prowling the Atlantic, but its return is important because the "group is in charge of the movement and the command and control of the ship" before it transitions over to combatant command, Clark said.

    Without Group 2, the attention of command elements in the Atlantic was spread thin over a larger number of subs. Bringing back Group 2, Clark said, "allows you to put more attention on the North Atlantic submarines."

    "Along with the second fleet ... it's a way of putting more command and control and leadership attention on that part of the ocean," Clark added.
    Better coordination, better command and control
    Krasnodar kilo class submarine russia navy
    Russian Black Sea Fleet's B-265 Krasnodar Improved Kilo-class submarine. Russian MoD

    Reestablishing Second Fleet and Submarine Group 2 are "visible representations of the US commitment to the security in the Atlantic in an era of great power competition," Lt. Marycate Walsh, a spokesperson for Second Fleet, said in an email.

    "Increased challenges and threats required a commensurate increase in capacity to address possible contingencies," Walsh said, adding that Group 2's operations in the region will add to and integrate with those of Second Fleet.

    Submarine Group 2 also oversees anti-submarine warfare for US Fleet Forces Command and, when assigned, for Fourth Fleet. Fleet Forces Command organizes, trains, and equips naval forces for assignment to combatant commands, and Fourth Fleet is responsible for ships, subs, and aircraft operating around Central and South America.

    In that role, Submarine Group 2 will "employ combat-ready forces in [anti-submarine warfare] and undersea warfare operations across mission-essential sea-service functions," Cmdr. Jodie Cornell, a spokesperson for Submarine Forces Atlantic, said in an email.
    submarine navy
    The USS Rhode Island returns to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia after three months at sea. Flickr/US Navy

    Group 2 will also "ensure assigned staffs and submarines achieve and maintain a level of training, personnel and material readiness necessary to carry out their assigned missions" and "advocate for resources and requirements that enable advancements in [anti-submarine warfare] and undersea warfare operations," Cornell said.

    The Navy generally does not comment on operations, and neither Cornell or Walsh would comment on potential future operations for subs assigned to Submarine Group 2.

    But Richard's mention of the Barents Sea, adjacent to the home of Russia's Northern Fleet and its strategic nuclear forces on the Kola Peninsula, hints an increasing concern among US and NATO forces about Russian subs being able to reach into Europe with their relatively new sub-launched missile capability.

    "The Kalibr-class cruise missile, for example, has been launched from coastal-defense systems, long-range aircraft, and submarines off the coast of Syria," Adm. James Foggo, head of US Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, said in late 2018. "They've shown the capability to be able to reach pretty much all the capitals in Europe from any of the bodies of water that surround Europe."

    Russia Kalibr missile range distance Europe

    Ranges of Russia's Kalibr missiles when fired from seas around Europe. Light red circles are the land-attack version. Dark red circles indicate the anti-ship version. CSIS Missile Defense Project

    The threat of sub-launched cruise missiles is "certainly ... part of what this is intended to address," Clark said of Submarine Group 2. "This gives better coordination and better command and control of those submarines."

    More frequent deployments of more sophisticated Russian subs are driving more US naval activity in the Atlantic, which includes more deployments US Navy P-8 maritime patrol aircraft to Iceland, where they have a higher operational tempo.

    Those aircraft are in part managed by Group 2, Clark said. It helps "having people at Group 2 being able to focus on that problem."

    SEE ALSO: 'Here comes this Russian hot dog': The story behind a Navy warship's dangerous encounter with Russian fighter jets
    NOW WATCH: Everything you've ever wanted to know about life on a US Navy submarine

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    For links see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    AUSA NEWS: Army Plans to Field Battery of New Hypersonic Missiles By 2023

    By Mandy Mayfield

    Concept art: Dynetics Technical Solutions

    The Army plans to deploy a new long-range hypersonic weapon system no later than fiscal year 2023, a program leader said Oct 14.

    “We’re going to field an experimental prototype with residual combat capability by 2023,” said Robert Strider, deputy director of Army hypersonic programs said at the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. “Those words are tattooed on every one of us within the rapid capability and critical technologies office.”

    The service plans to deliver a battery of eight missiles, which will launch from a mobile ground platform, breaking speeds of Mach 5, he said.

    The weapon system falls under the Army’s No. 1 modernization priority: long-range precision fires.

    Dynetics Technical Solutions won an other transaction authority agreement this summer to produce the glide body for the missile, Strider said.

    “They've got a team built around them … at Sandia [National Laboratories] right now, learning all the processes and procedures to build this very unique system,” he said.

    The Army and Navy are working together to develop the weapon.

    “The booster that we'll use to launch it … will be absolutely common with the Navy,” Strider said. “In fact, there's a [memorandum of agreement] in place that put the Navy in charge of design and the Army in charge of production.”

    The program could face delays if Congress can't pass a long-term defense spending bill for fiscal year 2020, he noted. Federal government agencies are currently operating under a short-term continuing resolution, which holds funding at 2019 levels. Additional CRs would hold up contracts for the long-range hypersonic weapon, or LRHW.

    “We will need additional funding to keep moving forward … to keep our schedule," Strider said.

    Both China and Russia are pursuing hypersonics programs and have claimed to make breakthroughs. Defense Department leaders have declared the technology a top research-and-development priority. Maneuverable missiles that can reach hypersonic speeds are hard to defeat, which makes them a disruptive technology, experts have said.

    Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition for the Army, said the service plans to stay on its current trajectory and only adjust if necessary.

    “We'll play our role as the services present what we believe are the requirements to Congress, and then they have to apply that back to us,” Thurgood said.


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