Showing posts with label Blog Master Recommended Reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blog Master Recommended Reading. Show all posts

23 October 2017

10 trends for the future of warfare

In the science fiction movies we were used to see  killer robots, machine augmented heroes, laser weapons  battles in space , cyber  war  etc.. Now they have started to liven up sober academic journals and government white papers. However, war is about much more than combat or how we fight. Is the sensationalism of high-tech weaponry blinding us to technology’s impact on the broader social, political and cultural context that determines why, where and when war happens, what makes it more or less likely, and who wins?

Consider artificial intelligence (AI).  As robots relieve humans of their jobs, some societies will prove better prepared than others in their use of education and infrastructures for transitioning workers into new, socially sustainable and economically productive ways to make a living. Less prepared nations could see increasingly stark inequality, with economically-excluded young people undermining social stability, losing faith with technocratic governance, and spurring the rise of leaders who aim popular anger at an external enemy.

Today, new modes and artefacts of industrial production will also change demand patterns,
empowering countries controlling supply and transit, and disempowering others. Progress in
energy production and storage efficiency is likely to have profound consequences
for the petro economies and the security challenges of their regions. In the midst of a maritime dispute with Japan in 2010, China restricted export of “rare earths” that are critical for computing, sensors, permanent magnets and energy storage. With ever more commercial and military value embedded in the technology sector, such key materials will be deemed “critical” or “strategic” in terms of national security, and be subject to political as well as market forces.

In the 20th Century, the “haves and have nots” of the nuclear weapons club membership became the major determinant of the post-war global order, and – as seen in the cases of Iran and North Korea today - this continues to be relevant. Stealth technology and precision guided missiles used to impose a “new world order” in the early 1990s showed how the gap in military capability separated the United States from others, sustaining its leadership of a “unipolar” order. However, According to the current US deputy secretary of defence Robert Work, “There’s no question that US military technological superiority is beginning to erode”.

The 10 trends for the future of warfare can be summarised as below.

Waging war may seem “easier”. If increased reliance on machines for remote killing makes combat more abstract from our everyday experience, could that make it more tolerable for our societies, and therefore make war more likely? Those who operate lethal systems are ever more distant from the battlefield and insulated from physical danger, but this sense of advantage may prove illusory. Those on the receiving end of technological asymmetries have a stronger incentive to find other ways to strike back: when you cannot compete on a traditional battlefield, you look to where your adversary is vulnerable, such as through opportunistic attacks on civilians.

Speed kills. “The speed at which machines can make decisions in the far future is likely to
challenge our ability to cope, demanding a new relationship between man and machine.” The speed of technological innovation also makes it hard to keep abreast of new military capabilities, easier to be misled on the actual balance of power, and to fall victim to a strategic miscalculation.   General Hix  at a conference on the future of the Army in October 2016 said: "A conventional conflict in the near future will be extremely lethal and fast, And we will not own the stopwatch."

Fear and uncertainty increase risk. The expectation that asymmetries could change quickly – as may be the case with new strategic capabilities in areas like artificial intelligence, space, deep sea and cyber – could incentivise risk taking and aggressive behaviour. If you are confident that you have a lead in a strategically significant but highly dynamic field of technology, but you are not confident that the lead will last, you might be more tempted to use it before a rival catches up. Under these conditions, war by mistake either through over confidence in your ability to win, or because of exaggerated threat perception  becomes more likely.

Deterrence and preemption. When new capabilities cause a shift in the balance between
offensive and defensive advantage – or even the perception of such a shift -, it could increase the incentives for aggression. For example, one of the pillars of nuclear deterrence is the “second strike” capability, which puts the following thought into the mind of an actor contemplating a nuclear attack: “even if I destroy my opponent’s country totally, their submarines will still be around to take revenge”. But suppose swarms of undersea drones were able to track and neutralize the submarines that launch nuclear missiles? Such capabilities make it possible in theory for an actor to escape the fear of second strike retaliation, and feel safer in launching a pre emptive strike  Cyberattacks on banks, power stations and government institutions have demonstrated that it is no longer necessary to fly bombers around the world to reach a distant enemy’s critical infrastructure without early warning. 

The new arms race is harder to control. One of the mechanisms for strategic stability is arms control agreements, which have served to limit the use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. When it comes to the multiple combinations of technology we see as a hallmark of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, one of the obstacles to international agreement is caused by uncertainty about how strategic benefits will be distributed. For instance, the international community is currently debating both the ethics and practicality of a ban on the development of lethal autonomous weapons systems. One of the factors holding this debate back from a conclusion is a lack of consensus among experts about whether such systems would give an advantage to the defender or the attacker, and hence be more likely to deter or incentivize the escalation of conflict. Where you stand on the issue may depend on whether you see yourself as a master of the technology, or a victim. 

A wider cast of players. As cutting-edge technology becomes cheaper, it spreads to a wider range of actors. Consider the development of nuclear bombs – the last breakthrough in weapons technology that re-wrote the rules of international security. Although the potential for a fission bomb was understood in terms of theoretical physics, putting it into practice involved thousands of scientists and billions of dollars – resources on a scale only a few nations could muster. Over 70 years later, the club of nuclear weapons states remains exclusively small, and no non-state actor has succeeded in acquiring nuclear capability.
In contrast, there are more than 70 nations operating earth-orbiting satellites today. Nanosatellites are launched by Universities and Corporations. These days, even a committed enthusiast can now feasibly do genetic engineering in their basement. Other examples of dual purpose technologies include encryption, surveillance, drones, AI and genomics. With commercial availability, proliferation of these technologies becomes wider and faster, creating more peer competitors on the state level and among non-state actors, and making it harder to broker agreements to stop them falling into the wrong hands.

The grey zone. The democratisation of weaponisable technology empowers non state actors and individuals to create havoc on a massive scale. It also threatens stability by offering states more options in the form of “hybrid” warfare and the use of proxies to create plausible deniability and strategic ambiguity. When it is technically difficult to attribute an attack – already true with cyber, and becoming an issue with autonomous drones – conflicts can become more prone to escalation and unintended consequences.

Pushing the moral boundaries. Institutions governing legal and moral restraints on the
conduct of war or controlling proliferation date from an era when massively destructive
technology was reserved to a small, distinct set of actors – mostly states or people acting under state sponsorship. Today militaries are no longer necessarily at the cutting edge of technology: most of the talent driving research and development in today’s transformative dual use technologies is privately employed, in part because the private sector simply has access to more money. For example, the private sector has invested more in AI research and development in five years than governments have since AI research first started. Diminishing state control of talent is epitomised by Uber`s recruitment of a team of robotics researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in 2015, which decimated the research effort they had had been working on for the United States department of Defence.  State centric institutions for maintaining international security have failed to develop a systematic approach to address the possible long term security implications of advances in areas as diverse as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, big data and machine learning. 

Expanding domains of conflict. Domains of potential conflict such as outer space, the deep oceans, and the Arctic – all perceived as gateways to economic and strategic advantage – are expanding via new technologies and materials that can overcome inhospitable conditions. Like cyberspace, these are less well-governed than the familiar domains of land, sea and air: their lack of natural borders can make them difficult to reconcile with existing international legal frameworks.  Technological development is both rapid and private sector driven, which makes it hard for governance institutions to keep up. 

What is physically possible becomes likely. Political conflict is the “realm of exception” in all sorts of ways that make the morally unthinkable not only possible, but more likely. Professor Ole Wæver and the Copenhagen School of international relations developed the concept of “securitisation” to describe how a security actor invokes the principle of necessity as a way of getting around legal or moral restraints. Policy-makers can argue that because non-state actors, terrorist and criminal groups can access new technology, they are obliged to pursue weaponization, in order to prepare an adequate defence. Public disquiet can also be bypassed by conducting research in secret.

4th Industrial Revolution is empowering the individual through technology, and the way that blurs the lines between war and peace, military and civilian, domestic and foreign, public and private, and physical and digital. Nonstate groups’ leveraging of global social media - whether to gain support, undermine the morale of opponents, sow confusion or provoke a response that will create an advantage – has increased the strategic importance of shaping perceptions and narratives about international security. ISIS’s use of online videos provide an extreme example of a non state actor using social media to drive recruitment, while state security services in select countries employ online “trolls” on a large scale. Consider the implications for democratic control over armed force when technologies like big data analytics, machine learning, behavioural science and chatbots are fully enlisted in the battle over perceptions and control of the narrative.

Little by little, the responsibility for defending citizens is effectively shifting away from the state and towards the private sector. It is, for example, your bank’s security chief who bears responsibility for protecting your money from international cyber theft, whether it comes from straightforward criminal groups or those acting under the sponsorship of sovereign states. A report by Internet security company McAfee and the think-tank CSIS estimated the likely annual cost to the global economy from cybercrime at more than $400 billion – roughly equivalent to the combined defence spending of the European Union, or the Asia region.

According to 17th century political theorist Thomas Hobbes, the citizen agrees to give up some freedom and render loyalty in exchange for protection and to escape the “natural condition” of life, which was otherwise “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”. In return, the state expects respect for its laws. But if citizens lose confidence in the state’s capacity to guarantee their security, be it through military protection or domestic justice and policing or social safety nets, they may also feel less of an obligation to be loyal to the state in return.  
Could the relative loss of state power fatally undermine the system of international security?

As attitudes adapt to the new distribution of security responsibility between individuals,
companies and institutions of governance, there is a need for a new approach to international security. There is plenty of room for debate about how that approach should look, but the baseline can be drawn through three points: 

It will need to be able to think long-term, 

Adapt rapidly to the implications of technological advances, 

Work in a spirit of partnership with a wide range of stakeholders. 

Institutional barriers between civilian and military spheres are being torn down. Outreach to Silicon Valley is a feature of current US Defence policy, for example, as are invitations to hackers to help the Department of Defence to maintain its advantage in the digital domain. The “third offset strategy” promoted by the last US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter is based on a recognition that private sector innovation has outstripped that of military institutions in the post-Cold War era, and a more open relationship with business as well as with academic and science institutions could prove vital to maintaining the dominance of US military capabilities.

States and other security actors need to start exploring with each other some of the concepts and modes of operation that would make such a networked approach sustainable, legitimate and fit for the ultimate purpose of maintaining stability and promoting peaceful coexistence in the emerging international security landscape. Instead of meeting each other in court, as the FBI met the Apple Corporation to settle their dispute about encryption, security providers could meet across a table, under new forms of public oversight and agile governance, as partners in a common endeavour. Some of the questions that need to be answered are : What cast of actors populate this wider security ecosystem? What are shared priorities in terms of risks? What are some of the potential models for peer to peer security? How can the 4th Industrial Revolution be used to give citizens a stronger sense of control over choices of governance, or to deny space to criminal organizations and corrupt practices? Can smart contracts using block chain technology be applied to build confidence in financial transactions and peace agreements? Can defensive alliances be expanded to include or even consist entirely of non-state actors? Should international law extend the right to use proportionate force in self defence in cyber conflict to commercial actors? What aspects of these challenges are a matter for legal instruments and regulation, and what aspects will require a new approach?

The answers that may emerge to these questions are unpredictable – but what is clear is the need to have a conversation that reaches across generations and across disciplines. This conversation has to be global. International security is threatened by a loss of trust, in particular between those who drew power from the last industrial revolution and those whose power is rising within a fluid and complex environment. The conversation needs to foster mutual understanding, dispel unjustified fears, and revive public confidence in new forms of responsive leadership that manifestly serve the common good.

[ This article is based on a World Economic Forum project on the relationship between the Fourth Industrial Revolution and International Security, drawing on conversations at a number of World Economic Forum events in 2015 and 2016. ]

In my next paper I shall discuss Defence Implications of Emerging Technologies


22 October 2017

Key Emerging Technologies

“New technologies are redefining industries, blurring traditional boundaries and creating new opportunities on a scale never seen before. Public and private institutions must develop the correct policies, protocols and collaborations to allow such innovation to build a better future, while avoiding the risks that unchecked technological change could pose,” said Murat Sönmez, Head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum.

The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will inevitably transform the world in many ways – some that are desirable and others that are not. The extent to which the benefits are maximized and the risks mitigated will depend on the quality of governance – the rules, norms, standards, incentives, institutions, and other mechanisms that shape the development and deployment of each particular technology.

Too often the debate about emerging technologies takes place at the extremes of possible responses: among those who focus intently on the potential gains and others who dwell on the potential dangers. The real challenge lies in navigating between these two poles: building understanding and awareness of the trade-offs and tensions we face, and making informed decisions about how to proceed. This task is becoming more pressing as technological change deepens and accelerates, and as we become more aware of the lagged societal, political and even geopolitical impact of earlier waves of innovation.
Twelve Key Emerging Technologies

3D printing. Advances in additive manufacturing, using a widening range of materials and methods; innovations include 3D bioprinting of organic tissues.

Advanced materials and nanomaterials. Creation of new materials and nanostructures for the development of beneficial material properties, such as thermoelectric efficiency, shape retention and new functionality.

Artificial intelligence and robotics. Development of machines that can substitute for humans, increasingly in tasks associated with thinking, multitasking, and fine motor skills.
Biotechnologies. Innovations in genetic engineering, sequencing and therapeutics, as well as biological computational interfaces and synthetic biology.

Energy capture, storage and transmission. Breakthroughs in battery and fuel cell efficiency; renewable energy through solar, wind, and tidal technologies; energy distribution through smart grid systems, wireless energy transfer and more.

Blockchain and distributed ledger. Distributed ledger technology based on cryptographic systems that manage, verify and publicly record transaction data; the basis of "cryptocurrencies" such as bitcoin.

Geoengineering. Technological intervention in planetary systems, typically to mitigate effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide or managing solar radiation.

Ubiquitous linked sensors.  Also known as the "Internet of Things". The use of networked sensors to remotely connect, track and manage products, systems, and grids.

Neurotechnologies.  Innovations such as smart drugs, neuroimaging, and bioelectronic interfaces that allow for reading, communicating and influencing human brain activity.

New computing technologies.  New architectures for computing hardware, such as quantum computing, biological computing or neural network processing, as well as innovative expansion of current computing technologies.

Space technologies.  Developments allowing for greater access to and exploration of space, including microsatellites, advanced telescopes, reusable rockets and integrated rocket-jet engines.

Virtual and augmented realities.  Next-step interfaces between humans and computers, involving immersive environments, holographic readouts and digitally produced overlays for mixed-reality experiences.

Source: The 12 emerging technologies listed here are drawn from World Economic Forum Handbook on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (forthcoming, 2017)

.Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018  Published: 03 October 2017

  • Trend No. 1: AI Foundation. Today's AI Is Narrow AI
  • Trend No. 2: Intelligent Apps and Analytics. Augmented Analytics Will Enable Users to Spend More Time Acting on Insights
  • Trend No. 3: Intelligent Things.Swarms of Intelligent Things Will Work Together
  • Trend No. 4: Digital Twins.Digital Twins Will Be Linked to Other Digital Entities
  • Trend No. 5: Cloud to the Edge.Edge Computing Brings Distributed Computing Into the Cloud Style
  • Trend No. 6: Conversational Platforms.Integration With Third-Party Services Will Further Increase Usefulness
  • Trend No. 7: Immersive Experience. VR and AR Can Help Increase Productivity
  • Trend No. 8: Blockchain. Blockchain Offers Significant Potential Long-Term Benefits Despite Its Challenges
  • Trend No. 9: Event-Driven Model. Events Will Become More Important in the Intelligent Digital Mesh
  • Trend No. 10: Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust. Barriers Must Come Down Between Security and Application Teams 
MIT Technical Review gives out 10 Breakthrough Technologies in  2017

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017

Reversing Paralysis. Scientists are making remarkable progress at using brain implants
to restore the freedom of movement that spinal cord injuries take away.

Self-Driving Trucks. Tractor-trailers without a human at the wheel will soon barrel onto
highways near you. What will this mean for the nation’s 1.7 million truck drivers?

Paying with Your Face. Face-detecting systems in China now authorize payments, provide
access to facilities, and track down criminals. Will other countries follow?

Practical Quantum Computers. Advances at Google, Intel, and several research groups indicate that computers with previously unimaginable power are finally within reach.

The 360-Degree Selfie. Inexpensive cameras that make spherical images are opening a
new era in photography and changing the way people share stories.

Hot Solar Cells. By converting heat to focused beams of light, a new solar device
could create cheap and continuous power.

Gene Therapy 2.0. Scientists have solved fundamental problems that were holding
back cures for rare hereditary disorders. Next we’ll see if the same approach can take on cancer, heart disease, and other common illnesses.

The Cell Atlas. Biology’s next mega-project will find out what we’re really made of.
Botnets of Things. The relentless push to add connectivity to home gadgets is creating
dangerous side effects that figure to get even worse.

Reinforcement Learning. By experimenting, computers are figuring out how to do things that no programmer could teach them.

Third annual report on emerging trends in science and technology (S&T) published by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology (DASA R&T).2016 gives out the following emerging trends in science and technology

• Robotics and autonomous systems 

• Additive manufacturing 

• Analytics 

• Human augmentation 

• Mobile and cloud  computing 

• Medical advances 

• Cyber 

• Energy 

• Smart cities 

• Internet of things 

• Food and water technology 

• Quantum computing 

• Social empowerment 

• Advanced digital 

• Blended reality 

• Technology for climate change 

• Advanced materials 

• Novel weaponry 

• Space 

• Synthetic biology 

• Changing nature of work 

• Privacy 

• Education 

• Transportation and Logistics

Emerging trends in S&T over the next 30 years will play out against a background of ongoing sociopolitical, economic, and environmental change. Over the coming decides, six key trends are likely to shape the nexus between sociopolitical change, technology, and security: 

• Urbanization 

• Climate change 

• Resource constraints 

• Shifting demographics 

• Globalization of innovation 

• Rise of a global middle class

International Security Landscape


The history of warfare and international security is the history of technological innovation, and the modern era is no exception. The advent of nuclear technology, for example, led to the doctrine of deterrence through mutually assured destruction. More recent advances such as unmanned vehicles and precision mortars and missiles have increasingly minimized both own-side causalities and collateral damage, and with them the risk of unwanted shifts in public opinion, while placing ever more of a premium on accurate intelligence.


The fear of what both friends and foes are developing, and willing to use, could overwhelm existing processes of oversight, dialogue, diplomacy and control, disrupting our ability to make informed and politically sound decisions. Rapid advances in any of the following technologies could potentially destabilize fragile balances of power and permanently alter the international security landscape, entrenching disparities between countries or heralding chaos.

Here are eight technologies that are changing the international security landscape:

1. Drones. Essentially, drones are flying robots. The US appears to be leading the way with over 11,000 such vehicles, but the technology is spreading widely as it becomes more affordable: even North Korea reportedly possesses advanced drone technology, while offthe- shelf quadcopter drones are already being used by narcotics gangs to spy on and eliminate rivals. Last year saw the first instance of a US civilian shooting down a drone when a neighbour flew it over his property.

2. Autonomous weapons. When drone technology is combined with artificial intelligence, the result is so-called “autonomous weapons” which can select and engage targets based on pre-defined criteria and without human intervention. These have been called potentially the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear. We might still be a long way from Hollywood’s humanoid-looking robots, coldly deciding who lives and dies; but current technology is advanced enough for, say, an armed quadcopter using facial recognition software to identify targets from a database and open fire. The risks of automated weapons are clear: for example, facial recognition is still far from reliable; while human override mechanisms can theoretically be built in, they can malfunction; and automated weapons could be hacked by malicious parties.

3. Wearable devices. Possible military uses here include sensing moods to avoid poor decision making; tracking bodily functions to optimize health and performance; “exoskeletons” to enhance soldiers’ performance, with current technology already allowing a human to carry loads of around 90kg without difficulty; and spying. In a real-life story reminiscent of an Ian Fleming novel, a lady styling herself as SexyCyborg has posted online about how she 3D-printed shoes with a hidden drawer where she installed devices for gathering information, then used her seductive appearance to gain entrance to organizations, evading the traditional detection mechanisms such as being asked to leave mobile equipment at the door.

4. Additive manufacturing. 3D printing has already been tested by both the US and Chinese armies in war games, and could revolutionize supply chains by enabling replacement parts to be manufactured in the field from digitally transmitted designs and locally available materials. Militaries are even aiming to be able to print food, and skin and prosthetics for those injured in service. Questions remain to be solved, however, around intellectual property, quality control and liability. As printers become more precise and able to use more materials, there is also a risk of proliferation of certain types of weapon systems as it becomes easier to copy critical technologies and bypass normal restrictions such as export controls. Additive manufacturing techniques could enable the development of new kinds of warhead, with greater control of particle size and direction on detonation.

5. Renewable energy. The capacity to generate power locally could revolutionize supply chains as much as the capacity to print parts locally. Militaries are already at the forefront of developing solar technologies, including dye-sensitized light harvesting materials which can harness light energy outside the visible spectrum. Nanomaterials embedded in clothes could potentially also turn them into a significant method of energy generation.

6. Nanotechnology. Our ability to manipulate particles at the nano scale has progressed significantly in the last decade, and we are rapidly developing technology to make “metamaterials” which have properties that do not occur naturally. Some conceivable applications still remain in the realm of science fiction, such as Star Trek-type “cloaking devices”, and systems which can self-replicate and self-assemble. We have also barely scratched the surface of possible ways to exploit quantum effects of matter at supercooled temperatures. Still, in the short term, related innovations promise to make weaponry better, lighter, more mobile, smarter, and more precise. One challenge is that nano electronics need vast amounts of power; another is that it will be significantly harder to monitor the

proliferation of nano weapons than, say, nuclear weapons.

7. Biological weapons. While the history of biological warfare is nearly as old as the history of warfare itself, rapid developments in biotechnology, genetics and genomics are opening up new and highly lethal avenues for the creation of new biological weapons. We are already capable of altering cells and creating killer viruses. Airborne designer viruses, engineered superbugs and genetically modified plagues all seem like potential doomsday scenarios. The global norms against biological weapons, laid down in the 1925 Geneva Convention and the 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, are coming under pressure as the capacity to create lethal biological weapons becomes more widespread.

8. Bio-chemical weapons. The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits any use of chemicals, including ‘non-lethal’ chemicals, in warfare situations – but here, too, technological advances are making such weapons almost a “do-it-yourself” project and increasingly hard to regulate. Unmanned vehicles also offer new and effective ways of delivering chemical agents in the battlefield. Advances in neurobiology and pharmaceuticals will offer increasing possibilities to alter behavioural patterns and emotions – perhaps including cocktails of chemical drugs which change neurological signals to create warrior behaviour reminiscent of zombie movies.

What is the best response to such evolving threats? It makes little sense to try to ban the development of all technologies with the potential to create weapons of a kind which we would not want to see used. Many of the above technologies have obvious civilian applications – from delivery drones to the genetic engineering of viruses to treat diseases – and indeed are largely being developed by civilian entrepreneurs.Leaving aside the desirability of bans on the development of technologies, there is the question of feasibility. In a growing number of fields, the capacity to innovate potentially weaponizable technologies is no longer the preserve of militaries with large budgets, and can increasingly be done by small groups or individuals with off-the-shelf equipment. While technology is also improving our capacity for surveillance, it will be difficult to be confident that no group is working undetected.
The following two diagrams will explain the emerging trends and threats associated with these.

I shall discuss the effects of the emerging trends on armed forces in my next paper.



21 October 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping's Solution for China

Chinese President Xi Jinping is presiding over a meeting of the Chinese Communist Party, called the National Congress. These meetings are held in China every five years. This year it is about crafting a new course for China. The congress opened with a speech delivered by Xi that was designed to fill the people with confidence in a bright future. It did that, and now the congress will proceed for several days, continuing to energize the country. It will not be out of place to remind us little bit of history of Chinese Communist Party and its leaders.


Communism in China has gone through two phases. The first was the Maoist phase, which had three goals which were: 

Ending the constant internal warfare that had torn China apart in the pre-communist era. 

End the constant foreign intrusions onto Chinese soil. 

To create a radically new and egalitarian society.

It succeeded in achieving all three goals, but the price was high. Regional conflict was suppressed by a brutal dictatorship. China in many ways withdrew from interaction with much of the world, and constant waves of assaults on Chinese society were carried out, from the Great Leap Forward to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Millions died of hunger and political oppression. But Mao had crafted a country that had not existed before. The new China was free of internal struggle and free of foreign imperialism. It was also staggeringly poor and filled with suffering.

When Mao died in 1976, a power struggle ensued. His faction was defeated by Deng Xiaoping, who recognized that Mao had succeeded in what he wanted but had led the country to the edge of disaster. Deng realized that Mao’s radical communism could not go on, and out of necessity he forged a new model for China. Deng understood that china’s problem was poverty and that only production could solve it. But China was too poor to consume what it produced, so it had to sell its products in other countries – the same strategy Germany, Japan and others had used to recover from their wars. China’s advantage was that it had a capable workforce and very low wages, and by opening its borders to trade, China grew rapidly for more than a generation. Deng created a China that unleashed the commercial expertise of its coastal regions and connected them to customers in the United States and Europe, opening borders while keeping a weakened Communist Party in place. . Deng’s strategy of aggressive exports had reintegrated China into the world economy, but it had also made its success heavily dependent on the appetites of other countries. If they stopped buying China would be dealt a stunning blow.

Deng’s reforms created vast regional wealth, but much of the country was left behind. This led to a wealthy China along the coast and an impoverished China in the interior, with an insufficient middle class, unable collectively to consume what China’s overbuilt industry produced. Amid rapid growth, corruption intensified the inequality.

China had entered the international arena but only as an economic power. Its military had developed but was still incapable of asserting and defending its interests. 

China could not adopt a Western-style democracy. It needed to retain a one-party system, and that party was the Communist Party. In fact, the Chinese model of development would become a major lever for Chinese global power as poor countries adopted China’s political system to combine a dynamic economy with one-party rule.

Promises of a Bright Future

In his speech, Xi said China’s economic strategy will now emphasize quality over quantity. He highlighted the importance of China’s technological capabilities – their advancement is essential. Most important, he promised to lift from poverty those who had been left behind. Since that includes much of China, this is a huge task. Without high growth rates, the only way to do this is to transfer wealth from affluent regions. This raises two problems. First, the coastal region, which will feel the pain of such social generosity, is sure to resist. Second, shifting capital to consumption raises the question of how to underwrite massive developments in technology. Xi promised to lift everyone out of poverty by 2020. 

Xi promised to build a world-class military by 2050. He therefore acknowledged that China doesn’t have a world-class military now and won’t for more than a generation. Creating a world-class military will require immense investment. 

Finally, Xi made clear that a single-party dictatorship must remain in place, and likely needs to be strengthened. Of course, what Xi has yet to make clear is whether he will anoint a successor to take his place in five years, or whether the party and Xi should now be seen as synonymous. This is something to watch for as the National Congress continues.

Meanwhile what China is quietly doing in between merits attention. China is quickly growing into the world’s most extensive commercial empire. By way of comparison, after World War II, the Marshall Plan provided the equivalent of $800 billion in reconstruction funds to Europe (if calculated as a percentage of today’s GDP). In the decades after the war the United States was also the world’s largest trading nation, and its largest bilateral lender to others.

Now it’s China’s turn. The scale and scope of the Belt and Road initiative is staggering. Estimates vary, but over $300 billion have already been spent, and China plans to spend $1 trillion more in the next decade or so. According to the CIA, 92 countries counted China as their largest exports or imports partner in 2015, far more than the United States at 57. What’s most astounding is the speed with which China achieved this. While the country was the world’s largest recipient of World Bank and Asian Development Bank loans in the 1980s and 90s, in recent years, China alone loaned more to developing countries than did the World Bank.

Unlike the United States and Europe, China uses aid, trade, and foreign direct investment strategically to build goodwill, expand its political sway and secure the natural resources it needs to grow. Belt and Road is the most impressive example of this In the next decades, China plans to build a thick web of infrastructure around Asia and, through similar initiatives, around the world.

Most of its funding will come in the form of loans, not grants. Chinese state-owned enterprises will also be encouraged to invest. This means, for example, that if Pakistan can’t pay back its loans, China could own many of its coal mines, oil pipelines, and power plants, and thus have enormous leverage over the Pakistani government. In the meantime, China has the rights to operate the Gwadar port for 40 years.

Belt and Road is China’s biggest foreign policy initiative to date, but it’s no Marshall Plan. China is too dependent on its eastern seaboard and the narrow Malacca Strait near Singapore to get goods in and out of its vast territory; for example, over 80 percent of its oil goes through the Strait. So building trade routes through Pakistan and Central Asia makes sense. Belt and Road also helps China invest its huge currency reserves and put its many idling state-owned enterprises to work.

Countries that trade more generally fight less, not just with their trading partners, but with the world in general. In its own way, China is thus helping to uphold international peace. China’s economic impact on the countries it lends to so far seems mixed at best. While the 20 percent or so that China gives in traditional aid does help local economies, most of its largesse comes as loans, which have not been as helpful. Scholars who looked at Chinese investment in Africa 1991 to 2010 found that Chinese assistance does not appear to help economic growth, and that inexpensive Chinese imports often displace African local firms, and thus hurt employment in small enterprises. China usually requires donee countries to use Chinese firms to build roads and ports, and so hasn’t in the past employed local firms or train local workers. In Pakistan, for example, 7,000 Chinese nationals are working on the economic corridor—they bring their own cooks, have separate housing, and don’t interact much with the locals. Relatively few Pakistanis are working on the actual road and rail-building (and thus developing skills)—but Pakistan has deployed nearly 15,000 security personnel to guard the Chinese. 

Also, while Chinese loans used to have low interest rates around 2.5 percent, they are now creeping up to near 5 percent or more. This will make them harder to repay. While those who receive Chinese funds are happy to fix their power shortages and improve their roads, they may be mortgaging their futures.

Perhaps the biggest challenge China’s efforts pose to the “liberal international order” is that, in contrast to most Western aid and loans, Belt and Road projects often encourage terrible governance, environmental, and human rights standards, although China’s record on this has improved somewhat over the past few years.

China is often the largest investor in countries that others ostracize—because they are run by dictators, don’t respect human rights, and are corrupt—such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Niger, Angola, and Burma. Of course, while the U.S. and Europe insist on high standards for their aid projects today, both their companies and governments also had terrible records on human rights and the environment when they ventured to India, Africa, Latin America in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

On worker safety and the environment, when China first ventured abroad, its standards were often abysmal. In some areas, Chinese firms still leave behind a mess of underpaid miners, devastated forests, and ruined rivers. Yet China is learning quickly. 

If China’s geoeconomic push continues, it will be its largest legacy and have a profound impact on the world—not necessarily all negative. Since the West doesn’t have $1 trillion to lavish on developing country infrastructure in a new great game, its best choice may be to coopt and shape this juggernaut

Reference : George Friedman, Xi’s Glittering Solutions for China, Oct 20, 2017, · Anja Manuel, China Is Quietly Reshaping the World, The Atlantic,

20 October 2017

Islam and the Patterns in Terrorism and Violent Extremism

Recently Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at Center for Stratrgic and International Studies has come out with, as usual, a very well researched paper on Islam and the Patterns in Terrorism and Violent Extremism : Putting the Links Between Islam and Violent Extremism in Context


It is far too easy for analysts who are not Muslim to focus on the small part of the extremist threat that Muslim extremists pose to non-Muslims in the West and/or demonize one of the world's great religions, and to drift into some form of Islamophobia—blaming a faith for patterns of violence that are driven by a tiny fraction of the world's Muslims and by many other factors like population, failed governance, and weak economic development.It is equally easy to avoid analyzing the links between extremist violence and Islam in order to be politically correct or to avoid provoking Muslims and the governments of largely Muslim states. The end result is to ignore the reality that most extremist and terrorist violence does occur in largely Muslim states, although it overwhelmingly consists of attacks by Muslim extremists on fellow Muslims, and not some clash between civilizations.


If one examines a wide range of sources, however, a number of key patterns emerge that make five things very clear:

The overwhelming majority of extremist and violent terrorist incidents do occur in largely Muslim states.

Most of these incidents are perpetrated by a small minority of Muslims seeking power primarily in their own areas of operation and whose primary victims are fellow Muslims.

Almost all of the governments of the countries involved are actively fighting extremism and terrorism, and most are allies of Western states that work closely with the security, military, and counterterrorism forces of non-Muslim states to fight extremism and terrorism.

Vast majority of Muslims oppose violent extremism and terrorism.

Religion is only one of many factors that lead to instability and violence in largely Muslim states. It is a critical ideological force in shaping the current patterns of extremism, but it does not represent the core values of Islam and many other far more material factors help lead to the rise of extremism.

Deduction of Cordesman is : The trends in the current "wars" on terrorism, the degree to which partnerships between Muslim and non-Muslim states form the core of the effort to defeat extremism, and the extent to which the rise of extremism ensures that it may take several decades of active security partnerships to end the threat.


Global Patterns of Terrorism Are Dominated by Extremism in Largely Muslim States. 

The patterns of extremist violence are dominated by violence in largely Muslim states and by extremist movements that claim to represent Islamic values.Only a relatively small portion of the incidents can be attributed to ISIS.Defeating today's key perpetrators is critical, but it in no way will defeat the longer term threat. 

There is No “Clash of Civilizations.” The Vast Majority of Muslims Consistently Reject Extremism and Terrorism. the vast majority of Muslims do not support extremist violence, and that their primary concerns are jobs, the quality of governance, security, and the same practical values shared by non-Muslims. 

The Battle of Perceptions, and Popular Motives in the MENA Region and Islamic World. Only 17% of Muslims saw religion as the key factor in recruiting fighters for ISIS, and that interpretations of Islam ranked seventh in a poll examining Arab views of way to defeat extremism. 77% of Arabs polled still felt that the Arab peoples were a single nation, rather than focused on the actions of their government and their own nation situation. 

Casualties in the U.S. and Europe Are All Too Real. But, it is Muslims that Are the Overwhelming Victims of Extremist Attacks. No one can condone or ignore the numbers killed in the U.S. and Europe, but they are relatively tiny in actuarial terms. For example, there were 658 deaths in Europe and all of the Americas between January 1, 2015 and July 16, 2016. There were 28,031—or 43 times more deaths—in other regions—most of them consisting of largely Islamic countries. Almost all of the human impact of extremist attacks is Muslims killing or injuring fellow Muslims. 

Restrictions on Religion Attempt to Limit Extremism in Much of the Islamic World. Most governments in largely Muslim states are actively moving to suppress religious extremism in their country. 

Extremism Poses a Critical Threat to the Ability of Largely Islamic States to Meet the Needs of Their Rapidly Growing Populations. Many Muslims feel their governments are corrupt and that secular options fail to protect them and provide adequate future opportunities.Population pressure and corruption are critical factors, as are ethnic and sectarian divisions and hyperurbanization. Youth lack jobs and opportunity in many states, and per capita incomes are sometimes critically low. 

Islamic States Are Key Strategic Partners in the Fight Against Extremism, and the Rising Global Impact of Islam Makes These Partnerships Steadily More Critical. Almost all of the states with large Muslim majorities have governments that already cooperate with the U.S. in the struggle against extremism. The need for lasting strategic partnerships with Muslim states is reinforced by key demographic trends on a global basis. The total number of Muslims will increase from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.76 billion in 2015—an increase of 73% or 1.16 billion people. 

ISIS, Al Qaida and the Taliban Are Key Current Threats. But are Only One Small Part of a Far Broader Problem that Will Endure for Decades. Al Qaida, ISIS, the Taliban, and the other main targets of today's anti-terrorism and anti-extremist efforts are only a comparatively limited part of even current threats. 

Even Total Victory in Syria and Iraq Could Only Have a Limited Impact: Most IISS “Affiliates” Outside Iraq and Syria Are Not Closely Linked to the ISIS “Caliphates” and Will Survive ISIS Defeats in Iraq and Syria. 

he Current Fighting in Syria and Iraq is Unlikely to Bring Any Lasting Security and Stability. This is Even More True of the Fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Terrorism and Extremism in Yemen Have Become a Strategic “Black Hole” 

As usual there are lot of statistics and graphics in this paper. Some are appended below. 






18 October 2017

DEFENCE PROCUREMENT

I have a dream. 

Our soldiers fighting CI Ops in J&K and in North East will wear light weight bullet proof jackets and helmets and NOT the present heavy staff and the DRDO invented patkas. My dream is triggered by a recent news item Army Plans to Field New Protective Vest, Armored Shirt in 2019 available at http://strategicstudyindia.blogspot.in/2016/02/army-plans-to-field-new-protective-vest.html

India continues to remain the world's largest arms importer, accounting for 14% of the global imports in the 2011-2015 time frame, India spent a whopping Rs. 83,458.31 crore on arms imports in a matter of three years ending 2013-14. The latest data on international arms transfers released by a global think-tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), also shows India's arms imports remain three times greater than those of its rivals China and Pakistan. Its biggest suppliers are Russia, the US, Israel and France. Russia accounts for 70% of our arms import. But the situation is fast changing and US is fast grabbing the lucrative market. Russians also are exploiting Pakistanis by offering them latest armed helicopters. After India, China ranks second in the global arms import list with 4.7%, China used to top the imports chart earlier but has gradually built a stronger Defence Industrial Base over the last couple of decades to even emerge as the world's third largest arms exporter after the US and Russia. Incidentally, Pakistan is the main recipient of Chinese arms exports, notching up 35% of the total, followed by Bangladesh (20%) and Myanmar (16%). Russia, in turn, is China's largest arms supplier with 59%, followed by France (15%) and Ukraine (14%). Noting that India's arms exports has jumped by 90% between 2006-2010 and 2011-2015, SIPRI reiterated the well-acknowledged fact that "a major reason for the high-level of imports is that the Indian arms industry has so far largely failed to produce competitive indigenous designed weapons". 

The present Govt quickly and rightly realised the best bet in Make in India initiative is the defence sector. While this initiative is better than purchasing outright from foreign vendors there are lot of issues. General Electric Co had won a $2.6 billion (nearly Rs 17,271.8 crore) contract to supply India's railways with 1,000 diesel locomotives. If GE makes railway engine in India who benefits. Well, there will be some highly skilled people who will get job in the most sophisticated and automated factories, there will be some suppliers of small items and ancillaries, some people will give vehicles on rent and all that. At least something will happen. The ratio of funds required and employment generated is huge. It is going up and not going down in any hi tech manufacturing field. It is the services which generates max employment. In the United States 70 percent of the workforce works in the service sector; in Japan, 60 percent, and in Taiwan, 50 percent. United States employment as estimated in 2012, is divided into 79.7% in the service sector, 19.2% in the manufacturing sector and 1.1% in the agriculture sector. But larger issue is we have to design our own staff. Otherwise GE or its ilk will get all the money using our cheap labour force making them as sweat shops workers. Who is going to have the IPR. Are they going to transfer those rights. BIG NO. I am not clear on many issues of defence acquisition.I am flagging these issues in following paragraphs. 

We have nine DPSUs. 41 ordnance factories are spread across 26 different locations and employ close to 1,25,000 people. A recent report tears into the Department of Defence Production. “The DDP, which on behalf of the Services and the MoD would have been the instrument of indigenisation, became primarily a custodian of a large collection of ordnance factories and de-facto owner of shipyards, aircraft factories etc.” This resulted in a conflict of interest, the report says. 

Offset 

We have this offset policy since 2006. 30% worth of orders have to be sourced locally. 19 contracts worth 16,000 crores ($3 billion) have been signed since 2006. It is expected that there will be offset of $30 billion out of $100 billion worth of defence imports now. Due to offset clause cost of equipment is increased. People in the know of things is of the opinion that even say 3% increase in cost gets compensated if you see overall life cycle cost. Due to the offset clause large number of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises have come up. They have tied up with the foreign vendors and are manufacturing locally number of high tech components and sub assemblies. However, it is the vendors who select offset programs and partners and in many cases Indian critical needs are not catered for. Mostly low tech components/sub assemblies are made here. Since the offset clause is not getting fully utilised, the defence industry lobby is now demanding to expand the scope of offset to non military fields cancelling the very concept of getting high technology for the indigenous defence industry. They, tongue in check, will give examples of some countries exporting rice in place of defence offset. We can export potatoes to compensate for offsets. Rafael has 50% offset clause. Can anybody tell me what is going to happen to this 50%. I can understand initially we were not very well conversant with the laws, process, negotiation, enforcing penalty, audit etc. But 10 years have passed. By now we should be expert on these issues. I want to know how much offset clause has delivered. How much vendors have not done. How have we penalised them. What is the audit methodology? It is not that the private sector is paragon of virtue. If a particular vendor does not fulfill the contractual obligations, he sould be punished. There is enough provision built into the contract. It should not be like NPA of banks. People outside have a feeling that once a contract has been signed, little effort is paid to enforce contractual obligations and vendors get away with blue murder. This feeling must be proved wrong. 

Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Route 

Of late more and more defence equipment are being procured through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Route. As the existing procurement process is extremely complex, cumbersome, riddled with so many loop holes FMS is becoming a preferable option to bypass these procedures. If you ask an army soldier, he would say damn the procedure. I want it now. I am naked. For example, say Air Defence Equipments. FMS piggybacks on the seller country’s own acquisition process. It gives some sort of sovereign guarantee, there is no middlemen. Since the equipment is already in use, the logistic, training, support etc are well established. 

However these are serious issues involved which need to be discussed. 

From 2002 to 2011 DPP was changed seven times in nine years. The latest change is in the offing. Media reports indicate number of path breaking changes are being made to make DPP simpler and necessary concern of all stake holders have been addressed. The new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), which will be notified within a couple of months gives top priority to a new indigenous design, development and manufacturing (IDDM) category under "Buy Indian", will help bolster the indigenous DIB. Under it private sector companies will be chosen for "strategic partnerships" in six broad areas ranging from aircraft and warships to tanks and guided missile systems. The "strategic partnership model" is designed to create capacity in the private sector, in tie-ups with foreign collaborators, over and above the capacity and infrastructure that exists in defence PSUs These are very welcome steps, long overdue. Point is will the latest DPP make sure that we do not have to go through FMS route because of procedural delays. There is a great fallacy here. Government only makes the policy. Then it says, it is too complex and time consuming. So damn the process and go for FMS route! DPP is based on fundamental principle of transparency, free competition and impartiality. FMS abandons open competition, procures equipment on single vendor basis. Every FMS deal violets all the above principles. People have serious misgivings on FMS. Some of them are enumerated below. 

It is mostly US defence vendors who are getting benefited. Why don't they compete in Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) which is tough and less profitable. None of them can compete in open tender process costwise. Recently 6 x C130 Super Hercules aircraft for Special Forces, 10 x C-17 Globmaster heavy lift transport aircraft, 12 x Boeing P-81, Poseidon Long Range Maritime Recce aircraft, 12 x AN-TPQ RADARS have been procured. 155 mm Light weight towed Howitzars are in the offing. Why can’t they come through open competition. Some of the services have raised serious maintenance problems on equipments procured through FMS. There are chances of overpricing. For example it is alleged that Australian paid $300 million per C-17 aircraft, we payed 37% more. No purchaser can obtain DES price. All DES negotiations have to be aborted before submitting the buyer countries request. LOR is sent to US Govt without any publicity, competition is killed. However, one can never be sure of costing. People keep on doing conjectures. US Govt imposes additional handling changes for sales negotiation, case implementation, contract management, financial management, allied expenses, additional changes for R&D and Production. Buyer nation gets to know the final price after delivery. Prior to that only estimated price and payment schedules are intimated to the buyers. It is said FMS is free of all extraneous influences. How is that possible, just because two governments are dealing? The seller govt is only looking after the defence industry of his country. It does not own any defence industry. Sophisticated military equipment is developed based on the country’s (US) doctrine, capability, threat perception, administrative requirements, etc. Buyers have no influence on these parameters. Buying countries cannot develop own parameters.Their requirements have to be subservient to US requirements. FMS is an unilateral process, there is no negotiations. A copy of pre drafted contract is handed over to the buying nation for signing. No assurances against future embargoes/ban is provided. This is very critical in case of Indo-Pak conflict scenario. 

US Govt does not guarantee fulfillment of offset obligations. US Govt allows its defence producers to recover offset costs from buying nation. These are factored in the unit cost of main equipment. Buyer country is advised to negotiate a separate offset agreement directly with the prime contractor and the Govt abdicates responsibility. In the initial package excessive quantity of support equipment and spares are included. As the buyer country is not fully conversant with the equipment it has to accept whatever is included in the package. There is lack of guarantee of continued US support for spares, technical support. Spare parts take undue long to materialize keeping critical equipment off road for uncomfortably long time. FMS should be used only for special equipment unavailable from other resources. US is cleverly exploiting this route for their business purposes. Should we follow the same? 

Lot of clarity is required.on Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA). CISMOA is a US requirement that intends to guarantee the secrecy of advanced communication and crypto equipments on aircraft, ships and other platforms. We are not part of NATO or ally with US. We don’t require interoperability with US platforms. US has not waived this restriction. We have purchased the most sophisticated aircrafts like P-31, AWAC without the necessary encrypted communication system. It is no rocket science to know that it is the avionics, comn, electronics, control system which make the weapon platforms most sophisticated. The speed of a ship has not increased much since the days of First World War. The technology of airframes or a tank has improved but that rate of improvement is nothing compared to that of electronics. We are made to believe that since US is not giving these technologies our DPSUs are making it for us. It ECIL and DPSUs are capable of making the most sophisticated and complicated part of the equipment, then why go in for FMS? I have a sneaking suspicion some Israeli vendor would be laughing away to bank through our JUGAD route. It is reported that Indian Navy has plugged the CISMOA-induced gaps on the American platform -- notably, speech secrecy kit by India's state-owned Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), IFF interrogator and transponder by BEL and HAL respectively, mobile satellite system by Avantel and fingerprinting kit by BEL 

End User Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) allows US to periodically inspect the equipments in buyer’s premises to check any modification etc. Can a self respecting nation like India allow this after paying through their nose. None of these agreements have been waived off for us. Initially our media was up in arms against these clause. Strangely the same clauses are now coined as Foundation Agreements and there seems to be very little objection. There are other implications. Say Blue Fox RADAR of Sea Hawk aircraft does not meet our requirement. If the aircraft is procured from US on FMS route we will not be able to change the RADAR as per our requirement. 

There is a very sensitive issue -- CYBER. After Snowden and Wikileaks there is no doubt what US does to the equipments it supplies. It puts adequate bugs both hardware and software to make any equipment malfunction when he chooses to do so. It is done even during shipment. What is the safeguard we have against this. To my knowledge, NIL. 

Uncle is smart. The moment Modi Govt came to power Asly Tellis wrote a comprehensive paper in Carnegie on Making Waves: Aiding India’s Next-Generation Aircraft Carrier available at http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/04/22/making-waves-aiding-india-s-next-generation-aircraft-carrier/id5q recommending India’s carrier must have the electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) and aggressively promotes F-35C as aircrafts for the carriers . Lo and behold in spite of Admiral Goshokov being a Soviet carrier with huge difference in launching systems we are planning on EMALS. To influence decision making not for nothing Carnegie and Bookings are opening shop at Delhi. They have no problem in getting services of some EX NSAs. 

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY(TOT) 

I have never understood this clause. From day one we have been told of this clause of technology transfer. HAL, for example, has been manufacturing Mig 21, 23, 27, 29. Sukhois, Jaguar, Mirage etc for a very long time. What technology transfer has taken place. If it was there we would not be struggling for at least aircraft manufacture today. TOT would have been ideal for offset, but it does not happen. Cost penalty of offsets is ignored deliberately. Some of the limitations of TOT are : 

 Too many agencies dealing with the subject, there is no central authority. 

 India Inc's capability to absorb offset is suspect 

 Monitoring mechanism is ineffective. 


Made in India is costlier; joint development is mere purchase What was supposed to be cheaper when made in India is much costlier. What was supposed to be a joint development programme has been reduced to a purchase from abroad. That is among the key findings of internal government audits of major aerospace projects in recent years. 

All the aerospace reports accessed by The Hindu are scathing in their indictment of agencies such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. over the way they have handled joint development programmes involving foreign partners, or produced aircraft in India under transfer of technology. Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters 

HAL was originally tasked by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) with undertaking licence production of 140 Sukhoi-30 fighters under transfer of technology from Russia, with conditions including: indigenous manufacture of the aircraft at a cost lower than that of the imported aircraft. 

The IAF entered into four different contracts with HAL for supply of the 140 aircraft, and later two contracts for 40 and 42 additional fighters. Thus a total of 222 S-30 MKI were to be assembled by HAL. When HAL began to assemble, however, the story was different. “Contrary to projection in the CCS note, where it was estimated that the indigenous aircraft production cost would be lower than that of the imported aircraft cost… the actual cost of phase IV aircraft has always been higher than that of the imported aircraft,” the report says. 

In the production year 2014-15 in phase I, when aircraft was directly imported from Russia, the average cost per fighter was Rs. 270.28 crore. In phase IV, when aircraft is manufactured by HAL from raw material, the cost is Rs. 417.85 crore. The report also indicts HAL for taking 2-3 times more man-hours than those taken by Russians. 
Indigenous production of Bofors Guns is another issue. In spite of a contract why it was not done for so many years is not known. Now people are taking credit for that. No accountability.

Missile development 

The Matheswaran report points out that in 2003, a decision was taken to allow the services to meet their operational requirements of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), till 2010, by acquiring through the “buy global” route because the development of the indigenous Akash and Trishul missile systems was delayed. 

The DRDO stepped in and proposed joint development with Israel. So the DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) started development of a long-range SAM (LRSAM) for the Navy in 2005. In 2007, they started work on developing a medium-range SAM (MRSAM) for the IAF under a separate contract. “Incidentally, LRSAM & MRSAM is the same missile,” the report says. 

In a scathing indictment of the entire project, the report says IAI remains the design authority for the complete system. “IAI is doing the role of supplier and the DRDO is the buyer, which is contrary to the DRDO role of design agency.” “No transfer of technology (ToT) has been taken as part of the contract. We will remain dependent on IAI for its share,” the report points out, adding that the intellectual property rights (IPRs) remains with the design authority. 

I am slightly confused when there are many experts mostly non military or non air force are eulogizing Tejas and denigrating Rafaels from the roof top. As if all the problem of aircraft manufacture is over with this magic wand. How is it that till recently we have been lambasting HAL, mostly for valid reasons, and suddenly they have become so good. If they are delivering there cannot be no better news. But I want to flag the issue of Dhruv advance light helicopters. The accident and off road state were major issues with army aviation. A major defence export contract that India signed in recent years is the sale of seven indigenously produced Dhruv advance light helicopters to Ecuador for $45 million in 2008. And this has run into trouble. Within six years, four of these helicopters crashed, forcing the Ecuadorian government to place restrictions on flying the remaining three thus putting a question mark on Brand India as a maker of defence equipment. Dhruv's flight safety record has been even worse in India with the armed forces losing as many as 16 Dhruv helicopters in an 11-year period, from 2005 to 2015. 

Advanced Light Helicopter 

An audit of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) project of HAL from 2001 to 2009 carried out by the Controller-General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) pointed out: “As against the envisaged indigenisation level of 50 per cent, about 90 per cent of the value of material used in each helicopter is procured from foreign suppliers.” The audit said that during the production of the helicopter, despite gaining experience of making 90 of them, the labour hours remained almost double of what was prescribed by the consultant. The Air Marshal Matheswaran report on the aeronautical sector points out that the Shakti engine used in the helicopter “only has an indigenous name with hardly any self-reliance or technology control. 

If we want to be self sufficient we have no other alternative but to design our own and then manufacture. Our indigenous defence industry , existing or budding, talk a lot. It is time for them to deliver. 

Please see the news item I have referred at the beginning. I want a similar protective armoured vest or shirt, for our armed forces and CAPF. There is a huge market, demand is assured. Technology is not rocket science. Metallurgy. We have the TATAs, Mittals, Jindals, Bharat Forge and lot of new entries. SAIL has got its own R&D organisation, we have special steel plant, Can any one of then take up the challenge and show we have it in us to do it. Yes, they have to do it in competitive cost and not like DRDO or OFV/ DPSUs in some fancy cost, many times more than what is available in the world market. Necessary small prints can always be sorted out. Can the RM take the lead. Our bravehearts, the elitest of elite the Special Forces are dying because they do not have good protective jacket. They have the same weapons as the terrorists have.Is it not a shame. Lets not talk big about aircraft careers, multirole combat aircrafts. Let's make a plane and simple a new lightweight, body armor system that combines a plate-carrier style vest with an armored combat shirt. Our very own defence private sector also talks big. Let them prove their worth, show they do not put their foot in the mouth, they can deliver. 

Possible? I think so. Remember we will keep losing some of the finest soldiers that walk in this planet till you do this. Choice is yours. 

PS. I have quoted extensively from the blog of Maj Gen Mrinal Suman at Sword and Shield mrinalsuman.blogspot.com/