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Sri Lanka to buy China made JF-17 fighter aircraft

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Of late, Sri Lankan president Sirisena has announced, apart from the reconciliation efforts with Tamils and other minorities in the island country, also a few other important decisions of his government. One is to make the country a big power which may be possible in the immediate future. Another, to fight corruption in the government and nation at large which is also not easy ambition considering that he really meant what he said.

One needs not elaborate on the issues because the issues are indeed tricky. Combating corruption no country has so far succeeded. Soviet Russia tried under Gorbachev and failed. Russia leader Puitn has tried and stopped even talking about the subject matter now. China is now seriously fighting corruption without resolving the real causes of corruption in a communist society. India also tried and made it even more rampant than ever before. PM Manmohan Singh accelerated corruption activities, letting every minister and official to make as much money as they can dung his tenure.

It does not, however, mean corruption cannot be fought successfully. What is missing is the will and through plan for successful execution.

Of course, Sri Lanka is relatively a small country and the government can confidently launch anti-corruption program but only with dedicated, highly honest and sincere officals who can put people of nation above their personal or private affairs.

The issue of making Sri Lanka a strong nation in South Asia gradually is moot matter to consider. President Sirisena seem sot be very serious on the subject.

China and Pakistan are wheeling and dealing in a big way to influence the Lankan government to strike the deal.

According to reports, Sri Lankan government is getting ready to buy the JF-17 multi-role fighter jet in a deal which promises at least four million dollars per jet as kickbacks to those who are pushing for this sale.

According to a report in the Sri Lanka-based web sitewww.thesundayleader.lk, a former air force chief and a big business wheeler-dealer are attempting to influence the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) to acquire the multi-role JF-17 ‘Fierce Dragon’ fighter aircraft that has been jointly developed by both China and Pakistan, at a fair price comparable with international combat aircraft manufacturers.

India says the jet under consideration is highly-flawed, explaining that the JF-17 will cost the SLAF a staggering USD 29 million, while the same aircraft can be purchased from a reputed Russian manufacturer at a cost ranging between USD 20 and USD 25 million..

Regional super power India blames Pakistan for the poor quality of Pakistani-Chinese aircrafts because it wants to sell its own equipment to Sri Lanka and other regional nations, like Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh Maldives, etc. The Indian government is keen to offer the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited-manufactured multi-role Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’ to Colombo. New Delhi’s strategists argue that the Sri Lankan government has to take into account the security-related concerns of the island nation and Indian equipment is best suited to Lankan conditions.

The SLAF is keen to purchase eight new fighter aircraft and does want to spend time overhauling its existing fleet of planes at a prohibitive cost of about USD three million per aircraft. Reports suggest that with pressure mounting on Sri Lanka against Pakistani-Chinese aircrafts, new President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to put off the purchase of the JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan and go for a viable deal with Russia instead.

According to sources, former Air Force Commander Air Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody had visited Pakistan many times to hold discussions with the Pakistani Air Force Chief for purchasing JF-17 aircraft. The present Air Force Commander Gagan Bulathsinhala too has made a few visits to Pakistan for the same reason. Air Marshal Weerakkody, who was later posted to Pakistan as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner, continued to discuss the JF-17 purchase with the Pakistani officials.

The source further says that both China and Pakistan are well aware that the JF-17 has no takers in the international air force circuit, but middlemen in these two countries appear determined to promote this aircraft and get a commission of more than USD four million per aircraft.

Recalled to Sri Lanka after the fall of the Rajapaksa regime, Weerakkody is still a frequent visitor to the SLAF headquarters to get this deal through.

According to Indian source, the JF-17 is an indigenous product and a country like Sri Lanka is not in a position to invest such a huge amount on jet fighters whose qualities are largely unknown. The source said that there is no doubt that the SLAF is in dire need to purchase combat aircrafts.

The air force had failed to get the required sanction for the purchase of the jet fighters during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, and added that whatever has been purchased so far has been through shady deals with and from disreputable companies.

According to media reports, the Cabinet last week took a decision to put off the purchase of the Sino-Pakistan JF-17 fighter jet aircraft indefinitely to prevent possible India’s ill-feelings towards Sri Lanka. The present commanders of the three defence services and a representative from Sri Lanka Logistics are currently in Russia to discuss the purchase of the aircraft for the SLAF. However, SLAF spokesman has said that the air force is carrying out a due diligence study of potential fighter aircraft suppliers in the event the SLAF need to add to their existing fleet.

The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) presently has a fleet of Israeli Kfirs and Russian-made MiG-27s and India is eager to add its own make to the arsenals.

Unofficial sources have made it clear that the Sirisena government is all set to order for the JF-17 fighter aircraft by overlooking ‘friendly’ objections from New Delhi to the deal. Colombo is expected to take decisions about the procurement of military equipment in keeping with the actual requirements, cost effectiveness and reliability of the military goods.

However, the government must ensure that no corruption is involved by all concerned. Military corruption is common issue in India during the Manmohan and Modi era, through the defence minister denies any corruption in military procurements.

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Latest DPR Korea missile launch risks escalating tensions

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The international community must step up efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons in the wake of the latest firing of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), a senior UN official told the Security Council on Wednesday.Assistant-Secretary-General Khaled Khiari briefed ambassadors on the UN’s response to the incident and its concern over the humanitarian situation in the country, more commonly known as North Korea. 

The long-range ballistic missile was launched from the northern province of Jagang on Monday morning, local time, and covered a range of 4,500 km, reaching roughly 970 km at its height. 

This marked the first time the DPRK has flown a missile over Japan since 15 September, 2017. 

UN chief’s condemnation 

Mr. Khiari recalled that the UN Secretary-General has strongly condemned the launch. 

“This was a reckless act and a clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions. This launch risks triggering a significant escalation of tensions in the region and beyond. It is of serious concern that the DPRK has again disregarded any consideration for international flight or maritime safety,” he said. 

UN chief António Guterres urged the country to immediately cease any further destabilising acts. 

He has also appealed for the DPRK to resume dialogue towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. 

New law a concern 

Mr. Khiari spoke about other troubling developments as North Korea “launched systems with the apparent characteristics of short-range ballistic missiles” on four recent occasions. 

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that there were indications that the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site remained active and prepared to support a nuclear test. 

The IAEA continued to observe construction activities at the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, as well as indications that the five-megawatt nuclear reactor was operating.  

Furthermore, the UN Secretary-General has also expressed deep concern over the DPRK’s adoption of a new law on nuclear policy. 

“While some States continue to rely on nuclear weapons in their security policies, nuclear weapons pose an existential threat to humanity. Their continued existence heightens the risk of unintended escalation or miscalculation. We must strengthen our efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons,” said Mr. Khiari. 

Allow humanitarian aid 

At the same time, the UN chief also remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in the DPRK, he added. 

The UN system, in coordination with international and aid partners, is ready to send staff and assistance to help the Government address medical and humanitarian needs, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“To allow for a timely and effective response, we reiterate our call for the unimpeded entry of international staff and humanitarian supplies. We also acknowledge the work of Member States toward resolving the banking channel for humanitarian operations,” said Mr. Khiari. 

He concluded by underlining that the Council’s unity in this matter “is essential to ease tensions, overcome the diplomatic impasse and avoid a negative action-reaction cycle.” 

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When Defence Planning Comes to Nought

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In a 15th-century priory nestled away in a prestigious neighbourhood of Geneva, an exclusive audience gathered on the gorgeous grounds of Geneva’s University before the former Defence Minister in the cabinet of Tony Blair of Great Britain: His Excellency Geoff Hoon – that being a part of the Geneva Lecture Series concepted and conducted by prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic.

“Dramatic world events can render irrelevant the most thoughtful of planning,” started Hoon, as he highlighted five significant world events that have served that kind of impact over the last eight decades, with the Cold War in 1941 as the first event.

“It led to the subsequent division of Germany and the occupation of Eastern Europe by the Soviet Union, which in turn triggered the first major western policy responses, namely Western Union in 1948 and NATO in 1949,” stated Hoon.

“The Cold War climaxed with the detonation of the Soviet atomic weapon in 1949 and the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. The 1955 Warsaw Pact emerged as a counterweight to NATO and crystallised the demarcation lines.”

Hoon recalled how Western Europe’s higher living standard and political freedom motivated Eastern Europeans to “vote with their feet” as they migrated westwards.

Highlighting the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 as the second event, Hoon reminded the audience how close to nuclear conflict the world once came.

“Most are unaware, but it was only revealed in later days that a compromise was reached for the US to remove its nuclear weapons from Turkey, in return for the Soviet’s removal of theirs from Cuba.”

The missile crisis led to Khrushchev’s proposal of a direct line between US and Russian leadership, and the creation of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties.

Next on Hoon’s list was the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1990 and the Soviet Union in 1991.

“While these two events reduced the threat of nuclear conflagration, they also eradicated the containment of broader discords, as seen from the eruption of violent conflicts at the West’s doorstep, from Yugoslavia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia to Serbia,” Hoon paused before adding, “As defense minister, I ordered troops to Bosnia and Kosovo but encountered the arduous challenge of finding and deploying rapidly, flexible and agile forces.”

Hoon continued his list of events with the 9/11 attacks in September 2001. He stunned the audience by divulging how an old tourist map was relied upon due to the lack of intelligence and a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan’s geography.

“When it was evident that we needed boots on the ground, the US joined forces with the North Alliance while I took charge of procuring forces globally. However, I faced a deficiency in supporting troops and equipment, such as logisticians and heavy aircraft.”

In admirable humility, Hoon acknowledged that the lack of experience and capabilities in a hostile and primitive environment eventually led to the withdrawal from Afghanistan. He admitted that a large proportion of Afghanistan’s population was neither prepared for, nor receptive to the radical changes, and favoured the predictability of the Taliban rule over the foreign democratic style of governance.

The last event Hoon mentioned was all too familiar to the audience.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February revealed a colossal intelligence failure on the Kremlin’s part not to have anticipated the level of resistance of Ukraine. At this stage, there is no solution, and neither side is a clear winner,” said Hoon, “Truss’ calls for the return of Crimea to Ukraine as part of a peace deal are also unrealistic.”

Despite noting how the invasion has spurred countries to increase their defence spending, Hoon concluded his speech with a piece of sobering advice.

“The growing focus of the US in the Pacific, especially in the event of an attack on Taiwan by Mainland China, may pivot them away from Europe and leave the Baltic states vulnerable to a Russian attack. Europe must not only spend more, but do more to enhance our own deterring capabilities against Russia.”

Geoffrey William Hoon is a former Defence Secretary, Transport Secretary, Leader of the House of Commons, and Government Chief Whip of Great Britain. His book, See How They Run, recounts his careers as an academic, lawyer, politician, and in international business. Along with a former OSCE Secretary General Amb. Zannier, Excellency Hoon was the first invitee to the Geneva Swiss University on September 03rd, 2022, and gave this lecture under the auspices of so-called ‘Executive Master in Intl. Relations and Global Politics’. Lecture series will host current and former heads of states or government Nobel prize laureates, and other influencers in the world of politics, economy, security and energy.  

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Ukraine Joins NATO: Assessing Future Disasters

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Image source: war.ukraine.ua

News related to the Russo-Ukrainian war is still for public consumption and scholar nowdays.  As  chess game, Russia-Ukraine are in a difficult to stop.  Maybe the saying “starting a war is easy, but it’s hard to stop it” is true.  Since the first time Vladmir Putin declared war on Ukraine until 4 regions of Ukraine (Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson) have been controlled and the referendum on joining Russia, President Putin does not seem to play with his words.  If we look at the opposite side, Ukraine is no less interesting.  President Zelensky kept trying to defend Ukrainian territory and seeking international support, even on October 1 this month, social media was filled with the news “Ukraine Joins NATO”.  This situation will obviously exacerbate the situation, not only in every war zone but will also invite other countries to be involved in the dynamics of Russia-Ukraine relations and give new chapter to the world political stage in this century.

What concern today is that the threat of a third world war is becoming more and more real.  If we remaind when the war started, some scholars related to politics and war analyze underestimated the issue of nuclear involvement in the Rusia-Ukraine conflict, but now it needs to be reconsidered.  Not only that, the crisis of natural gas and oil and wheat flour has also been felt more and more because of the Russia-Ukraine war consequence.  If Covid 19 last year was able to weaken the economies of the world’s countries, then the Russia-Ukraine war could trigger a bigger disaster.

If Ukraine with NATO signifies that the beginning of the war has begun and will worsen the times ahead.  The annexation of 4 regions of Ukraine to become part of Russia, worried many parties.  In response to this, the United Nations (UN) held an emergency meeting on 2 October.  Russia vetoed UN Security Council resolutions proposed by the United States and Albania condemning Moscow’s annexation of parts of Ukraine.  US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield introduced a resolution asking member states not to recognize Ukraine’s change in status and obliging Russia to withdraw its troops, as Russia’s annexation efforts contradict UN principles.  At least 10 countries voted in favor of the resolution, while China, Gabon, India and Brazil still abstained.  China has firmly criticized Western sanctions against Russia, but neither has it supported or assisted Russia in its military campaign.  Meanwhile, regarding the submission of Ukraine to join NATO, it is not entirely certain that it will go well.  Nancy Polesi as a spokeswoman for the US president argued that “NATO remains in principle, wide open to any country.  However, Ukraine’s desire to join NATO now needs to be carefully considered.”

Russia-Ukrainian War Timeline

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been carried out since last February.  The following is timeline of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that became an important moment

In February, Russian troops attacked the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from the north in an attempt to overthrow the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.  With Ukrainian forces outgunned and outnumbered, many military experts expect the offensive to be successful quickly.  But after weeks of fighting, the Russians withdrew, stymied by Ukrainian resistance.

March, Russian troops attacking from the south take Kherson province.  The advances are part of efforts to secure Ukraine’s Black Sea coast and form a land bridge between the territory of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, and the breakaway republic established with Moscow’s support that year in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In April, a Russian missile attack on a train station in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk, killed more than 50 civilians.  The attack came at the start of the Russian offensive to seize all of Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as the Donbas.

May,The last Ukrainian fighters surrendered to Russian forces in Mariupol, a port city and industrial center on the Sea of ​​Azov.  Russian troops destroyed the city during weeks of bombing that killed thousands of civilians.  The battle ended with the siege of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works factory, which became symbol of the Ukrainian resistance.

In June, Ukrainian troops raise flag over Snake Island, a strip of land in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian city of Odesa.  Russian forces had seized the island early in the conflict, exposing the Ukrainian coast to missile attacks and a potential ground invasion.  By expelling Russian troops from the island — two months after sinking the main ship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, Moscow is reducing the threat to Odesa that has further undermined the aura of Moscow’s naval power.

July, after weeks of artillery bombardment and street fighting, the last city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk, Lysychansk, fell to the Russians.  However, in the weeks that followed, Moscow made little headway in its bid to secure the rest of the Donbas.

In August, Ukraine said it had launched a counter-offensive in the southern Kherson region.  The build-up took weeks, during which Ukraine deployed newly arrived missile systems supplied by the United States and other Western countries to destroy Russian ammunition dumps and other military infrastructure.  Ukraine also attacked a Russian air base in Crimea.

In September, in swift offensive, Ukraine retook most of northeastern Kharkiv, including the city of Izium, which had become Russia’s main logistics hub.  Progress, which continued, allowed Kyiv to seize momentum in the war.

October, on October 1 Russia managed to annex 15% of the territory of Ukraine.  Meanwhile, responding to Russia’s treatment, Ukraine immediately submitted an application form to join the NATO alliance in the region.  This is what is being reconsidered regarding the opportunity for a bigger war.

Listen to the Comments

Regarding Ukraine’s efforts to hasten its efforts to join NATO, Dmitry Medvedev as Deputy Chair of the Russian Security Council said that “Ukraine joining NATO is the same as accelerating the occurrence of world war 3”.  Furthermore, Henry Kissinger, who is a former US Secretary of State who also serves as a scientist, diplomat, politician, geopolitical consultant, and veteran has also commented on what is happening between Russia and Ukraine at the moment.  According to Kissinger “Ukraine must cede territory to Russia if it wants peace”.  He further said that “it would be unwise for the United States to include Ukraine in NATO”.  Henry Kissinger, dubbed the “Prophet of the Modern Century,” argues that Washington tried indiscriminately to include all former members of the Soviet bloc under its umbrella after the Berlin wall fell.  So that the entire territory between Russia’s borders became open to restructuring.  When viewed from Russia’s point of view, the United States then attempted to integrate all of Ukraine’s territory without exception, into the American-led strategic system, this development essentially removing Russia’s historic “safety belt”.  According to Kissinger, sooner or later the West and Russia will engage in formal or informal dialogue, perhaps in a very important way of exploration in the nuclear circle.

Back to Think

Basically, the main reason for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is Ukraine’s desire to join NATO, while NATO according to Russia is a threat to its territory and power.  However, Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was not the only reason for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  From February to October 2022, the Russian-Ukrainian invasion seems to be progressing, although it is too early to predict and analyze the Russian-Ukrainian invasion, but it does not seem wrong to prepare for the worst in the future.  The Russian invasion of Ukraine not only involved Russia and Ukraine, but also dragged other countries and had an impact in many ways in international life, especially the involvement of the United States, which is still considered a world leader today.  We still cannot provide an in-depth analysis and take into account what will happen in the near future, because the war is not over yet and the human life are dynamic.  Regardless of any views, be realists, liberals or constructivists, the people who will suffer will suffer.

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