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Indian Military Advancements and Strategic Stability of South Asia

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South Asia is one of the most instable regions in the world because of the ever growing hostility between Pakistan and India. Since partition India has always tried to dominate the region due to its conventional superiority over Pakistan. The bilateral relations of Pakistan and India are based on distrust and uncertainty. Consequently, Pakistan’s major security threat perceptions are always inclined towards its Eastern border i.e. India.

The current Indian military developments and intention to purchase advanced weaponry have disturbed the existing strategic stability of the region. These developments include induction of 05 Dhanush artillery guns (indigenous) and launch of Electronic Management Intelligence Satellite ‘EMISAT’. Moreover, according to a media report, India has also recently ordered 240 Spike medium range Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and 12 launchers as an emergency purchase from Israel in wake of the recent military escalation with Pakistan. Spike is a medium range multipurpose weapon, having a capability to hit and completely destroy the heavy military armored vehicles. It has a fire and forget mode which enables it to lock on to the target before it fires instead of acquiring it once the missile is in the air.The missile can be launched from anywhere i.e. air, land or sea.  India Army has a requirement around 68, 000 anti-tank guided missiles and 850 launchers of various types. In February 2019 crisis, Indian response showed that it lacks in terms of advanced military weaponry and efficient response capabilities. In this scenario, the emergency purchase ATGM is significant and somehow it immediately fulfills the operational requirements of Indian offensive military capabilities.

Likewise, India developed indigenously Dhanush artillery guns with the intention to deploy along the Pakistani border, have the capability of day and night operations.  India places the order of 114 Dhanush guns, out of which first five guns were handed over to Indian Military on 26th March 2019. Acquiring these artillery guns will enable India to launch swift action against Pakistan in pursuit of its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). Dhanush gun and anti-tank guided missile will boost the military fire power capability of India against adversary forces which is also the requirement of Indian offensive military doctrine.

On April 1, 2019 India has launched its  electronic management intelligence satellite ‘EMISAT’ focused to monitoring the movements of adversary state i.e. Pakistan. The timing of launch of EMISAT is also very significant as it comes shortly after Indian Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test on March 27 with code named as ‘Mission Shakti’. ASAT is designed to destroy enemy satellites and to disrupt the Remote Sensing (RS) systems. But contrary, EMISAT is a low earth orbit surveillance satellite which allows India to keep a watch over enemy activities and to provide information about the radar sites of adversary state. These new developments provide New Delhi a space based platform reconnaissance against the adversary states. It would strong the IRS system of India which is an important requirement for the successful implementation of swift offensive military actions under CSD.New Delhi’s advancement in space will not only escalate the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan but also provokes an arms race in space. The biased attitude of International Community especially the US towards India and the ongoing cooperation would bring South Asia region at an edge of instability and insecurity.

These above mentioned developments show that India is on course to advance its military capabilities in pursuit of its doctrinal ambitions.The February 2019 military crisis between India and Pakistan shows absence of efficient response capability and lack of sophisticated weaponry from India. Though India is conventionally superior from Pakistan, butit might take years to operationalize its Cold Start Doctrine. These new developments will create challenges for Pakistan security and push it to take necessary measures to assure the strategic stability of the South Asian region. It is evident that, Pakistan due to its financial constraints faces difficulties to respond to the recent Indian high tech developments and maintain the existing balance of power in South Asia. Pakistan as a responsible state has always taken necessary steps to maintain peace in the South Asian region.

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Defense

“Westlessness” of the West, and debates on China during Munich Security Conference

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image source: MSC/Kuhlmann

The Munich Security Conference, which traditionally brings together heads of state and government, foreign and defense ministers in February, is usually expected to bring some kind of intrigue. This time round, the role was claimed by the conference report, titled “Westlessness,” whose main message was the loss by Western countries of their global leadership and, as a consequence, the growth of nationalist sentiment in Western countries and the loss of their monopoly on resolving international conflicts.

Expectably enough, Russia and China were blamed for the world and the West itself becoming “less Western.” The organizers of the Munich Conference urged China to responsibly handle its role as the world’s new non-Western center of power, and expressed hope that China would over time “adopt liberal values and become a “responsible stakeholder” in a liberal world led by the West.”

A pretty unlikely scenario though. A separate chapter in the report’s “Actors” section is devoted to China. Describing China as the “Meddle Kingdom” (similar to the Middle Kingdom), the authors view the country’s growing economic might and political sway as a potential threat to the world order that exists today.

The authors are concerned about looming Chinese superiority in foundational emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and connectivity technology, as well as surveillance technology and “know-how” in the field of internet regulation. In the case of 5G, they write about an intense debate over how to balance close economic ties with China amid growing security concerns. And, in a truly Freudian slip, they write about “the growing concern that the future holds a technological segregation of the world into those countries operating on Western technologies and norms and those running on Chinese ones.”

The section of the report on China is chock-full of graphs, charts and diagrams reflecting European fears of Chinese technology and investments. However, when carefully examined, these charts show that despite strong opposition from Washington and Brussels, more than half of “respondents” perceive technologies and investments from China positively.

The participants in the Munich Conference also spent a lot of time trying to present the coronavirus epidemic as a “Chinese threat,” even though China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Munich that his country would soon be able to check the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking at the conference, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized: “We are prepared to join efforts on other pressing issues of the global agenda, including epidemiological threats. We are ready to work together on other pressing issues on the world agenda, including epidemiological threats. In this regard, I would like to note China’s open and responsible approach to international cooperation in combating the spread of the coronavirus.”

The Munich conference never found a cure to the problem of “Westlessness” though. Well, maybe they should look at themselves instead of faulting China, Russia and others? At least, Russian and Chinese representatives reaffirmed their readiness to engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue.

From our partner International Affairs

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Does NATO respond positively to the Turkish supererogation?

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Turkey is once again turning to the West, while over the past two years, it had been distancing from the West and trying to collaborate with Russia due the success of the Astana peace process on the Syrian conflict.

Damascus’s strategic patience is over because Ankara has failed to fulfill its commitments regarding retaking the areas captured by terrorists backed by Turkey. The Syrian army’s widespread advances over the last two weeks in areas occupied by terrorist forces in the northwest have led to Ankara’s reaction and increased tensions between Syria and Turkey. Along with wresting control over the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway, the Syrian army carried out successful operations in recapturing 1500 km2 of Syrian territory and about 100 towns and villages in west and south Aleppo, especially key towns of Khan Tuman and Saraqib. Following the Syrian army’s operations, the Turkish government has sent thousands of troops and military equipment to the outskirts of Idlib to prevent the continued advance of the Syrian forces.

Turkey’s moves were due to greenlight by the U.S., NATO, and the EU, which have so far not been in Ankara’s favor; rather they have resulted in massive casualties and the loss of six military bases in Syria’s territory.

Recently, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to support the Turkish military in order to halt the Syrian army’s offensive against Idlib, the stronghold of the latest Turkish-backed terrorist elements.

Obviously, the move by Turkey has broken the commitments to the Sochi agreement and the Astana process, with the aim of holding its place in NATO. This is a wish that seems unlikely to come true, given the chaotic situation of NATO and the West’s distrust of Turkey.

Accordingly, it is certain that Idlib and its outskirts will soon be completely liberated because of the high motivation and ability of the Syrian army. The liberation will definitely thwart all hostile policies that Turkey has adopted in Syria for many years and will bring heavy defeat for Ankara.

The developments in Syria in recent days shows that Turkey is no longer trustworthy as it has explicitly violated Syria’s sovereignty as an independent state. There have been some accords on Syria, such as the Sochi agreement, regarding the establishment of a safe zone in Idlib, while Turkey has not considered the slightest value for the agreements. 

From our partner Tehran Times

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Lithuania: To serve or not to serve in the army

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source: flickr.com

It is well known that in 2015 Lithuanian authorities reintroduced compulsory military service due to the potential threat caused by the Russian Federation.

It should be said, that young Lithuanians do not appreciate the idea and try to avoid the service in every possible way. They even are not afraid of penalties and imprisonment.

In order to force them to serve Lithuanian authorities are inventing new “tools” to make the process of avoidance the conscription harder.

From the beginning of 2015 all Lithuanian men aged 19-26 had to perform compulsory military service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces for a period of 9 months if fate decided.

The matter is the way of choosing the men who will serve is more than surprising. They say that 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. The lists of military conscripts then are published on the Internet. But “randomly” could also mean “nobody knows how they are selected.”

At the beginning of this year authorities lowered the age range at which men are called up for mandatory military service to 18-23 years and banned volunteer soldiers from holding seats in the parliament and municipal councils.

Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said that the aim of lowering the conscription age is to ensure that conscripts’ military service causes the minimum possible disruption to their civilian lives.

The matter is the way of choosing the men who will serve is more than surprising. They say that 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. The lists of military conscripts then are published on the Internet. But “randomly” could also mean “nobody knows how they are selected.”

In reality the Ministry of National Defence can’t meet its recruitment goals.

The system includes Lithuanians living abroad who are forced to leave their home and come back for the service. The government of Lithuania doesn’t care that men living overseas have their personal life, own career paths and financial responsibilities.

The military authorities are trying to take immigrants for service on purpose, not caring about their personal problems, including health issues and financial commitments.

They also discriminate homosexual men by giving them specific tests to find out how gay they are, including a talk with the psychiatrist. Because homosexuality is still a sickness in Lithuania, with existing laws against gay people.

A lot of Lithuania men who decided not to come back for the service, are often wanted by police, and in some circumstances might end up in prison for up to 3 years.

Thus, in December 2019, 24-year-old Marius H. from Kedainiai was prosecuted for not visiting the military registration and enlistment office, but did not change his position. He said later that he would not go to serve, it is not in his interests. He has a well-paid job in Belgium and is not going to change his way of life. So he paid penalty (800 euros) and left for Belgium. And he is not the only one in the country who has made such choice.

Evidently, it is impossible to solve the problem in that way, using methods of coercion and punishment. Unfortunately, reintroducing of compulsory military service was the decision of the authorities, finding the ways to avoid it is the choice of youth. If the government doesn’t respect the citizens, the citizens have a right not to obey their decisions.

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