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The AUKUS Alliance and “China’s Maritime Governance Strategy” in the Indo-Pacific

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1) Announcing the (French-Indian alliance) to confront the (Australian-American alliance) for establishing a (new multilateral system), and the AUKUS alliance conflicted with the (Anglo-Saxon Five Eyes intelligence alliance), and New Zealand’s rejection of the Australian deal with Britain

2) The AUKUS alliance and the division between (technological and defense democracies against Washington), in favor of strengthening Chinese technological and defense alliances with pro-Beijing political regimes

3) The division of (the Quadruple Regional Alliance) against China led by Washington, (India’s alliance with France in defense, and India’s alliance with Iran economically and strategically in favor of China) fails and restricts (AUKUS alliance) against China

4) Uniting the front of the Chinese naval communist alliances in the face of the authoritarian maritime democracies led by Washington

5) Beijing’s support for the strategy of “maritime governance” in the (Indo-Pacific) region, in the face of “AUKUS Defense Alliance” led by Washington

   Since the signing of the “AUKUS Defense Alliance between the United States of America, Australia and Britain“, the Egyptian researcher, as a well-known expert in my region on Chinese political affairs, as well as my closeness to a number of Chinese political files in the Middle East, noticed a dangerous thing happening, namely:

A- I was academically and analytically, surrounded by an increasing number of emails from American and Western think tanks and research centers, to promote the idea of ​​(AUKUS Alliance and the creation of a new world order by the USA).

B- The insistence of a large number of academic colleagues in the West and the United States of America, that it recognize China’s defensive and security defeat in the face of Washington, by declaring the “AUKUS Defense Alliance, in addition to the former Quad alliance, also led by Washington”.

C- This was also accompanied, perhaps for the first time, with a large number of international invitations that I received to work in several universities and a number of research projects, to develop my perceptions and ideas of the shape of the new world order, especially with my in-depth research and academic experience for many years in the files of China in the Middle East and globally.

D- It also coincided with an invitation that I received from the Syrian TV to analyze the “Australian submarine crisis with France, and the AUKUS Defense Agreement”, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, and to note the American follow-up to my analysis of this crisis with other international analysts, by covering a speech by the US State Department spokesperson before the program will immediately begin to analyze the crisis raised, regarding the “AUKUS Defense Agreement between Washington, Australia and Britain“.

E- This is also in line with (the deep research and academic desire within me to continue my research, academic, analytical and practical career from inside Beijing once again, to study all those new actual changes in that region surrounding China), especially with the American insistence in 2017, to change its name from (the “Asia-Pacific” region to the “Indo-Pacific” region), as an American attempt to ensure the exclusion of China from the interactions of that region surrounding it regionally, in return for involving India as an ally of Washington and a competitor to China.

F- Perhaps what academically, intellectually and research surprised the Egyptian researcher, given my deep understanding of the interactions of that sensitive area surrounding China, according to the (Chinese and American viewpoints together), is the global academic and research situation that occurred, with the establishment of many (think centers, centers and giant research and discussion groups, and international peer-reviewed scientific journals), all of which bear the name of (Indo-Pacific), and not under its previous name (Asia-Pacific).

G- This previous mentioned point, means analytically that defining it (in the Pacific), leads to ensuring the exclusion of China from its interactions, and restricting the freedom and movement of China’s extensions, ambitions and movements in the (South and East China Sea regions, extending its territorial and maritime borders to the Indo and Pacific region), according to the Chinese perception, which is what Washington and its allies completely rejected.

L- Accordingly, upon my following up with a deep analysis, as an Egyptian academic expert in Chinese political affairs, of all those American and Western analyses that I have received, read and understood their analytical angle well, on the “formation and reshape of a new world order led by the United States of America“, so, based on my very accurate understanding of all American perceptions and the Western aforementioned, I favored to develop this comprehensive detailed international analysis in all its aspects and dimensions, which scientifically proves and responds to all previous analyzes, with my new analysis, which I am proving here in practice, that we are actually in the process of:

   (Features of a new global division between maritime and technological democracies according to American ideological terms, division and conflict of American and Anglo-Saxon defense agendas, violation of the democratic laws of some allies of countries to Washington, such as: “New Zealand“, preparing for a new (European defense alliance) and excluding Washington from it, and the contradiction of the goals of the “AUKUS American Defense Alliance” with the “Alliance of Five Eyes Anglo-Saxon Intelligence”, the French announcement of coordination with India, as the Washington’s ally to create a new multilateral system, rejection of “New Zealand”, as a Washington’s ally and Australia of the Australian nuclear submarine deal, and the Beijing’s start to create new regional maritime alliances, and the re-introduction of its “Chinese Maritime Governance document” to restrict and curb the (American naval ambitions and influence in the Maritime offshore near areas of China).

– This previous brief summary analysis, I preferred to put in the beginning to “analytically, academically, militarily, security and defensively” respond, and most importantly, from my practical experience to understand the American mentality towards China, and how Beijing can respond to any alliances or moves led by Washington against it in the first place.

   From here we understand, and we almost all agree, that the “AUKUS Agreement” is basically a defense agreement directed against China, a point reinforced by the fact that the leaders (Britain, the United States, Australia) have appeared together through the video that has spread globally, to announce this partnership, due to the increasing importance of the “Indo-Pacific region” for both the United States and the United Kingdom.

  Although British officials insisted that the new “AUKUS defense agreement” is not a response to any country, Britain reiterates that it is directed to maintain (security and stability in the Indo-Pacific regions) and to support a “peaceful rules-based order“. It’s not a secret that Britain, the United States and Australia share concerns about (the Chinese military build-up) in the region, and the fears of threatening their interests.

   The AUKUS deal represents a strategic turning point, especially as it is the first time that the United States of America has made a deal to provide such sensitive technology with a country other than Britain, and here we find that the only country with which the United States has shared this type of (nuclear propulsion technology for the AUKUS submarine  Nuclear deal) to Australia is Britain only, since 1958, which is a dangerous strategic shift in the US military and defense thought against China, by seeking to strengthen Washington’s alliances and its allies in all directions to confront Beijing, through (forming a strategic security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region).

– The Egyptian researcher found analytically that the most prominent results of this (maritime division) that was begun by Washington in confronting China and France itself as a freely democratic country, are the following:

1) Announcing the (French-Indian alliance) to confront the (Australian-American alliance) for establishing a (new multilateral system), and the AUKUS alliance conflicted with the (Anglo-Saxon Five Eyes intelligence alliance), and New Zealand’s rejection of the Australian deal with Britain

  Perhaps the most analytical point that caught my attention was the division created by Washington in the regions of Indo-Pacific, causing French and also New Zealand anger for contradicting the AUKUS alliance with its interests, and perhaps the anger of other international and Western parties from Washington for breaking its covenants against France, which could call, according to the Chinese, that:

(Democracies contradict the core of their liberal and humanistic values)

– The most serious consequences caused by the United States of America breaking its covenants with the French, were:

1) The French assertion came – in response to the US-Australian defense alliance against French interests – by publicly declaring France to coordinate work with the Indian side to consolidate a (new pluralistic international order), as two large sovereign states in the Indo-Pacific region.

2) France considered that the American abandonment of the French submarine project and the announcement of (a new partnership between Washington and Australia) constitute unacceptable behavior between (the allies and democratic partners) and inevitably leads to division among the democratic countries in the world, and its consequences affect the concept of (the network of alliances and partnerships for maritime democracies), regarding the importance of the Indo-Pacific region to Europe.

3) Accordingly, the statements of the French politicians, and the French leadership itself confirmed it, by declaring that:

“France is unable to trust Australia in the ongoing talks on a trade agreement with the European Union after the capital, Canberra, abandoned a deal to buy French submarines in favor of American submarines”

4) With the affirmation of the Minister of State for European Affairs, “Clément Bonn” through the various media, by verbatim saying that:

“We are in French trade negotiations with Australia, but we don’t know how we can trust our Australian partners”

5) The most important analytical point for me is what the French Minister, “Clement Bonn“, stated, by emphasizing, that:

“What happened is a serious breach of trust on the part of Australia. International relations are not naivety and good feelings, but the word. Signing contracts means something, but if we lose confidence, we cannot move forward”

6) In addition to the growing distrust (the European Commission) and the unification of the front of the European Union itself against the United States of America and against Australia, which France is an active part in the system of its European countries, where Australia is negotiating with France a large number of trade agreements, noting that (France is negotiating here on behalf of the European governments that are members of the European Commission), and Australia has entered the (eleventh round) of trade negotiations with its European partners, which started with the European Commission since 2018.

  A decade before and the announcement of the Australian-American nuclear submarine deal, it was scheduled to hold a next round of talks between Australia and Europe, covering areas, including:

(Trade, services, investment, intellectual property rights)

7) In a French comment on (the consequences and repercussions of French anger), regarding the ongoing trade negotiations between the European Union and Australia to conclude a (Free Trade Agreement), “Dana Spenant“, Deputy Spokesman for the European Commission, confirmed that:

“There will be no immediate impact on discussions and relations with Australia, with the full assurance that there is great anger among politicians, the French street and all shades of public opinion”

8) The French considered that (the American-Australian-Brtish defense alliance is directed against France mainly to exclude it from the Indian and Pacific regions), to prevent any French leadership role there. It is a project that threatens to undermine French ambitions in the region, and even distance it from it.

9) The (AUKUS Alliance) is preparing to ensure that Australia obtains a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, a matter that led to the Australian side canceling another huge deal it had concluded with the French side to buy French-made submarines, which in turn would lead to the sensitivity of relations between those countries concerned with France, in the sense that (the United States of America has caused the division of the democratic countries against each other), and not, as Washington is promoting, that the AUKUS deal is the inauguration of a new multilateral world order in the face of China, because the AUKUS agreement has led to the (division and conflict of interests of the maritime and western democracies in the face of Washington  basically).

10) Perhaps my analysis of the situation is that there are French fears that Washington deliberately distance France from the (Indo-Pacific region), as a key partner and ally in it, which will increase the state of European fear and distrust in general in confronting the United States of America and partnering with it.

11) On the other hand, it can be considered that (AUKUS alliance is working against the idea of ​​the European Union working system and works against its interests, by including Britain, which left the European Union front), and this is a great diplomatic victory for the British strategy aimed at sparing the country international isolation after Britain left the European Union, especially since the AUKUS treaty or alliance will link Britain, Australia and the United States more deeply, which will reflect on the level of trust between them and confirm the depth of their goal of forming a strong alliance against China.

12) The AUKUS alliance leads to the (independence of the European Union as democratic countries strategically from Washington and the failure of any US-European alliance in the future), especially if it is directed against China.

13) it’s expected for the upcoming period (increase in the European distrust towards Washington), especially with the catastrophic American failure in several global files, such as: withdrawal from Afghanistan, and others, which leads to a lack of effective cooperation between the European Union countries as democratic countries with the American side that can’t be trusted.

14) It is as well expected that after the AUKUS agreement and the betrayal of the American-Australian trust towards their democratic partners in Europe, the European Union will move to discuss ways to strengthen (the issue of strategic independence and the European Union’s defense system), perhaps in the face of Washington itself.

15) It is worth noting that the EU and France were upset about the deal not because they were not included in it, but because they were not consulted in the first place. This was confirmed by the European Union’s foreign policy coordinator “Josep Borrell“, who confirmed that:

“The AUKUS Agreement, which was concluded without the consultation of the European Union, requires the need to put strategic European autonomy high on the agenda”

16) Perhaps one of the most dangerous analytical point for the Egyptian researcher, is what was confirmed by the French side, considering the Europeans’ defense and independence from Washington, as the only effective means of defending European interests in the international community, including the Indo-Pacific region.

17) Based on the foregoing, the European Union “EU” announced (a new strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, after few hours of unveiling of the “AUKUS Alliance”, which considered by the Europeans that it was directed against all of them, not only against France.

18) What deepened the crises of the democratic countries allied with Washington and their division in the face of the United States of America, despite the fact that they are democratic, maritime and technological countries also with the same American approach, is (the rejection of the State of New Zealand as a democratic system also close to the United States of America, Britain and Australia), by allowing submarines to enter  Australian nuclear to the depth or borders of New Zealand territorial waters, and New Zealand’s anger at (Washington’s exclusion of it from the new partnership agreement between the capital, Canberra and Washington), and New Zealand’s rejection of the Australian nuclear submarine deal, based on the policies officially established in New Zealand, since 1985, which expressly states, on:

“The state of New Zealand prohibits the entry into its territorial waters of any nuclear-powered ship”

19) Perhaps, we find that with the continued refusal of New Zealand to enter Australian nuclear submarines to its territorial waters near Canberra, this may threaten in the future severe tension in relations between (Australia, Britain and the United States of America in the face of New Zealand and its policies), despite the state of the alliance and permanent partnership between Australia  And New Zealand for decades due to the proximity of the territorial waters and the maritime borders between the two countries.

20) Expectations also increasethat (many of democratic countries surrounding themselves will not join the AUKUS defense alliance with Washington), given the complex requirements that Washington imposes on its allies, given the nature of large defense alliances, especially against China, which requires special security arrangements that are not available in many countries, even with the democratic ones.

21) The State of New Zealand also considers that (AUKUS Defense Alliance is an alliance against its vital interests with both Australia and Britain), which shares with “New Zealand” in another defense and security alliance in the “Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance”, which worries New Zealand about its conflicting interests.  With Washington’s interests and ambitions with Australia towards China.

22) There are also criticisms from within (the countries of the Quad Quartet alliance led by Washington and its allies against China), directed at the AUKUS defense alliance led by Washington also against China), with the focus of the “AUKUS Alliance” on (the US security dialogue and defense coordination with the Anglo-Saxon countries, not the Asian region in the most near Beijing).

23) In the same context, other criticisms were directed to Washington from some democratic countries themselves, that are friendly and ally to it as well, that the “AUKUS Defense Alliance”, doesn’t include any new security arrangements, and didn’t seek to involve other countries allied to Washington, and therefore the “AUKUS Alliance”, according to a number of friends and allies of Washington, as support to:

(Quartet Security Dialogue, ASEAN Agreement, Bi-Regional Partnerships in the Asian Region, and Indo-Pacific area)

   From here, we can analytically understand, the growing state of distrust between the European partners in the face of Washington, which may lead to the failure of the American strategy to form (a new democratic world order according to American perceptions), after the United States of America lost the confidence of its European democratic allies and even the “Anglo-Saxon state of New Zealand”, and France, of course, deepened the state of suspicion and mistrust in any future alliance with Washington.

    And, this case analytically is similar to the Egyptian researcher, as it goes back to an old theory, called “the theory of democracies are going to fight each other”, as the previous mentioned analysis reveals to us with evidence that the AUKUS alliance or agreement is an actual return for us to the same previous concept meaning, about “the division of democratic countries against each other, and their fight against each other by searching for their self-interests and distrust or mutual coordination between them, as in the case of the Australian nuclear submarine deal against French interests“.

  Here, it comes the most dangerous from my point of view, that the growing sense of mistrust and lack of transparency towards Washington from its European partners and the democracies themselves, may hinder Washington itself from making any other alliances coming in the future, especially with (European leaders, the European Commission and the Anglo-Saxon state of New Zealand), as a result of Washington betraying their trust, by violating French covenants and agreements with Australia and Britain for narrow American interests directed primarily against China, and representing an attack on the maritime sovereignty of the territorial waters of New Zealand, and contradicting defense agreements and alliances that exist in the first place, Washington had to enter it to strengthen its allies, instead of increasing the state of division by creating  America’s new defense alliances.

2) The AUKUS Agreement and the division between (technological and defense democracies against Washington), in favor of strengthening Chinese technological and defense alliances with pro-Beijing political regimes

   One of the most prominent negative results of the (AUKUS agreement) was what was announced by the United States of America and US President (Joe Biden) himself, by announcing a new defense alliance between Australia, the United States and Britain, expanding the scope of the technology of American submarines operating with nuclear propulsion to include Australia, in addition to the (security technologies, Electronic) alliances, additionally, the (artificial intelligence, and underwater marine capabilities), as a declared US alliance between American-Australian liberal democratic technologies, in the face of Chinese communist digital technologies. This brings us to another level of analysis, through:

1) Confirmation of the link between the concepts of (democratic technologies and maritime democracies in the face of China), and others. What confirms the previous proposition is the circulation of a new term in mind that has raised China’s concerns regarding (maritime democracies), meaning that the US alliance was only made between (freely democratic countries that pursue liberal ideology), just as Washington divided digital technology into (democratic technology that follows the Western approach, and authoritarian communist technology on the Chinese approach), for countries that have benefited from Chinese fifth-generation networks.

2) Washington deliberately integrates the “technology component of defense” into the (Australian submarine deal), which is an indirect message to Washington in the face of Beijing’s defense technological superiority, which pushes in the region around the Indo-Pacific to increasingly the number of hypersonic missiles at several times the speed of sound, which the current US military capabilities lack reliable defenses against, as well as the advanced Chinese electronic warfare capabilities, which are directed against the (US command, control, and navigation systems), and against (the US Global Positioning System), in addition to China’s technical and technological superiority in the field of using advanced counter-weapons for satellites to reduce the use of intelligence and early warning capabilities of US forces.

3) The Chinese rejection of the new American security partnership with Australia came in its vital strategic environment, because it is “an American ideological deal in the first place”, and it reflects (the same Cold War mentality and the American ideological bias against regimes and countries that are ideologically different from it), with the constant American insistence on spreading its liberal values ​​and ideologies around the world, which has proven its failure in “Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America, Africa“, and all the different countries of the world in their systems than what Washington is promoting.

4) China called the American mentality in the Indo-Pacific region, as reflecting of (the American ideological bias state, in favor of its allies at the expense of other international and regional powers, including Washington’s allies itself), which came in the form of a Chinese protest against the official level, by calling on the Chinese embassy in Washington, that the United States of America should abandon the (Cold War mentality, ideological bias, conflict and competition).

5) Also, the official Chinese warning to the United States of America of its establishment of forms of (exclusionary blocs), with the aim of targeting or harming the interests of other countries, such as: China.

6) The spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, “Mr.Zhao Lijian“, issued a strongly worded statement, in which he considered:

  “Washington and London have taken irresponsible behavior that would undermine regional stability and efforts to limit nuclear proliferation, which means intensifying the nuclear arms race by providing Australia with harmful nuclear technology to other neighboring countries such as China”

7) On the other hand, Britain, through its Prime Minister “Boris Johnson“, defended the (AUKUS defense alliance) with Washington in the Indo-Pacific regions, and the United States of America supplied the Australian side with advanced nuclear technology, “Boris Johnson” stated, emphasizing:

“Australia’s acquisition of submarines that operate with advanced nuclear technology maintains regional stability in the region, and that this step was not intended to antagonize any country”

8) The situation of “the ideological, technological and maritime division between the United States and China” has increased in the Indo-Pacific region, with a belief at all levels in China that the “AUKUS Defense Agreement” is (a threat to the Chinese presence in its areas of influence), and an American attempt aimed at (Chinese communist ideology restrained in favor of promoting American ideas and values, centered on democracy and economic and political liberalism), which does not fit the specific circumstances of individual countries such as China.

9) It is clear here that this American insistence on the predominance of (the pattern of ideological character over the strategic competition between Washington and China), and even the American conflict itself, which will extend to all ideologically different countries with American liberal values ​​during the coming period in the form of (conflict or ideological competition to divide the world into Democratic and authoritarian regimes), according to the same American division.

11) It is expected – as a reaction to the new US defense deal with Australia – that China will resort to (employing the economic tool in the face of US defense initiatives), by adopting the method of deals, partnerships and economic investments, in order to prevent countries from siding with the American side in its conflict with the other Chinese side.

12) Likewise, Washington’s intention (merging the maritime and western democracies with the pattern of democratic digital technology, according to the description of the current US administration), through the exchange of advanced American technologies with its network of democratic allies to confront common democratic security challenges, so that it includes multiple other areas of cooperation to meet the emerging security challenges before democratic countries, in the face of other authoritarian and non-democratic regimes, as promoted by the United States of America.

13) Hence, Washington deliberately concluded (democratic defense and technological deals, i.e., with its allies ideologically as liberal democratic countries), as happened with Australia and Britain, through cooperation in a number of fields related to defense, security and democratic technology, such as:

(Cyberspace, artificial intelligence, cyber defense, technology of additional capabilities under the sea)

14) Here, we find the assertion of all the parties allied to Washington against China, that what is happening is (an alliance between democratic, military, technological, defense and political regimes against non-democratic countries), which is almost the same direction taken by the leaders of the three countries (USA, Australia, Britain), by full affirmation, and declaration after completing the AUKUS Defense Deal together:

“It was only natural that the extended defense cooperation relations between the countries of the three maritime democracies culminated in a step that strengthened the relations of friendship and trust that unite them”

15) Hence, it is like (an ideological game of competition to divide the world into two parts, or two parts, or two alliances, liberal-democratic American, and communist authoritarian China), which is something President Biden deliberately declared implicitly that the partnership with Australia will take two forms of (defensive, and technology ideological rivalry), and deliberately linking them together in the name of (democracy).

16) The same context applies to the problem of introducing the concept of “maritime democracies”, based on the common history of the AUKUS countries, as maritime democracies, that is, as countries bordering the seas and adopting a democratic approach.

17) We find that China’s fears revolve mainly around the fear of (Australia’s possession of nuclear-powered submarines on its borders), and China’s desire to differentiate between (submarines operating with nuclear propulsion, or a US submarine deal for Australia equipped with nuclear weapons, which will inevitably be directed against China).  Australia, which was denied, asserting that it (works only with nuclear propulsion and is not equipped with any nuclear weapon, according to Chinese fears).

18) As we know, “Joe Biden“, announced several times that the American investment in forming alliances against China, whether they were defensive, economic, or technological, in partnership and the alliance with similar democracies like the USA, according to the American expression, in the face of Chinese communism, and this matter is the greatest source of strength for China to Washington.

19) Hence, we can understand the United States’ attempt to stifle and contain the strategic and vital ocean of China by forming American alliances with the democratic Chinese neighbors, according to the American propaganda, especially since there is another alliance directed against China also by Washington is the “Quadruple Regional Quartet alliance“, with the intention of US President “Joe Biden“, on September 24, 2021, in a meeting at Washington, aimed at establishing an alliance confirmation that includes (Australia, India, and Japan), with a primary goal of (re-launching the quadripartite alliance known as the “Quad” or “Quadruple Security Dialogue”, which includes those four countries.

20) Hence, we find that the AUKUS Alliance, as well as the “Quad Quartet alliance”, led by Washington and its allies in the region surrounding China, aims mainly to put pressure on Beijing’s activities in that region, under the incomprehensible rubber slogan promoted by Washington and its allies called (the Alliance of Democratic Countries), which is incomprehensible from a superpower like Washington, and neglects the different orientations, policies and ideologies of countries and does not understand the special circumstances of each country separately, as Chinese and other nations are always confirming.

21) What added to China’s concerns was the declaration of the countries of the alliance with Washington that (the four partners in the Quad Quadruple Alliance), they should join forces to deepen their commitment to make the “Indo-Pacific region open and free”.

22) Hence, we understand that these phrases are just stretchy phrases or methods adopted by Washington, as diplomatic tools to denounce Chinese regional aspirations in (the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions and the South China Sea), then link them to the development of a system of democratic technologies for the American democratic allies, such as: Australia.

   From here, it becomes clear to us by analysis, this basic direction of the policy of the US alliances and its adoption of the formula or the word “democratic technology and democratic freedom”, and thus, to divide the world into two parts or two fronts in the first place (democratic allies with Washington in the face of non-democratic countries led by China), whether politically Defensively, technologically, scientifically…etc.

3) The division of (the Quadruple Regional Alliance) against China led by Washington, by (India’s defense alliance with France, and India’s alliance with Iran economically and strategically, in favor of China), which fails and restricts (American AUKUS alliance) against China

   Indian coordination with the French side after the signing of the AUKUS Agreement between the United States of America and Australia is an important response to Washington, as well as a number of other Indian moves, through which it seeks to secure its interests, which may conflict with its ally Washington, as follows:

1) The Indian-Iranian agreements, and the increase in Indian investments in (Chabahar port), despite the US sanctions imposed on Iran.

2) Likewise, India’s announcement several times through its politicians of India’s desire to settle the Iranian nuclear crisis with Washington is also an important example in this context.

3) Also, it can be said that in the event of a settlement of the Iranian-American crisis, this will undoubtedly reflect positively on the chances of implementing the Indo-Iranian axis in the face of American influence in the first place.

4) India is trying to revive the idea of ​​(establishing a trade corridor linking the regions of South, West and Central Asia and Western Europe, all regimes and countries that are mainly allies of China), and India actually began implementing this project in September 2000, with the signing of an actual agreement between (India, Russia, Iran) to create this corridor, all of which are not completely allies of Washington in the same region surrounding the Indo-Pacific regions.

5) India has taken actual measures to establish and even strengthen this former alliance, in order to create a large trade corridor, to link several regions surrounding the (Indo-Pacific) region, by negotiating with several surrounding countries to join and strengthen it, all of which are not allies at all to Washington, such as:

(Central Asian countries, Caucasus region, Armenia, Ukraine, Turkey, plus Bulgaria as an observer member)

6) Despite the great importance of this mentioned project for both (India and Iran), the chances of its implementation were severely affected by the crisis of the Iranian nuclear program, and the associated waves of international economic sanctions on Iran, which led to its temporary suspension, with the expectation that it will be completed once the American negotiations with Iran resume. This is something that India strongly encourages.

7) The most dangerous remains, India’s endeavor to revive the “North-South Corridor” project, which includes countries allied to China, mainly:

(International North-South Transport Corridor “INSTC”)

  The former corridor aims to (link India through the port of Mumbai, which is located on the Arabian Sea, and Western Europe through a number of different sea and land routes).

8) Despite the multiple proposed paths of the Indian corridor with those countries close to Western Europe and the Arabian Sea, but (the sea route from the port of Mumbai in India to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz, and then the land route inside Iran via the railway network), represents a major component in This project proposed by India with its various tracks.

9) Also, what may irritate Washington more towards its ally India in the “Quad Quadruple Alliance”, is this strict Indian tendency towards strengthening and supporting its influence in (the Iranian port of Chabahar), in order to balance (the Chinese influence in the Pakistani port of Gwadar).

10) Hence, we find that the growth of Indo-Iranian relations basically takes on broader and more dangerous dimensions than the Indian presence in the Iranian port of Chabahar, especially with the intensity of analyses on the development of the “Indo-Iranian axis” to balance the “Chinese-Pakistani axis”.  Hence, the Indian insistence on the economic, political, and geo-strategic alliance with the Iranian side threatens the failure of the “Quad Quartet alliance led by Washington and its allies to confront Beijing”, especially with that deep strategic partnership between China and Iran in confronting Washington, while India, with Washington forms a front of Quad Quartet alliance against Beijing, but, in the same time, India is establishing an actual relations with the Iranian side, as an archenemy enemy to Washington, and the most closest regime to China.

11) With regard to the American mobilization of New Delhi against the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean region, it has become clear that the Indian lack of interest in sharing Washington’s ambitions in this regard, with the Indian naval mobilization only interested in heading mainly towards (New Delhi’s direct areas of influence), which extend from the (eastern coast of Africa, all the way to the strategic stopping points leading to and from the Indian Ocean, especially the Straits of Malacca and Singapore), and others. Looking at these areas, the Indian mobilization is directed more towards (securing interests within the immediate Indian Ocean region and not to securing the interests of Washington), while projecting Indian naval power in further regions is a secondary task for India, in contrast to the American strategy in that region.

  Through the previous detailed analysis of the Egyptian researcher, she was able to demonstrate in a practical way that the Washington’s democratic allies in the (Indo-Pacific regions), led by India, as a mainly Washington’s ally in the (Quad Quadruple Alliance against China), are basically allied with regimes and countries that constitute prejudice to the US national security, such as: (Iran), additionally the countries of (Central Asia and the Caucasus), which are more closest to Russia and China, in the face of Washington.

  Hence, we can practically prove by evidence, the applying to (theory of democracies are fighting each other and struggling to search on their interests, even in the face of their liberal ally of the USA).

4) Uniting the front of the Chinese maritime communist alliances in the face of the maritime authoritarian democracies led by Washington

   The importance of the United States’ alliances with Australia and Britain, specifically in the “Indo-Pacific” regions surrounding China, is the result of a number of important factors, most notably, are:

A) The growth of Chinese influence beyond the Pacific Ocean region and the South China Sea, and its extension to the Indian Ocean region and the group of sub-regions associated with it.

B) American fear of China has taken more than one level, due to: the large geographical area of ​​the Belt and Road Chinese Initiative, and the extension of the Chinese initiative to a number of major regions in the Indo-Pacific regions, as well as other sub-regions associated with it.

C) In addition to the large Chinese concessions within the seaports on the coasts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and China’s direction, and most importantly, to build a (new maritime governance).

   Hence, China seeks to revitalize a number of its regional alliances in the face of Washington’s alliances in the Indo-Pacific regions, through:

1) Supporting the (Chinese Maritime Silk Road) as a Chinese strategic plan to encircle the Indo-Pacific and the Indo-Pacific regions in the face of the (AUKUS Defense Agreement), which is mainly between Washington and Australia.

2) China will add to its maritime network many of the so-called “nutrition or strategic corridors network“, such as: (securing and strengthening the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), and these corridors are called “economic corridors”, which in fact serve as strategic highways, allowing China to reach (Indian Ocean through the North Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal).

3) China will undermine the US and Australian naval movements, by strengthening its network of alliances with Asian countries that have joined the (Chinese Belt and Road projects), such as: (Pakistan, Myanmar, Maldives, Sri Lanka) by providing huge infrastructure investments to these countries that are friendly to Beijing, which is eventually allows it to use the ports of those countries close to the areas of American influence in the “Indo-Pacific oceans” to encircle and control American ambitions in the region surrounding China.

4) China will also expand the establishment of “naval and military bases” to protect its interests in the face of Washington, and we find that (China’s naval base in Djibouti), as a prominent example of the increasing development in China’s naval strategy.

5) Also, the arrival of China and its investments in several nearby ports, such as: (Gwadar port in Pakistan, Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, and the ports of the Maldives), would facilitate China’s use of such ports (as logistical support centers for Chinese ships to expand its maritime influence on these ports).  Naval spaces facing American moves).

6) China will support its economic weight within the regional countries surrounding the “Indo-Pacific” regions, by establishing:

  (A huge Chinese market, a stable Chinese position that ensures the decision-making of trade and investment flows in the region, China’s influence as a center of gravity for the main actors within the emerging international groups, such as: (the Group of Twenty, the BRICS, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and dozens of trade agreements  free and regional), which resulted in maximizing the gains of the economies of these countries in their relations with China.

7) China seeks to make a group of (polarizing alliances), that is, to attract partners in confronting Washington.  In fact, China’s dilemma in pursuing (balanced policies in the Indo-Pacific) will not be confined to the borders of this region only, but also extends to most other sub-regions, including Southeast Asia.  This can be confirmed by the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, in which he proposed (signing a treaty of friendship and peace in the Indo-Pacific region), in a clear indication of the preoccupation of the countries of the region with the risks of conflict and polarization between China, the United States of America, Australia and their allies in that region, which will be reflected on the level of trust between them and in the face of each other.

8) China seeks to strengthen the path of the Chinese project “Belt and Road” to encircle and control the United States of America, through the (economic corridor) that links China with (Central Asia – West Asia), and aims in particular to link China with the Asia region and the Indo-Pacific region across the region. The strategy surrounding it, which enables Beijing to accurately monitor Washington’s movements in the Indo-Pacific regions, which reinforces the failure of US alliances in that region facing China and its regional partners.

9) Also, China will try to thwart American moves in the “Asia-Pacific region“, with the intensification of the dependence of the major economies in the “Indo-Pacific” regions (especially in East and Southeast Asia) on China to provide the largest proportion of its various imports, which gives China special importance within the Indo-Pacific region, even if countries, such as: Australia, are mainly allies of the United States of America.

10) China will also re-emphasize (the strategy of naval deployment in the face of American expansion), which reminds us of what happened in 2014, which witnessed a remarkable extension of the Chinese spread in the maritime domain of the Indian and Pacific oceans, when (three ships from the Chinese navy sailed through the Lombok Strait), which is for the first time that movement has taken place from (the South China Sea to the Pacific Islands), and was followed by the entry of several Chinese warships into (Indian waters) under the pretext of searching for a missing Malaysian plane, which increased Indian and American fears at the time about Beijing’s movements in the Indian and Pacific Oceans region.

11) Beijing will seek to exert control pressure on any American movements in the area facing Australia and China after the “AUKUS Defense Alliance”, as confirmed by (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) in mid-July 2021, as Australia announced that “it had detected a second Chinese spy ship on its way to enter the waters off the Northeast Australia Coast, a move that enhances Beijing’s presence in the area near Washington and Canberra to monitor, especially after Canberra and Washington began joint military exercises in mid-July 2021”.

   Therefore, the Australian Navy monitored the approach of a Chinese naval spy ship approaching Australia, through the (Solomon Sea around Papua New Guinea).

12) The Australian media has also announced several times before that there are movements of Chinese naval intelligence ships on their way to the area around Australia, through the (Torres Strait), with Australian forces announcing that they are monitoring their movements.

13) We find that there are American and Australian accusations leveled at Beijing during the month of July 2021, of China sending two naval vessels to monitor (the Exorcism Sword exercises between the United States of America and Australia), which are exercises that Washington calls “routine exercises in the military cooperation between the United States and Australia”, and are carried out every two years, which aroused fears and ire of China in its confrontation with Washington and Canberra, while seeking to restrict and curb Australian ambitions in the region with mainly American assistance.

  Hence, we almost analytically understand the importance of these Chinese moves at all levels, to globally weaken the maritime strategy of the United States and the places of its positioning and spread, after the United States of America relied more on the three main strategic fulcrums in (Europe, Middle East, Asia and Pacific region), the United States is now focusing intensively its efforts on the Indo-Pacific region, which China has tried to exploit by filling the void left by Washington in other maritime areas of influence.

  This makes us analyze another level of American deployment in the face of China, which is (the realistic option), meaning:

“The United States can only enhance the position of the global police by being a good policeman in the Asia-Pacific region, and on the western coast of the Pacific, with no real places of power in it except to guard and secure it as a policeman for the region against China”

5) Beijing’s support for the strategy of “maritime governance” in the (Indo-Pacific region), in the face of the “AUKUS Defense Alliance” led by Washington

   China issued a new document in 2017, as a part of its strategy in the “Maritime Silk Road“, to build what Beijing described as a “new maritime governance” in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, in order to limit the US naval spread in the region, and limit the maritime regional influence of neighboring and surrounding countries to strengthen the mechanism of “maritime consultation, partnership and mutual benefit for all”, according to Beijing’s definition of the “maritime governance” strategy, as a new maritime strategy centered on China within the framework of the maritime part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

– Hence, the Egyptian researcher is trying to analyze the possibility of benefiting from this (new Chinese proposal) for the concept of “maritime governance”, to address the (AUKUS defense agreement) and the maritime division in the Indo-Pacific region, through the following Chinese standards and mechanisms:

1) The Chinese proposal for the concept of “strengthening joint maritime security” within the framework of (Chinese maritime governance of the Indo-Pacific region), as a proposal through which Beijing is trying to cooperate with the Australian side and all countries surrounding that maritime region, to jointly participate together to maintain security and stability of the maritime region, as a “proactive step” by Beijing, mainly to block and restrict the American arguments for (China’s maritime expansion in that region).

2) China, by introducing the “Maritime Governance Strategy”, means “collective maritime cooperation in all fields and various aspects of projects in the Indo-Pacific regions”, and promoting China’s win-win cooperation to deepen the collective commitment to maritime services along the Maritime Silk Road.

3) China has even gone beyond (the peaceful concept of maritime governance) to deeper defense aspects related to “strengthening defense, security, strategic and oversight cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region through consultative, coordinating and cooperative maritime governance”, and this is the essentially ambitious plan that China seeks to achieve in that surrounding region.  Australia, which is Washington’s closest traditional ally, is working to limit China’s influence in that region.

4) China called for obtaining the consent of the surrounding maritime countries, which China has taken care to call them in its (Maritime Governance Document), for collective regional maritime cooperation with China to maintain “joint maritime security against any external dangers, threats or interference”, through:

(Building a network for monitoring and controlling the seas, strengthening international cooperation on expanding the application of the Chinese system for “satellite navigation” services, which is known in China as “Beidou application”)

5) China called on all maritime parties surrounding the Indo-Pacific regions through the “Chinese Maritime Governance Document” to develop a number of important relevant regulations on (maritime safety and cooperation in the field of maritime safety and security), and Beijing proposed the following:

A- Establishing a mechanism for bilateral and multilateral management and control

B- Develop collective plans and strategies to maintain the security and safety of maritime navigation

C- Collective regional joint combating of crimes within the maritime lines separating the countries concerned

D- Working on the protection, security and safety of maritime navigation

6) Perhaps the most dangerous part, from the Egyptian researcher’s point of view, is the confirmation of the (Chinese Maritime Governance Document) on China’s readiness to assume all “appropriate obligations to maintain the security and stability of the relevant maritime region”, according to its vision of the implications of “maritime governance and its extension”.

7) Through the Maritime Governance Document, China called for (expanding the areas of win-win maritime cooperation), and those expanded areas for collective regional maritime cooperation in (Indo-Pacific regions) from a Chinese point of view of its concept and definition of maritime governance, passing through:

A- The Chinese Maritime Governance Document, calls for the establishment of a (high-level dialogue mechanism for maritime cooperation) between countries along the Indo-Pacific Maritime Route.

B- China is inviting to sign a (series of maritime cooperation documents) between the governments involved in the Indo-Pacific maritime borders across the Indo-Pacific.

C- The Chinese Maritime Governance Document called for maritime (collective partnership) to develop plans for maritime cooperation and implement projects and various areas of cooperation in that surrounding maritime area.

8) According to the Egyptian researcher’s accurate perception and analysis, the part or part related to the “Chinese Maritime Silk Road Initiative”, and its publication of the “Chinese Maritime Governance” document, may have come (as a proactive attempt by Beijing to confront the US naval expansion and spread in the Indo-Pacific surrounding areas of influence  China Maritime), which is the reason why the United States of America signed the (AUKUS Defense Alliance) with Australia and Britain to restrict the Chinese maritime governance document.

9) American fears, and the warnings of its rival allies to China in that region, such as: (Japan and Australia), have grown over the issuance of this Chinese document on maritime governance, which is primarily intended to maximize Chinese maritime influence.

10) Perhaps the most problematic for the signing of the (AUKUS Defense Agreement between Australia, Britain and the United States of America), is the fears raised by Washington and its allies about “the timing of issuing the Chinese maritime governance document,” and China’s overreaching its maritime region and borders that center around (the South China Sea region, and parts of the  Pacific Ocean), to cover new marine areas from the “Indian Ocean region”, which are not primarily within the maritime border area of ​​China.

11) In addition to other American and Australian accusations against China of trying to impose a maritime governance document, to extend China’s influence around a number of (water areas and seaports surrounding the Indian and Pacific oceans), (as a Chinese attempt to restructure the balance of power in its favor), and overturning all areas of influence of other powers for their own benefit and even control over them.

12) Because of this, the American consensus came with the network of traditional allies in the Indo-Pacific region, to agree on the need to primarily form alliances directed against Beijing’s maritime ambitions, whether (Quad Quartet alliances led by Washington or the AUKUS Defense Alliance led as well by Washington).

13) Perhaps this new transformation came in the re-drafting of a new maritime term that documents those “marine borders that do not enter or share with China to separate Beijing’s maritime borders with other surrounding regional maritime states”.

14) Therefore, the new emergence in recent years of new maritime security vocabulary, and the implicit abandonment of the use of the “Asia-Pacific” concept, and the “Indo-Pacific Document” was actually issued in 2017, because (the Asia-Pacific concept) shares China in a large parts of its borders, while its deportation by referring to the “Indo-Pacific” region, enters in China to another specific region that doesn’t fall within its scope, and this region, according to the American perception and its allies, is known as, the “Indo-Pacific” region.

15) Hence, the concept of “Indo-Pacific” adopted by Washington and its allies in the region surrounding China aims primarily to restrict and curb Chinese ambitions, and it is a concept contrary to the Chinese maritime space in the “Asia-Pacific” region, in order to mainly deal with all Chinese maritime movements in the region, which does not fall within China’s areas of influence, which China strongly rejects, stressing the entry of part of the Indo-Pacific region, and the new designation of the name of the region, as “Indo-Pacific” within the joint maritime borders of China with those countries.

15) The Egyptian researcher reached the Chinese viewpoint rejecting the concept of “Indo-Pacific“, as a vague concept put forward by the United States of America with its network of allies in the maritime region near China, in addition to proposing concepts and general borders that do not rise to dealing with the region.

  Based on the previous proposition, we note that the majority, whether on the American or Chinese side, is the intensification of reliance on (the pattern of alliances and partnerships) in confronting each other, which will make it difficult for the United States of America to create a new world order with an alliance of democracies together as promoted by the current American administration led by the  “Joe Biden“, which leads to the transmission of this split-over to other regions in the world, and the increasing intensity and degree of American and Chinese polarization against each other, which will increase the intensity and intensity of the level of competition / conflict in this important theater of regional and global politics, and its extension to regions  Others in the world such as the Middle East, South and Latin America, the Caribbean, and others.

Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit

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Intelligence

An Underdeveloped Discipline: Open-Source Intelligence and How It Can Better Assist the U.S. Intelligence Community

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Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) is defined by noted intelligence specialists Mark Lowenthal and Robert M. Clark as being, “information that is publicly available to anyone through legal means, including request, observation, or purchase, that is subsequently acquired, vetted, and analyzed in order to fulfill an intelligence requirement”. The U.S. Naval War College further defines OSINT as coming from, “print or electronic form including radio, television, newspapers, journals, the internet, and videos, graphics, and drawings”. Basically, OSINT is the collection of information from a variety of public sources, including social media profiles and accounts, television broadcasts, and internet searches.

Historically, OSINT has been utilized by the U.S. since the 1940s, when the United States created the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) which had the sole goal (until the 1990s) of, “primarily monitoring and translating foreign-press sources,” and contributing significantly during the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It was also during this time that the FBIS transformed itself from a purely interpretation agency into one that could adequately utilize the advances made by, “personal computing, large-capacity digital storage, capable search engines, and broadband communication networks”. In 2005, the FBIS was placed under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and renamed the Open Source Center, with control being given to the CIA.

OSINT compliments the other intelligence disciplines very well. Due to OSINT’s ability to be more in touch with public data (as opposed to information that is more gleaned from interrogations, interviews with defectors or captured enemies or from clandestine wiretaps and electronic intrusions), it allows policymakers and intelligence analysts the ability to see the wider picture of the information gleaned. In Lowenthal’s own book, he mentions how policymakers (including the Assistant Secretary of Defense and one of the former Directors of National Intelligence (DNI)) enjoyed looking at OSINT first and using it as a “starting point… [to fill] the outer edges of the jigsaw puzzle”.

Given the 21stcentury and the public’s increased reliance upon technology, there are also times when information can only be gleaned from open source intelligence methods. Because “Terrorist movements rely essentially on the use of open sources… to recruit and provide virtual training and conduct their operations using encryption techniques… OSINT can be valuable [in] providing fast coordination among officials at all levels without clearances”. Intelligence agencies could be able to outright avoid or, at a minimum, be able to prepare a defense or place forces and units on high alert for an imminent attack.

In a King’s College-London research paper discussing OSINT’s potential for the 21stcentury, the author notes, “OSINT sharing among intelligence services, non-government organizations and international organizations could shape timely and comprehensive responses [to international crises or regime changes in rogue states like Darfur or Burma],” as well as providing further information on a country’s new government or personnel in power. This has been exemplified best during the rise of Kim Jong-Un in North Korea and during the 2011 Arab Spring and 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti. However, this does not mean that OSINT is a superior discipline than other forms such as SIGINT and HUMINT, as they are subject to limitations as well. According to the Federation of American Scientists, “Open source intelligence does have limitations. Often articles in military or scientific journals represent a theoretical or desired capability rather than an actual capability. Censorship may also limit the publication of key data needed to arrive at a full understanding of an adversary’s actions, or the press may be used as part of a conscious deception effort”.

There is also a limit to the effectiveness of OSINT within the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), not because it is technically limited, but limited by the desire of the IC to see OSINT as a full-fledged discipline. Robert Ashley and Neil Wiley, the former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a former Principal Executive within the ODNI respectively, covered this in a July article for DefenseOne, stating “…the production of OSINT is not regarded as a unique intelligence discipline but as research incident to all-source analysis or as a media production service… OSINT, on the other hand, remains a distributed activity that functions more like a collection of cottage industries. While OSINT has pockets of excellence, intelligence community OSINT production is largely initiative based, minimally integrated, and has little in the way of common guidance, standards, and tradecraft… The intelligence community must make OSINT a true intelligence discipline on par with the traditional functional disciplines, replete with leadership and authority that enables the OSINT enterprise to govern itself and establish a brand that instills faith and trust in open source information”. This apprehensiveness by the IC to OSINT capabilities has been well documented by other journalists.

Some contributors, including one writing for The Hill, has commented that “the use of artificial intelligence and rapid data analytics can mitigate these risks by tipping expert analysts on changes in key information, enabling the rapid identification of apparent “outliers” and pattern anomalies. Such human-machine teaming exploits the strengths of both and offers a path to understanding and even protocols for how trusted open-source intelligence can be created by employing traditional tradecraft of verifying and validating sourcing prior to making the intelligence insights available for broad consumption”. Many knowledgeable and experienced persons within the Intelligence Community, either coming from the uniformed intelligence services or civilian foreign intelligence agencies, recognize the need for better OSINT capabilities as a whole and have also suggested ways in which potential security risks or flaws can be avoided in making this discipline an even more effective piece of the intelligence gathering framework.

OSINT is incredibly beneficial for gathering information that cannot always be gathered through more commonly thought of espionage methods (e.g., HUMINT, SIGINT). The discipline allows for information on previously unknown players or new and developing events to become known and allows policymakers to be briefed more competently on a topic as well as providing analysts and operators a preliminary understanding of the region, the culture, the politics, and current nature of a developing or changing state. However, the greatest hurdle in making use of OSINT is in changing the culture and the way in which the discipline is currently seen by the U.S. Intelligence Community. This remains the biggest struggle in effectively coordinating and utilizing the intelligence discipline within various national security organizations.

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Online Radicalization in India

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Radicalization, is a gradual process of developing extremist beliefs, emotions, and behaviours at individual, group or mass public levels. Besides varied groups, it enjoys patronization, covertly and even overtly from some states. To elicit change in behavior, beliefs, ideology, and willingness, from the target-group, even employment of violent means is justified. Despite recording a declination in terror casualties, the 2019 edition of the Global Terrorism Index claims an increase in the number of terrorism-affected countries. With internet assuming a pivotal role in simplifying and revolutionizing the communication network and process, the change in peoples’ lives is evident. Notably, out of EU’s 84 %, daily internet using population, 81%, access it from home (Eurostat, 2012, RAND Paper pg xi). It signifies important changes in society and extremists elements, being its integral part, internet’ role, as a tool of radicalization, cannot be gainsaid. Following disruption of physical and geographical barriers, the radicalized groups are using the advancement in digital technology:  to propagate their ideologies; solicit funding; collecting informations; planning/coordinating terror attacks; establishing inter/intra-group communication-networks; recruitment, training and media propaganda to attain global attention.  

               Indian Context

In recent times, India has witnessed an exponential growth in radicalization-linked Incidents, which apparently belies the official figures of approximate 80-100 cases. The radicalization threat to India is not only from homegrown groups but from cross-border groups of Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as global groups like IS. Significantly, Indian radicalized groups are exploiting domestic grievances and their success to an extent, can mainly be attributed to support from Pakistani state, Jihadist groups from Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Gulf-employment boom for Indian Muslims has also facilitated radicalization, including online, of Indian Muslims. A close look at the modus operandi of these attacks reveals the involvement of local or ‘homegrown’ terrorists. AQIS formed (2016) ‘Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’ in Kashmir with a media wing ‘al-Hurr’.

IS announced its foray into Kashmir in 2016 as part of its Khorasan branch. In December 2017 IS in its Telegram channel used hashtag ‘Wilayat Kashmir’ wherein Kashmiri militants stated their allegiance with IS. IS’ online English Magazine ‘Dabiq’ (Jan. 2016) claimed training of fighters in Bangladesh and Pakistan for attacks from western and Eastern borders into India.Though there are isolated cases of ISIS influence in India, the trend is on the rise. Presently, ISIS and its offshoots through online process are engaged in spreading bases in 12 Indian states. Apart from southern states like Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu — where the Iran and Syria-based terrorist outfit penetrated years ago — investigating agencies have found their links in states like Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir as well. The Sunni jihadists’ group is now “most active” in these states across the country.

               Undermining Indian Threat

Significantly, undermining the radicalization issue, a section of intelligentsia citing lesser number of Indian Muslims joining al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan and Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, Syria and Middle East, argue that Indian Muslim community does not support radicalism-linked violence unlike regional/Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Maldives. They underscore the negligible number of Indian Muslims, outside J&K, who supports separatist movements. Additionally, al- Qaeda and IS who follows the ‘Salafi-Wahabi’ ideological movement, vehemently oppose ‘Hanafi school’ of Sunni Islam, followed by Indian Muslims. Moreover, Indian Muslims follows a moderate version even being followers of the Sunni Ahle-Hadeeth (the broader ideology from which Salafi-Wahhabi movement emanates). This doctrinal difference led to the failure of Wahhabi groups online propaganda.  

               Radicalisation Strategies/methods: Indian vs global players

India is already confronting the online jihadist radicalization of global jihadist organisations, including al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), formed in September 2014 and Islamic State (IS). However, several indigenous and regional groups such as Indian Mujahideen (IM), JeM, LeT, the Taliban and other online vernacular publications, including Pakistan’s Urdu newspaper ‘Al-Qalam’, also play their role in online radicalisation.

Indian jihadist groups use a variety of social media apps, best suited for their goals. Separatists and extremists in Kashmir, for coordination and communication, simply create WhatsApp groups and communicate the date, time and place for carrying out mass protests or stone pelting. Pakistan-based terror groups instead of online learning of Islam consider it mandatory that a Muslim radical follows a revered religious cleric. They select people manually to verify their background instead of online correspondence. Only after their induction, they communicate online with him. However, the IS, in the backdrop of recent defeats, unlike Kashmiri separatist groups and Pak-based jihadist mercenaries, runs its global movement entirely online through magazines and pamphlets. The al-Qaeda’s you tube channels ‘Ansar AQIS’ and ‘Al Firdaws’, once having over 25,000 subscriptions, are now banned. Its online magazines are Nawai Afghan and Statements are in Urdu, English, Arabic, Bangla and Tamil. Its blocked Twitter accounts, ‘Ansarul Islam’ and ‘Abna_ul_Islam_media’, had a following of over 1,300 while its Telegram accounts are believed to have over 500 members.

               Adoption of online platforms and technology

Initially, Kashmir based ‘Jaish-E-Mohammad’ (JeM) distributed audio cassettes of Masood Azhar’s speeches across India but it joined Internet platform during the year 2003–04 and started circulating downloadable materials through anonymous links and emails. Subsequently, it started its weekly e-newspaper, Al-Qalam, followed by a chat group on Yahoo. Importantly, following enhanced international pressure on Pak government after 26/11, to act against terrorist groups, JeM gradually shifted from mainstream online platform to social media sites, blogs and forums.   

 Indian Mujahideen’s splinter group ‘Ansar-ul-Tawhid’ the first officially affiliated terror group to the ISIS tried to maintain its presence on ‘Skype’, ‘WeChat’ and ‘JustPaste’. IS and its affiliates emerged as the most tech-savvy jihadist group. They took several measures to generate new accounts after repeated suspension of their accounts by governments.  An account called as ‘Baqiya Shoutout’ was one such measure. It stressed upon efforts to re-establish their network of followers through ‘reverse shout-out’ instead of opening a new account easily.

Pakistan-backed terrorist groups in India are increasingly becoming  technology savvy. For instance, LeT before carrying out terrorist attacks in 2008 in Mumbai, used Google Earth to understand the targeted locations.

IS members have been following strict security measures like keeping off their Global Positioning System (GPS) locations and use virtual private network (VPN),  to maintain anonymity. Earlier they were downloading Hola VPN or a similar programme from a mobile device or Web browser to select an Internet Protocol (IP) address for a country outside the US, and bypass email or phone verification.

Rise of radicalization in southern India

Southern states of India have witnessed a rise in  radicalization activities during the past 1-2 years. A substantial number of Diaspora in the Gulf countries belongs to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Several Indian Muslims in Gulf countries have fallen prey to radicalization due to the ultra-conservative forms of Islam or their remittances have been misused to spread radical thoughts. One Shafi Armar@ Yusuf-al-Hindi from Karnataka emerged as the main online IS recruiter for India.  It is evident in the number of raids and arrests made in the region particularly after the Easter bomb attacks (April, 21, 2019) in Sri Lanka. The perpetrators were suspected to have been indoctrinated, radicalised and trained in the Tamil Nadu. Further probe revealed that the mastermind of the attacks, Zahran Hashim had travelled to India and maintained virtual links with radicalised youth in South India. Importantly, IS, while claiming responsibility for the attacks, issued statements not only in English and Arabic but also in South Indian languages viz. Malayalam and Tamil. It proved the existence of individuals fluent in South Indian languages in IS linked groups in the region. Similarly, AQIS’ affiliate in South India ‘Base Movement’ issued several threatening letters to media publications for insulting Islam.

IS is trying to recruit people from rural India by circulating the online material in vernacular languages. It is distributing material in numerous languages, including Malayalam and Tamil, which Al Qaeda were previously ignoring in favour of Urdu. IS-linked Keralite followers in their propaganda, cited radical pro-Hindutva, organisations such as the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) and other right-wing Hindu organisations to motivate youth for joining the IS.  Similarly, Anti-Muslim incidents such as the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 are still being used to fuel their propaganda. IS sympathisers also support the need to oppose Hindu Deities to gather support.

               Radicalization: Similarities/Distinctions in North and South

Despite few similarities, the radicalisation process in J&K is somewhat different from the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Gujarat. Both the regions have witnessed a planned radicalization process through Internet/social media for propagating extremist ideologies and subverting the vulnerable youth. Both the areas faced the hard-line Salafi/Wahhabi ideology, propagated by the extremist Islamic clerics and madrasas indulged in manipulating the religion of Islam. Hence, in this context it can be aptly claimed that terror activities in India have cooperation of elements from both the regions, despite their distinct means and objectives. Elements from both regions to an extent sympathise to the cause of bringing India under the Sharia Law. Hence, the possibility of cooperation in such elements cannot be ruled out particularly in facilitation of logistics, ammunitions and other requisite equipment.

It is pertinent to note that while radicalisation in Jammu and Kashmir is directly linked to the proxy-war, sponsored by the Pakistan state, the growth of radicalisation in West and South India owes its roots to the spread of IS ideology, promotion of Sharia rule and establishment of Caliphate. Precisely for this reason, while radicalised local Kashmiris unite to join Pakistan-backed terror groups to fight for ‘Azadi’ or other fabricated local issues, the locals in south rather remain isolated cases.

               Impact of Radicalisation

The impact of global jihad on radicalization is quite visible in West and South India. Majority of the radicalised people, arrested in West and South India, were in fact proceeding to to join IS in Syria and Iraq. It included the group of 22 people from a Kerala’s family, who travelled (June 2016) to Afghanistan via Iran. There obvious motivation was to migrate from Dar-ul-Harb (house of war) to Dar-ul-Islam (house of peace/Islam/Deen).

While comparing the ground impact of radicalization in terms of number of cases of local militants in J&K as well as IS sympathisers in West and South India, it becomes clear that radicalisation was spread more in J&K, owing to Pak-sponsored logistical and financial support. Significantly, despite hosting the third largest Muslim population, the number of Indian sympathisers to terror outfits, particularly in West and South India is very small as compared to the western countries. Main reasons attributed to this, include – religious and cultural pluralism; traditionally practice of moderate Islamic belief-systems; progressive educational and economic standards; and equal socio-economic and political safeguards for the Indian Muslims in the Indian Constitution.

               Challenges Ahead

Apart from varied challenges, including Pak-sponsored anti-India activities, regional, local and political challenges, media wings of global jihadi outfits continue to pose further challenges to Indian security agencies. While IS through its media wing, ‘Al Isabah’ has been circulating (through social media sites) Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s speeches and videos after translating them into Urdu, Hindi, and Tamil for Indian youth (Rajkumar 2015), AQIS too have been using its media wing for the very purpose through its offshoots in India.  Some of the challenges, inter alia include –

Islam/Cleric Factor Clerics continue to play a crucial role in influencing the minds of Muslim youth by exploiting the religion of Islam. A majority of 127 arrested IS sympathizers from across India recently revealed that they were following speeches of controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik of Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). Zakir has taken refuge in Malaysia because of warrants against him by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches. A Perpetrator of Dhaka bomb blasts in July 2016 that killed several people confessed that he was influenced by Naik’s messages. Earlier, IRF had organised ‘peace conferences’ in Mumbai between 2007 and 2011 in which Zakir attempted to convert people and incite terrorist acts. Thus, clerics and preachers who sbverts the Muslim minds towards extremism, remain a challenge for India.

Propaganda Machinery – The online uploading of young militant photographs, flaunting Kalashnikov rifles became the popular means of declaration of youth intent against government forces. Their narrative of “us versus them” narrative is clearly communicated, creating groundswell of support for terrorism.In its second edition (March 2020) of its propaganda magazine ‘Sawt al-Hind’ (Voice of Hind/India) IS, citing an old propaganda message from a deceased (2018) Kashmiri IS terrorist, Abu Hamza al-Kashmiri @ Abdul Rehman, called upon Taliban apostates and fighters to defect to IS.  In the first edition (Feb. 2020) the magazine, eulogized Huzaifa al-Bakistani (killed in 2019), asking Indian Muslims to rally to IS in the name of Islam in the aftermath of the 2020 Delhi riots. Meanwhile, a Muslim couple arrested by Delhi Police for inciting anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment) Bill protests, were found very active on social media. They would call Indian Muslims to unite against the Indian government against the CAA legislation. During 2017 Kashmir unrest, National Investigation Agency (NIA) identified 79 WhatsApp groups (with administrators based in Pakistan), having 6,386 phone numbers, to crowd source boys for stone pelting. Of these, around 1,000 numbers were found active in Pakistan and Gulf nations and the remaining 5,386 numbers were found active in Kashmir Valley.

Deep fakes/Fake news – Another challenge for India is spread of misinformation and disinformation through deep fakes by Pakistan. Usage of deepfakes, in manipulating the speeches of local political leaders to spread hate among the youth and society was done to large extent.

India’s Counter Measures

To prevent youth straying towards extremism, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs has established a Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Radicalisation Division (CT-CR) to help states, security agencies and communities.

Various states, including Kerala, Maharashtra and Telangana have set up their own de-radicalisation programmes.  While in Maharashtra family and community plays an important role, in Kerala clerics cleanse the poisoned  minds of youth with a new narrative. A holistic programme for community outreach including healthcare, clergies and financial stability is being employed by the Indian armed forces. An operation in Kerala named Kerala state police’ ‘Operation Pigeon’ succeeded in thwarting radicalization of 350 youths to the propaganda of organizations such as Islamic State, Indian Mujahideen (IM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) via social media monitoring. In Telangana, outreach programs have been developed by local officers like Rema Rajeshwari to fight the menace of fake news in around 400 villages of the state.

In Kashmir the government resorts to internet curfews to control the e-jihad. While state-owned BNSL network, used by the administration and security forces, remains operational 3G and 4G networks and social media apps remain suspended during internet curfews.

Prognosis

India certainly needs a strong national counter- Radicalisation policy which would factor in a range of factors than jobs, poverty or education because radicalization in fact has affected even well educated, rich and prosperous families. Instead of focusing on IS returnees from abroad, the policy must take care of those who never travelled abroad but still remain a potential threat due to their vulnerability to radicalization.

Of course, India would be better served if deep fakes/fake news and online propaganda is effectively countered digitally as well as through social awakening measures and on ground action by the government agencies. It is imperative that the major stakeholders i.e. government, educational institutions, civil society organisations, media and intellectuals play a pro-active role in pushing their narrative amongst youth and society. The focus should apparently be on prevention rather than controlling the radicalisation narrative of the vested interests.

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Intelligence

Is Deterrence in Cyberspace Possible?

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Soon after the Internet was founded, half of the world’s population (16 million) in 1996 had been connected to Internet data traffic. Gradually, the Internet began to grow and with more users, it contributed to the 4 trillion global economies in 2016 (Nye, 2016). Today, high-speed Internet, cutting-edge technologies and gadgets, and increasing cross-border Internet data traffic are considered an element of globalization. Deterrence seems traditional and obsolete strategy, but the developed countries rely on cyberspace domains to remain in the global digitization. No matter how advanced they are, there still exist vulnerabilities. There are modern problems in the modern world. Such reliance on the Internet also threatens to blow up the dynamics of international insecurity. To understand and explore the topic it is a must for one to understand what cyberspace and deterrence are? According to Oxford dictionary;

 “Cyberspace is the internet considered as an imaginary space without a physical location in which communication over computer networks takes place (OXFORD University Press)”

For readers to understand the term ‘deterrence’; Collins dictionary has best explained it as;

“Deterrence is the prevention of something, especially war or crime, by having something such as weapons or punishment to use as a threat e.g. Nuclear Weapons (Deterrence Definition and Meaning | Collins English Dictionary).

The purpose of referring to the definition is to make it easy to discern and distinguish between deterrence in International Relations (IR) and International Cyber Security (ICS). Deterrence in cyberspace is different and difficult than that of during the Cold War. The topic of deterrence was important during Cold Wat for both politicians and academia. The context in both dimensions (IR and ICS) is similar and aims to prevent from happening something. Cyberspace deterrence refers to preventing crime and I completely agree with the fact that deterrence is possible in Cyberspace. Fischer (2019) quotes the study of (Quinlan, 2004) that there is no state that can be undeterrable.

To begin with, cyber threats are looming in different sectors inclusive of espionage, disruption of the democratic process and sabotaging the political arena, and war. Whereas international law is still unclear about these sectors as to which category they fall in. I would validate my affirmation (that deterrence is possible in Cyberspace) with the given network attacks listed by Pentagon (Fung, 2013). Millions of cyber-attacks are reported on a daily basis. The Pentagon reported 10 million cyberspace intrusions, most of which are disruptive, costly, and annoying. The level of severity rises to such a critical level that it is considered a threat to national security, so professional strategic assistance is needed to deal with it[1]. The past events show a perpetual threat that has the ability to interrupt societies, economies, and government functioning.

The cyberspace attacks were administered and portrayal of deterrence had been publicized as follows (Fung, 2013);

  1. The internet service was in a continuous disruption for several weeks after a dispute with Russia in 2007.
  2. Georgian defense communications were interrupted in 2008 after the Russian invasion of Georgia.   
  3. More than 1000 centrifuges in Iran were destroyed via the STUXNET virus in 2010. The attacks were attributed to Israel and the United States of America.
  4. In response to STUXNET virus attacks, Iran also launched a retaliatory attack on U.S financial institutions in 2012 and 2013.
  5. Similarly in 2012, some 30,000 computers had been destroyed with a virus called SHAMOON in Saudi Aramco Corporation. Iran was held responsible for these attacks.
  6. North Korea was accused of penetrating South Korean data and machines in 2014, thus interrupting their networks in 2014.
  7. A hybrid war was reported between Russia and Ukraine in 2015 that left Ukraine without electricity for almost six hours.
  8. Most critical scandal, which is still in the limelight call WikiLeaks released distressing and humiliating emails by Russian Intelligence at the time of the U.S presidential campaigns in 2016.

While such incidents may be considered a failure of deterrence, this does not mean that deterrence is impossible. Every system has some flaws that are exposed at some point. At this point, in some cases a relatively low level of deterrence was used to threaten national security, however, the attacks were quite minor in fulfilling the theme affecting national security. Nye (2016:51) in his study talks about the audience whose attribution could facilitate deterrence. (I). intelligence agencies should make sure highest safeguarding against escalation by third parties, and governments can also be certain and count on intelligence agencies’ sources. (II). the deterring party should not be taken easy, as I stated (above) about the lingering loopholes and flaws in the systems, hence, governments shall not perceive the intelligence forsaken.  (III). lastly, it is a political matter whether international and domestic audiences need to be persuaded or not, and what chunk of information should be disclosed.

The mechanisms which are used and helpful against cyberspace adversary actions are as follows (Fischer, 2019);

  1. Deterrence by denial means, the actions by the adversary are denied that they failed to succeed in their goals and objectives. It is more like retaliating a cyberattack.
  2. Threat of punishment offers severe outcomes in form of penalties and inflicting high costs on the attacker that would outweigh the anticipated benefits if the attack takes place.
  3. Deterrence by Entanglement has the features and works on a principle of shared, interconnected, and dependent vulnerabilities. The purpose of entanglement is to embolden and reassure the behavior as a responsible state with mutual interests.
  4. Normative taboos function with strong values and norms, wherein the reputation of an aggressor is at stake besides having a soft image in the eyes of the international community (this phenomenon includes rational factors because hard power is used against the weaker state). The deterrence of the international system works even without having any credible resilience.

Apparently, the mechanisms of deterrence are also effective in cyber realms. These realms are self-explaining the comprehensive understanding and the possibility of deterrence in cyberspace. The four mechanisms (denial, punishment, entanglement, and normative taboos) are also feasible to apply deterrence in the cyber world. Factually, of many security strategies, cyber deterrence by using four domains could be a versatile possibility. Conclusively, as far as the world is advancing in technological innovations, cyberspace intrusions would not stop alike the topic of deterrence in the digital world.


[1] An updated list of cyberspace intrusions from 2003 till 2021 is available at (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2021).

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