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China’s success in penetrating the European defense market

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Although China (not a direct military threat to NATO), unlike Russia or the threats of international terrorism, Beijing’s growing economic influence and its confident diplomacy in Europe, according to the vision of “NATO’S member states”, has led to (significant repercussions on security and the transatlantic economy). Therefore, the statements of the “NATO’S meetings”, since the end of the “Trump’s era” and since the advent of the administration of US President “Biden”, and its call for:

   “It’s difficult, if not impossible, for NATO to avoid China, which represents a complete challenge to the transatlantic community and whose potential and capabilities mirror, if not outweigh, the challenge of the former Soviet Union”

   We find that the most dangerous thing for NATO is the realization that China has achieved great success in the European defense market.  We can get acquainted with the Chinese presence in the depth of the European defense market, by learning about the following Chinese measures:

Serbian President “Aleksandar Vucic” recently announced his country’s purchase of “six Chinese-made drones”, which are of the well-known Chinese model, known as: CH-92A (UCAVs)

  This would make the Serbian Army as “the first European army to use Chinese combat drones”.

Chinese President “Xi Jinping” visited France on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, where he met his critics in Europe, led by the European leaders, such as: “Macron”, Merkel, and Juniper”, in order to prepare for the (European-Chinese summit) in the Belgian capital of “Brussels” on April 9, 2019, which observers considered as (a new security breach for NATO and a provocation to Washington).

For the Chinese side to realize the importance of France well, Chinese President “Xi Jinping” began his visit to it by contracting a (Chinese deal from France to buy 290 Airbus planes, valued at about $30 billion), for two reasons, which are:

 The first reason: China’s provocation as a result of its rival India’s contract with the “French Naval Company” in 2017 to buy 126 French Rafale planes worth 19 billion dollars.

The second reason: China also aimed to influence (the submarine deal between France and Australia), which resulted in the “Aukus defense alliance between Washington, Australia and Britain”, after the cancellation of the French-Australian deal and the anger of France and Europe, amounting to about 50 billion dollars, and that to (protect the island of  Caledonia), which is inhabited by more than 1.3 million French resident people, whereas located near to Australia and overlooks the outskirts of the (South China Sea).

However, despite a $30 billion deal between China and France, to buy “French Naval planes”. French President “Emmanuel Macron” didn’t miss the opportunity to express his concern about the expansion of China’s ambition, to which the European response must be, and demanded that (the Belt and Road Initiative be beneficial in the Chinese and European directions, and that mutual and equitable access to markets be the criterion for China’s dealing with  Europe), and despite the French criticism of China, it carries with it, as if (an important French recognition of the importance of the Belt and Road Initiative for Europe and Paris, especially after “concluding the French military aircraft deal with China”), and the Chinese response indirectly to the Indian provocation to it, the conclusion of a similar deal with the French side.

President “Macron” also criticized the files of “Human Rights in China and China’s Presence in Africa”, noting that the first is a global standard and not an internal Chinese affair, and that the second file on Africa and China requires coordination between the two countries, especially with the important French presence in Africa, which  Its countries live in the trap of continuous Chinese debt, such as: (the State of Djibouti), which hosts a (French military base, and the State of Djibouti also witnesses the establishment of China’s first military base abroad, which requires with it French-Chinese security and military coordination, according to what the French President announced “Emmanuel Macron”), as well as President Macron’s speech that China’s investment flows are mainly poured on (Ethiopia and Kenya), which are the mainstays of the French presence in Africa. On the other hand, President “Xi Jinping” didn’t abandon his diplomatic smile in front of missiles and criticism. Here, President “Macron” assured President “Xi” said that: “China wants a united and strong Europe and benefits from China’s massive growth”. In my analysis of Chinese President “Xi Jinping’s statement to his French counterpart, “Emmanuel Macron”, about the importance of Europe benefiting from China’s growth, this means (Chinese determination to cooperate with Europe and make deals with them, despite criticism from the United States of America).

We find here that the details of this grand scene of the meeting between the two presidents, “Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping” have opened the door to wide and deep questions and analyzes, regarding:

What are the prospects for further division of the European Union because of China?

To what extent is a European-Chinese trade war possible if things get more complicated and mutual access to markets and balanced benefits between the two sides are not achieved?

Then the fundamental question, about: What is the impact of Chinese-European relations on their relations with the United States of America?

Also the main question, about: the US position on its ally Europe, whose imports will witness more US tariffs in the future due to the trade war between Washington and Beijing?

Here, we find “the conflicting security positions between Europe and the United States of America because of China, in defense of their interests”. At a time when the United States of America wants Europe to take a clear position in defense of democracy, the rule of law and human rights regarding China in all international organizations,  European criticism of China continues, but China deliberately (contracting military deals with Europe and France), despite the American criticism.

We find that the most dangerous issue here is (Europe’s failure to succumb to the American desire to help it “stop Chinese military modernization” by imposing a ban on technology transfers to it), and the European failure to respond to the United States of America, regarding their conduct of a security check with China before they conclude purchase deals or any form of European government investment, with the aim of (preventing China from controlling Europe’s telecommunications and the other critical infrastructure). These are all matters that Europeans don’t always pay attention to in their relations with China, which irritates Washington towards them.

The same applies to Russia as an ally of China, at a time when the United States of America also wants “Europe don’t want to depend on Russian gas through the Nordstream 2 pipeline, nor on Chinese communications equipment through contracts with Huawei”. But, the European Union doesn’t always succumb to these American pressures, and it has a stronger trade and investment relationship with the Chinese side.

There are European security fears of (the increasing Sino-Russian rapprochement in the field of military cooperation between the two countries), even if it is limited, and fears have become of an increase in the intensity of joint military and naval exercises between China and Russia, with (the participation of ships from the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with  Ships of the Russian Navy in the eastern Mediterranean in joint naval exercises), and it was the only joint exercise between the two countries in the Mediterranean in 2015.

NATO’s concerns have increased with fears of (Russian-Chinese cooperation in the Arctic, where the two countries invest in natural gas projects as well as in transport corridors), as part of a project known as: (the Polar Silk Road or the Northern Sea Route), so NATO’s military leaders has declared that:

  “NATO should monitor Russian-Chinese military cooperation, but the alliance must realize that its first priority is Russia”

We find that the most prominent military development from NATO towards China is (the signing of a document by the NATO Military Committee against China in May 2019), which is a committee consisting of Allied defense leaders, and this document against China is a (new military strategy  to confront China), its importance is due to the fact that it is the first document of its kind written by NATO since the late 1960s.

As a result of American pressures on the NATO’S leaders, the Military Committee submitted (two secondary documents that map out how to implement the strategy of the alliance against China). Their content, are:

The first document of NATO against China: the document for (Defense of Democracy), and it specifies how the alliance will use its military power to address the main threats facing the interests of the allies in Europe.  It calls for the use of NATO’s military force to deter and defend its main sources of threat, which are (Russia, China and international terrorism), throughout Europe and beyond in all areas.

The second document of NATO against China: the  document of (Capstone Concept for Combating War in NATO), whereas it clarifies a twenty-year vision of the alliance’s capabilities and war characteristics.  The work program focuses on short-term threats, while the “National Anti-Corruption Committee” looks at the long-term. These concepts are supposed to help NATO better align its existing tools, operations and activities to ensure “the Alliance secures and stabilizes the Euro-Atlantic region”.

  Hence, we conclude that, despite the increase in these American pressures on Europe and NATO’s military allies, it (the degree of Sino-European cooperation in all major fields and sectors has increased and grown), and the degree of Chinese investments within Europe has increased.

  According to my final analysis of the matter, it seems that everyone in Europe and the world has become (growing in the shadow of China and not the other way around), which is a matter that greatly worries Washington, especially with the division of positions within “NATO and its European members themselves, due to their rapprochement with China”.

   Perhaps according to my understanding of the nature of the American competition with China, and the attempt of each party to acquire others to defend it, I believe that (China has become aware of the European dream of military or economic independence from the United States, especially after the signing of the new Aukus defense agreement, and Washington’s abandonment of France and its European allies) in defense of its interests.  Therefore, with the growing talk of the necessity of (forming a united European army and separating from NATO, with the absence of the ability to bear its costs in light of the current economic crisis).  Therefore, my distant strategic analysis has become (the possibility of China itself contributing to the disintegration of NATO through a network of financing the dream of forming a unified European army, and thus helping the Europeans to separate from NATO in preparation for its disintegration and collapse), and perhaps this was the “long-term Chinese strategy” in managing its relations with European countries and NATO’S alliance, to counter US pressures against China.

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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Russia points to evidence exposing Kiev’s intentions to use biological weapons

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Documents uncovered in the special military operation in Ukraine corroborate the evidence exposing the Kiev regime’s intentions to use biological weapons, Head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Research Center for Chemical and Biological Threats Dmitry Poklonsky said in the run-up to the Ninth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention. “In some cases, the study focused on infectious disease agents that had never been registered on Ukrainian soil,” he said – informs TASS.

“We have obtained reports of investigations into a collection of microorganisms that indicate the accumulation of pathogens in unsubstantiated amounts. There are documents confirming the intentions to acquire unmanned delivery vehicles that could be used for employing biological weapons. Considering the non-transparent nature of this work and the absence of any substantiated responses from the United States and Ukraine, we, of course, regard the documents obtained as proof that Article 1.4 of the Convention was violated,” the defense official said.

The documents obtained in the special military operation in Ukraine, including reports by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency of the US Department of Defense, corroborate that the nature of work carried out there frequently ran counter to pressing healthcare problems, he stressed.

“In some cases, the study focused on infectious disease agents that had never been registered on Ukrainian soil,” Poklonsky pointed out.

Neither Washington nor Kiev deny the fact of the existence of biological labs in Ukraine bankrolled by the Pentagon, he pointed out.

“It was confirmed by the 2005 agreement between the US Department of Defense and the Ukrainian Health Ministry. Far more questions arise from the nature of the studies being carried out in these biological laboratories and how this work complies with the Convention’s requirements,” the chief of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Chemical and Biological Threats said.

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Psychological Warfare (PSYOPS)- The Pandora’s Box of Security Issues

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The world, functioning in its numerous forms and dimensions, is primarily perceived and misperceived by individuals through the faculty of the human Mind. A factor that creates a significant difference vis-a-vis human beings and other species is the complex cognitive ability possessed by humans. The mind is fundamentally an expression of thoughts circulated and imbibed through various means of communication. Deconstructing it further, thoughts portray the information consumed by an individual. In other words, this complex combination of the human mind, thoughts, and information shapes and reshapes our psychology.

Psychological war, in this context, can be perceived as a strategically orchestrated arrangement of information derived from variables like history, polity, religion, culture, literature, and philosophy broadly to channel propaganda with the prime objective of influencing and manipulating the behavior of the enemy to further one own interest. The term Psychological war is believed to be coined by a British Historian and military analyst, J.F.C Fuller, in 1920. One can observe that psychological war as an instrument of strategic importance is not of recent origin. Instead, the evolution of this tactic can be traced long back in history since the emergence of the State. It is considered one of the fundamental tools of statecraft and quite often has been put into the application as an instrument of state policy. Drawing a logical parallel, it can be advocated that psychological war has a close resemblance with the ancient notion of the allegory of the cave when applied in the present context.

Relevance of Psychological War

Napoleon Bonaparte once said “There are two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the mind.”  With the gradual progress of human intelligentsia, the world is and will be shaped and reshaped through the use of technology. The hyperconnected nature of a modern globalized world broadly portrays the image of a collective human consciousness deeply engrossed in the overwhelming nature of technology that reverberates with every emerging aspect of human life. When viewed from the prism of the State as a governing body in the international forum, technology will be the emerging axis of geopolitics since no state and its citizen can exist in silos devoid of the influence of other states. This is primarily due to the free flow of data. In this context, due to the free flow of data, the power of propaganda as a significant dimension of psychological war would prove to be an effective instrument used by the State to further its national interest.

In this contextual framework, the role of conscious manufacturing of narratives under the larger ambit of the idea of psychological war must be given due consideration. In his famous book,The Ultimate Goal: A Former R&AW Chief Deconstructs  How Nations and Intelligence Agency Construct Narratives, Vikram Sood unfolds the idea of how narratives are created, propagated, sustained, and refined in domestic countries and abroad to further the national interest. He emphasizes not only the power of information but also the power of disinformation to de-track and mislead the collective consciousness of the nation. Therefore, it is of critical significance for a nation to enhance its understanding of psychological war, considering it a major security issue.

The cost and the expense of war are also major concerns for the State. In this regard, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval establishes the viewpoint that wars are gradually becoming ineffective in achieving political and military objectives and that they are also highly expensive and are gradually becoming unaffordable. He further puts forward the idea of the 4th generation warfare where the operational target of the objective would be civil society. A fair understanding of the 4th generation warfare is of critical importance due to the fact that the modus operandi to target civil society would primarily be through the perpetual use of psychological war. The cost of psychological war, when compared with other forms of war, is abysmally low and also highly effective in manipulating the behaviour of the State. The cost-effectiveness helps it be more sustainable, which can be continued for an extended period of time.

Materialisation of Psychological War

China

Psychological war is applied by many States as an instrument of state policy. China, in this regard, can be considered a prominent player that has materialized this idea. In the strategic book on statecraft, The Art Of War, Sun Tzu states that “All warfare is based on deception.” China has consciously tried to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of psychological war. The Dhoklam issue in 2017 substantiates how the Chinese government used psychological war as an instrument of state policy to further its national interest.

Pakistan

The hostile approach of Pakistan towards India is not of recent origin. Instead, it is a phenomenon that can be traced back in history during the early germination of the idea of Pakistan when the Muslin League was formed in 1906. After the materialization of this idea by a painful partition of India in 1947, Kashmir became the bone of contention right after Pakistan’s inception as a nation-state. Pakistan, over the years, has become cognizant of the conventional asymmetry between the two nations. Therefore, it has operationalized the path of psychological war in the Kashmir region with a more pinpointed approach of using Twitter as an operational instrument to create misperceptions at a low cost to achieve its objectives.

Psychological War and the Indian Perspective

Taking a momentary glance at the historical evolution of India as a civilizational State, it can be rightly stated that understanding the nature of the mind has been a perpetual theme in the philosophical construct of India. The use of psychological war is not a new phenomenon. The references to it can be prominently found in Indian mythology. In this regard, the epic story of The Mahabharatha is a prominent example.

In one of the instances, Krishna applied this idea of psychological war by disclosing a fact to Karna, which hitherto was kept secret and hidden from him. Krishna, just before the war, unfolded the fact to Karna that he is the eldest son of Kunti, his father is the Sun God, and the Pandavas his brothers. This very fact and the timing of the disclosure of this fact put Karna in a deep psychological trauma that depletes his mental strength. It was at this moment that Krishna offered Karna to join the battle from the side of Pandavas. A similar instance of psychological war used by India was found during The Bangladesh liberation war.

In the context of psychological war, Arthashstra is also a relevant text. It mentions the art of Kutayuddha. In Sanskrit, the word Kuta implies the application of deception, the creation of misperception, and misleading the enemy state; Yudh means war. Kautilya is a staunch advocate of establishing a network of espionage to initiate intelligence and counterintelligence measures as a major security initiative for a state. Therefore, it can be rightly perceived that India has a history of psychological war, which it has implemented to maintain security and stability.

Conclusion

Taking an analogical perspective, if the mechanism of psychological war is like a gun, then information is the potential bullets that are fired from it to target the enemy. The flow of Information can be considered the most important factor that makes psychological war lethal, precise, and effective. Therefore, there exists an urgent need for the establishment of an ‘Information Operations Command’ to tackle the issue of psychological war that is rapidly maturing and enhancing in its nature and methodology, fusing with the 5th generation warfare. 

Another area of critical importance in this regard is the pressing need for a ‘National Security Doctrine.’ A national security doctrine is primarily a broad vision of a nation in the domain of its security from an inclusive perspective. Strong inter-agency coordination and refined analysis of security issues are needed.

Psychological war, as a rapidly evolving tool of statecraft in the security domain, acts as a linchpin vis-a-vis the 4th and 5th generation warfare where civil society and citizens are targeted with a perfect blend of technology and information. This makes it a war that doesn’t have a start or an end date. It is fought every minute, and progress can be achieved, even though at a minuscule level, but on a daily basis. Therefore, India as a major player in international politics with two hostile neighbors on its eastern and western border, must hold into perspective the scope, significance, and emerging dynamics of psychological war to keep herself abreast with other states at the international level on the security front.

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Growing India Israel Relations: A Threat to Sovereignty of Gulf States

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netanyahu modi

India has developed remarkable ties with the Gulf nations, particularly the GCC, over the past few decades. The significant trade between GCC nations and India and Israel are the main cause.  This gradualist approach and efforts on part of India is to include Israel in a broader Middle East policy. Under the Namenda Modi administration, since 2017 Israel is “special and normal” because India has avoided the negative repercussions and no longer have fears opened relations with the Jewish state.  

However, the point of concern is that India and Israel’s growing ties must not result in a coalition against Muslims. Modi and Netanyahu have many good reasons to rejoice over their thawing ties. But the gulf countries must discredit them if they use that proximity to advance a common narrative of extreme nationalism, exclusion, and labeling Muslims as the enemy.

Since October 25th, 2022, news reports have been making the rounds in the media revealing India’s involvement in global terrorism. Eight former Indian Navy officers have recently been detained in Qatar on suspicion of espionage and terrorism supported by the Indian government. These spy-officers were arrested in August 2022 for their involvement in international terrorism, espionage, and spying while working in Qatar for a private company and providing training and other services to the Qatari Emiri Navy.

Purnendu Tiwari, a retired (Naval commander) who received the Pravasi Samman 2019 (Highest Indian Award Abroad), was the brains behind the transfer of data from a major Gulf Muslim nation to Israel and India. It has been reported in the media that these Indian officers had access to sensitive information while working with Qatar’s enemies and the Defense, Security, and other government agencies. This is not the first time; India has been involved in espionage operations that violate foreign governments’ sovereignty, though it continues to deny it. International terrorism perpetrated by India has also frequently targeted Pakistan in the past. One such instance is the Kalbushan Yadav case.

The relationship between India and Israel is frequently described as a result of a natural convergence of ideologies between their respective ruling BJP and Liked parties. The BJP’s Hindutva and right-wing Zionism are two ethno-nationalist political movements that naturally discriminate against other races and religions because they are based on the majority populations they serve. In comparison to earlier, more liberal iterations of Hindutva and Zionism, both parties have become more racist. Therefore, by all means, India’s continued close strategic, economic, and security ties with Israel are more ideological than pragmatic.

India should make an effort to protect itself ideologically from the threat of Hindutva becoming the state’s guiding principle and a vehicle for incitement both domestically and abroad. Its exclusivist and discriminatory belief that India is only the property of Hindus is dangerous, especially at a time when Muslim minorities are increasingly being lynched in the name of cow vigilantism.

Today, the Gulf is an integral part of India’s ‘extended neighborhood’, both by way of geographical proximity and as an area of expanded interests and growing Indian influence. However, as a result of escalating anti-Muslim sentiment and the Hindutva movement’s flawed ideology, the BJP, government is arguably facing its most difficult diplomatic challenge in its nine years in office. A few years ago in 2020, Muslim nations were outraged by Nupur Sharma’s (a BJP official) insulting comments made during a TV debate about the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Islamic-majority nations voiced their opposition through tweets, official statements, and by summoning Indian diplomats. The BJP was compelled to take action against the party officials for posting a screenshot of offensive tweet.

Subsequently, Princess Hend al-Qassimi of the UAE then made a rare public statement in response to the rising Islamophobia among Indians, saying in a tweet, “I miss the peaceful India.” She did this after she specifically called out a tweet from an Indian resident of the UAE as being “openly racist and discriminatory,” reminding her followers that the penalty for hate speech could be a fine or even expulsion. These statements come after the Islamic world, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, urged India to act quickly to defend the rights of its Muslim minority and expressed concern about how the BJP treats Indian Muslims.

This suggests that the relationships New Delhi has worked so hard to build over the past few years drawing on the efforts of the previous administration is now seriously in jeopardy. India’s diplomatic achievement is starting to fall apart due to domestic developments that target its 200 million Muslims. The flagrant mistreatment of India’s Muslim communities now jeopardizes New Delhi’s carefully crafted Middle Eastern diplomacy, particularly with regard to the Gulf States.

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