AUKUS: An Anglo Alliance Against China?

In the recently announced AUKUS alliance, the US has joined the United Kingdom to arm Australia with nuclear-powered submarines to check China's rise. This announcement has not only upset the Chinese but it has also enraged France. The French are angry because AUKUS has scuttled Australia's earlier agreement to purchase diesel-powered submarines from France. 

President Biden Announcing Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) Alliance

India, a member of the anti-China QUAD alliance, has welcomed AUKUS. Although AUKUS appears to be de-emphasizing QUAD that includes India and Japan, the Indians see it as a green-light from the United States for them to pursue expansion of their nuclear submarine fleet.  China could respond to this growing threat by arming its ally Pakistan with nuclear-powered submarines

“This looks like a new geopolitical order without binding alliances,” said Nicole Bacharan, a researcher at Sciences Po in Paris. France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, called the decision a “knife in the back.” Benjamin Haddad, from the Atlantic Council, in Washington, said it had set relations between the US and France back to their lowest point since the Iraq War.  Bruno Tertrais, an analyst at France’s Foundation for Strategic Research think tank, went even further, calling it a “Trafalgar strike”,  a reference to the 1805 naval battle between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies that was won by the British. “To confront China, the United States appears to have chosen a different alliance, with the Anglo-Saxon world separate from France.” She predicted a “very hard” period in the old friendship between Paris and Washington, according to a report in the New York Times. 

Nicole Bacharan's reference to the "Anglo-Saxon world" is not just an angry outburst. A real life example of the Anglo-Saxon alliance is "Five Eyes", an intelligence alliance among Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden has called "Five Eyes" as a "supra-national intelligence organization that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries".  

Part of the motivation for the Anglo-Saxon AUKUS alliance is that France and the rest of the European Union do not want a direct confrontation with China. This was underscored in a recent policy paper titled the “E.U. Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific". French President Emanuel Macron has been talking about "European strategic autonomy".  He has spoken about an autonomous Europe operating “beside America and China.”  

Although the AUKUS announcement does not explicitly mention China, it has drawn a strong response from Beijing. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian has said,"The international community, including neighboring countries, have risen to question [Australia’s] commitment to nuclear non-proliferation." “China will closely monitor the situation", he added. 

A piece titled "China--a lonely superpower" by Henry Storey in Lowy Institute's "The Interpreter" has speculated about a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia, all members of Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO). Here is an excerpt of it:

"As the United States, United Kingdom and Australia move to form a new AUKUS grouping, various reports have emerged of a “new Quad” led by China and featuring Iran, Pakistan and Russia......Despite bombastic talk of an “iron brother” bond, Islamabad is deeply reluctant to become – or be perceived to be – a Chinese vassal state. These concerns explicitly motivated Pakistan to seek a moderate rapprochement with India and explain Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to rebuild ties with the United States".


Riaz Haq said…
France to work with India to promote ‘truly multilateral’ order
Foreign ministers of two countries agree to deepen strategic partnership as they discuss developments in the Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan.

France’s foreign affairs minister has agreed with his Indian counterpart to work on a programme to promote “a truly multilateral international order”, the French foreign ministry said.

Jean-Yves Le Drian and Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also agreed during a call to deepen their strategic partnership, “based on a relationship of political trust between two great sovereign nations of the Indo-Pacific”, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The two ministers agreed to meet in New York next week, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, to work “on a common programme of concrete actions to defend together a truly multilateral international order”, it added.

For his part, Jaishankar said in a Twitter post they discussed “developments in the Indo-Pacific and Afghanistan”.

France has pushed for several years for a European strategy for boosting economic, political and defence ties in the region stretching from India and China to Japan and New Zealand. The European Union unveiled this week its plan for the Indo-Pacific.

The phone call came a day after the French government recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after Canberra ditched a multibillion-dollar order for French submarines in favour of a partnership with Washington and London in the Indo-Pacific region.

Calling the cancellation “unacceptable behaviour”, Le Drian said in a statement on Friday the decision to recall the envoys, on request from President Emmanuel Macron, “is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements” made by Australia and the United States.

A White House official said on Friday that the US regrets France’s decision and will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve differences between the two countries.

Australia said on Saturday it also regrets France’s decision, adding that it values its relationship with France and will keep engaging with Paris on many other issues.
Riaz Haq said…
Is Biden normalizing Trump’s foreign policy? 8 months into #Biden's admin, some are shocked to discover that #US foreign policy is a faithful continuation of Donald #Trump’s and a repudiation of Barack #Obama’s. #Afghanistan #Cuba #Europe #Iran #Vaccines

Next week, on Sept. 21, President Biden will make his first speech to the U.N. General Assembly. This address comes at a crucial moment in the Biden presidency and will have a particular impact on how it is viewed abroad. After almost eight months of watching policies, rhetoric and crises, many foreign observers have been surprised — even shocked — to discover that, in area after area, Biden’s foreign policy is a faithful continuation of Donald Trump’s and a repudiation of Barack Obama’s.

Some of this dismay is a consequence of the abrupt and unilateral manner in which Biden withdrew American troops from Afghanistan. A German diplomat told me that, in his view, Berlin was consulted more by the Trump administration than by this one. Some are specific actions, such as the submarine deal, which has enraged the French.

But the growing concerns go well beyond any one episode. A senior European diplomat noted that, in dealings with Washington on everything from vaccines to travel restrictions, the Biden policies were “'America First’ in logic, whatever the rhetoric.” A Canadian politician said that if followed, Biden’s “Buy America” plans are actually more protectionist than Trump’s. Despite having criticized Trump’s tariffs repeatedly, Biden has kept nearly all of them. (In fact, many have been expanded since most exemptions to them have been allowed to expire.) Key Asian allies keep pressing Biden to return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — much praised by him when the Obama administration negotiated it. Instead, it has been shelved.

Another striking example of Biden’s surprisingly Trumpian foreign policy is the Iran deal, one of the landmark accomplishments of the Obama administration. Throughout his election campaign, Biden argued that Trump’s withdrawal from that agreement had been a cardinal error and that, as president, he would rejoin it as long as Iran would also move into compliance. His national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, described Trump’s reimposing of secondary sanctions against Tehran despite opposition from U.S. allies as “predatory unilateralism.”

But since he took office, Biden has failed to return to the deal and has even extended some sanctions. Having long argued against trying to renegotiate the deal, Biden officials now want to “lengthen and strengthen” it. So far, this Trump-Biden strategy has not worked. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium went from less than 300 kilograms in 2018 to more than 3,000 kilograms in May.

Or consider policy toward Cuba. The Obama administration was bold enough to tackle one of the most glaring failures in U.S. foreign policy. Having isolated and sanctioned Cuba since 1960 to produce regime change in that country, the United States had instead strengthened Cuba’s Communist government. Fidel Castro sparked nationalist fervor by blaming all of Cuba’s problems on the embargo and, far from being toppled, he ended up staying in power longer than any nonroyal leader on the planet.

As with Iran, the cost of these policies has been paid by ordinary people. One of the cruelest aspects of America’s sanctions policy is that it is so readily deployed because it satisfies special interest groups in Washington and is painless to Americans, but inflicts horrific damage on the poorest and most powerless — millions of ordinary Cubans and Iranians — who have no way to protest or respond
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After the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, some of the harshest criticism of America’s credibility has come — surprisingly — from India.

One prominent (Indian) commentator projects the end of “Pax Americana” and another argues that the Taliban’s victory constitutes the “first significant setback” of America’s “Indo-Pacific project.” These Indian strategists see the end of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan as a sign of unreliability. Without U.S. troops on the ground, New Delhi will be challenged to contend with a Taliban government that tilts toward Pakistan and China. Afghanistan historically provided safe haven to terrorist organizations that targeted India, and New Delhi considers the Taliban’s ascendance as a direct threat to its security interests. Other prominent Indian voices, however, take a different view on the meaning of the U.S. withdrawal. C. Raja Mohan, an influential Indian scholar, believes that the U.S. withdrawal can “accelerate current trends in India’s relations with the United States,” while even the Indian foreign minister insists that the United States is still “the premier power” that retains a “very unique sort of standing.

Debates over the reliability of the United States are commonplace in New Delhi. Earlier this year, for instance, Indian commentators argued over the significance of unilateral U.S. freedom of navigation operations in India’s exclusive economic zone and the slow pace of U.S. pandemic relief. Suspicion of U.S. intentions has a long history in India, dating back to the Cold War and America’s longstanding ties with Islamabad. In recent decades, however, New Delhi has been able to count on Washington when in crisis. Last year, the United States rapidly provided supplies, expedited equipment, and enhanced intelligence during India’s 2020 border crisis with China.

Where India remains uncertain is whether Washington will steadfastly support India’s long-term defense and deterrence needs. These lingering doubts have intensified with the looming threat of U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which India could be subject to when it takes delivery of the Russian S-400 air defense system at the end of 2021. These doubts could abate if the Biden administration is able to work with Congress to issue India a sanctions waiver, and allow strategic and market incentives, rather than punishments, to shape India’s defense partnership choices.
Riaz Haq said…
After the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, some of the harshest criticism of America’s credibility has come — surprisingly — from India.

Over decades of close relations with the littoral nations of the Indian Ocean, India has accrued trust and influence the United States cannot match. India’s clear statements that it is a multi-aligned state, and not part of a Western bloc, also strike a chord among some swing states in Southeast Asia that seek a similar balance. By defending the maritime commons and a rules-based order, India offers these states a permission structure to align their stances on the core concerns of international order, not because they are promoted by the U.S. allies, but precisely because they are promoted by influential like-minded states outside that Western alliance structure. Former U.S. officials acknowledge many Southeast Asian states are uncomfortable expressing their concerns with China out loud but, if India affirms a set of international rules alongside the United States and its allies, these states could be emboldened to become similarly forthright. India’s early success selling jointly made Indo-Russian anti-ship cruise missiles to Southeast Asian states (something that CAATSA sanctions could also constrain) further emboldens Southeast Asian states to defend their territorial waters, contributing to a more stable Asian balance of power.

Tools like CAATSA sanctions that seek to force India into the mold of a U.S. treaty ally either compromises India’s perception of U.S. reliability as an Indo-Pacific partner or compromises the valuable currency of legitimacy India’s multi-aligned status confers. Most likely, though, it undermines both Indian trust and the perception that it is truly an independent and sovereign actor, a two-fold loss for U.S. regional interests. Such reliability questions will only be compounded as other states with defense industrial ties to Russia, like Vietnam and Indonesia, would then fear that U.S. support is conditional on their subordination to every U.S. foreign policy.

Looking Ahead

Washington may underestimate how much of a collision course it is on with India. The threat of CAATSA sanctions has already cast a cloud over U.S.-Indian relations and imposes a drag on many aspects of the defense partnership. Far more than the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, sanctions will cause India to raise fundamental questions about America’s reliability for years to come. The Biden administration can avert this by taking Congress into consultation to grant India a sanctions waiver.

Rather than diminishing Indo-Russian relations, CAATSA sanctions ultimately threaten U.S. interests by undermining India’s capabilities to defend the rules-based order and willingness to deeply coordinate with the United States in the Indo-Pacific. India’s capacity to support that strategy means the United States should prioritize allowing India to strengthen its capabilities, regardless of origin, rather than seeking to force India into the framework of an American ally that operates U.S. military equipment. While India’s multi-alignment policy can be frustrating to deal with, and trades off with some depth of U.S.-Indian defense cooperation, it remains one of Washington’s best bets for burden-sharing, balancing, and unique political currency among numerous Indo-Pacific littoral states.
Riaz Haq said…
Why would #US give #Australia its #nuclear #submarines but not to #India? #Indian #Navy chiefs have raised the prospect of Indo-US collaboration on nuclear reactor propulsion #technology only to have been politely rebuffed by their US counterparts. #AUKUS

India’s quest for modern naval nuclear reactors, meanwhile, continues. When India approached France for nuclear submarine technology in 2017, it found Paris reluctant. In 2021, furious at being cut out of the submarine deal with Australia, Paris has recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington. It is now entirely possible that India might find in France another partner willing to share nuclear submarine technology.

On September 16, Indian Navy officials read the text of AUKUS, a US-UK-Australian military alliance, with a sense of dismay. The high point of AUKUS is that both the US and the UK will equip Australia to design and build up to eight nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) to counter the rising threat of China in the Indo-Pacific. China’s belligerence is a common concern for several countries in the region, especially the ‘Quad’ countries of US, Australia, Japan and India, who revived their grouping last year.

Indian Navy chiefs and naval veterans have raised the prospect of Indo-US collaboration on nuclear reactor propulsion technology only to have been politely rebuffed by their US counterparts. During a Track 2 dialogue held in Australia two years ago, the US side was emphatic in its refusal, recalls an Indian representative who was part of the event. The US Congress would never contemplate discussing anything to do with the transfer of nuclear propulsion, they were told.

This request might have sounded out of place considering that India already operates nuclear submarines—becoming the world’s sixth country to do so when it commissioned the INS Arihant in 2016. The Arihant, however, is an SSBN (nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine)—a slow-moving ‘bomber’ and a stealthy launch platform for nuclear weapons. The Arihant and three more SSBNs under construction are part of the Strategic Forces Command. What the navy wants are SSNs, which can perform a series of tactical missions, from escorting SSBNs to accompanying its carrier battle groups and hunting enemy warships.
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What are the differences between SSN, SSBN, and SSGN submarines? - Quora

Jason Heinisch

Surface Warfare Officer, US Navy
Answered 2 years ago · Author has 1K answers and 1.8M answer views


These are the real sharks. The fast attack, nuclear powered submarines are designed (originally) to hunt down enemy surface ships and cause havoc for surface forces. There role was later expanded to be able to hunt enemy submarines and now has expanded further to give them limited land attack capabilities. These ships have a heavy load of torpedos and a whole lot of speed.


These are the keys to the end of the world. These submarines carry around 24 ICBM missiles capable of traveling thousands of miles and each releasing multiple, independent nuclear warheads. There are always a number of them out to sea at any given time to serve as a leg of the “nuclear triad.” This means that their primary role is to serve as a detterant against nuclear strikes on us. The idea is that if a foreign power were to send nukes at us, one of these “boomers” would end their whole country. They are quiet, sneaky, and have two crews assigned to them to maximize the amount of time that they are out partrolling.


These are a hybrid test of the Navy. It was found in the modern era that it is nice to have a whole shit ton of Tomahawk missiles anywhere in the world so they took 4 of the SSBN’s and pulled out their ICBM’s and fitted each tube with a couple of tomohawks instead. These boats carry upwards of 132 tomahawk missiles and still possess the quiet speed of the SSBN. Additionally, they have been outfitted to deploy SEAL teams when needed anywhere in the world.
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No end to questions as Australia chooses nuclear submarines
By Ewen Levick | Melbourne | 17 September 2021

On Thursday morning Australians woke to perhaps the most significant defence capability news in recent memory: the Royal Australian Navy will acquire nuclear powered submarines under a new deal between Australia, the UK and the US.
The deal, known as AUKUS, was announced by US President Joe Biden, British PM Boris Johnson and PM Scott Morrison and also includes sharing information and expertise in AI, quantum technology, underwater systems, hypersonics and long-range strike capabilities, including Tomahawk cruise missiles for the Hobart class destroyers.

The repercussions are profound. First, the existing $90 billion Future Submarine contract with Naval Group – the largest military acquisition in Australian history – has been scrapped. In a statement, the company said the news was a 'major disappointment' and that it would work through the consequences with the Commonwealth.

Second, Australia's Collins class submarines will now likely need to stay in the water longer than anticipated, raising questions over whether Australia's naval power is sufficient to bridge the gap with the nuclear-powered boats. At least the full cycle docking (FCD) debate is now put to rest - South Australian Premier Steven Marshall confirmed on Thursday that it will take place in South Australia.

Third, the Australian public will now cast judgement on whether the security reasons for acquiring nuclear powered submarines outweigh this country's historical rejection of nuclear power.

Fourth, the acquisition signals that diesel powered submarines are now deemed insufficient for the military contingencies Australia expects to face, meaning those contingencies are changing much faster than anticipated even a year ago when the Force Structure Plan and Defence Strategic Update were released.
Riaz Haq said…
#AUKUS won’t impact #Quad. #US Def Sec Austin’s call came just ahead of #Modi’s visit to #Washington for first in-person #QuadSummit. #India's Singh expressed concern over lots of Humvees and helicopters to drones, night-vision devices left in #Afghanistan

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A #US #CIA agent reported #Havana syndrome symptoms (Hearing strange grating noises, headache, hearing loss, memory loss, and nausea) in #India on a recent visit to #NewDelhi. How did the perpetrator know the CIA director's secret visit schedule?

When CIA Director Bill Burns traveled to India earlier this month a member of his team reported symptoms consistent with Havana syndrome and had to receive medical attention, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

The incident set off alarm bells within the US government and left Burns "fuming" with anger, one source explained. Some officials at the CIA viewed the chilling episode as a direct message to Burns that no one is safe, including those working directly for the nation's top spy, two sources said.
The event marks the second time in less than a month that reported cases of the mysterious illness have impacted the international travel of top Biden administration officials. Last month Vice President Kamala Harris's visit to Vietnam was slightly delayed when multiple US personnel reported symptoms consistent with the syndrome just ahead of her visit, and at least two of them had to be medevaced.
Under Burns and the Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, the intelligence community has undertaken a wide-ranging investigation into the mysterious attacks, including a 100-day probe into the potential causes that began earlier this summer. While that investigation is expected to be concluded before the end of the year the timeframe could be somewhat adjusted and there is no public report planned, two sources said.
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#USAF Sec Kendall: If #China can’t beat the #US in the air it will try in #space . Kendall suggested China could pursue a global strike capability using space to deliver weapons anywhere on earth or in space. #spacewarfare - SpaceNews

"We are in a national, strategic, long-term competition with a strategic adversary," Kendall said.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall in a keynote speech Sept. 20 warned that China’s rapid advances in nuclear and conventional weapons will challenge the United States both in the air and space domains.

“While America is still the dominant military power on the planet today, we are being more effectively challenged militarily than at any other time in our history,” he said at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

“We are in a national, strategic, long-term competition with a strategic adversary,” Kendall said.

China’s advances in military and space technologies and the implications for U.S. national security was the dominant theme in Kendall’s address to a large audience of active-duty service members, government civilians and defense contractors.

He said China’s military modernization is focused on long-range precision-guided munitions, hypersonic missiles, space and cyber weapons.

“I have had the opportunity to catch up on the intelligence about China’s modernization programs. If anything, China has accelerated its pace of modernization,” Kendall said.

There is “strong evidence” that China is pursuing silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-guided munitions to strike targets on Earth and in space, he said. Some of that intelligence was revealed through open sources but Kendall also has received classified briefings.

During a briefing with reporters on Monday, Kendall described these revelations as “the most disturbing developments in nuclear proliferation I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

With regard to space weapons, he suggested China could pursue a global strike capability using space to deliver weapons, a concept modeled after the Soviet-era “fractional orbital bombardment system” conceived for the Cold War. The Soviets envisioned launching nuclear warheads into low Earth orbit and then directing them back down to targets on the ground.

Kendall said he had no specific knowledge that the Chinese are pursuing this but said “it could be possible” and suggested this idea would be attractive to the Chinese because the fractional orbital system is hard to detect by early-warning satellites.

He noted that he came of age in the Cold War and that history can repeat itself.

To stay ahead of China, the United States is going to have to “respond with a sense of urgency, but we also have to take the time necessary to make smart choices about our future and our investments,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…
DRDO has much to answer for its poor performance

Dinesh Kumar
Published : January 21, 2018, 12:37 am | Updated : January 21, 2018, 12:37 AM

On paper the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) comes across as formidable. It is currently engaged in about 70 projects that include making almost every major conventional weapon system and platform that major military powers are already manufacturing. From rifles and machine guns to tanks, fighter aircraft, airborne warning and control system, aircraft carrier and a wide array of missiles—surface-to-air, surface-to-surface and sub surface. In reality, the DRDO has much to answer for its performance.


Notwithstanding, however, India’s self-reliance continues to hover at 30% to 35% despite a series of measures taken by the government that has resulted in India continuing to remain overly import dependent for its defence requirements. India has been unable to increase its self-reliance capability from the current 30% to 35% despite a series of measures it has taken in the last two-and-a-half decades in particular. Much of even the existing self-reliance capability is based on licence manufacture and transfer of technology by foreign state-owned or private companies. What is more, the government itself has expressed doubts about the country’s capability to even develop core technologies in reports prepared by the parliamentary standing committee on defence.

The harsh reality is that India’s state-owned defence industry has been unable to even develop a rifle, let alone a tank or an aircraft engine. The DRDO has consistently been shifting the timeline for all projects, ranging from rifles to aircraft. Furthermore, the DRDO has been unable to successfully complete a single major project except for a few missile systems and the nuclear powered submarine, although the latter has several shortcomings in capability. The procurement process continues to be time consuming and the private industry remains mired in bureaucratic processes. Most of the private industry’s involvement currently is low scale and focused on making sub systems. It is yet to graduate to making complete weapon systems or highly sophisticated technologies as is the case with major defence companies in the US and Europe.

India’s mission to increase self-dependency for defence equipment to 70% remains a dream. In 1992, following the breakup of the Soviet Union, which had been India’s main source of weapons supply, catering to 70% of the country’s defence requirements, a defence ministry “Self Reliance Review Committee” conceived “a ten-year plan for Self-Reliance in Defence Systems”, which, starting from 1995, was aimed at increasing India’s self-reliance index to 70% by 2005. The defence ministry has now shifted its deadline to attain about 70% self-reliance by over two decades to 2027. But as of now, this seems unlikely in the next ten years
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Michele Flournoy, an undersecretary of defence in the Obama administration, has previously talked about sinking the entire Chinese Navy (PLAN) fleet in 72 hours.

In an article in the journal Foreign Affairs in June, Flournoy said that as Washington’s ability and resolve to counter Beijing’s military assertiveness in the region declined, the US needed a solid deterrence to reduce the risk of “miscalculation” by China’s leadership.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

“For example, if the US military had the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours, Chinese leaders might think twice before, say, launching a blockade or invasion of Taiwan; they would have to wonder whether it was worth putting their entire fleet at risk,” Flournoy said.

Defence and diplomatic observers said that realising that idea would come at huge cost but appointing its advocate would signal that the US would keep piling military pressure on China.

Collin Koh, a research fellow from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, said one point was certain no matter who took office.

“Irrespective of who’s in the White House, the ability to sustain credible deterrence and if necessary, defeat [People’s Liberation Army] aggression against Taiwan in line with the Taiwan Relations Act, would have been seen as a given,” Koh said.
Riaz Haq said…
China Could Invade Taiwan Under These Seven Scenarios, Defense Report Says

Taiwan has identified seven circumstances in which China could justify launching a military offensive against it, including a formal declaration of independence and the stationing of foreign troops on the island, according to a new white paper shown to lawmakers on Tuesday.

The August 31 report containing its annual assessment of People's Liberation Army (PLA) capabilities and ambitions was submitted to the legislature along with a proposal for an increase in defense spending in 2022.

Taiwan says it is already a functionally independent country under the formal name the Republic of China, with the current government stressing there is no need for any other declaration. The People's Republic of China claims Taiwan is part of its territory, but Beijing has never governed the island since its founding in 1949.
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US rules out adding India or Japan to security alliance with Australia and UK
"AUKUS? What would it become? JAUKUS? JAIAUKUS?" White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in lighter moments before giving answer to the question.

“On Friday…you’ll have the Australians there (for the Quad summit). But then you also have India and Japan. Would you envision for them a similar kind of military role that you’ve now defined for with the Australians,” a journalist asked.

“AUKUS? What would it become? JAUKUS? JAIAUKUS?” Psaki said in lighter moments before giving answer to the question.

The trilateral security alliance AUKUS, seen as an effort to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, will allow the US and the UK to provide Australia with the technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines for the first time.

China has sharply criticised the trilateral alliance, saying such exclusive grouping has no future and will gravely undermine regional stability and aggravate the arms race and hurt international non-proliferation efforts.

The move has also angered France, an European ally of the US, which said it had been “stabbed in the back” and has publicly expressed its outrage at the AUKUS alliance. It recalled its ambassador to the US and Australia after the AUKUS security deal was announced. France also lost a lucrative contract to build conventional submarines for Australia.

Meanwhile, in a bid to mend ties, President Joe and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron agreed on Wednesday that the “open consultations” among allies on matters of strategic interest to France would have helped in having a better situation.

Biden and Macron have decided to open a process of in-depth consultations, aimed at creating the conditions for ensuring confidence and proposing concrete measures toward common objectives, a joint statement said after their meeting.

“Of course, it’s an important topic in conversations with the French, with a range of countries who have a direct interest in the region,” Psaki said at the White House briefing on Wednesday.

Riaz Haq said…
#France Is Angry About #America’s #Nuclear Submarine Deal. To rebuild its “Indo-Pacific” regional strategy, France is now turning to #India, with which it already cooperates closely. #AUKUS

By Sylvie Kauffmann

Ms. Kauffmann, the editorial director of Le Monde, writes extensively about European and international politics.

France considers itself a “resident power” in the Indo-Pacific region, a crucial battleground for the rivalry between America and China, because it possesses several islands and maintains four naval bases there. It developed its own strategy for the region in 2018 and has been pushing since then for the European Union to come up with a similar project. Ironically, the European Union’s Indo-Pacific strategy was presented on the very day the deal, known as AUKUS, became public. The plan was, of course, drowned out by the uproar.


Australia was key to the French strategy. Beyond the sale of submarines, France foresaw a partnership with Australia that would add an important pillar to its presence in the region. Now the whole plan is in shambles. In the French view, the new program set up by the Americans in Australia is so enormous, encompassing cybersecurity and intelligence, that it doesn’t leave room for any other initiative. To rebuild its regional strategy, France is now turning to India, with which it already cooperates closely.

PARIS — Make no mistake. This is a crisis, not a spat.

The new partnership announced last week between the United States, Britain and Australia, in which Australia would be endowed with nuclear-powered submarines, has left the French angry and in shock. And not just because of the loss of their own deal, signed in 2016, to provide Australia with submarines.

French officials say they have been stonewalled and duped by close allies, who negotiated behind their backs. The sense of betrayal is so acute that President Emmanuel Macron has uncharacteristically opted to keep silent on the issue, delegating the expression of a very public rage to his otherwise quiet foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Asked on public television whether President Biden’s behavior was reminiscent of his predecessor’s, Mr. Le Drian replied, “Without the tweets.”

The fallout is about much more than a scrapped business deal, Gallic pride and bruised egos. This diplomatic bombshell has crudely exposed the unwritten rules of great-power competition, in which France cannot be a player unless it carries the weight of the European Union behind it. The past week has been about 21st-century geopolitics and the brutal adjustment of old alliances to new realities.

Riaz Haq said…
India Is the Weakest Link in the #Quad. #Australia is all in to counter #China. So are the #US and #Japan. That leaves #India, where #NewDelhi may be getting cold feet after #Ladakh. #IndoPacific #AUKUS #QuadSummit #Modi #Biden

Since the Trump administration’s announcement that it seeks a “free and open” Indo-Pacific, observers have spilled much ink on the revival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, to achieve this objective. The Quad—an informal consultative mechanism comprising the United States, Australia, Japan, and India—is quietly opposed to China’s continued militarization of and attempts to control strategic waterways throughout the region, namely the South China Sea. The group met most recently last November, and again in June, after 10 years of inactivity.

But the fate of the Quad is still fragile. Indeed, the first attempt at the Quad died on the vine because then-Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd withdrew over concerns that the Quad needlessly antagonized China. Today, however, following a burst of concern about Chinese influence, Australia is all in. So are the United States and Japan. That leaves India, where New Delhi may be getting cold feet.

Today, however, following a burst of concern about Chinese influence, Australia is all in. So are the United States and Japan. That leaves India, where New Delhi may be getting cold feet.

For starters, India seemed less enthusiastic about the Quad following the Wuhan summit. In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Wuhan, China, for an informal summit. Xi’s decision proved to be exceptionally deft diplomacy. Bilateral relations had reached a nadir in 2017 primarily stemming from the monthslong military standoff at Doklam, which probably hastened India’s decision to re-engage the Quad in the first place. Although the two leaders did not issue a joint statement—underscoring their deep differences—they also agreed to find ways of working together.
Riaz Haq said…
#India is the weakest link in #QUAD. It's a very poor country with a per capita income of only 3% to 5% of the other 3; a weak state with limited capacity to govern a big population; and a soft state without the ability to make & implement tough decisions.

The excitement, expectations and hopes of the Modi government in 2014, with promises of “minimum government, maximum governance” and “sabka sath, sabka viswas, sabka vikash” (with all, with everyone’s trust, development for all), are fading memories. On June 1, India’s official COVID-19 deaths per million was 238 compared to the world average of 457, the U.S. at 1,832, the U.K. at 1,873 and Brazil reporting 2,163.
The crux of the problem thus is not the unmitigated spread of COVID-19 but the lack of a fit-for-purpose public health infrastructure and the availability of medical supplies, equipment and drugs. India is a sobering reminder of why a strong economy is not an optional luxury but an essential requirement for good health.
Modi’s neglect of urgent economic and governance reforms in addition to requirements for a good public health infrastructure — choosing instead to go into a semipermanent campaign mode in every state election and focusing on a Hindu nationalist agenda — further aggravated the COVID-19 misery.
People’s health is vitally dependent on a healthy economy that gives the government the financial wherewithal to create an efficient universal-access public health system. No country achieves better health outcomes by becoming poorer.
The pandemic, for its part, hastened an economic decline that had already begun. According to World Bank figures, India’s annual GDP growth tumbled from 8.3% in 2016 to 4.2% in 2019. It contracted by 7.3% in 2020–2021 and the 2021 GDP forecast has been downgraded by around 17% — the worst among the G20 countries.
India got the worst of both worlds: a smashed economy and a massive COVID-19 toll that peaked in May with the official count recording nearly 400,000 daily new cases and over 4,000 daily new deaths. Recovery will be a long haul on both the disease and the economy front.
The continuing legal fight with Vodafone over retrospective tax claims has eroded investor confidence. The goods and services tax suffered from design flaws and was badly implemented. The voodoo economics of demonetization was a disaster. And turning inwards by rejecting the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signaled lack of faith in India’s competitiveness.
Slogans and sycophantic cheer squads can neither hide nor offset these pathologies. India has plummeted from the world’s fastest growing major economy when Modi took over, to the fastest shrinking.
The nation’s democratic credentials are also eroding, as recorded in annual surveys by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, the U.S. Freedom House report and Sweden’s Varieties of Democracy project.
The methodological flaws of any one report can be questioned but the broad trendlines converge in a compelling narrative of reverses on democratic institutions, practices and discourse. Domestic unity has also been strained by injecting the poison of religious tensions into what had been a remarkably stable set of live-and-let-live arrangements for decades.
In a provocative paper in 2009, Lant Pritchett, then at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, described India as a “flailing state.” Using examples from health, education and driver’s licenses, he said the decision-making “head” was disconnected from the “arms and legs” of implementation and the state was flailing helplessly with the world’s highest malnutrition rate, immunization rates below African countries’ and infant mortality worse than Bangladesh. Confused, chaotic, wracked by pain and tossed about helplessly — Pritchett accurately foreshadowed India’s coronavirus experience.

Riaz Haq said…
For #India’s Military, a Juggling Act on Two Hostile Fronts. Tensions with #China and #Pakistan stretch #Indian military, while the fall of #Afghanistan to the #Taliban removes a potential ally. #Modi #QUAD #AUKUS #Ladakh #economy

Since a major war in 1962, India and China have largely contained disputes through talks and treaties. Flare-ups happen, because unlike with Pakistan where the boundary is clearly defined on maps, India and China have not been able to agree on the specific demarcation of the 2,100-mile frontier referred to as the Line of Actual Control. Indian officials say their Chinese counterparts have been reluctant, preferring to keep the border’s uncertainties as a “pressure tactic.”


The Indian military establishment has remained more cautious than Mr. Modi, its warnings against a resurgent China going back to the mid-2000s. The military was particularly vulnerable in eastern Ladakh, where China has terrain advantage — the Tibetan plateau makes moving troops easier — and better infrastructure on its side of the border.


For decades, the Indian military has been carrying out huge logistical operations in the mountains. It transports hundreds of tons of matériel every day to not only sustain 75,000 troops guarding against Pakistan and China, but also to stock up for six months of winter when many of the roads close. At the Siachen Glacier — referred to as the battleground on the roof of the world — Indian forces have maintained a face-off with Pakistan for more than three decades.

During last year’s clashes, India benefited from an element of luck, since the tensions escalated during warmer weather.

“Had this happened sometime in September, we would have to fly in troops. That was the only option, because the passes have ice over it — 40 foot of ice,” said A.P. Singh, a retired major general who led logistics operations in Ladakh.

But India will have a hard time sustaining its increased presence on two fronts.

A sudden rush of tens of thousands of additional troops meant shifting personnel and resources not only from the reserves, but also from the units at the Pakistani front.

Deployment in the highest of altitudes tremendously increases transportation costs. It also requires about 48 items of specialized gear, 18 of which — such as snow clothing, snow boots, alpine sleeping bags, ice axes — are critical, General Singh said. The cost of building outposts is five times higher in eastern Ladakh than in the plains.

“When the boys moved in, it was not that ‘I am going for patrolling for 15 days, and I am back, and I will carry my arctic tent on my back.’ Everyone realized that if something happens, you are going in for good,” General Singh said. “It’s cost the country economically.”

Riaz Haq said…
#US is 2 oceans away. #China has a 2100-mile land border border with #India, and #Pakistan has a 2000-mile land border with it. #Modi needs to tread carefully or his country could become just a roadkill. #QUAD or #AUKUS won't save it.Remember #Afghanistan?
Riaz Haq said…
That goes beyond the loss of a giant contract, painful as that is. France sets great store by its role in the Indo-Pacific region, where it keeps some 7,000 troops and has nearly 2m citizens, including in its island territories such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia. It has been assiduously building what it thought was an ever-closer relationship with Australia. As recently as August 30th the communiqué from high-level Australian-French ministerial consultations spoke of “the strength of our strategic partnership” across many areas, and stressed “the importance of the Future Submarine programme”. Yet neither at that summit nor at the many others over the months when aukus was in the works was France given any notice of it. The “six months of secrecy” was “quite a performance,” says François Heisbourg, a French foreign-policy expert who through his think-tank had for years been involved in cultivating connections with Australia.

The fallout in France is one of several caveats to what otherwise appears to be a strategic coup for the three partners in aukus. The administration’s idea of working together with allies to check China makes sense. But a major split with a key ally—one with serious Indo-Pacific interests—hardly helps. Creative efforts will now be needed from the aukus squad to try to mitigate the damage.

Second, there is what this says about American diplomacy. The French were bound to be upset, but the handling of them was graceless. That comes on top of the Biden administration’s poor handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. One example of foreign-policy incompetence looks unfortunate; two in quick succession look like a pattern. That is not a good omen for the management of the relationship with China, which involves elements of military competition, economic laissez-faire and collaboration over, say, climate change and arms control.

Third, American foreign policy has often been criticised, including by Mr Biden, for placing too much emphasis on the military dimension and not enough on diplomacy and other tools. The nuclear-submarine initiative is a big move on the defence front, but China is increasingly powerful in the region on the economic and financial fronts. China responded to aukus by criticising its “cold-war mentality”. The next day it applied to join the cptpp, an 11-country transpacific trade pact that America helped to instigate as a way to limit China’s influence, but then abandoned.

There is no quick fix for America’s mistakes in economic policy. Indeed, the rivalry between China and America, together with its allies, will play out across many areas over many years. It is the defining geopolitical challenge of the 21st century. And now in aukus it has acquired a new landmark.
Riaz Haq said…
The U.S. Military 'Failed Miserably' in a Fake Battle Over Taiwan

The U.S. military reportedly "failed miserably" in a series of wargame scenarios designed to test the Pentagon's might. The flunked exercises, which took place last October, are a red flag that the way the military has operated for years isn't going to fly against today's enemies.

Specifically, a simulated adversary that has studied the American way of war for decades managed to run rings around U.S. forces, defeating them decisively. "They knew exactly what we're going to do before we did it," Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed at an industry event.

While Hyten did not disclose the name of the wargame (it's classifed), he did say that one of the exercises focused exclusively on a brawl between U.S. and Chinese forces fighting over Taiwan—a scenario that seems increasingly likely.

He says there are two main takeaways for the U.S. military. The first involves the concentration of combat power—the American military, like many armed forces, tends to concentrate ships, planes, and ground forces for maximum efficiency and effect. Concentrating forces allows the military to mass firepower, operate more efficiently, and more easily resupply while in the field. In other words, it's easier for everyone on the good guys' side.

But the problem with concentration of mass is that it makes it easier for the enemy to find and kill you. If an enemy knows that American carriers always operate together, for instance, and an enemy discovers one carrier, it then knows a second carrier is close by. By the same token, an Air Force wing of 72 fighter jets operating from a huge, sprawling air base makes it easier to efficiently arm, fuel, and service the fighters, but destroying the base will take out the entire wing. And an Army infantry battalion concentrated in two one-kilometer grid squares is easy to control, but will suffer heavy casualties to artillery barrages.

Another takeaway is that the U.S. military's information dominance is no longer guaranteed, and would probably be in doubt in a future conflict. Since 1991, most of America's enemies have been relatively low-tech armies without the aid of satellites, long-range weapons, cyber forces, or electronic warfare capabilities. As a result, the U.S. military's access to communications, data, and other information has been very secure during wartime, giving friendly forces a huge advantage.

That won't happen in the next war. Potential adversaries Russia and China both have a strong motivation—and more importantly, capability—to attack the Pentagon's information infrastructure. Both countries are aware that U.S. forces are heavily reliant on streams of data, and in a future conflict will attack, jam, and disable the nodes that distribute that information (such as satellites and aircraft-based node) whenever possible.

What does that mean for U.S. forces? Hyten says that the Pentagon is pushing a new concept known as "expanded maneuver," and wants the entire military to adopt it by 2030.

Expanded maneuver is likely exactly what it sounds like—a greater use of mobility to keep U.S. forces out of the enemy's gunsights. Two aircraft carriers, for example, might sail a thousand miles apart while still working together. A wing of fighter jets might be spread out among half a dozen smaller airfields so the destruction of one won't mean the loss of all 72 warplanes. An infantry battalion's subunits might operate farther apart from one another and stay on the move to avoid destruction by enemy artillery.

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