31 January 2015

Brunei: Acting Deputy Commander RBAF attended the third IISS Fullertion Forum

FULLERTON HOTEL, SINGAPORE, 27 January 2015 - The Acting Deputy Commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), First Admiral Dato Seri Pahlawan Abdul Aziz bin Haji Mohd Tamit attended the third series of the Fullerton Forum: The Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting in Singapore on 25 – 27 January 2015. The Fullerton Forum was organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in support and preparation of the Shangri-La Dialogue process.

During the opening of the meeting, the Defence Minister of the Republic of Singapore, Dr Ng Eng Hen, addressed the attendees of this year’s forum with a keynote. In his speech, he encouraged the Fullerton Forum to focus on to address challenges and he suggested few notions such as; to improve multilateralism to enhance regional security; to focus on practical measures to tackle the HADR security challenges and to deliver concrete outcomes; and to enhance collective efforts to build real capacity to respond to challenges quickly and effectively.

Joining the Acting Deputy Commander RBAF to the Fullerton Forum, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Policy and Development Ministry of Defence, Awang Abu Sufian bin Haji Ali and the Head of Research, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, Ministry of Defence, Ampuan Yura Kasumawati binti Adnan.

Brunei: ASEAN Defense Senior Officials' Meeting Working Group Plus (ADSOM-PLUS WG)

JOHOR BAHRU, MALAYSIA Saturday, 24 January 2015 – The ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group Plus (ADSOM-Plus WG) was held at the Pulai Spring Resort, Johor Bahru, Malaysia today. Chairing the meeting was Dr. Jafri bin Abdul Jalil, Undersecretary, Policy and Strategic Planning Division, Ministry of Defence, Malaysia. The Head of Delegation from Brunei Darussalam was Haji Adi Ihram bin Dato Paduka Haji Mahmud, Acting Director of Defence Policy, Ministry of Defence as the Brunei Darussalam’s ADSOM-Plus WG Leader, and accompanied by research officers from the Directorate of Defence Policy.

The Meeting briefed on the progress and achievements of the ADMM-Plus platform, notably the six Experts’ Working Groups (EWGs) – EWG on Counter Terrorism, EWG on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, EWG on Humanitarian Mine Action, EWG on Maritime Security, EWG on Military Medicine, and EWG on Peacekeeping Operations.

Brunei Darussalam and New Zealand, as the co-chair of the EWG on Maritime Security, reported on its development towards contributing and promoting practical maritime security cooperation, capacity building and enhancing interoperability among ADMM-Plus Member States.

News Story: PLA plays down anti-Japan sentiment in WWII commemorative parade

Chinese military insiders have played down the nationalistic and anti-Japanese connotations of the nation's upcoming military parade this year, saying that the parade is a regular event mainly for boosting morale and achieving internal solidarity.

"Admittedly, the parade can augment the nation's stance in the confrontation with Japan, which, however, is by no means its major purpose," remarked Rear Admiral Yang Yi of the Chinese navy, cited by Chinese-language Global Times. The parade will be held to commemorate Japan's official surrender marking the end of World War II.

Yang said that the nation will hold military parades more frequently in the future, as previously they have been held once every ten years, which is much longer than most other nations.

Read the full story at Want China Times

News Story: Japan, China agree to launch maritime, aerial crisis management mechanism

The Chinese defense ministry said on Thursday that China and Japan have agreed to launch a maritime and aerial crisis management mechanism at an early date.

Defense ministry spokesperson Yang Yujun told a monthly press briefing that a consensus had been reached on various aspects in talks in Tokyo this month, including reaffirming previous agreements on the goal, constitution, operation and the technical issues involved in the mechanism; agreeing to change the name from "maritime crisis management mechanism" to "maritime and aerial crisis management mechanism," so as to better conduct consultations on maritime and aerial issues.

"The two sides also agreed that conditions for launching the mechanism have been met and agreed to launch it as soon as possible," said Yang.

Both sides have also reached consensus on telecommunications norms, he said.

Read the full story at Want China Times

Editorial: India - The Austria-Hungary of the 21st Century?

By Franz-Stefan Gady

If it heeds the lessons of history, the US would do well not to foster close ties with India in the next few years.

During this week’s podcast I briefly mentioned an idea that I would like to explore a bit further: The striking similarities between the strategic position of India in the 21stcentury with that of the now vanished empire of Austria-Hungary in the 19th and early 20th century. I’ve published similar pieces looking at this analogy previously at The Huffington Post and China-US Focus, but I thought I would repost some of my observations here as well.
To this day, India’s foreign policy, much like Austria-Hungary’s  is – more than most other emerging titans – constrained by a quest for internal security and a deep introspection – making it a reluctant power and conducting a more or less ‘introverted foreign policy’.
The Austrian Empire, like India, was considered to be a bridging power between East and West for much of its existence. It was a multi-national empire, more concerned with its internal security and stability than with great power politics, and after humiliating defeats in 1859 and 1866, reluctant to use military power to achieve its political objectives (for most of the late 19th century-early 20th period it spent comparatively little on military defense). As with the Sino-Indian war of 1962, these defeats lead to various military and political reforms culminating in the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867 and the establishment of a dual monarchy. Also, like India, Austria-Hungary was held together by an omnipotent, if slightly inefficient, bureaucracy. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: US-India Cooperation on Naval Aviation - Game Changer?

CGI of India's next Aircraft Carrier: INS Vikrant (File Photo)

By Robert Farley

India and the United States will cooperate on naval aviation following U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent visit to New Delhi.

One of the potentially most interesting developments to emerge from President Obama’s recent trip to India was news that the United States and India have decided to embark on cooperative efforts with respect to naval aviation.  Of course, India and the United States already enjoy some degree of collaboration, as the U.S. has assisted the Indian Navy with pilot training and deck management for several years. Still, the open discussion of this relationship implies a more expansive, longer-term cooperative framework than has previous been clear.
India has taken a much different road with its carrier force than the United States. It’s current carriers are transplants from the United Kingdom and Russia, albeit with significant modification.  Instead of pursuing a common design for its three carriers, the Indian Navy has settled on three different designs, with potentially serious implications for compatibility and air crew training. Both INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant will use a ski-jump to launch aircraft, a system never employed on a U.S carrier. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Relax, US-China Military Exchanges Are Fine

By Ankit Panda

Recent reports that U.S.-China military exchanges are paused have been rebuffed by both governments.

On Wednesday, the esteemed Wall Street Journal ran a report titled “Pentagon Pauses New Exchanges With China,” with a subtitle stating that the two countries would not hold a new military exchange “until Washington and Beijing can agree on rules for encounters between warplanes.” The issue of Chinese flybys has been one of major concern for the Pentagon. Late last summer, a Chinese jet flew perilously close to a U.S. P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, almost causing a mid-air collision reminiscent of the 2001 Hainan Island incident. Still, the primary contention in the WSJ report, that new military exchanges have been “paused,” appears to be untrue based on reactions from both governments.
The WSJ report clarifies that the delay “doesn’t affect existing military-to-military exchanges.” Instead, the primary issue of contention is a potential U.S. carrier visit to China. Citing “officials,” the WSJ notes that “U.S. and Chinese naval officials had proposed the U.S. send an aircraft carrier on a visit to China, but Pentagon officials have deferred any decision until work on an air-intercepts agreement is complete.”  As far as the carrier visit is concerned, neither the Pentagon nor the Chinese defense ministry have made direct comments. However, the report’s implication (particularly by way of the headline) that multiple future exchanges have been stalled drew reactions and repudiations from both U.S. and Chinese defense spokespersons.

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China's Navy to Send More Ships to the Indian Ocean

By Franz-Stefan Gady

Recent reports of PLAN naval movements have many analysts worried.

During a press conference on January 29, a spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of National Defense (MND), announced that China will step up its deployment of a range of warships in the Indian Ocean. IHS Jane’s reports that Senior Colonel Yang Yujun, after being asked a question on PLAN submarine movements in the Indian Ocean, tried to downplay Chinese naval activities in the region, characterizing them as “normal” and emphasizing that “there is no need to read too much into them.”
“[T]he Chinese military has sent various kinds of naval ships to the Gulf of Aden and the waters off the Somali coast to conduct escort missions since 2008. And in the process, we have notified relevant countries of the escort missions of the PLA naval ships, including the PLA naval submarines,” Yang said in his remarks. “In the future, the Chinese military will send different kinds of naval ships to take part in the naval escort missions in accordance with the situation and the requirement to fulfill the task.”
The presence of Chinese submarine forces in the ocean has the other great regional power, India, worried. Indian military officers have stated that the deployment of nuclear subs would cross a redline and trigger a naval arms race. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Graft Busters Take Aim at China's Military

By Shannon Tiezzi

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has the PLA under the microscope.

China’s Minister of National Defense held its first press conference of 2015 on Thursday. Aside from a brief detour to talk about Chinese naval deployments in the Indian Ocean (which my colleague Franz covered earlier today), the bulk of the questions and answers focused on a very different theme: corruption. Defense ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun fielded three separate questions on anti-corruption efforts within the PLA, giving lengthy responses each time.
PLA corruption has been an issue of pressing concern for some time now, but especially since Xi Jinping assumed power. Xi has identified corruption in general as an existential threat to the Chinese Communist Party, but military corruption is a threat not only to the CCP but to the country as a whole. As General Liu Yuan put it in an April 2012 speech, “no country can defeat China … only our own corruption can destroy us and cause our armed forces to be defeated without fighting.”  For this reason, as I’ve argued previously, anti-corruption within the PLA is an important (but often overlooked) aspect of China’s military modernization drive.
The anti-corruption drive within the PLA has already claimed two high-profile “tigers”: General Xu Caihou, a former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, and General Gu Junshan, a former deputy chief of the PLA General Logistics Department. As Zi Yang noted back in November 2014, however, in general, the anti-corruption drive was not moving forward as vigorously within military ranks as it was within the civilian realm. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China’s Lawful Position on the South China Sea

By Greg Austin

China is not helping itself by refusing to define its understanding of the nine-dashed line.

Researchers at a key government-funded institute in China appear to have contradicted their director to lay out a moderate, or at least undecided, position for China on the so-called nine-dash line in a recent edition of Eurasia Review. This line, which was first drawn by the Nationalist government of China before 1949, appears to demarcate the entire South China Sea as subject to China’s jurisdiction — beyond the normal provisions of international law. The article appeared several months after President Xi ordered PLA hawks back into line in late September 2014 on three sets of issues: the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the India China border.
At the official level, China has not helped its case by refusing for almost seven decades to be totally clear on what maritime jurisdiction it is claiming with its nine-dash line. This has prompted anxieties and diplomatic ructions, culminating in a formal Philippines challenge to China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration on January 22, 2013. The Office of the Geographer in the U.S. Department of State also took up the issue in a December 2014 study, “China: Maritime Claims in the South China Sea (PDF)”, in its long standing series,Limits in the Seas.
The new article from China, in fact just a short op-ed, was authored by Ye Qiang and Jiang Zongqiang, who are research fellows at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies in China. They say that China wants no more rights than are accorded it under the Law of the Sea Convention as well as customary international law. They say that the government is still “evaluating whether or not to exercise each specific right, and the scope of the rights as well as the manner to exercise. The piece argues, “These are the reasons why China has not yet clarified the title of rights within the ‘dash-line.’” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China’s Alternative Diplomacy

By Zheng Wang

China has just made its biggest foreign policy adjustment in 25 years.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has certainly kept China experts busy since he came to power in 2012. Xi has made major changes to Chinese policies, domestic and foreign. These policies have been quite different from those of his predecessors, keeping China scholars occupied explaining their meaning and implications. This has been particularly evident in the foreign policy sphere. China watchers have been combing through the details of the new initiatives and proposals Xi has recently introduced, such as “One Belt, One Road” (1B1R) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Even though these new initiatives are still under construction, the fact is that this has been the biggest foreign policy shift in Beijing since 1989. The bigger question here is, what is the grand strategy behind Xi’s plans?
I call it China’s “alternative diplomacy.” Xi’s strategy is a sophisticated and progressive one. Instead of directly challenging the current existing international institutions, the Chinese are trying to create new platforms that Beijing can control or substantially influence. Through these new initiatives, Beijing aims to create a new international environment that is more favorable to China, one that will limit strategic pressures from the United States. Beijing wants to gradually take progressive, but not provocative, steps forward in these endeavors. On the surface these steps aim only to further economic development enterprises, and Beijing is trying to promote them as pure economic and trade initiatives. Below the surface, however, Beijing is trying to work for China’s greater security and long-term strategic objectives.
During last November’s APEC meeting, Beijing presented its proposals for regional integration. These included the creation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the AIIB. The FTAAP is basically a Chinese alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); rather than directly working against and undermining the TPP, it’s a Chinese version of the proposed trade bloc. Similarly, the AIIB is a Chinese version of the Asia Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank. While the new institutions will be open to all and multilateral, they are to be centered within China. Beijing wants to maintain influence and control within the organizations, and provide incentives for other states to participate. Instead of withdrawing from existing institutions and systems, China is trying to progress one step at a time. In creating its own alternatives, China maintains more control, and can make a greater impact. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

30 January 2015

Think Tank: U.S. 7th Fleet CO - Japanese Patrols of South China Sea ‘Makes Sense’

<< PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 10, 2011) The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Kurama (DDH 144) leads a formation with the Arleigh-Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Gridley (DDG 101) and USS Stockdale (DDG 106). Stockdale and Gridley are underway with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group on a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released) [Image: by Flickr user Official U.S. Navy Imagery]
By: Sam LaGrone

The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet said Japan should start patrolling the South China Sea and said China’s claims in the region are resulting in, “unnecessary friction” with neighbors.

In a Thursday interview with new service Reuters, Vice Adm. Robert Thomas said Japan could provide a, “stabilizing function” as tensions resulting from overlapping regional claims rise and China’s fishing and naval fleets continue to grow.

“I think that [Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces] operations in the South China Sea makes sense in the future,” he said.
“In the South China Sea, frankly, the Chinese fishing fleet, the Chinese coastguard and the (navy) overmatch their neighbors.”

AUS: Defence Minister announces the gifting of two Landing Craft to the Philippines

Former HMAS Tarakan (Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

The Australian Government will gift two recently decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy vessels, including a package of spare parts, to the Philippines Government, the Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews announced today.

Mr Andrews said the former Royal Australian Navy vessels HMAS Tarakan and Brunei would be gifted to the Philippine Navy after being refurbished with new safety and navigation equipment.

“I expect the vessels will be refitted and ready for hand over in May 2015,” Mr Andrews said.

The Landing Craft will be commissioned in the Philippines Navy and will provide additional intra-theatre sealift capability.

AUS: Australia assists Afghanistan counter improvised explosive devices

Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews today announced that Australia has commenced delivering counter improvised explosive device equipment to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) as part of Australia’s contribution to the Afghan National Army (ANA) Trust Fund.

This project involves providing low cost, robust and lightweight force protection systems for the ANSF to counter improvised explosive devices, for use by dismounted personnel and for fitting to light vehicles.

This technology was developed by Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation under a program sponsored by Defence’s Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Task Force.

Mr Andrews said the Defence Materiel Organisation’s Australian Military Sales Office was working alongside Australian defence industry who will manufacture the equipment for our Afghan partners.

USA: Mustin, John S. McCain Sailors Strengthen Partnerships in Korea

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Wendy Wyman, CNFK Public Affairs

<< Republic of Korea Navy sailors welcome USS Mustin's (DDG 89) arrival in Busan, Jan. 29. (Photo courtesy of ROK Navy)

BUSAN, Republic of Korea - Sailors from the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Mustin (DDG 89) and USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) are strengthening partnerships with the Republic of Korea navy during a port visit to Busan, Jan 29 - Feb 2.

During the port visit, crew members plan to conduct warfighting skills engagements and exchanges with their ROK Navy counterparts and visit local sites in the Busan community.

"This opportunity for bilateral engagement allows us to foster existing friendships while emphasizing shared tactics and technology between the U.S. and ROK navies," said Lt. Richard Ray, operations officer aboard USS John S. McCain.

USA: US, China Announce Defense Talks

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2015 – U.S. and Chinese defense officials will meet at the Pentagon Feb. 5 for the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, according to a Pentagon official.

David Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, will host the talks with Rear Admiral Li Ji, deputy director of the Chinese ministry of national defense foreign affairs office, according to Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Lt. Col. Jeff Pool.

The U.S. delegation will include representatives from the Joint Staff, U.S. Pacific Command, the State Department, and the National Security Council staff, Pool said, while the Chinese delegation will include representatives of the Ministry of National Defense and relevant military bodies.

The meeting, the spokesman said, is an important component of the broader program of engagements between the two nations' militaries, which seeks to foster sustained and substantive dialogue, deepen practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest, and focus on enhancing risk reduction.

This year's talks, he added, will emphasize the positive momentum sustained in the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship over the past year, which included historic agreements to establish new confidence building measures between the two militaries, and endorse the robust program of engagements planned for the rest of the year.

News Story: China refuses to pay remaining US$14mn to Ukraine for landing craft

After the Russian annexation of Crimea, China decided to pay the remaining US$14 million for the purchase of Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft to Crimea's Feodosia Shipbuilding Company and Fiolent plant instead of the central government of Ukraine, according to the Canada-based Kanwa Defense Review.

The contract, worth US$315 million, was signed by China and Ukraine back in 2009 for Kiev to provide four Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft to Beijing. Under this contract, Feodosia Shipbuilding Company and Fiolent Plant were responsible for building two of the craft while the remaining vessels would be built in China. After the delivery of the first landing craft built in Ukraine in April 2013, China still owed US$14 million to Kiev for the second vessel constructed in Crimea.

Read the full story at Want China Times

Editorial: Julie Bishop Visits Afghanistan, UAE

By Helen Clark

While Australia’s PM was embroiled in controversy, his foreign minister was visiting Afghanistan.

While Tony Abbott was making world headlines for another screaming misstep, his foreign minister Julie Bishop was in Afghanistan renewing Australia’s commitment there on a surprise Australia Day visit.
Bishop met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and celebrated the holiday with Australian servicemen and women stationed there, who number some 400. The president apparently asked Western forces to stay in the country, giving what Bishop termed a “compelling case.”
The Australian foreign minister said of her hour-long discussion with the president: “If Afghanistan is able to create a functioning nation … then that will be a significant breakthrough in the fight against global terrorism.” Bishop has made the fight against global terrorism and homegrown terrorism one of her platforms as foreign minister. Last November she used her address at the United Nations Security Council, which Australia then headed, to speak on terror threats and the need for international cooperation. “Terrorists are younger, more violent, more innovative and highly interconnected. They are masters of social media – to terrorize and to recruit – and are very tech savvy. They incite each other. They communicate their propaganda and violence directly into our homes to recruit disaffected young men and women.”
Last year Australia began again to worry about its domestic security after a large anti-terror raid (which led to one conviction) in September in Sydney that seemed a fine piece of security theater, reports of many Australians travelling to Syria to join the Islamic State – including one man who brought his young sons – and a hostage situation in Sydney that left three, including the gunman, dead. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The Generation Gap on Korean Unification

By Steven Denney

Young South Koreans have a new sense of distance from North Korea — and a corresponding apathy toward unification.

Given the rapidity of economic growth and the speed of political and social changes in South Korea since the republic’s founding, it should come as no surprise that generational differences are sometimes significant. Recent scholarship focuses on some of these differences, taking particular note of the “new” national identity taking shape among the 20s age cohort, sometimes referred to as the yishipdae. Survey data, released in a report (PDF) earlier this week by the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, points to the crystallization of a new South Korean national identity vis-a-vis North Korea, especially among South Koreans in their 20s.
Based on a sample of 1,000 people polled in September 2014, the report finds that South Koreans in their 20s are less receptive to the idea of unification than are older age cohorts. Further to that, the yishipdae do not consider North Koreans to be part of the same “bloodline” as them; in other words, North Koreans belong to a different nation. The authors, close watchers of changes and variations in public opinion data over time, are not surprised. “This youth detachment from North Korea is perhaps the most important recurring theme in the public opinion data over the past five years,” they write. Feelings of difference are reflected in answers to several of the questions asked. A summary of the report, written by the Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Cheng, can be read at Korea Real Time.
The report in its entirety is worth reading, but answers for two of the poll questions covered in the report are reproduced here for (slightly) greater consideration. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Lee Myung-bak - North Korea Sought Inter-Korea Summit Meeting 5 Times

By Tae-jun Kang

In a new book, South Korea’s former president goes into detail on inter-Korean relations during his time in office.

Lee Myung-bak, the former South Korean president, might be one of few whose policy towards North Korea caused major controversy. Some say his policies had a positive effect on the world’s most isolated country, while others claim the inter-Korean relationship hit gridlock under his administration.
Two years after his term ended, amidst an ongoing dispute over his policy toward North Korea, the former president explained what happened between North and South and how he dealt with North Korean issues in a recently released autobiography. The title of Lee’s memoir could be translated into English as Time as President; the book does not yet have an official English title.
In the book Lee said North Korea requested an inter-Korean summit at least five times, but South Korea had to refuse because there were always preconditions for holding the talks. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: An Indonesian Defense Revolution Under Jokowi?

By Prashanth Parameswaran

Indonesia’s new president is determined to transform its defense industry.

Listen to Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, and you would think the country is on the brink of nothing less than a defense revolution.
At a meeting late last month at the Presidential Office attended by top ministers and advisers, Jokowi outlined the main priorities for the country’s defense policy. What stood out most was his determination to revolutionize the country’s defense industry, partly in order to create the self-reliance in military equipment that Indonesia has often talked about. That is not surprising, considering that the defense industry is the foundation upon which several of his foreign policy goals – including a global maritime fulcrum – are built.
In his remarks, Jokowi did lay out some specific guidelines might help Indonesia reach defense self-reliance. For instance, Indonesia will require every weapons purchase to include the transfer of technology for Indonesia’s state-owned strategic industries – including shipbuilder PT PAL, weapons and land systems maker PT PINDAD, and aircraft maker PT DI. Jokowi is already moving to prop up some of these state-owned defense entities. In early January, he announced $55 million in government funding to boost PT PINDAD following a visit to its facilities. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Japan to Join Indian Submarine Race?

Japanese Soryu class Submarine (File Photo)

By Prashanth Parameswaran

Reports suggest Tokyo is being asked to throw its hat in the ring.

India has forwarded a proposal to Japan asking if it would be interested in a multi-billion dollar project to build six submarines in India, Indian media sources reported January 29.
Since 2007, India has been trying to add six new submarines with foreign collaboration under Project 75I in order to replace a fleet that has been depleted by aging and accidents. But the move has been repeatedly delayed due to bureaucratic wrangling.
The plan has now once again gained steam under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. Last October, the Defense Acquisition Council approved the proposal to build the six diesel-electric submarines indigenously at a project cost of around $8.1 billion dollars. All six of them will be built in an Indian shipyard in the country under the “Make in India” initiative, and they will be equipped with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance.
Now, Indian media outlets are quoting sources as saying that New Delhi has asked Tokyo to “consider the possibility” of making its diesel-electric Soryu-class submarines, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation, in India. The condition, of course, is that Japan will have to form a joint venture with an Indian shipyard. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: China's Dream Doesn't Have to Be Japan's Nightmare

By Xie Tao

Is China’s upcoming military parade really aimed at intimidating Japan?

Thanks to President Xi Jinping, the Chinese dream has become a household word in China and is fast gaining international attention. The Chinese dream, said Xi shortly after he became the top leader of the Chinese Communist Party in October 2012, is the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. This great rejuvenation has many dimensions: economic, diplomatic, cultural, and military. The military dimension, one may safely surmise, is to make China a militarily powerful country, one that will never suffer another “century of humiliation” at the hands of foreign powers.
By many indicators, China is already a formidable military power, probably second only to the United States. And there is no better way than a pompous military parade to show to the Chinese people and the rest of the world that the military dimension of the Chinese dream has already come true. However, China normally holds a major military parade on every tenth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic (e.g. 1999 and 2009), and that’s why Beijing’s decision to have such a parade in 2015 caused much speculation and concern both inside and outside China.
The official explanation, as given by the spokeswoman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. “By hosting commemorative events with other counties,” she said, “China is to awaken each and every virtuous man’s desire for and commitment to peace, to refresh people’s memory of the history and love for peace, and to showcase China’s staunch position of upholding the victory of WWII and the post-war international order, and safeguarding world peace.” 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: Is China’s Periphery Becoming the Core of Its International Relations?

By Neil Thomas

An op-ed by an influential Chinese scholar reflects trends in Chinese foreign policy.

The U.S.-China bilateral relationship is widely regarded by politicians, practitioners, and pundits as the world’s most important. Effectively managing China’s reemergence as a major power in the context of a U.S.-led international order is seen as key to continuing peace and security in the Asia-Pacific. But is working together the best way for China to get what it wants?
This was the subject of an op-ed published on 13 January in China’s Global Times by leading Chinese international relations scholar Yan Xuetong, Dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Yan’s article, entitled “Holistic ‘Periphery’ more important than the United States” (Chinese), argues that China’s rise will be more effectively achieved by fostering friendly ties with neighboring countries, rather than focusing on improving U.S.-China relations in order to reduce “American resistance.”
Yan asserts that the “inevitable course” of rising powers over world history has been to first become a regional power and then a global power. Thus, given China is not yet a global power and must avoid diplomatic overreach* “China must view its periphery as its most important diplomatic focus.”
Yan defines China’s “periphery” as East Asia, Russia, Central Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, contending that “Faced with the reality that China is stronger than they are, neighboring countries must choose whether they support or obstruct China’s rise. This makes it possible for China to gain the support of [those] that wish to benefit from China’s rise,” weakening U.S. President Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” strategy to reinforce American primacy in the region. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: 3 Goals of China's Military Diplomacy

Chinese Hospital Ship - Peace Ark (File Photo)

By Shannon Tiezzi

China seeks to accomplish three things with its military diplomacy: deterrence, agenda-setting, and reassurance.

On Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping (who is also the chairman of China’s Central Military Commission) said that China will place a greater emphasis on military diplomacy as a part of its overall foreign policy strategy. Xi made the comments at a meeting of military attaches and other military officials in charge of diplomatic work. Officers in attendance included Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission; Xu Qiliang, another vice chairman as well as the head of China’s air force; Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan; Chief of PLA General Staff Fang Fenghui; and Wu Shengli, China’s naval chief.
Xi exhorted the military officers in attendance to “start a new phase of military diplomacy.” Xi noted that the CCP has always viewed military diplomacy as an important tool for advancing China’s overall diplomatic goals, safeguarding national security, and promoting the construction of China’s military. Today, military diplomacy is even more prominent in China’s national diplomacy and security strategy, Xi said.
China’s emphasis on military diplomacy was evidenced last year, as China stepped up military exchanges, visits, and joint drills. A spokesman from the Defense Ministry recapped China’s 2014 military diplomacy in the final press conference of the year. According to the spokesman, Yang Yujun, China participated in 31 bilateral or multilateral joint exercises. Notably, Yang said, the focus of the exercises “expanded from non-traditional security to traditional security.” Exercises in 2014 were “more real combat oriented” than in the past, Yang added. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

Editorial: The End of the Submarine as We Know it?

By Franz-Stefan Gady

A new report argues for a significant rethinking of how the U.S. Navy conducts undersea warfare.

The U.S. Navy’s dominant position in undersea warfare can no longer be taken for granted. “Emerging technologies present a serious challenge in that they may empower development of potential rival undersea forces and erode the stealth of U.S. submarines,”concludes a new report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). The report, entitled “The Emerging Era in Undersea Warfare,” lays out the rapid changes occurring in the technological realm and how they will affect future combat under waters.
While the report’s author, Bryan Clark, notes that the United States will have the opportunity to be the “first mover” and establish itself as a leader in this emerging new field within undersea warfare, he also unequivocally points out that the U.S. Navy will have to give up its current undersea warfare concepts due to the “vulnerability of today’s principal undersea platform, the manned submarine.” The U.S. must develop “a new family of undersea vehicles,” Clark argues
Although largely unnamed by Clark, he, like most other U.S. naval analysts, singles out the Chinese navy as the principle threat and most likely future adversary of the U.S. naval forces underseas. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments – filled with the acolytes of Andy Marshall, who very early on in his career recognized the military potential of the emerging Asian superpower and fused it with his obsession of a revolution in military affairs (RMA) – has particularly become a mouthpiece for those seeing U.S. military superiority eroded by the new Asian military juggernaut. 

Read the full story at The Diplomat

29 January 2015

USA: Bonhomme Richard ARG Embarks 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin V. Cunningham

<< Marines assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit embark USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). (U.S. Navy/MC3 Naomi VanDuser)

WHITE BEACH, Okinawa - Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) Jan. 26 to participate in amphibious integration training and a certification exercise.

Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) Sailors and Marines from the 31st MEU will focus on amphibious assault and humanitarian assistance capabilities, disaster relief operations and non-combatant evacuation missions.

“This deployment will give the MEU the full opportunity to exercise all of their mission sets and be evaluated against known standards,” said Capt. Heidi C. Agle, Amphibious Squadron 11 commodore. “The entire ARG-MEU team will make this a successful deployment. Our teamwork is what makes the ARG-MEU team standout as a unique force multiplier in the Seventh Fleet area of responsibility.”

USA: Greenert Explains Value of Presence, Danger of Cuts

Adm Jonathan W Greenert
(Wiki Info - Image: Wiki Commons)

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2015 – Presence remains the mandate of the Navy and the service must operate forward “when and where it matters,” the chief naval officer testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee here today.

However, sequestration in 2013 not only whittled the Navy’s contingency response force to one third, but forced reductions in afloat and ashore operations, generated ship and aircraft maintenance backlogs, and compelled the Navy to extend unit deployments, Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert said.

“Sequestration resulted in a $9 billion shortfall in 2013, below our budget submission … degraded fleet readiness and created consequences from which we are still recovering,” the admiral said.

India: LCA TEJAS Achieved Yet another Accomplishment

With three consecutive start-ups of its engine after overnight soak in extreme cold (around -15ºC) conditions of Laddakh winter, that too without any external assistance, Tejas, the Indian Light Combat Aircraft has achieved yet another and a rare distinction. Starting the fighter aircraft under such extreme condition without any external assistance or heating is a technology challenge. The requirements become further stringent when the starting is to be done three times consecutively with a partially charged battery. Team LCA led by AERD&C of HAL, and members from ADA, NFTC, IAF, CEMILAC and DGAQA have succeeded in achieving this. “The team LCA has achieved a technological breakthrough”, stated Dr. PS Subramanyam PGD (CA) & Director, ADA. 

The engine starter is developed indigenously by HAL Aero Engine Research and Design Centre (AERDC), Bangalore. Prior to aircraft tests, the Jet Fuel Starter (JFS) was extensively tested on test rig to meet starting conditions across the operating altitudes including Leh (10,700 ft.) and Khardungla (18300 ft.). The control software of JFS was fine tuned to work at all operating altitudes with no adjustments from cockpit. GE-F404-IN20 engine start up control schedule was also varied with several control patches to establish reliable start. 

News Story: ROC Army showcases combat readiness ahead of CNY

Thunderbolt 2000 artillery multiple-launch rocket system

The Republic of China Army demonstrated its defense capabilities in an anti-paratrooper drill Tuesday to highlight the military's high level of alert and to strengthen combat readiness ahead of the Lunar New Year break in February.

On a rainy, cloudy day, the drill was held at the Army base in Hukou, Hsinchu county in northern Taiwan, home of the 542nd Armor Brigade.

About 340 soldiers and officers, including those from the 542nd brigade, took part in the drill, in which the Army sought to fend off an opposing force from China carried by helicopters before landing on the ground.

In the simulated drill, the Army fought back by deploying CM11 battle tanks, locally developed CM-32 "Clouded Leopard" armored infantry fighting vehicles, and other military vehicles, to overcome the enemy attack.

Read the full story at Want China Times