Weekly Global Newscast | August 13 - August 19, 2019
India Could Drop ‘no First use’ Nuke Policy
India has stuck to its commitment of ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons but future policy will depend on the situation, the Defense Minister of India Mr. Rajnat Singh said ‘India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances’; this statement has introduced a level of ambiguity in a core national security doctrine of India.
‘Assuming that he means Pakistan as the catalyst for the revision of the Vajpayee doctrine of 1999, it is a bit of a muchness. Since India’s neighbour is not a signatory to this clause, all it does is equate India’s nuclear policy with that of Pakistan. After Pulwama Imran Khan had stated: “With the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can we afford miscalculation? Shouldn’t we think that if this escalates, what will it lead to?” God forbid, there is ever such a scary scenario where the governments of these two nations eschew conventional battle for nuclear devastation it really will not matter which one generates the first mushroom. The other, stinging with the stench of mass death will ipso facto retaliate with one of its own thereby doubling the death toll which would run into millions. Bikram Vohra writes for Khaleej Times.
‘The question now is how much further is the current Indian government willing to take its calibrated attempts to ambiguate ‘no first use’? Formally updating the doctrine would be a significant step and doesn’t appear likely. Then again, under Modi, the Indian government has shown an appetite for taking surprising and significant steps on national security issues without much warning. The February air strikes, the sudden announcement of an anti-satellite weapon test earlier this year, and, more recently, the decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution and lock down Kashmir are perhaps examples of a new boldness that might one day soon express itself in the realm of nuclear policy. Modi himself, on the campaign trail, beat the nuclear drum to stir up his nationalist base. At an April 20 rally, he told supporters: “Every other day, they used to say ‘we have nuclear button, we have nuclear button.’ What do we have then? Have we kept it for Diwali?” While that might be written off as just a bit of electioneering theater, it takes on a new ominousness with Singh-one of Modi’s closest confidants and incumbent defense minister-saying what he did on ‘no first use’’. Ankit Panda writes in The Diplomat.
Middle East & North Africa
Yemeni Separatists Relinquish Control of Buildings in Aden
Southern separatists have vacated key public buildings in Yemen’s port city of Aden that they had recently captured from forces loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, exposing divisions within the Saudi-Emirati coalition supporting the internationally-recognised government.
‘The state oil company Saudi Aramco said the attack had caused a “limited fire” at a gas plant which had been contained and had not affected production. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih condemned the strike as “cowardly” sabotage. The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and its Shi’ite regional rival, Iran. The Western-backed Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis ousted him from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.The United Nations has been trying to implement a stalled peace deal in the port city of Hodeidah and pave the way for political talks to end the war, which has pushed Yemen to the brink of famine’. Mohammed Mukhashef and Maher Chmaytelli write for Reuters.
‘The fighters from the so-called Security Belt Forces initially surrounded a special forces camp in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan about 60 kilometres from Aden and a nearby military camp at Al-Kawd, Abyan governor Abu Bakr Hussein said. He said the separatists then seized the Al-Kawd camp in fierce clashes, forcing out the 350 troops there, and that they remained positioned around the Zinjibar base following the exit of government forces in a deal mediated by local authorities. At least four military personnel two separatists and two government troops were killed and 23 wounded in the fighting, said Hussein, adding that 1,100 troops had been stationed in Zinjibar’. Reported in Dawn News.
Sub Saharan Africa
Media losing People’s Trust, Thanks to Social Media
The African Journalism Studies journal published a study related to Sub-Saharan African states which elucidates that those people who are exposed to fake news through social media on regular basis do not trust the mainstream media or the media in general. The fake news on the social media are used as disinformation campaigns in order to influence electoral votes.
“The manipulation of information for competitive advantage is practice of the time. The social media platforms provides a stark opportunity for such campaigns. These platforms are lucid in nature and not-so-easy to control let alone managed in the said context. It is the manifestation of the post-truth era where reframing of the ideas again and again becomes the ultimate reality irrespective of its nature and content initially. None of the region having access to such technologies is immune to such campaigns.
Brexit: PM to Tell EU Leaders to Renegotiate Deal
Boris Johnson will tell EU leaders there needs to be a new Brexit deal when he makes his first trip abroad as PM later this week. However, the Sunday Timesprinted leaked government document reports that Britain’s exit without a deal could lead to price rising, hard Irish border sparking protest, fuel becoming less available and public disorder and community tensions among others.
“The operation Yellowhammer according to the analysts is the worst-case scenario for Britain. Moreover, an element of scaremongering is also involved in this project. However, the other side claims the dossier to be credible. In times to come, Brexit will witness more unrest and chaos as well as polarization of each side to extreme.
Vietnam Risks Beijing’s Ire as it Uses US Freedom of Navigation Exercise to Stake its Claim in South China Sea
Vietnam is performing a balancing act in the South China Sea (SCS) dispute by making its ties strong with Washington in tandem with not upsetting Beijing. Hanoi’s latest row over a US freedom of navigation operation in the disputed waters not only show its support for its Western allies but also reaffirm its territorial claims there.
“The 21st century global world order is being challenged as the co-relation of forces are in a swing with the world becoming more multipolar. Henceforth, it is wise to act as a balancer for stated national objectives in any limited conflict may it be South China Sea (SCS). Rand Corporation analyst argues that the said act of Hanoi was a typical one but its timings were equally surprising given the high level tensions between China and US.
Lockheed Martin Launches CyberSecurity Strategy to Safeguard Weapons Systems from Malware Attacks
Lockheed Martin rolled out a new cybersecurity initiative.The National Defense Authorization Act2016 required that all weapons begin to be assessed for cyber vulnerabilities. But implementing new cybersecurity standards is just the beginning of a much more complex process, a concern showed by the said organization.
“The developing states are gearing up their cybersecurity strategies since cyberspace is the newly dominated domain of warfare. The US has been hit many times from Russia and China as far as the automated ICTs are concerned. Moreover, it also elucidates the dire need to further strengthen the inherent (in)security of such weapons system. An international cyber regime is aptly needed to regulate the international cyber laws.
Trump Suspends CNN Analyst’s Credentials in Another Shot at the Press
The Trump administration has fired another shot in its war with the US press, suspending the credentials of Brian Karem, an analyst for CNN.The administration has done the same to CNN’s Jim Acostain 2018.Karem, another victim of the same sort, his attorney who also represented Acosta, described the decision as ‘arbitrary and unfair’ and claimed that the White House had not spoken to a single witness seen on video.
Media is becoming more vibrant and sane with every development of the contemporary world. The open societies like those in the western liberal democracies are more prone to criticism from their own media. In turn, the populist parties or individuals take hard lines against such up-right questions. Instead of suspending the credentials of the renowned media persons, the liberal societies must provide them substantive government achievements upon which it had delivered.
Southern Yemeni separatists withdrew on Saturday from some government buildings in Aden that they seized last week but held on to military camps that give them control over the southern port, interim seat of Yemen’s ousted Saudi-backed government.