Saturday, May 31, 2014

India’s new language of killing - The Hindu

...For Pakistan, covert warfare was a tool of survival: faced with a larger and infinitely better-resourced neighbour, it knew it could not compete in conventional military terms. Mr. Khan’s doctrine posited that sub-conventional offensive warfare could provide it defence. From 1947, Pakistan engaged India in what Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru would later call “an informal war.”

India’s covert capabilities grew in the wake of the 1962 war. Helped by the U.S., the newly-founded RAW developed the capacities for deep-penetration espionage meant to target China. It used its new tools to target Pakistan in 1971. Establishment 22, operating under the command of Major General Surjit Singh Uban, carried out a secret war in what is now Bangladesh. Establishment 22 personnel aided Sikkim’s accession to the Union of India; trained Tamil terrorists; and armed rebels operating against the pro-China regime in Myanmar.

Prime Minister I.K. Gujral, though, ended RAW’s offensive operations against Pakistan — and his predecessor, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, wound up its eastern operations. India continued to possess a superior conventional military, but as it became known in the late 1980s that Pakistan possessed a nuclear weapon, it became clear this sword would remain sheathed.
n 1999, soon after the Kargil war, intelligence officers attempted to persuade Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to authorise the development of offensive covert capabilities....

-bth: an excerpt from an opinion piece worth reading in full at the original.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Russia has withdrawn most troops from Ukraine border, Hagel says - WaPo

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT — Russia has withdrawn thousands of its troops massed on the border with Ukraine, even as violence escalated inside that country between government troops and pro-Russian separatists, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday.
Hagel called the withdrawal “promising” but said that thousands of troops remained of the 40,000 Russia moved to the border in recent months. “They are not where they need to be and won’t be until all of their troops . . . are gone,” he said....

-bth: a very positive development

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ruble Bears Unimpressed by Rally as Putin’s Economy Sinks - Bloomberg

Currency traders and analysts are showing no faith in the rebound that has made the Russian ruble the world’s best-performing currency this month.
The 2.8 percent rally in May will fade into a rout that pushes it down by about 5 percent versus the dollar by September, according to strategists surveyed by Bloomberg. Among major currencies, only the Argentine peso is forecast to slide more during that time. Option contracts show traders see a 63 percent chance that, by year-end, the ruble will slide back to the record-low levels it reached in March....

-bth: so if you were a Russian oligarch where would you put your money?  You wouldn't want to put it into Russian rubles because of devaluation.  It might be worth buying hard assets like gold or mining interests.  And you wouldn't want to leave your cash in the US or probably Western Europe unless it was Austria or perhaps Belgium. India is probably better than Brazil or China at this point. But could you get your money out?