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India turns to Israel for armed drones as Pakistan, China build fleets

NEW DELHI:  India has accelerated plans to buy drones from Israel that can be armed and can allow the military to carry out strikes overseas with less risk to personnel, defence sources have said. The news comes weeks after Pakistan reported using a home made drone in combat when it attacked militants on its soil, raising the prospect of a new front in the nuclear-armed neighbors' standoff over Kashmir that has twice spilled into war. The plan to acquire Israeli Herons was first conceived three years ago, but in January the military wrote to the government asking for speedy delivery, the sources said, as Pakistan and China develop their own drone warfare capabilities. India has already deployed Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (U...

September 22, 2015 at 4:40 pm | News Desk

Saudi Electricity gets a nod to set up a Sukuk Programme worth $1.5bn

DUBAI: Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) has received approval from its executive committee to negotiate for loan financing worth $2.3 billion and to set up a Sukuk Programme worth as much as $1.5 billion, the Gulf's largest utility said on Monday. The two-part loan, to serve as a back-up facility for the company, would be structured as a revolving credit facility and have a lifespan of between three and five years. One tranche would be worth up to 3 billion riyals ($800 million) and the other would not exceed $1.5 billion. The Sukuk Programme would be used to fund capital projects, the statement added without elaborating. Sources told Reuters in July that the kingdom's monopoly utility was in talks with local and international banks t...

August 31, 2015 at 2:46 pm | News Desk

Pakistan on track to become third largest arsenal of nuclear weapons

Farhan Bokhari High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Pakistan could have the world’s third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons after the US and Russia within a decade if it continues to build up to 20 nuclear warheads annually, a new report warns. The report, written by two respected US analysts and published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, concluded that Pakistan is outpacing India, with its neighbour and rival appearing to produce just five warheads annually. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this articl...

August 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm | News Desk

Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Hatf IX (Nasr) is a Pakistani ballistic missile which can deliver a sub-kiloton nuclear warhead over a range of 60 km, or 37.3 miles. It is supposed to have entered service in 2013 and is believed to be fully integrated into Pakistan’s C3I (command, control, communications and intelligence). Its purported role is as a low-yield battlefield deterrent against mechanised columns. Should India – and the world – take Nasr seriously? The development and deployment of Nasr by Pakistan was inevitable and  the impact of this tactical nuclear weapon (tac nuke) on the emerging India-Pakistan deterrence relationship is inherently destabilising. Defining Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Pakistani Context There are four different yardst...

August 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm | News Desk

China’s economic illness contagious for Asia

When the US sneezes, an old saying goes, the world catches a cold. That’s been nowhere more true than in Asia. But as China’s coughing fit grows louder, countries in the region are wondering whether their neighbor’s illness will also prove contagious. Since Wall Street’s crash in 2008, Asia has been pivoting to China. The $16.8 trillion US economy is still 1.8 times bigger and its per capita income dwarfs China’s. But China is Asia’s biggest trading partner and, increasingly, its benefactor. Flush with $3.7tr of currency reserves and its new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has used checkbook diplomacy to make friends across the region. Asia’s social media accounts are now pulsating with talk of h...

August 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm | News Desk

Australian Government Looks to Threat of Terrorism to Save Itself

Looking from abroad at the statements of the Australian government regarding security, one would be forgiven for thinking the country had just suffered a 9/11 scale attack or was currently engaged in a war for its very survival. The country’s hard right Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has over the past six months employed increasingly shrill and fearful language to address the threat posed by terrorism and the Daesh in particular. The government’s increasing use of such loaded language began last year, in the months after the release of its first Federal Budget. The Government had fought its election campaign around the issues of illegal immigrants and the budget deficit, with the latter in particular being spoke of as a “debt ...

August 21, 2015 at 5:10 pm | News Desk

Modi-fication?

  Aakar Patel        Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to be congratulated for his brave move in announcing he will visit Pakistan. I do not only mean brave from the point of view of physical courage. I have been to Pakistan many times and not felt unsafe, and it is clear that Modi will find that he is given security of the highest standard. But even so, Pakistan’s most protected man, former president Pervez Musharraf had his convoy bombed twice and its former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was killed not that long ago. So Modi is brave in agreeing to go where even cricket teams have refused. The second way in which he has been brave is that he has defied many in our media and also our strategic affairs experts in reachi...

August 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm | News Desk

National Action Plan: An Evaluation

Miyamoto Musashi, a victorious Japanese swordsman wrote in his famous book ‘The Book of Five Rings’ that in strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things. But these thoughts are taken into account by those who have vision, farsightedness and pain of their nation. The situation of our country is much different. Here a government comes to serve its vested interests and secure enough to be financially powerful through thieving the  national exchequer. None of the institutions are above the National Action Plan under its famous 20 points agenda unanimously taken on December 24, 2014 with the backing of 21st Constitutional Amendment. It was aimed at the executio...

August 18, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Zulqarnain Sewag

Pakistan: MQM Under Siege

Rana Banerji Not since Pakistan’s former Interior Minister, late Nasrullah Khan Babar’s, crackdown in mid-1995, has the Mohajir Muttahida Quami Movement – Altaf (MQM- A) been subjected to such a relentless siege by the Pakistan Rangers and the Sindh Police in Karachi. On March 11, 90, Azizabad, or `Nine Zero’, the home of Altaf Hussain in Federal B Area, the sanctified MQM headquarters, was raided by Pakistan Rangers. Several MQM-A party workers were arrested, arms and ammunition allegedly stolen from NATO containers seized, and five criminals wanted in the January 2011 murder of journalist Wali Khan Babbar were apprehended. The current operations in Karachi have been ongoing since August, 2014. The effort of the law...

August 17, 2015 at 6:53 pm | News Desk

Donald Trump: The Democrats’ Best 2016 Asset

Hillary Clinton’s campaign may not develop the sizzle the would-be first Madam President and her team has long planned for. But the race has already created its first, truly searing image in the skin of the American nation. To the Democratic Party establishment’s great relief, this is not the result of any of Hillary Clinton’s missteps, of which there have been some. Rather, the problem emerged from the inside of the tent of the Republican Party. It is commonly called the “Donald Trump problem.” The worst part for the Republicans is that Trump has the same effect as a Trojan horse. (Beware of the “Greeks” bearing gifts, Republicans of the United States!) Trump’s emergence in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire gives the D...

August 17, 2015 at 6:30 pm | News Desk

Afgan-Pak: Why China is Playing Mediator

Fanny Ragot Recently, a new strategic dialogue was held between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the Taliban leadership in the hill city of Murree, Pakistan. These negotiations were coordinated by China, illustrating Beijing’s recent commitment to support Kabul in pacifying its country. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, elected in mid-2014, has been reaffirming his willingness to set the wheels of negotiations in motion. It implies engaging in negotiations with Pakistan to resolve the problem of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, across the Durand Line. While the dialogue is still new, China appears to be brokering these discussions. That Beijing is evidently involving itself in shaping the future of Afghanistan and Pakistan mor...

August 17, 2015 at 6:17 pm | News Desk

China’s economic illness contagious for Asia

When the US sneezes, an old saying goes, the world catches a cold. That’s been nowhere more true than in Asia. But as China’s coughing fit grows louder, countries in the region are wondering whether their neighbour’s illness will also prove contagious. Since Wall Street’s crash in 2008, Asia has been pivoting to China. The $16.8 trillion US economy is still 1.8 times bigger and its per capita income dwarfs China’s. But China is Asia’s biggest trading partner and, increasingly, its benefactor. Flush with $3.7tr of currency reserves and its new $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China has used checkbook diplomacy to make friends across the region. Asia’s social media accounts are now pulsating with talk of ...

August 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm | News Desk

Stabilising Balochistan

Hussain Nadim Born and raised as privileged individuals, it’s often the case that we end up raising our voice and concern for the rights of Muslims far away in Palestine or Myanmar, forgetting our very own neighborhoods that have been struggling for their rights for decades. Many of us who do even end up raising our voices, seldom do so beyond social media, doing more harm than good to the Baloch cause — a cause which is more about getting an equal playing field and less about Baloch independence. My experience with Balochistan has been different, and naturally my problem-identification and solution is also counter-intuitive. Successive governments in Pakistan, both democratic and military, have tried to reach middle ground to res...

August 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm | News Desk

Australian government looks to threat of terrorism

Looking from abroad at the statements of the Australian government regarding security, one would be forgiven for thinking the country had just suffered a 9/11 scale attack or was currently engaged in a war for its very survival. The country’s hard right Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has over the past six months employed increasingly shrill and fearful language to address the threat posed by terrorism and the Daesh in particular. The government’s increasing use of such loaded language began last year, in the months after the release of its first Federal Budget. The Government had fought its election campaign around the issues of illegal immigrants and the budget deficit, with the latter in particular being spoke of as a “debt ...

August 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm | News Desk

Vyshinsky In The Sudan

In 1940, Stalin sent his strongest political operative, Andrey Vyshinsky, to bring the Baltic States to heel under the boot of the Soviet state.  Vyshinsky arrived in Latvia on June 18th, installed  as Stalin’s special envoy.  The president of Latvia, Karlis Ulmanis, was forced to appoint a “people’s government”. Within days, the president and key members of his administration were arrested and deported to the Soviet Union.  A hastily scrambled election took place on July 14-15, with a single list of Soviet-picked candidates on the ballot.  The results gave 97.8 percent of the vote to the previously unknown and unheralded candidates. Vyshinsky preened for the press corps and expressed hope the newly elected “people’s...

August 15, 2015 at 11:46 am | Tammy Swofford

The Iran Nuclear Deal: Securing President Obama’s legacy

History shows us that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles. It shows we are stronger not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together."  ~President Barack Obama The historic and monumental Iran Nuclear Talks have finally concluded successfully on July 14, 2015. This is a highly significant factor which lays the foundation in establishing President Obama's legacy. [caption id="attachment_6253" align="aligncenter" width="500"] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before a meeting in Geneva January 14, 2015. Zarif said on Wednesday that his meeting with Kerry was important to see if progress could be made in narrowing differences on hi...

August 14, 2015 at 3:18 pm | News Desk

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