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Security Brief – 09 December 2020

5 reasons, Modi government is finding it difficult to tackle protesting farmers [The Print]

  • The specially-modified trolleys are a common sight. Villagers from across Punjab arrive in such trolleys carrying ration, utensils, cooking fuel, wood, gas cylinders and even bikes (to do the local running around) to organise langars for the visitors.
  • They park the trolleys on roadsides and make it their home for over a week.
  • Despite five rounds of talks between government and the farmers no resolution in sight.
  • Indian Sikhs use novel way of using tractor trolleys during protests.

India dials up ties with Gulf countries, sharpens the contrast with Pakistan [Hindustan Times]

  • Indian FM will travel to Qatar and Kuwait and his deputy to Oman later this month as part of India’s continuing outreach to Gulf countries. Indian Army Chief preps to begin his visit to KSA and UAE.
  • UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain – account for 70% of all Indians who live abroad and send half of India’s total foreign remittances.
  • UAE visa ban on Pakistan, many of the job opportunities that Pakistani workers are losing are going to Indian workers.

Indian Navy wants to join IAF in fighter jet shopping [The Hindu]

  • The Navy is looking to combine its multi-role carrier-based fighter jet procurement tender along with the IAF tender for 114 fighters that is under way.
  • “We have the MiG-29K operating from the Vikramaditya and will operate from the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier. To replace them, we have taken up a case for the Multi-Role Carrier Borne Fighters (MRCBF) and, are trying to do along with the IAF”
  • Indian Navy currently has 45 Russian MiG-29K and is cutting down the number of fighters from 57 to around 36.
  • Indian armed forces are asking for the moon. 150 Raffaele (114+36) for IAF and Indian Navy, would approx. require $35 Billion. More realistically, they would settle for lesser quantity and or a prolonged timeframe for procurement / induction.

Romeo, Sea Guardian, Poseidon: How Navy is building an Anti-Submarine Sensor Network with US equipment [Defense Aviation News]

  • Instead going through a lengthy purchase procedure the Indian Navy opted to quickly lease the equipment, two MQ-9 Sea Guardian drones on urgent basis.
  • This purchase adds to the navy’s networked anti-submarine warfare effort. P-8I Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, MH-60R Romeo helicopters and the MQ-9 Sea Guardian drones can ‘talk’ to each other and carry identical sonobuoys, which, when dropped into the water, are capable of detecting enemy submarines.
  • In the coming months a tri-service purchase of 30 MQ-9 drones is being reported with each service buying 10 ‘Sea Guardian’ variant units.

US Navy admiral says ‘uneasy deterrence’ with Iran [AP, The Hill]

  • America has reached an “uneasy deterrence” with Iran after months of regional attacks and seizures at sea.
  • Vice Adm. Sam Paparo, who oversees the US Navy’s 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, said that he has a “healthy respect” for Iran’s Navy and its Revolutionary Guard.
  • The US armed forces expect a hostile response from Iranian revolutionary guards.

India-Afghanistan to sign agreement on Shatoot Dam soon [DNA]

  • This will be 2nd dam India will be building in the country after the Salma or India–Afghanistan friendship dam in Herat Province of the country.
  • The dam on Kabul River affects Pakistan as it runs past Peshawar and Nowshera and joins the Indus River near Attock.
  • India by building dam on River Kabul, apart from earning soft image for herself, is sowing the seeds of discord between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan has been asking Afghanistan to sign a bilateral treaty on sharing water from the river Kabul but all in vain so far.

Oil prices stumble as coronavirus resurgence forces more lockdowns [Reuters]

  • Iran, meanwhile, has instructed its oil ministry to prepare installations for production and sale of crude oil at full capacity within three months, state media said.
  • Iran is not likely to retaliate against the US, Israel or its allies rather it prepares to enhance its oil export and hope for renewal of nuclear deal.

Groups urge US to designate Chinese Communist Party as criminal organization [The Epoch Times]

  • Washington-based advocacy group Committee on Present Danger: China, organized under the banner of the “Captive Nations Coalition,”
  • The representatives from the Tibetan, Uyghur, Inner Mongolian, Hong Kong, and Falun Gong communities attended the meeting.
  • Also invited were people who have negatively affected by Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative.
  • The US officially encourages dissidents of Chinese government and its OBOR project to defame Chinese Communist Party since Oct 2020 when the US Congressman, Rep. Scott Perry introduced the bill against CCP. However, the attendance of meeting by US Secy of State, Pompeo is a new and serious dev for US-China relations.

Trump shakes up foreign policy one month after losing election [The National News]

  • With 44 days left in office, the Trump administration is debating whether to designate Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels a terrorist organization.
  • This would further inhibit humanitarian aid flows to the Houthi-controlled north as the war-torn country tackles famine-like conditions.

Trump’s Arab allies are already testing Biden [Washington Post, AXIOS]

  • Joe Biden plans to keep the Abraham Accords but Biden also wants to keep alive the prospect of a separate Palestinian state.
  • Biden is expected to involve Saudis and Emiratis while working to revive nuclear deal with Iran.
  • The resolution condemning Trump-approved deal with the UAE, (F-35 fighter jets) is up for a vote in the Senate this week, would give a clearer view of upcoming Biden ME policy.

Biden to name retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary [Defense One, Washington Post]

  • Biden plans to tap retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense. If confirmed Austin would be the first Black Pentagon chief.
  • Before his retirement, Austin was commander of US Central Command, overseeing almost all US troops from Syria to Afghanistan.
  • He was the final commanding general of the Iraq War, presiding over Operation New Dawn from September 2010 to December 2011.
  • But Biden’s own party most vociferously objected to waiving the rule that mandates any service member must be out of uniform for at least seven years before being eligible to serve as defense secretary.

Jacinda apologizes on report into Christchurch mosque attack [SBS News]

  • New Zealand has released an almost 800-page report into the March 2019 killing of 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
  • New Zealand intelligence services failed to investigate the threat of right-wing extremism.
  • The report criticized security agencies for placing disproportionate scrutiny on Islamic terror threats.

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