The CSS Blog Network

New Realities of the India-Russia Defense Partnership

BrahMos missile and launch canister on display at the International Maritime Defence Show, 2007, in Russia. The stealth supersonic cruise missile is a joint venture between India and Russia. Photo: One half 3544/Wikimedia Commons

A number of defense contracts are likely to be sealed when Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s visits India in November for annual summit talks with India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

India and Russia have a long history of defense cooperation, with Russia being India’s leading partner. According to Russia Today, between 1960 and 2000, Russia supplied India with about $35 billion worth of military equipment. Over the years, the relationship has evolved [pdf] from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research and development, production and marketing of advanced defense technologies, including missiles, rockets, fighter and transport aircrafts.

However, changing political landscapes may be forcing the allies to realign their interests. While India makes positive strides in its defense relations with the United States, Russia is once again keen to expand its role and influence across South Asia. Moscow’s initiatives include the Dushanbe Group of Four – a proposed collaboration between Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sensing ambivalence in the US-Pakistan relationship, Moscow has also warmed to Pakistan, much to India’s chagrin.

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Suicide-Bombs Without the Suicides: Why Drones Are So Cool

The MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle

The MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: JimNtexas/flickr.

The final years of the cold war in the 1970s-1980s were dominated by nuclear issues, including the nuclear arms-race, Trident, the Soviet SS-20 missile and the cruise-missiles deployed at Greenham Common and elsewhere. Within that controversial period there were some remarkable technical developments that have a huge relevance decades later, one of them being the long-range cruise-missile itself.

Many of these were nuclear-armed, but even more were conventionally-armed. A great number was used in the attacks of January-February 1991 againstthe Iraqi forces that had occupied Kuwait. The crucial element was the production of small, super-efficient turbo-fan engines that could propel the craft over 1,500 kilometres or more. These also had advanced-guidance systems, including Tercom (terrain-contour-matching) that enabled remarkable accuracy of less than twenty metres over that range. They were, however, self-contained – their pre-programmed onboard computers did all the work, so the target coordinates could not be changed after launch. » More

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India’s and Pakistan’s Missile Launches: Game Changers or Mere Posturing?

The Agni V missile being launched off the coast of Odhisa, India, on 19th April, 2022. Image courtesy Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

On April 19th, India successfully test-fired its Agni V inter-continental ballistic missile (IBCM). With a range of over 5000km, the Agni V places India’s missile capabilities increasingly in line with the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China. The following week, neighboring Pakistan successfully test-launched its nuclear capable ballistic missile, the Shaheen 1-A.

These back-to-back missile tests received widespread coverage and comment on mainstream and social media outlets. In particular, netizens have been engaging in lively online discussions regarding the escalating arms race in South Asia and its impact on the overall security of the region. » More

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What Are Security Professionals Thinking?

From Monday the 19th to Friday the 23rd of March, our partners at the Security and Defense Agenda (SDA) organized Security Jam 2012. Over the course of these five days, thousands of experts, representatives of national governments and armed forces, international institutions, NGOs, think-tanks, industry, academia and members of the media took part in a massive online brainstorming session focused on finding real solutions to global security issues. The numbers speak for themselves: during the event, there were 17,000 logins from some 3,000 participants and 50 VIPs spanning 115 countries.

The SDA gave its partner institutions the opportunity to submit some short questions that were published as online polls during the event.  Especially considering the high profile of some of the participants, it is interesting to see what security professionals are thinking about some of the most pressing issues on the security agenda. Below we present the results of five of the most interesting polls. » More

Cyber War and Peace

Survival in the digital age

Cyber security is becoming increasingly important for governments (Photo: TTC Press Images/flickr)

CAMBRIDGE – Two years ago, a piece of faulty computer code infected Iran’s nuclear program and destroyed many of the centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Some observers declared this apparent sabotage to be the harbinger of a new form of warfare, and United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned Americans of the danger of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” attack on the US. But what do we really know about cyber conflict?

The cyber domain of computers and related electronic activities is a complex man-made environment, and human adversaries are purposeful and intelligent. Mountains and oceans are hard to move, but portions of cyberspace can be turned on and off by throwing a switch. It is far cheaper and quicker to move electrons across the globe than to move large ships long distances.

The costs of developing those vessels – multiple carrier task forces and submarine fleets – create enormous barriers to entry, enabling US naval dominance. But the barriers to entry in the cyber domain are so low that non-state actors and small states can play a significant role at low cost. » More

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