The U.S. Navy Secretary, Kenneth Braithwaite, visited India on 17 Dec 2020. Will this year-end visit culminate in the reactivation of the First Fleet under the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command? The First Fleet, is likely to be an expeditionary fleet - one without a shore-based headquarters and assigned primary responsibility for the Indian Ocean and parts of Pacific Ocean bordering South Asia. Its reactivation will emphasise the strategic importance of this region. It will also relieve the burden of the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet headquartered in Japan, that is deployed for operations in this vast oceanic space.
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Australia's much-awaited inclusion at the Malabar Exercise-2020 reflects a hard reset in India's foreign policy that was traditionally accommodative to Chinese concerns on the militarisation of the Quad. In the backdrop of the on-going stand-off with China at the Ladakh border, the Indian Navy has maintained a high operational tempo and deployed the highest numbers of frontline assets during this edition of the Malabar Exercise. India must build on this strategic vision and work towards including France at the next edition of Malabar in 2021.
Taiwan’s increasing threat of takeover from China by possible amphibious assault reveals the urgent need for the island to strengthen its defences. The commencement of the construction phase of the Indigenous Defence Submarine programme, is a crucial step in Taiwan’s quest to build a credible deterrence to counter sustained Chinese diplomatic and economic intimidation and technology denial.
The recently signed Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) between India and the U.S. symbolises the strengthened defence and security partnership between the two countries and the growing interoperability capabilities between the two militaries. India-U.S. defence and security ties have flourished in the last decade, with increasing focus on defence technology co-development and co-production. The enhanced G2G engagement is also reflected in the commercial sector where American and Indian defence companies have partnered in the aerospace sector to become part of the global supply chain.
The recent opening of the Atal tunnel represents the border infrastructure build-up underway for the last 10 years. Multiple other road and rail projects are being implemented, which will connect remote areas along the Line of Actual Control and also support the Indian military’s deployment in the region.
Recent investments by Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton and Intel Capital could well be the infusion of capital and expertise Jio needs to compete with Alibaba and Amazon. The infographic compares the number of services offered by these companies across different technology domains
COVID19 has forced a sharp increase in the adoption of remote working solutions across the world. Zoom’s daily participants have risen from 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020. Microsoft Teams’ daily active users have risen by 70% in the two months since March 2020. ‘Work from home’ may well be the norm for the foreseeable future. A look at the global proliferation of the top 26 online apps to date.
Under the cover of the COVID19 crisis, China has silently, once again, upped aggression in the disputed South China Sea, in March 2020. These incremental actions by China are part of its ongoing attempt to dictate the Code of Conduct in the region.
The U.S.-Taliban deal of 29 Feb favours some and disadvantages others in the region. This infographic shows how regional geopolitics will change
Over the last five years, China has quietly created a significant place for itself in India – in the technology domain. While India has refused to sign on to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), this map shows India's positioning in the virtual BRI to be strategically invaluable for China. Nearly $4 billion in venture investments in start-ups, the online ecosystem and apps have been made by Chinese entities. This is just the beginning; there is much more to come.