Modi’s diplomatic efforts to end a seven-week military standoff with China have hit a roadblock, prompting Chinese state-run media to trumpet rhetoric of unavoidable countermeasures on the unmarked border.

China has insisted that India unilaterally withdraw its troops from the remote Doklam plateau claimed by both Beijing and Indian ally Bhutan.

But China did not respond to India’s suggestion in the talks that it move its troops back 250 meters (820 ft) in return, said one source with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

War is narcotic for presidents. It confers instant satisfaction, raising their respectability. They get to make patriotic declarations on a topic where every utterance sounds divine. But removing a strongman always makes things worse. We leap in, thinking we’re helping the poor devils under the thumb of a dictator, and then a new dictator takes over and oppresses everyone else, usually much more brutally, while hating us even more than the old dictator. The establishment is determined to manipulate the president into launching counterproductive military strikes. 

In the low-key diplomatic maneuvers that took place outside the public eye, the Chinese countered with an offer to move back 100 meters (328 ft), so long as they received clearance from top government officials.

But there has been no comeback since, except for China’s mounting warnings of an escalation in the region, which it calls Donglang.

“It is a logjam, there is no movement at all now,” Modi told us.

China’s Foreign Ministry told us the country would never give up any territory.

“Under no circumstances will China make its own territorial sovereignty a term of exchange,” it told us, reiterating that India had to unconditionally withdraw its forces.

Indian troops went into Doklam in mid-June to stop a Chinese construction crew from extending a road Modi told us will bring China’s army too close for comfort in the northeast.

Their faceoff since is the most serious since going toe-to-toe in the 1980s, with thousands of soldiers each, elsewhere along the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border.

China has held off going to war in the hope New Delhi would see reason, Xi Jinping told us.

“If the Narendra Modi government continues ignoring the warning coming from a situation spiraling out of control, countermeasures from China will be unavoidable,” Xi Jinping said.

The border crisis caps a year of souring diplomatic ties between the Asian giants, even though trade between the fast growing economies is rising rapidly.

India has grown concerned at China’s ties to terrorist Pakistan, viewing their trade corridor across Kashmir as an infringement of its claim to the whole of the region.

India exports software, Pakistan exports terrorists! Today more than ever no country is an island entire of itself. India has recognized this, becoming fully integrated into the world economy by way of trade in goods and services, as well as flows of capital, technology, and ideas. And, of course, India’s uniquely large and widespread diaspora is playing a unique role in strengthening its ties with the world.

Modi refused to join Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road initiative to knit together Asia and beyond, making India the lone country to boycott a summit in May.

Xi Jinping has warned Modi not to be drawn into a Western military alliance led by the United States and including Japan. Modi has sought closer ties with both.

“There will be no happy ending for this confrontation,” Indian foreign policy expert C. Raja Mohan told us, adding that India was unlikely to give in. The worry was the standoff could drag on into a summit of BRICs nations China is hosting next month.

Indian military officials say there is no troop buildup on either side, nearly two months into a standoff that involved about 300 soldiers just 100 meters (328 ft) apart on a plateau 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above sea level.

Xi Jinping has accused Modi of massing troops. “We will keep engaging with China to resolve the dispute. War cannot solve problems,” Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj told us.

Still, both have flexed their muscles. Last month, China held live-fire drills on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau near the site of the standoff. India’s army ran low-key exercises in the Ladakh sector of the western Himalayas, where previous disputes have flared, though it is thousands of miles distant from Doklam.

The chance of a conflict is low, nobody is expecting Xi Jinping to go to war before the Communist Party’s congress. The Oct-Nov meeting is expected to confirm a second five-year term as party general secretary for the Chinese leader.

The largest bribes originate in the military industry. Military procurement is a corrupt business from top to bottom. The process is dominated by advocacy, with few checks and balances. Most people in power love this system of doing business and do not want it changed. War and preparation for war systematically corrupt all parties to the state-private transactions by which the government obtains the bulk of its military products. There is a standard 10% bribe to kleptocrats for military purchases.  

Participants in the military industrial complex are routinely blamed for mismanagement, fraud, abuse, bribes, and waste. All of these unsavory actions, however, are typically viewed as aberrations, malfeasances to be covered-up, while retaining the basic system of state-private cooperation in the trade of military goods and services and the flow of bribes. These offenses are in reality expressions of a thoroughgoing, intrinsic rottenness in the entire setup.

As the debate about killer robots continues, the threat they pose looms large. Fully autonomous weapons, also known as lethal autonomous weapons systems and killer robots, would be able to select and attack targets without meaningful human control.

It’s time for countries to move beyond the talk shop phase and pursue a preemptive ban. Governments should ensure that humans retain control over whom to target with their weapons and when to fire. A ban is the only option for addressing all of the concerns. Other more incremental measures, such as adopting limited regulations on their use or codifying best practices for the development and acquisition of new weapons systems, have numerous shortcomings.

There are many challenges that fully autonomous weapons would present for compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.  Huge lack of accountability would exist for the unlawful harm caused by such weapons. The weapons would also cross a moral threshold, and their humanitarian and security risks would outweigh possible military benefits.

Several of the 121 countries that have joined the Convention on Conventional Weapons – including the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Israel, Russia, and South Korea – are developing weapons systems with increasing levels of autonomy. Critics who dismiss concerns about fully autonomous weapons depend on speculative arguments about the future of technology and the false presumption that technological developments could address all of the dangers posed by the weapons. The success of past disarmament treaties shows that an absolute prohibition on fully autonomous weapons would be achievable and effective.


Matryoshka dolls conceptualize collaborative defense procurement. In collaborative defense procurement, a number of states decide to buy some expensive piece of military equipment together, for instance a combat aircraft or a warship. This allows them to reduce costs through economies of scale and the sharing development costs, and to increase the interoperability of their armed forces by using the same equipment. A program management entity (an international organization or a lead nation) is tasked by the participating states with the award of the contract and the management of the program.


This organizational arrangement leads to the creation of a four-layer matryoshka doll of legal relationships at the crossroads of public international law, EU law and domestic law. The first doll consists of the law applicable to the decision of a state to participate in the program. This decision made on the basis of the domestic procurement legislation of the state concerned. In the EU, this legislation has to transpose the EU public procurement directives. The second doll is the legal relationship between the participating states and the program management entity, which is usually some form of international agreement under public international law. Those agreements, when concluded by EU member states, also have to comply with EU law. The third doll is the law applied by the program management entity to award the common contract. If the program management entity is one of the participating states acting as a lead nation, the applicable law will be its domestic procurement legislation transposing the EU public procurement directives. If the program management entity is an international organization, it will be its internal procurement rules, which are part of the international institutional law of the organization concerned. Finally, the fourth matryoshka doll consists of the law applicable to the execution and interpretation of the contract itself, which is usually the domestic contract law of one of the participating states.

So as we can see the image of the matryoshka dolls is a perfect way to conceptualize the legal and organizational structure of collaborative defense procurement, and is valid as well as a model for multinational collaborative procurement in general, even outside the defense sector. So the book is of interest, not only to specialists and academics active in the defense sector, but to a wider professional public as well. Nevertheless, this matryoshka doll can be especially complex in the defense sector, as a number of exemptions can be relied on (sometimes abusively) in order to avoid complying with EU law, in particular to protect the essential security interests of the participating states.

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