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Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning vs vikramidyta vikrant

Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning

India unveiled its indigenous Aircraft carrier few days back raising hackles in the neighbourhood, not in Pakistan, but in China. Chinese media is claiming that now it will be easier for India to project its power in the Chinese area of interests like Strait of Malacca, South China Sea and the Pacific. However, these concerns are slightly exaggerated as this aircraft carrier may not be ready by 2020 and that India never moved its earlier aircraft carriers away from Indian region ever.

Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, if the upcoming sea trials would be successful, India can reduce its dependence on other countries for import of costly arms and weapons. It might make Russia, India’s top arm supplier, a bit uncomfortable, but looks like it is not so! Helping India achieve self-reliance was one of Russia’s calculated aim, which is why it ventured in many joint development and production of sophisticated weapons. Two friendly countries developing technology is always better than one country developing and other buying it.

INS Vikrant
INS Vikrant, credits on the image

The new air craft carrier would give India further self-reliance in defence sector, which can reduce the import of costly arms and weapons. An aircraft carrier along with nuclear submarine is necessary for a navy to be called as a true blue navy. India is among the elite group of ten countries who possess an aircraft carrier in service at the moment. These countries are: US (10), Italy (2), UK (1), France (1), Russia (1), India (1), Spain (1), Brazil (1), China (1), and Thailand (1).

Last year China became third country in Asia to possess an operational aircraft carrier. It is a bit surprising that China, who loves to project its military power got its first aircraft carrier so late. China shared the same mentality of Soviet Union that a missile worth $1 million can sink a carrier worth $1 billion. Today when China’s economy is impressive, it doesn’t mind to roll out its own carrier in the blue waters.

In 1998, Ukrainian Trade Minister Roman Shpek announced that a Hong Kong based travel agency Chong Lot Travel Agency Ltd. has won the bidding of their retired aircraft carrier Varyag with $20 million. The idea was to convert the ship into a floating hotel and gambling parlour. However, China had bigger ambitions, it transferred the ship to a major Chinese Naval shipyard where it was renovated into an operational Aircraft Carrier. The ship initially lacked engines, a rudder and software.

In this article we will be comparing India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier and China’s first aircraft carrier Liaoning. Although the fair comparison would be between Liaoning and Vikramaditya as both belong to Soviet Era from their planning and that both will be operational after few months, we will be coming up with an article on that soon. Nevertheless, almost all of the development and construction of INS Vikrant was with India and most of the construction and development of Liaoning was with China. This makes it interesting to compare the technology and equipment incorporated by both.

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Liaoning (16)

Liaoning (16) became People Liberation Army’s Navy’s first commissioned aircraft carrier on September 25, 2012. Originally laid down as Riga on December 6, 1985 in Mykolaiv, USSR (present Ukraine), the ship was launched on December 4, 1988. In late 1990 it was renamed as Varyag. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ownership of the vessel was given to newly formed Ukraine. Since then the work on the ship had stopped. Varyag was structurally completed and had to be equipped with electronics. However, Ukraine considered holding the work and stripping the ship off important parts. In just seven years, in 1998 ship was put for auction without its engine, rudder and electronics.

In April 1998, Ukrainian trade minister confirmed the selling of Varyag aircraft carrier to China. After having huge political drama with Turkey for getting transit right from Black sea to Mediterranean sea through Turkish waters, the ship finally arrived in Chinese water after four years on February 20, 2002 taking a big round of Africa via Strait of Gibraltar, Cape of Good Hope and Strait of Malacca sailing with an average speed of mere 6 knots (11Km/h) completing a 28,200KM distance avoiding Suez Canal which doesn’t allow passage of dead ship and Indian waters which is full of diplomatic and political activities as India takes any Chinese action as alarming.

Varyag was docked in a dry dock in Dalian in June 2005. After six years on 10th August 2011, the ship began sea trials. The Ship was commissioned on 25th September 2012 as Liaoning. China claims it is a training ship and not operational however, sources declare that there are aircrafts in the hangar ready to fly and launch a mission.

Chinese Aircraft Carrier Liaoning
Infograph – Chinese Aircraft Carrier Liaoning, credits on the image itself.

 

Weapon Equipment

Liaoning is equipped with AESA and Sea Eagle (Type 381) 3D Radar developed in China. It has a range of 100 Km (62 mi) and Altitude of 8000m. The radar has the capability to track 10 targets simultaneously. Like almost all modern ships which have CIWS, Liaoning is equipped with three Chinese Type 1030 CIWS which has 10 barrels that can fire 30mm ammunition at the rate of 10,000 rounds/min. The Ship is equipped with Chinese FL-3000N SAM having maximum range of 9KM for subsonic targets and 6KM for supersonic targets. To protect itself from the submarines, it is equipped with ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) 12 tube rocket launchers.

INS Vikrant is equipped with Israeli ELTA MF Star Radar and Italian Selex RAN-40L radar. MF Star has the range greater than 25KM for low flying attacking missile and greater than 250KM for high flying aircrafts. Selex RAN-40L on the other hand has a maximum range of 400KM and minimum rang of 180m. In the area of early warning and enemy detection INS Vikrant has an upper hand. CIWS and LR SAM used in INS Vikrant is not known yet, once the information is available we will update soon. INS Vikrant is equipped with four Otobreda 76 mm Italian made compact cannon which has the capability to fire 120 rounds/min up to 20KM. Westland Sea King Helicopter will be primarily responsible for providing ASW capabilities to the Indian indigenous aircraft carrier. India has not declared yet if it has ASW rocket launchers on board INS Vikrant

Aircraft Carried

1) Liaoning can carry thirty Su-33 design based indigenous Shenyang J-15 Carrier based Multirole fighter aircrafts. The fighter is still in the testing phase and on 25th November 2012, two J-15 aircraft successfully made arrested landing on Liaoning.

2) Changhe Z-8 based on French Aérospatiale SA 321 Super Frelon helicopters will be used for Search and Rescue and Anti-Submarine Warfare operations. It is equipped with a surface search radar and a French HS-12 dipping sonar and carries a Whitehead A244S torpedo under the starboard side of the fuselage.

  • Max. Speed: 249 km/h (135 kn (155 mph))
  • Range: 1,020 km (549 nmi (632 mi))
  • Rate of climb: 6.7 m/s (1,312 ft/min)

3) Ka 31 Helicopters will be used for airborne early warning

INS Vikrant on the other hand will carry twelve Mig 29K on board. The aircraft completed sea trials for the Indian Navy in November 2012.

Apart from Mig 29K, the ship will carry another eight naval version of India’s indigenous HAL LCA Tejas delta wing aircrafts. Which might take another many years to become operational.

Like China, INS Vikrant will also be carrying Ka 31 Helicopters for airborne early warning operations.

British Westland Sea King helicopters will be used for launching Anti-Submarine and Anti-Ship operations.

  • Maximum speed: 129 mph (112 knots, 208 km/h) (max cruise at sea level)
  • Range: 764 mi (664 nmi, 1,230 km)
  • Rate of climb: 2,020 ft/min (10.3 m/s)

If the jets and helicopters of Chinese ship is compared with the Indian ones, India lacks considerably in this department. Chinese aircraft Carrier can carry 30 Aircrafts and 24 Helicopters Compared to 20 Aircrafts and 10 Helicopters by Indian carrier. It gives a good advantage to the Chinese over Indians especially when their primary jet J-15 outsmarts Indian Mig 29K.

However, at the moment, neither J-15 nor HAL Tejas is ready, Mig 29K is operational and will find place in Vikramaditya aircraft carrier as soon as it is delivered to Indian Navy.

Liaoning with its 2200 crew and 67500 tons displacement can sail with the speed of 30 Kn (55.56 Km/hr) whereas INS Vikrant with its 1,400 crew and 40,000 tons displacement can sail with the speed of 28 Kn (52 Km/hr)

The Chinese aircraft carrier appears to be a great giant with slightly more advanced fleet in front of INS Vikrant as well as INS Vikramaditya. J-15 is yet to prove its capabilities while Mig 29K still finds trust among Indians and Russians. 4++ generation MiG-29K is a combat hardened aircraft, which has the unique ability to even find and chase stealth aircrafts. It is only used by India and Russia and no other country. It is a carrier specific combat aircraft and Russian Naval Aviation has placed an order to get 24 more Mig29K/KUB between 2013 and 2015.

Unlike other ships, aircraft carrier requires much more skilled and experienced crew to take full advantage of its capability and when it comes to experience, India enjoys experience of operating many since 1961, which is more than 50 years. India even has a wartime experience during 1971 Indo Pakistan war when INS Vikrant (not to be confused with the latest one) helped Indian Navy form a naval blockade against Pakistan and bomb ports of Cox Bazar, Chittagong, Khulna and Port of Mongla as Pakistan Navy was trying to break through the Indian Naval blockade using camouflaged merchant ships. A PTI report of 4 December 1971 read, “Chittagong harbour ablaze as ships and aircraft of the Eastern Naval Fleet bombed and rocketed. Not a single vessel can be put to sea from Chittagong.”

China has declared that it will use Liaoning only for training purpose and as a model to develop new indigenous aircraft carriers. However, it sounds little tricky as China, which had not included any aircraft carrier before in its fleet because of cost issues, has now made a complete, full-fledged advanced ready to launch mission carrier. Another thing that strengthens the doubt is that Liaoning was supposed to be a floating casino and today it is allowing J-15 to make landings. It could be a training ship until J-15 becomes operational after that nobody knows what is China’s plan. Claiming it to be a training ship might be just a move to calm down the rest of the world, and save its image that it actually didn’t buy Varyag aircraft carrier from Ukraine to make its own functional and ready to launch mission carrier.

Both Indian and Chinese aircraft carrier are using the technology used in former Soviet aircraft carriers for take-off. They rely on Short Takeoff but Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) system for launching and recovering aircraft. Latest Aircraft carriers are using Catapult-Assisted Takeoff but Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) system. STOBAR is easy to use, but limits the use of heavier aircraft and their payload. It is also difficult to operate bulky airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft using this system which can make the carrier very vulnerable during wartime. CATOBAR on the other hand is more advanced but needs precise designing and construction for it to function efficiently.

Indian Navy has taken the challenge to incorporate this latest technology in its second indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vishal. For this, US based Northrop Grumman has offered to help India with the implementation of a steam catapult for CATOBAR on upcoming INS Vishal. Northrop Grumman expects if India develops and implements this technology on its aircraft carrier then it can become a good market for their E-2C Hawkeye AEW aircraft as CATOBAR system is ideal for launching bulky AEW aircrafts.

Now that both India and China have the capability to possess a true blue water navy. It would be interesting to see how both of them use their best assets to project their power and send warning. When Liaoning will be ready with J-15, it will be interesting to see whether China will send it first to deep Pacific or Indian Ocean.

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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India

Struggling over Water Resources: The case of India and Pakistan

Alexandra Goman

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Indus water treaty

flickr/lensnmatter

Have you heard about conflicts over water? Have you ever wondered how hard it is to ensure water access in a conflicted area?  Well, what I can tell is that you have certainly heard how people are dying from thirst and hunger or how they getting sick because of lack of water.  What you might not know is that sometimes it is hard to ensure adequate access to water. What are the reasons? In fact, there are many, but this article will focus on one of the reasons: a conflict. We will take a specific example of India and Pakistan, explain the reasons for the water dispute and evaluate the current situation with water resources.

To begin with, do you know that it has been only seven years since the recognition of the right to water and sanitation? Before that there was a long debate whether this right exists at all. Neither the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights nor the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) address water. Not earlier than 2010, the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have finally adopted resolution which recognized access to clean water, sanitation as human right (GA/10967).

To ensure this right is not an easy job. First of all, water situation in some regions is aggravated by its geographic position. Increasing population, the impact of economic development, climate change only makes it harder. These factors results in scarcity of fresh water. Moreover, water has another quality that makes it even more significant – its irreplaceability. Secondly, some regions are additionally involved into conflicts which make access to water more difficult. What makes it even more complicated is the fact that many river basins and aquifer systems are being shared by different states.

When something is shared, it sometimes gives precedent to a dispute. In case of two countries, it definitely does. This is the case between India and Pakistan which share the Indus basin. Currently both countries are experiencing lack of water, whereas water demand is rising and water resources of the Indus River continue to deplete. Some say that the situation in Pakistan is even worse, where the flow of river is dropping at seven percent yearly (See Baqai 2005, at 77). Thus, the river basin is giving rise for a dispute. Given the history of long-rivalry, it may result into a war.

The water dispute between Indian and Pakistan dates back to the early 20th century, but at that time it was a provincial conflict over the river to be resolved by British India. In 1947 India and Pakistan were partitioned, and the natural borders of river Beas, Chenab, Jhelum and Sutlej have been neglected. Many dams stayed in India, while their waters irrigated a major part of Pakistan. The geography of partition left the source rivers in India, and Pakistan felt threatened by its control. Moreover, the situation with Kashmir presented additional difficulties. Apart from its strategic value, the Eastern waters of Kashmir are significant for Pakistan in terms of resource access (its irrigation system largely depends on it).

Soon after the partition, a major crisis occurred when the Government of the Eastern Punjab (India) took its sovereign rights over the territorial waters and blocked Sutlej river, stopping water flow to Pakistan and causing agriculture of Pakistan severe damage. This precedent stayed in the collective memory of Pakistan, leaving fear that India could repeat its actions.  India yet claimed that it was caused by Pakistani actions in Kashmir. Even today Pakistan feels insecure by its neighbour’s power over the Indus river.

By 1951 the conflict became more dangerous as both states refused to discuss the matter.  That’s why, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (today’s World Bank) was approached to mediate the conflict. It was not until 1960 when the parties finally reached an agreement and signed the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

To ensure the best solutions the Permanent Indus Commission represented by both sides was established. Until 2015 the meetings were held regularly once a year to resolve problems, but after that none of them happened because of the tensions in the relations of India and Pakistan.

Only in March 2017 the meeting took place with Pakistan welcoming the Indian delegation. The World Bank was asked again to intervene but it refused, leaving two countries for a face-to-face dialogue. Even though the meeting did take place, it was decided to suspend further talks.

The current water dispute between two states is shaped by the following factors. First of all, it is fast growing population rate which puts enormous pressure on resources. Secondly, there is inefficient and inadequate use of water resources as well as increased demand for water as a result of economic growth. Thirdly, water stress is becoming more severe and it is further aggravated by climate change. Apart from this, one can see a reason for a dispute in inability and reluctance of political leaders of India and Pakistan to resolve the issue. As it is heated by the public opinion from both sides, the issues continues to be on the agenda. Additionally, there are grievances caused by the IWT which influence the dynamics of the dispute.

However successful the Indus Water Treaty may be, it remains to keep low profile and failed to reach its full potential. Both parties did agree on a partition of the Rivers, yet they did not pay specific attention to the other challenging parts of the agreement such as optimization of the use of the Indus waters (Chari 2014, at 5).  Further, there is little information in regards to the groundwater use. It also does not address such issues as the division of shortages during dry years and technical specifications of hydropower projects of India, particularly impact of storages on the flows of the Chenab River to Pakistan [1].

Such weaknesses of the Treaty are consequently becoming a source of tension. It gives space for different interpretation, and this is used by both countries to their advantage. The IWT lacks its dynamics towards water resource sharing and has to be adjusted accordingly. Though the Indus Water Treaty did prevent a possible escalation over the water resources, it did not foresee the future depletion of the Indus River caused by population growth, new developments in industry, and more importantly by climate change and global warming. Back into 1960 it was not well-studied or discussed as often as now, hence, it was not given required attention. That is why many call to rethink the agreement and include new pressing issues into the Treaty.

Moreover, there has been an intensive debate in India to revoke the Treaty. It was the Uri attack that laid ground for it. An Indian analyst of water disputes and geostrategic developments, Chellaney suggested India should draw a clear line between the right of Pakistan to water inflows and its responsibility not to harm its upper riparian neighbour [2]. In response, Pakistan warned that any attempts to review and/or exit the treaty would be deemed “an act of war” [3]. Regardless, the Government of India remained mostly silent. The parties are not willing to cooperate; therefore the ITW is weakened by it.

In September 2016, the Prime Minister of India, Narenda Modi, referring the ITW, said that “blood and water cannot flow together” [4].   It was also stated that only in “atmosphere free of terror” the meeting of Indus Water Commission was possible (Ibid.). India has repeatedly mentioned altering and/or exiting the ITW, although there is no exit close in the Treaty.

It should be noted that in case of a conflict the UN Watercourses Convention of 1997 gives special attention to the “requirements of vital human needs” (Article 10, part 2).  International Law Commission clarifies these needs and say that there should be “sufficient water to sustain human life, including both drinking water and water required for the production of food in order to prevent starvation” [5]. This refers to the right to water of individuals, and the fact that States should respect and protect these rights.

Political tensions between India and Pakistan have worsened and made it difficult to settle even water issues. In this sense, the Kashmir conflict is inseparable from a water conflict. Many cooperative decisions were impossible because of parties’ inability to make any progress on the Kashmir question.

 There is also a high level of securitization of water issues. To securitize means to construct a certain threat (for example, by means of authority). These threats are being dramatized and usually presented as a high-priority for a nation. Political leaders of Pakistan securitize this issue to the extent that it is described as a threat to national security. That makes a dispute more dangerous because water issues are being constructed as threat to a country.

Pakistan has more than once declared that if Pakistan’s need for water is used by India to pressure them, the country will consider it as a direct threat against Pakistani people.  Environmental security is intertwined with the risks of violent conflict, mostly because stress in resources (e.g. water scarcity). It is also usually associated with the growing population rate and inequitable distribution of resources.

Sometimes the Kashmir dispute is also explained through headstreams of the Indus. Indian control over it likely pressures Pakistan especially during dry periods of the year. Indian Power projects in Kashmir (like Baglihar Dam) only make Pakistan to securitize water issue even more and treat it as security problem.

All in all, both countries are experiencing an enduring rivalry in regards to many aspects. This rivalry deteriorates the cooperation on water share issues. A high level of mistrust guards many countries’ decisions, that is why cooperative mechanisms usually fail. Moreover, the water issues are being regarded as a matter of national security that may escalate the situation. As water quality and quantity continues to be influenced by climate change, population rate continues to increase, demand for water continues to rise, and both countries continue to blame and accuse each other… it does not look like countries are ready to have a face-to-face dialogue over water resources any time soon. But let’s wait and see.

References

  1. P. Chadha, “Indus Water Treaty may not survive, warns UN report” India Water Review, 1 March 2017. Available from [http://www.indiawaterreview.in/Story/Specials/indus-water-treaty-may-not-survive-warns-un-report/2013/3#.WUUusut97IU].
  2. A. Parvaiz, “Indus Waters Treaty rides out latest crisis” Understanding Asia’s Water Crisis, 15 September 2016. Available from [https://www.thethirdpole.net/2016/09/25/indus-waters-treaty-rides-out-latest-crisis/].
  3. Dr. Jorgic, T. Wilkes, “Pakistan warns of ‘water war’ with India if decades-old treaty violated” Reuters, 27 September 2016. Available from [http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-india-water-idUSKCN11X1P1].
  4. Express Web Desk, “Blood and water cannot flow together: PM Modi at Indus Water Treaty meeting”, The Indian Express, 27 September 2016. Available from [http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/indus-water-treaty-blood-and-water-cant-flow-together-pm-modi-pakistan-uri-attack/].
  5. International Law Commission, “Draft Articles on the law of the non-navigational uses of international watercourses and commentaries thereto and resolution on transboundary confined groundwater” (1994) Part II Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 89. Available from [http://legal.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/commentaries/8_3_1994.pdf].
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Technology

3 Advanced National Security Technologies

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When it comes to national security, our government spends millions on keeping us safe every year. Innovators work around the clock to develop systems and technologies that stop our enemies from progressing. Today, we’re going to take a look at three of the most useful advancements during the last few years. We’ve also included an infographic at the bottom of this page that provides more information.

Global surveillance system

The global surveillance system has been in place for many years. It was designed to keep a watchful eye on the Soviet Union. However, since its collapse, the tech is used to monitor suspicious communications all around the world.

Geospatial science technology

Geographic data tech helps to keep us safe from harm every single day. Since the events of 9/11, it has contributed towards stopping hundreds of terrorist attacks. You can learn more by taking a look at the infographic below. It offers some excellent information.

Drones and UAVs

Since the war in Afghanistan and Iraq began, military experts have used drones and UAVs for a variety of different tasks. However, our government uses them at home to spot any issues before they arise. They help to monitor communications and keep a watchful eye over us from the sky.

Without the technologies mentioned on this page, the world could turn into a much more dangerous place. Thankfully, we have experts working hard every single day to come up with the next advancement. So, we should stay ahead of our enemies as we have always done before.


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War and Military

Do We Expect Too Much From Soldiers?

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Soldier expectation

Are you familiar with Sgt Alexander Blackman? Blackman was a British Marine that was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for killing a Taliban soldier. In the past few weeks, the former soldier has had his sentence reduced, and he is about to be released.

What is shocking about this story is the line that it draws. On the one hand, the evidence that he killed a man is irrefutable. In fact, Blackman himself is happy to admit that he pulled the trigger. However, the clamour for his release has been fervent, to say the least.

The public and politicians alike seem to agree that his sentence was harsh. To be honest, there aren’t too many people that aren’t firmly on his side. So, why was he jailed for murder? The consensus is that the line between the military and civilians is blurred. Experts say people expect too much in times of war – are they right?

Experience Vs Idealism

Soldiers are combat veterans, and they understand what it takes to win a war. The public is, well, it’s a bunch of people that can only imagine the horrors of combat. There is no doubt that everyone is entitled to their opinion on the matter because we live in a civilised society. But, for the values of those without experience to take precedent does seem illogical. The same goes for the politicians. Yes, the Geneva Convention is a helpful piece of legislation. However, it doesn’t appear to comprehend what happens on the battlefield. The cold hard truth is that people on the battlefield are the only people that know how to act. Should we, from our ivory towers, pass judgement? Alexander Blackman wouldn’t say so, and neither would 1000 marines that gathered in Parliament Square.

What Goes On Tour Stays On Tour

The obvious retort to that argument is to say that legislation must exist to hold people to account. No one is saying that our troops and our allies’ troops can’t be trusted. Most people would trust them with their lives, and the lives of their loved ones. Regardless, an environment shouldn’t exist where they can do as they please. Logically, there are people in the Armed Forces that will break the law. In fact, former members will argue that the environment encourages this behaviour. If and when it happens, the public needs to know that the culprits won’t escape justice. War is war, but it isn’t a blank cheque. That would make us no better than the people we’re fighting.

Media Culture

There is no doubt that we live in an era where the media dominate. One only needs to look at the history of the newspapers to see that they are king makers. They also have the ability to influence how people think and feel about certain topics with their agenda. Did Blackman suffer this fate? The stats seem to show that he was one of the unlucky ones. At the time, the media coverage wasn’t unbiased. The way they portrayed his actions without any proof was quite shocking. And, the shock permeated throughout society. In Britain, marches were held by people to show their displeasure at the murder of another person. It didn’t matter that he was an injured Taliban fighter. It also didn’t matter that he was putting lives at risk – a life is a life. The media frenzy shouldn’t have any bearing on the process, but that would be being naïve. Everyone from the lawyers to the Court Martial Judge felt the pressure, and it reflected in the sentence.

We Expect The Best

The Western world is a place where people are free to act and speak as they please. Places like Britain, the USA, and even Russia fought for these rights. And, our forces continue to do so in 2017. To say that they should act differently isn’t helpful. Why? It’s because we expect the best, and we have every right to fight for this expectation. The time when our military personnel lowers their standards is the time when society starts to collapse. That might seem like an over exaggeration, but it is frighteningly close to the bone. A glance around the world shows the power of the military. With their help, dictators and autocrats rule in plain sight without fear of justice. At the minutes, Erdogan is taking it to extremes in Turkey, and the Thais are constantly in turmoil. We don’t have to worry about that because we instil a culture into our forces.

But They Are The Best

Soldiers have to go through a lot if they want to stay on the right side of the law. Apart from regular appraisals, they have to train every day and move away from home. Plus, they have to take a hair follicle drug test to ensure they’re in peak physical condition. And what’s more, they are never expected to make a mistake. Oh, and they do all of this while fighting insurgents and evading gunfire. Any observer should be able to see that the world expects the best and that they deliver. Ninety-nine percent of the Armed Forces perform with dignity and honour. In fact, Blackman’s case was the first of its kind in Britain since the Second World War. Even then, it wasn’t clear cut. What is clear cut is that the Armed Forces deserve a modicum of trust. They are trained to within an inch of their lives and uphold the highest standards – who else can relate?

It Only Takes One Mistake

The final thing to remember is that a soldier only needs to make one mistake. One wrong decision is the difference between life and death. In most careers, an error might lead to a telling off from the boss. In the military, it leads to fatalities. To hold them to account is necessary to continue the current trend. Otherwise, the stats might make for unpleasant reading.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the military has to put up with a lot. In most cases, it’s what’s required to keep them at the top of their game. But, in the case of Alexander Blackman, it condemned an innocent man to prison.

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