* Ukraine elected businessman Petro Poroshenko as its next president with a relatively high margin, and one of his pledges is to wrap up operations in Eastern Ukraine quickly. Fighting in Donetsk (Eastern Ukraine) reportedly led to the death of about 40 pro-Russian insurgents over the past 48 hours. KyivPost | USA Today | CSIS timeline of Ukraine’s crisis.
* Narandra Modi was sworn in as India’s new prime minister yesterday, with high expectations that he will be a strong economic reformer. In the defense sector the development of a local industry is still on the agenda, but it is likely that foreign direct investment will be allowed to reach 49% of a defense joint venture, rather than the 26% ceiling set by the previous administration.
* An Italian court lifted the freeze that had prevented the Indian government from recovering €228M in bank guarantees in its botched helicopter deal with AgustaWestland.
* China’s gambit is that it will manage to contain its myriad of territorial conflicts as a series of bilateral issues with smaller countries it can easily pressure, rather than a big multilateral one. If they keep pushing, they may find their neighbors more and more willing to unite. Expect more headlines like this: Japan, Vietnam blame China for maritime tensions.
* East Asia Forum looks at the debate on the reinterpretation of Japan’s constitution with regards to defense matters. Japanese public opinions has mixed feelings on this.
* The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs had a hearing last week on deepening rifts within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A spat earlier this year between Qatar and the other GCC members seems to have been resolved, for now.
Ras Le Bol (That’s French for “Fed Up”)
* French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian sent a letter to Prime Minister Manuel Valls warning that further budget cuts would have dire military and industrial consequences. The joint chief of staff as well as the chiefs of staff from the three services have threatened to resign, as the funding “guarantees” in the 5-year LPM budget law are likely to prove again to be little more than smoke and mirrors. Le Figaro [in French] | The Telegraph.
Quantum of Solace
* The UK’s DSTL is working on a quantum accelerometer that would allow submarines to keep track of their position without having to resurface to pick GPS signals. Anything that involves “laser-cooled atom clouds” sounds too good not to pursue.
* NATO is currently executing Unified Vision 2014 (UV14) in Norway, its biggest Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) trial ever. Video below: