India’s Proximity Archives

India’s Proximity Archives

South Asia

by Shreyas Deshmukh
Pakistan’s internal problems are continuing to escalate. On January 30, more than a hundred persons, almost all policemen, were killed in a terrorist attack carried out by a branch of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. The terrorists targeted a mosque located in a highly secured Police headquarter in Peshawar. Following the attack, all the major Pakistani cities were put on high alert.

In the backdrop of the 9th quarterly review of an IMF Extended Fund Facility conducted on January 31, and depleting foreign currency reserves which stand USD 3.7 billion, on January 27, the Pakistan government removed control over the currency exchange rate. Since then, the Pak Rupee has seen a 14.50 percent depreciation, while, inflation has gone up to 30 percent. To overcome the economic crisis by importing cheaper Russian oil/gas and to discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Moscow and held a meeting with his counterpart Sergey Lavrov on January 30. Owing to the political and security situation in Pakistan, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, President of the UAE cancelled his visit to Islamabad which was planned for January 30.

The Russian and the US special representatives for Afghanistan visited Pakistan on January 25 and 31, respectively. Women’s rights, their access to education and vital aid in Afghanistan was the issue discussed in the meeting. Meanwhile, in the last two weeks, more than 160 people died in freezing temperatures in Afghanistan.

The IMF has approved loans of USD 4.7 billion to Bangladesh for disbursal starting immediately. This will help the country to boost its reserves and provide a buffer to implement reforms to bring macroeconomic stability.

Other Developments
India has asked Pakistan to change a decades-old water-sharing agreement by barring third parties from intervening in disputes.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland visited Nepal on January 30.
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has urged the Bihar government to supply an additional 90 Mega Watt (MW) of power from Bihar.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won a party primary and will run for a second term in the September elections..

Southeast Asia

by Anshita Shukla
The 95th ASEAN Business Advisory Council (BAC) meeting was held on January 30 in Jakarta. Satvinder Singh, the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community highlighted the areas of collaboration between the bloc and ASEAN-BAC to achieve the ASEAN Priority Economic Deliverables in 2023. The meeting concluded with the ASEAN BAC Handover Ceremony 2023, where Secretary-General Dr. Kao encouraged ASEAN-BAC “to explore ways to transform ASEAN’s economic potential and cooperation into actual opportunities to achieve real and tangible benefits”.

On January 29, the Foreign Ministry of Indonesia and the Government of DKI Jakarta organised the 2023 ASEAN Indonesia Chairmanship Kick-Off event in Central Jakarta. "This year, Indonesia became the chair of ASEAN in the middle of a very difficult global situation. Economic crises, energy crises, food crises, war, everything is happening”, stated President Jokowi Widodo in his opening remarks.

External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar met with Don Pramudwinai, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, on January 30. The two ministers discussed the bilateral relations between their countries and the situation in Myanmar.

The Myanmar military government representative has been invited to attend the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting- Plus (ADMM) experts working group on maritime security co-chaired by the United States and Thailand. Countries' attendance at the meeting is determined by the ASEAN member states, stated Lieutenant Colonel Martin Meiners, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defence.

Singapore and Malaysia signed three bilateral cooperation agreements on the digital economy, green economy, personal data protection, and cyber security on January 30. As bilateral cooperation expands, the government of Malaysia has stated that the decision to withdraw two applications to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the sovereignty of Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge in 2018 by the then coalition government led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad was “not in order and improper”. However, the country respects the ICJ 2008 ruling on Pedra Branca in favor of Singapore stated Attorney General Idris Harun.

Other Developments
Myanmar junta plans polls with strict rules for political parties
ICC reopens probe into Philippines’ deadly ‘war on drugs’
World Bank approves US$600 million loan to support Philippines' recovery, financial sector

West Asia

by Sanket Joshi
Deepening the time-tested partnership between India and Egypt, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi attended India’s Republic Day celebrations as Chief Guest on January 26. The two countries elevated their relationship to a “strategic partnership” covering “political”, “security”, “defence”, “energy”, and “economic areas”. Discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President El-Sisi focused on augmenting cooperation in healthcare, environment, global supply chains, and the need to end cross-border terrorism.

Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, met his UAE counterpart in Abu Dhabi on January 30 to discuss collaboration in fintech. Meanwhile, recognising the contribution of the Indian community, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has issued directives to rename Dubai’s Al Minhad area as “Hind City”

Further, Abu Dhabi-based ‘International Holding Company’ (IHC) is investing USD 400 million in India’s ‘Adani Enterprises’ follow-on sale of shares. ‘Adani Ports’ and ‘Gadot Group’ have acquired the strategic Israeli port of Haifa for USD 1.2 billion. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described this as an “enormous milestone”, while, Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani lauded ‘Abraham Accord’ as a “game changer for the Mediterranean Sea logistics”. 

India strongly condemned a terror attack near a synagogue in East Jerusalem that killed seven people. In the backdrop of mounting tensions between Israel and Palestine, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on January 31, reiterating US’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security including preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons”. Amidst this, an Israeli drone strike targeted an advanced weapons production facility in Iran’s city of Isfahan. In a strategic message to Iran, the US and Israel concluded “Juniper Oak 23.2”, their “largest joint military exercise in history”.    

Other Developments
China’s foreign minister seeks stronger economic ties with Saudi Arabia
Saudi Crown Prince, President Putin discuss OPEC cooperation for oil market stability: Kremlin
Blinken: All options available to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon
Iran, Russia link banking systems amid Western sanction
Iran says drone attack on defence facility in Isfahan failed


by Angana Guha Roy
Even as  health authorities of China said that the peak of the Covid wave has passed and that there has been a rapid decline in deaths and severe cases public health experts continue to question whether Beijing has been transparent enough to enable them to accurately assess the situation.The WHO believes that the definition of death by the Chinese government is "too narrow".

China  accused Washington of pursuing technology hegemony” following media reports that the United States has stepped up pressure on tech giant Huawei by blocking all access to American suppliers.The reported  move would tighten restrictions imposed in 2019 that limit Huawei's access to processor chips and other technology.  Huawei has faced numerous criticisms for various aspects of its operations including data theft and spying on military communications.

Simultaneously reports claim that China is planning to restrict exports of key solar manufacturing technology could delay attempts to build up a domestic solar supply chain in the US.If the plan is adopted, Chinese solar manufacturers would be required to obtain a license from their provincial commerce authorities to export such technologies.China currently accounts for nearly all of solar ingot and wafer production globally, as well as much of the equipment used in the manufacturing process.

During the All India Director Generals of Police (DGP) Conference  from January 20-22, a research paper presented by the Superintendent of Police, Leh, highlighted, China has blocked access to the Indian Army at 26 patrolling points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, resulting in the loss of huge swatches of grazing land belonging to local Ladakhi people.The government is yet to comment on the issue.

While discussing the security challenges along the land borders with Nepal and Myanmar at the DGP Conference it was revealed that China has “exploited” the sense of alienation and insecurity among tribal communities along the India-Myanmar border in order to “cause insurgency and instability” in northeastern India. It added that insurgents sourced their arms from China and brought them into India via Myanmar.

Responding to Sri Lanka’s long-standing request for a commitment on rescheduling its debts as a prelude to a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chinese EXIM bank offered Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on its debt and said it would support the country’s efforts to secure a $2.9 billion.The move comes after  India offered the required assurances to Sri Lanka for the bailout package.

Other Developments
China increases activities in Nepal as Maoist govt takes over
Tibetan refugees caught between China, Nepal: Report
Chinese tech giants take center stage at mega Bangladesh digital show
Bangladesh may overtake China to be EU's biggest apparel source