India's Proximity Archives

India's Proximity Archives

South Asia
by Shreyas Deshmukh

Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ visited India from May 31 to June 3, during which he held bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian officials. The visit concluded with the signing of six project-specific bilateral agreements including the inauguration of railway lines, new check-posts, petroleum pipeline, and electricity transmission line. Meanwhile, PM Prachanda said that his India visit has restored trust with Indian leadership at the political level.

According to the report published on May 31, the Qatari prime minister held secret talks with the supreme leader of the Taliban on May 12 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The meeting was focused on issues that are creating tensions between the Taliban and the international community.

The tensions over water rights of Helmand River escalated to a deadly clash between Iranian guards and the Taliban fighters on May 27, Iran says it has made progress in negotiations and the issue will be settled soon. The Taliban is planning to relocate the refugees settled alongside the Durand Line to other provinces in Afghanistan, to assure Pakistan that refugees are not involved in attacks against the Pakistani government.

The terrorist organisation Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has reached out to the Pakistan government to resume peace talks, but the government has declined the offer and instead urged the militants to surrender.

Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan visited Maldives on June 3-4. During the visit, both sides signed MoUs to implement ten additional high-impact projects in the Maldives with Indian assistance. Meanwhile, the main-ruling Maldivian Democratic Party's Parliamentary Group on June 6, decided to move a no-confidence motion against Parliament Speaker and Party President Mohamed Nasheed. The motion was moved due to Nasheed's alleged non-compliance to Parliament rules.

Southeast Asia
by Anshita Shukla

The Secretary-General of ASEAN, Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, delivered remarks at the 20th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore for a special panel on “Balancing Asia-Pacific Minilateralism and ASEAN Centrality” on June 3. He underscored the importance of ASEAN Centrality in the regional architecture and the inclusive nature of cooperation under the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

The 3rd India-Vietnam Maritime Security Dialogue was held on May 31 in New Delhi. The Indian delegation was headed by Ms. Muanpuii Saiawi, Joint Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs), Ministry of External Affairs, and the Vietnamese delegation by Ambassador Trinh Duc Hai, Vice Chairman, National Boundary Commission. The two sides discussed ways to sustain a secure maritime environment conducive to inclusive growth and prospects for strengthening international and regional platforms for comprehensive maritime security.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese made an official visit to Hanoi on June 4, the first official visit by an Australian Prime Minister in four years to Vietnam. During the visit, the two countries signed multiple agreements - to share intelligence on money laundering, establish a regular trade ministers' meeting and a $105 million pledge by Australia to help Vietnam decarbonise. PM Anthony Albanese signalled the readiness to “elevate the Australia-Vietnam relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”.

Indonesia is hosting the 2023 Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo in the Makassar Strait from June 5-8. In the official statement by the Indonesian Navy, the Komodo drills were characterised as a "non-war" exercise aimed at "strengthening relationships between the navies" of 36 countries. Officials said there would be 17 foreign vessels involved in the drills, which will focus on non-military operations with key allies. India sent Indian Naval Ship Satpura to Makassar on June 5 to participate in the exercise.

The Philippines, United States and Japan commenced the first-ever joint naval drills on June 1 off the Bataan province of the Philippines. Vice Admiral Rolando Lizor Punzalan Jr. of the Philippine Coast Guard stated that "improved maritime cooperation and understanding between the three coast guards of the Philippines, Japan and the United States is the goal of this undertaking".

Other Developments
Indonesia-Malaysia QR code payments get started under the ASEAN system
UN special envoy for Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer to step down: UN chief’s spokesman
Marcos Jr. brings back Gilberto Teodoro as defense chief
Shangri-La Dialogue: Southeast Asian leaders ‘acutely concerned’ about US-China rivalry
Philippines to step up ties with U.S.-Japan-Australia coalition

West Asia
by Sanket Joshi

On June 2, India's External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar, met with the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran on the sidelines of the ‘Friends of BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting’ in Cape Town, South Africa. The strategic partnership between India and the Gulf countries continues to grow.

EAM Dr. Jaishankar, in his address at the Friends of BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting stressed that “BRICS is no longer an alternative”, rather, it is an “established feature of the global landscape”. He also discussed strong support for UNSC reforms, BRICS as an expression of multipolarity, creating resilient and reliable supply chains, and building a fairer, open, and inclusive international architecture.

Amidst strained US-Saudi Arabia relations, on June 6, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, met Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah. The two leaders emphasised a “shared commitment to advance stability, security, and prosperity across the Middle East and beyond”. Reportedly, Secretary Blinken also discussed expanding the ‘Abraham Accords’ including the possibility of Saudi Arabia normalising relations with Israel.

The United Arab Emirates has withdrawn its participation from the 38-nation Combined Maritime Forces tasked with securing the Gulf waterways.  

During the IDF's large-scale, two-week exercise 'Firm Hand', the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, chaired a simulated security cabinet meeting at the IDF's main operational command bunker in Tel Aviv. PM Netanyahu expressed confidence in Israel's ability to deal with any threat on its own and reiterated Tel Aviv's commitment to acting against Iran's nuclear program. Amidst continuing tensions between Israel and Iran, Tehran reportedly unveiled a homegrown hypersonic missile named ‘Fattah’.

Other Developments
Saudi Arabia cuts oil output by 1 million barrels per day to boost sagging prices
Peace in Gulf region 'vital' says China as Iran, Saudi, UAE mull naval alliance
Rebuffing Israel, IAEA’s director denies caving to Iran on closed probes
Israel Energy Minister opposes Saudi civilian nuclear program as normalisation condition
Indian envoy backs UAE bid to make COP28 a summit of action

by Angana Guha Roy

India and China held the 27th Meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC)   on May 31 wherein both sides discussed proposals for disengagement in the remaining friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both sides also agreed to hold the 19th round of high-level military talks at an early date to achieve the objective of restoration of peace and tranquillity in the border areas. 

India has prepared a list of sectors where it has advised public sector undertakings (PSUs) and other government bodies to refrain from using Chinese technology even if it comes at a lower cost compared to other service providers.Technologies identified as sensitive where organisations are advised to avoid procurement from China include 3D printing, technology used by cranes at ports like SCADA systems, technology used for data streaming including broadcasting, biotechnologies,  and etc.

China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong has assured Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe of “steadfast support” to overcome the unprecedented economic crisis the island nation is going through.Mr. Weidong expressed keen interest in exploring opportunities to strengthen the bilateral relations while reiterating China’s steadfast support for Sri Lanka in its ongoing economic recovery.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to visit China in the coming weeks for talks with top officials, possibly including President Xi Jinping to resume high-level communication. The exact timing for Blinken’s visit is still undecided.

Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant US secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Sarah Beran, National Security Council senior director for China, met with Chinese diplomats Ma Zhaoxu and Yang Tao to hold “candid and productive discussions” in Beijing on June 5. The discussions were part of ongoing efforts to maintain open lines of communication and build on recent high-level diplomacy between the two countries.

Other Developments
Letter from President Xi: Bangladeshi girl Alifa Chin hopes to become envoy for China-Bangladesh friendship
India positive, but to tread cautiously on Nepal's request for new routes to save its airports built by China

Central Asia
by Jayantika Rao T.V.

On June 3, the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov, said “Kyrgyzstan is ready to work in hand with the European Union on shared problems, encourage dialogue and find lasting solutions”.  President Japarov and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, issued a joint statement in which they also confirmed their firm commitment to the UN Charter and its “principles of sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of all countries”. 

The highly anticipated Astana International Forum (AIF) is set to begin on June 8. The event’s theme is Tackling Challenges Through Dialogue: Towards Cooperation, Development, and Progress. The forum’s vision is to promote global cooperation and peace by discussing issues currently high on the international agenda, including climate change and advancing security and development. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said AIF is meant to “respond to global challenges”.

The first Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Kairat Umarov attended the BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 2. Addressing the participants, Minister Kairat Umarov expressed that Kazakhstan seeks to join BRICS and strengthen its economic cooperation with member countries. Minister Kairat Umarov argued that BRICS “has become an effective international platform for addressing acute contemporary issues, demonstrating collaboration between emerging economies”. Minister Umarov emphasises the importance of “collective efforts in solving urgent problems, pointing to the synergy of the goals, objectives and principles of the BRICS, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), based on international law and the United Nations Charter.

On May 31, Iran and Turkmenistan signed five documents on enhancing cooperation in transportation, the building of international corridors, energy and electricity exchanges, agriculture, education and investment. During the press conference, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that the signing of these documents was a manifestation of the two countries’ determination and will to expand bilateral political, economic and cultural relations.

The United States is negotiating a deal with Turkmenistan to help the country curb the colossal methane leak. Through this deal, the US official seeks to prevent some leaks from Turkmenistan’s oil and gas industry by the start of the UN’S CoP28 Climate Summit, which is scheduled for November this year.

Other Developments
Tajikistan: Dual Citizenship Holders fear Russian Army Call-Up
Emir of State of Qatar to Attend Astana International Forum on June 8
Turkmenistan establishes Commission on reducing methane emissions
Uzbek President seeks re-election in July
President of Turkmenistan holds talks with OSCE Secretary General