India's Proximity Archives

India's Proximity Archives

South Asia
by Shreyas Deshmukh

On June 27, the DG ISPR of the Pakistan Army revealed that it had sacked three officers including a Lieutenant General, and concluded disciplinary proceedings against 15 officers, including three Major Generals and seven Brigadiers. The actions were taken for failing to protect the military installations during the violent protests on May 9 following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Military proceedings against other 102 people are ‘underway’. On June 20, an anti-terrorism court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for PTI Chairman Imran Khan and six other leaders of the party in cases relating to the May 9 attacks.

Amidst political and economic crisis Pakistan government on June 25 passed the Finance Bill 2023-24 with amendments to the proposed budgetary measures to align with the IMF demands prerequisite to get approval for a bailout package. The senior leadership of PDM, a ruling coalition in Pakistan gathered in Dubai on June 24-25 to decide the timing of the next general elections and “their shares” in the future set-up.

Pakistan issued a demarche to the US Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad on June 26 over the US-India Joint Statement which had “called on Pakistan to take immediate action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for launching terrorist attacks”. 

Pakistan redrawing its Afghan policy. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held a meeting with the country’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Asif Durrani in which he “urged expeditious completion of flagship Pak-Afghan projects”. Earlier a team of engineers from Pakistan visited Afghanistan to conduct a survey of 158 kilometres railway line which will be built to transport coal from Afghanistan. The present Taliban government of Afghanistan also approved the transportation of gas and oil from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, passing through Afghanistan, for a trial period.

Southeast Asia
by Anshita Shukla

South Korea’s President Yoon Suk Yeol concluded his first official three-day state visit to Vietnam. During his visit, the South Korean President and Vietnamese leaders announced a 17-point action plan to implement the Vietnam-South Korea comprehensive strategic partnership, which was agreed upon in December 2022.  The two sides agreed to boost security cooperation in the face of rising threats from North Korea and to increase bilateral trade and investment.

On June 21, the U.S. levelled sanctions against Myanmar’s Ministry of Defence, Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB). The two banks are used by the military junta to purchase arms and other goods in foreign currencies. The US Embassy in Thailand stated that the “goal in these designations is to constrain the regime’s access to US dollars and to promote accountability for the regime as it continues committing horrific acts of violence.” However, Myanmar’s military junta spokesperson said that it was not worried about any new sanctions.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership, US aircraft carrier- USS Ronald Reagan made a port call in Danang on June 25. The carrier will be docked in Vietnam till June 30. It’s the third visit by a US aircraft carrier since the end of the Vietnam War. This comes a few weeks after Vietnam urged Chinese survey vessel, multiple coast guard ships and fishing boats to depart its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea.

The ASEAN first-even joint drills scheduled from September 18-25 in the North Natuna Sea have now been moved away from the contested South China Sea. The scheduled drills will now be held in South Natuna Sea. The Indonesian military has announced that military leaders from all ten ASEAN countries will be attending the drills. However, Cambodia, China’s close ally, has not yet confirmed its attendance.

West Asia
by Sanket Joshi

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, met with the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, on June 25 in Cairo. The two leaders elevated the India-Egypt relationship to a "strategic partnership" and discussed ways to strengthen the relations in the areas of trade, investment, defence, security, as well as renewable energy and culture. PM Modi was awarded the ‘Order of the Nile’ for his contribution to the strengthening of Egypt-India relations.

During his visit to Muscat on June 26, India's National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, met Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Albusaidi. The two sides discussed strengthening cooperation in key areas such as economic development, technological advancement, as well as mutual security and regional stability.

On June 23, 2023, Russian military headquarters in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don were taken over by Yevgeny Prigozhin's Wagner Group (private Russian paramilitary group). Prigozhin, however, was relocated to Belarus under an agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. In light of these developments, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates stressed the importance of maintaining stability in the Russian Federation.

China has expanded its outreach in West Asia as part of its Global Security Initiative (GSI). After the Palestinian President's visit to China in June 2023, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to visit Beijing in October 2023. This visit comes in the backdrop of disagreements between President Biden and PM Netanyahu on the Israeli government’s judicial reforms bill, settlement policies in the West Bank, and the possibility of an interim nuclear deal between the US and Iran. The US has also cut support to Israeli science and technology institutions located in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights, as these territories came under Israeli control after the six-day war in 1967 and remain subject to final-status negotiations.

Other Developments
India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman holds a bilateral meeting with UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology  Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber on the sidelines of the Summit for New Global Financing Pact held in Paris 
Russia Set to Overtake Saudi Arabia in Battle for China’s Oil Market
Momentum building in Iran talks with West, says a source
In first, Israel seizes crypto accounts linked to Iran’s Quds Force, Hezbollah
UAE’s Lulu ready to invest INR 10,000 crore in various ongoing projects in India

by Angana Guha Roy

Following PM Narendra Modi’s successful US visit that led to a host of defence and commercial pacts including joint production of jet engines in India to power military aircraft and a deal on armed drones, China came up with a statement that cooperation between countries should not undermine regional peace and stability and target any third party. Dismissing Beijing's concerns, India called the defence deal a progressive evolution of India-U.S. defence cooperation.

To meet the energy needs of the new army bases near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), China is building solar and hydro projects. According to reports, China has deployed more than 50,000 soldiers along the borders with India since 2020.

In a visa tit-for-tat row a  Chinese reporter who has been termed to be the “last” one in India has reportedly been expelled from India. As per reports, he was expelled after his visa extension was denied. This expulsion signifies the first instance since the normalization of relations in the 1980s that there are no Chinese journalists stationed in India.

According to reports, Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is planning an official visit to Beijing in a bid to strike a balance in relations with both China and India. 

After the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen is reportedly planning to visit China in July, as official economic engagement is poised to take center stage amid soured bilateral ties.

A day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met President Xi for talks in Beijing, which were aimed at easing tensions between the two superpowers, US President Joe Biden called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator” at a fundraising event in California.

Central Asia
by Jayantika Rao T.V.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially announced that Kazakhstan will be taking over the chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) right after the New Delhi Summit on July 4. Kazakhstan will hold this responsibility until July 2024 and has pledged to give priority to crucial topics such as security, economy and trade, energy and healthcare, ecology, and education during their tenure.

On June 23, Almaty hosted the first meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of Central Asia countries and Russia. In his video message, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stated, “in today’s realities, the important task for the region is to maintain stability and strengthen security which includes effective prediction of threats, prompt elaboration of preventive responsive measures and quality new integrated approaches”. The Secretaries of the Security Councils also discussed concrete areas of cooperation amid the region's current international situation and national interests.

On June 25, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev chaired the extraordinary meeting of the Security Council over the situation in Russia, which approved the Operational Plan of Action developed by the Kazakh government. The press release stated that “despite the fact that what happened in Russia is an internal matter, Kazakhstan’s citizens were concerned about the situation in the friendly country with which Kazakhstan has the longest border in the world”.

U.S.-based diplomats from Central Asia are eager for more engagement with the United States. During a webinar organised by the American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce, Michael Delaney, a former U.S. trade official, argued in favour of greater engagement. He stated, “I’ve always believed that this (Central Asia) is a geographically disadvantaged area. These are relatively small national economies, but collectively the region represents a potentially more connected market”.

The governments of Tajikistan and Qatar signed a memorandum on cooperation within the discipline of tourism and commerce. According to the officials, the essential goal of signing this document is to strengthen and develop cooperation between the two nations and aimed toward deepening and creating a broader variety of cooperation relations between the two nations in financial, commerce, cultural and humanitarian spheres.

Other Developments
Kazakhstan Takes over Chair in Dialogue of Women of Central Asia
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia to Set Up Joint Logistics Company to Facilitate Cargo Transportation Process
Prospects for Cooperation with Council of Europe Discussed at Kazakh Foreign Ministry
Kazakh Foreign Ministry Hosts Briefing on Results of G7 Summit in Hiroshima