India's Proximity Archives

India's Proximity Archives

South Asia
by Shreyas Deshmukh

On September 13, the ambassador of China to Afghanistan Zhao Sheng presented a copy of his credentials to the Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. China is the first country to formally appoint a new ambassador since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021. Other diplomats serving in Kabul with the title of ‘Ambassador’ were appointed before 2021 and have not presented ambassadorial credentials to the Taliban. China’s foreign ministry said that “this is the normal rotation of China’s ambassador to Afghanistan”, while Amir Khan Muttaqi described Zhao’s appointment as a “significant step with a significant message.” Earlier, China signed a mining and Oil extraction deal with the Taliban.

Pakistan Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir visited Turkiye on September 12-13. During the visit, he met President Recep Tayyip Erdo%u011Fan and other civil and military leadership. The meetings were focused on enhancing defence collaboration and training cooperation between the two countries.

Bangladesh Navy Chief Admiral M Nazmul Hassan visited India from September 12-16. During the bilateral interactions, cooperation issues, like coordinated patrol along the international maritime boundary line, bilateral exercise BONGOSAGAR, and conduct of naval training were discussed. 

On the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol held a bilateral meeting on September 18. During the meeting, both sides agreed to finalise Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement to facilitate more Korean investment in Sri Lanka.

Other Developments
INS Nireekshak, the Diving Support and Submarine Rescue Vessel arrived at the port of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka on September 14 for a weeklong naval exercise.
The Indian High Commission has called on authorities to action against Maldivian online media outlets for propagating fake news reports regarding the Indian government and military.
Launching of Pakistan Navy’s PNS Hunain held in Romania
India offers 1,000 scholarships to Afghan students for 2023-24

East Asia
by Anshita Shukla

Kim Jong-un, Leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, concluded his six-day trip to Russia on September 17. On his first overseas trip in over four years, Kim Jong-un arrived in Russia via his armoured train on September 13 and engaged in high-level talks with Vladimir Putin. During his visit, he took the opportunity to tour significant military and technology sites, including aviation factories in Komsomolsk-on-Amur and the Russian Pacific Fleet. On September 16, Kim Jong-un and Russian Defence Minister Shoigu held discussions on strengthening “strategic and tactical coordination” between the two countries’ militaries. Kim Jong-un inspected Russia’s nuclear-capable bomber and hypersonic missiles.

After the meeting between North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) remarked that North Korea and Russia would “pay a price” if they violate UN Security Council resolutions. It also stated that the council was taking seriously the two countries' discussions on military cooperation, including the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The country urged North Korea and Russia not to trade weapons.

On September 17, China flew 28 warplanes around Taiwan for unspecified “long-range” missions. The authorities reported that 20 of the aircraft detected crossed the median line of the waterway separating Taiwan and mainland China. The Defence Ministry of China stated that it was conducting missions “such as long-range exercises and training and monitoring the situation with patrol aircraft and ships.” From September 13-14, 68 Chinese aircraft and 10 naval vessels were detected around the island by Taiwan’s Defence Ministry.

North Korea fired two ballistic missiles off its east coast on September 13, while Kim Jong-un was in Russia. Japan’s coastguard reported that both missiles fell into the Sea of Japan outside Japan’s EEZ. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said: “Our military has strengthened surveillance and vigilance in preparation for further launches while maintaining full readiness by closely cooperating with the US.” Tokyo has lodged a protest with Beijing through diplomatic channels.

Other Developments
South Korea’s Yoon fights ‘ideology war’ at home as critics slam his treatment of historical figures, war heroes
Japan’s Kishida taps pro-Taiwan MP as new defence minister in cabinet shake-up

Southeast Asia
by Anshita Shukla

The 17th India- Singapore Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) was convened on September 18 in New Delhi. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, India and Mr. Luke Goh, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Law and Second Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Singapore. The two sides discussed ways to strengthen the Strategic Partnership and enhance cooperation in areas of food security, green energy, health and pharma, skill development, digitalisation, defence and security and people-to-people ties.

ASEAN launched its first-ever maritime exercises, ASEX 01-Natuna exercises, in Indonesia on September 19. The exercises involve the participation of hundreds of troops from September 19- 23. Five warships from Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore are expected to sail from the island of Batam to an area near the Natuna Islands. Admiral Yudo Margono, commander of Indonesia's armed forces, told the event's opening ceremony that “the unity of ASEAN will always be well maintained".

Myanmar hosted the 20th ASEAN Air Chiefs Conference from September 13-15 in Naypyitaw. The conference was chaired by General Htun Aung, Myanmar’s air force chief. Air Force chiefs from Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam were in attendance to discuss cooperation in defence, combating extremism and disaster relief. However, the meeting was skipped by air force chiefs of Indonesia and Malaysia. The chiefs of the Philippine and Singapore air forces sent video messages instead for discussions on “cooperation for a sustainable environment”.

The military government of Myanmar and Russia signed a memorandum on “cooperation in election activities” on September 13. The memorandum was signed during a recent visit of the Myanmar delegation to Russia to “explore Russia’s election methods, conditions for conducting elections, campaign procedures”, as reported by the Global New Light of Myanmar. While Russia is scheduled for its next presidential elections in 2024, Myanmar is reported to likely hold fresh elections in 2025.

Other Developments
US, Philippines plan upgrades to airport, naval base near Taiwan
Indonesia promises better relocation package for islanders after clashes over Chinese project.     

West Asia
by Sanket Joshi

On September 18, as part of a prisoner swap agreement, the United States and Iran freed five detainees each. President Biden thanked Qatar and Oman for their help in facilitating this agreement with Iran following months of American diplomatic efforts. Meanwhile, addressing the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 19, President Biden stressed the importance of the proposed India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) in demonstrating Washington's efforts to build a more sustainable and integrated Middle East.

US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in his remarks at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) reiterated Washington’s resolve to promote ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Adding that any future agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia must include a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.       
Continuing China’s outreach to the Middle East, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will visit Beijing in the coming week. As part of their deepening ties with China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are promoting Mandarin Chinese education in their countries. 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received letters from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi demonstrating the two countries' resolve to enhance bilateral relations. The Houthi delegation has been invited to Riyadh as part of Oman-mediated talks between Yemen's Houthi rebels and Saudi Arabia.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the UAE has shown interest in power grid connectivity with India. As the European grid will also be connected to the Gulf countries, India's grid connectivity with the UAE and Saudi Arabia would enable it to supply power to Europe. Amid tight supply outlook, crude prices hover around USD 90/barrel

by Angana Guha Roy

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Malta.The two sides discussed key issues in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, global and regional security issues, Russia's war against Ukraine, and cross-Strait issues, among other topics," the White House readout of the call said.The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the "two sides conducted candid, substantive and constructive strategic communication focusing on stabilizing and improving Sino-US relations."The meeting is part of the Biden administration's efforts to cool down tensions with China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. The Chinese foreign ministry readout mentioned that Wang Yi  has said that both China and Russia pursue an independent foreign policy, and bilateral cooperation “does not target any third party, is not subject to disruption by any third party, and is not swayed by any third party.” The Russian Foreign MinistryMoscow and Beijing are closely aligned in their positions on the United States and resolving the Ukraine conflict.

China and the European Union conducted discussions in Beijing on themes such as artificial intelligence and cross-border data flows. The discussions were part of an EU-China High-level Digital Dialogue.The discussion was held amid disagreements over an investigation launched by EU Commission to impose punitive tariffs to protect European Union producers against cheaper Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports.

Chinese ocean research vessel  Shin Yan 6 has been cleared by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence to dock at Colombo.  A Chinese statement said the ship would help “strengthen scientific research cooperation and exchanges with countries along the Maritime Silk Road and further realise the integration of science and education for the Belt and Road Initiative”.

Other Developments
Why China's expanding footprint in Bangladesh and beyond is a strategic concern for India

Central Asia
by Jayantika Rao T.V.

The heads of states of Central Asia and the United States met in New York for the inaugural C5 1 presidential summit on September 19. The leaders discussed various issues, including security, trade and investment, regional connectivity, “the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and the ongoing reforms to improve governance and the rule of law”. During the summit, emphasis was placed on economic cooperation and the opportunities available for American companies to invest in mineral resources and renewable energy sources.

The fifth Consultative Meeting of the Heads of States of Central Asia was held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 14, 2023. The heads of state discussed a wide range of issues of relations between the countries of the region and considered prospects of expanding regional cooperation. The President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, noted that Central Asia has been transforming over the last few years to become a “stable, economically developed and very prosperous region”. The meeting was held a week before the ‘first ever C5 1 Presidential dialogue’.

At the meeting, the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, proposed the establishment of the Economic Council of Central Asian States. President Mirziyoyev's proposal may not currently have the same level of structure as the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union, which already includes Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. However, given time, it has the potential to become just as organized and effective.

On September 17, Kazakhstan’s national railway company and Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation (Wabtec) signed a framework agreement on strategic cooperation during President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s visit to New York to attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Wabtec President and CEO Rafael Santana revealed the company’s plans to invest nearly $1 billion in Kazakhstan’s transport and logistics industry.

Prior to the agreement, Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Roman Skylar took part in the opening ceremony of the China-Europe Railway Express Cooperation Forum on September 15. The forum was attended by Vice Premier of China’s State Council, Ding Xuexiang, who held a bilateral meeting with Skylar to discuss wide range of trade, economic, transit, transport and investment areas of Kazakh-Chinese cooperation.

Other Developments
Germany Welcomes Central Asian Govts As Russia Trade Tumbles
Azerbaijan Says Karabakh Military Action Continues After Us Calls For Halt
General Prosecutor Of Kyrgyzstan Holds Talks With His Russian And Azerbaijani Counterparts