Tag Archives: Israel

West Asia Roundup-January 2023

Abstract: 2023 began with greater tensions in the region. Israel -Palestine conflict and high levels of violence and protests in Israel against the efforts of Netanyahu’s ultra-right government to compromise the powers of the Judiciary as well as the worsening plight and concerns of the Palestinians. Blinken visits Egypt, Jordan, Israel and Palestine and supports two state solution amidst spirally violence urging both sides to calm down. While Blinken’s visit did little to actually defuse or deescalate the violent situation he asked his ME office Barbara leaf and Hady Amr Special Envoy for Palestine to stay back and to help defuse the situation. He reiterated that US will oppose any efforts to undermine the two state solution as well as new settlements, outposts or demolition of Palestinian homes. Even Netanyahu was mainly concerned with Iran and his ultra rightist partner Ben Gvir vowed to continue with demolishing Palestinian homes and distribute arms among Israelis to defend themselves. Another one Orit Strock Minister was not happy with Blinken’s comments on the government’s plans to dilute the judiciary.

The coalition of nationalist parties in Jordan strongly criticised a statement by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry which “condemned” the shooting of seven Israeli settlers ‘in an illegal settlement’ in occupied East Jerusalem. UAE and several other countries also condemned the response to these attacks led to IDF killing 10 Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp.

PM Netanyahu also visited Jordan to meet King Abdullah and to defuse the ensuing crisis pertaining to Al Aqsa Mosque for which King Abdullah remains a custodian. Israeli National Security Minister, much against the advice of his colleagues, entered Al Aqsa flaring up tensions.

US and Israel also conducted the largest ever exercise in view of threats being perceived from Iran. Head of CIA Mark Burns also visited just before the targeted drone attacks on military facilities in Iran and Tehran accused Tel Aviv who maintained a stoic silence as always while vowing that Islamic Republic cannot be allowed to have the nuclear weapons. “Such actions cannot impact the determination and intent of our experts for peaceful nuclear progress,” insisted Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. He called the attack a “cowardly strike.”

Meanwhile Qatar FM also tried to revive the almost abandoned JCPOA apparently carrying some message from the Americans. Iranian confrontation both domestically with ongoing anti hijab female protesters and the West became further accentuated with its close partnership and military deals in drones and SU35 with Russia.

Iran’s former Deputy Defene Minister, Alireza Akbari, was executed days after being sentenced to death on charges of spying for Britain

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for holding meetings between Ankara, Russia, Syria and Iran with the aim of achieving stability in northern Syria. Erdogan said Ankara’s relations with Russia are based on mutual respect and his relationship with President Vladimir Putin is based on honesty. Turkish president added that while his country has not been able to obtain the result it desires regarding developments in northern Syria, it is calling for holding tripartite meetings between Turkiye, Russia and Syria.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, at the Zugulba Presidential Palace in Baku to discuss strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. Both presidents oversaw the signing of a number of joint memoranda of understanding relating to various fields including tourism, culture and water resources in addition to agreements between the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Azerbaijani Ministry of Economy.

Due to an attack on its embassy Baku had withdrawn its mission staff from Tehran. President Ebrahim Raisi during a telephone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev expressed his condolences after the attack. “The governments of Iran and Azerbaijan will not allow the relations between them to be influenced by the insinuations of the ill-wishers of the two nations”. On the other hand a statement issued by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said that a “recent anti-Azerbaijani campaign against our country in Iran has encouraged such attacks against our diplomatic mission.”

Calls are growing for Tunisian President Kais Saied to step down in the wake of another very low turnout in the legislative election. The figure has been put at 11 per cent, according to some media reports. Just 8.8 per cent of eligible voters turned out in the first leg of the election in December. But Kais Saied remains unperturbed.

UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed visited Pakistan (January 26-27) as the country suffered its worst economic crisis mainly to assure them of some support and in response to several visits from Pakistani leadership to the Emirates. Earlier bilateral ties were discussed during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s interaction with the UAE leadership when he paid an official visit to the Emirates at the invitation of President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on January 12-13.

Tearing and burning of Quran in Sweden led to condemnation by the Muslim world. Turkey even cancelled the visit of Swedish Defence Minister stating that “We regretfully witnessed that no measures were taken as a result of these vile and heinous acts against Turkiye [including the recent acts of PKK leaders there]. Therefore, at this point, the visit of Swedish Defence Minister Jonson to Turkiye on January 27 has become meaningless. “So, we cancelled the visit,” announced Turkish National Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.

Saudi Arabia and Morocco signed a CT agreement on security and intelligence cooperation.

Britain and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement to strengthen cooperation on diversifying sources of critical minerals, including graphite and lithium, the British government said in a statement. This came during the British Business Secretary, Grant Shapps’s visit to Riyadh for the Future Metals forum.

According to some reports, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, ordered that that Saudi Arabia’s investments in Pakistan be reviewed so that they could be increased to $10 billion. Earlier the new Army Chief of Pakistan visited Saudi Arabia and called on MBS while requesting more assistance to an embattled Pakistan.

The Saudi government welcomed the launch of the final stage of the political process in Sudan. King Salman bin Abdulaziz underscored Riyadh’s continued support to Sudan and international partners in the Quartet and Friends of Sudan Group to achieve the country’s stability and prosperity.

President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of South Korea visited UAE. During the visit, the Korean President conferred with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss the friendly ties between the two countries and the means to further develop bilateral cooperation in light of the strategic partnership that binds the two countries together.


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi was the Chief Guest on 74th Republic Day of India which is a distinct honour. It was his third visit. During the visit the relationship was upgraded to Strategic Partnership and several agreements were signed. He had close interactions with PM Modi and President of India among others. Egypt is also invited as a special guest during India’s G20 presidency. India and Egypt are celebrating 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

MOS (EA) shri V Muraleedharan visited UAE and conferred with several Ministers and also raised issues pertaining to the welfare of Indian expatriates there.

Anthony Blinken’s Tour to Egypt, Israel and West Bank

The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during the first leg of his regional tour visited Cairo on 29 January and met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. Both leaders discussed about enhancing the strategic partnership and promoting peace and security including support for elections in Libya and ongoing Sudanese led political process. Egypt continues to play a central role in US’ strategic calculations. Blinken also mentioned that the US will continue to encourage Cairo to take action on human rights. Notably, CIA Director William Burns after his trip to Ukraine and Libya visited Egypt on 24 January and met with the President El-Sisi and head of General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel and talked about efforts to boost security and intelligence cooperation. Burns emphasized on the role of bilateral cooperation to promote stability in the region.

Following the Egypt trip, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel and the West Bank. He called for de-escalation between Israelis and Palestinians while reiterating the US’ ironclad commitment to the Jewish state and its security. Blinken during the news conference stated that the US is committed to Israel’s full integration with the region by pushing for normalization efforts with Arab states. During the press statement, he mentioned about the US support for two states solution which is essential for Israel’s long term security. Blinken also met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and mentioned that Israeli policies especially settlement expansion and home demolitions as detrimental to the two state solution. Blinken’s visit did not lead to any breakthrough in subsiding the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians mentioning that it was “fundamentally up to them” to end the ongoing violence.

Israel in January witnessed large scale protest to oppose the political changes initiated by the right-wing government. The protesters in Tel Aviv gathered in large numbers throughout the month chanting slogans such as “No to dictatorship” and “Democracy”. The government has proposed changes under which the Knesset could pass legislation through simple majority even if it violates the Basic Law. It would lead to weakening the judiciary. The Netanyahu government has accused the Supreme Court of excessive interference in political decisions. Besides the changes in Supreme Court, the government has hinted amendments in laws allowing unlimited detention for immigrants and asylum seekers; twisting anti-discrimination laws permitting right to refuse service based on religious beliefs affecting equal rights of LGBTQ community and minority groups. The government also wants changes in election laws that would restrict political participation for individuals expressing criticism towards Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The changes in election laws in directed to shrink the political space for Arab parties that uphold a more sympathetic attitude towards the Palestinians.

Israel-Palestine Conflict

The month of January was highly violent in Israel and the occupied territories leading to number of deaths of Palestinians and Israelis. Israeli forces killed two Palestinians including a minor on 25 January in East Jerusalem and West Bank during raids. Israel since March 2021 has carried out frequent raids under Operation Break the Wave causing fatal clashes. Israeli forces during these raids have killed bystanders as well as fighters in targeted assassinations and armed clashes.

Israeli forces raided a refugee camp in Jenin on 26 January and killed 10 Palestinians. The killing by Israeli forces led to rocket attacks by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) based in Gaza. Israel retaliated by carrying out air attacks on several locations in Gaza. Hamas in its statement noted that the group will continue to carry out “duty” to protect Palestinians and their sanctities. A day after the deaths of Palestinians in Jenin, a gunman on 27 January stormed inside a synagogue in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem killing seven people. Benjamin Netanyahu government in response to the recent violence announced plans to provide easier access for Israeli citizens to procure firearms. The move is seen as “collective punishment” and it is likely to increase the level of violence by allowing Israeli civilians to kill Palestinians with impunity.

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on 3 January entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex ignoring warnings from Israeli politicians. The PA called it as deliberate provocation to change the status quo at the mosque complex. Netanyahu on 24 January visited Amman and met with Jordanian King Abdullah in midst of diplomatic tensions over the Al Aqsa Mosque. Earlier on 17 January, Jordanian Ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali was stopped from entering the mosque. King Abdullah during the meeting with Netanyahu stressed the importance of respecting the historical and legal status quo in Al Aqsa Mosque.

Pakistan-UAE Bilateral Visits

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited the UAE on 12 January. He received warm welcome from UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Both sides reviewed a number of regional and international issues. The two leaders signed three agreements related to diplomatic academy training, combating human trafficking and state news agency cooperation. The UAE assured support for development and stability in Pakistan and offered US$ 1 billion loan and also agreed to roll over an existing loan worth US$ 2 billion. Both states agreed to promote bilateral economic and trade ties and enable investment integration opportunities. The UAE President on 25 January paid a brief visit to Rahim Yar Khan City for in-depth discussions on economy, trade, development and issues related to the diaspora.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Visit to Sudan

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited Sudan on 26 January. Prime Minister Ahmed met with Sudanese military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan to discuss on regional issues. The relations between Ethiopia and Sudan have been tense due to border dispute and refugee crisis following the two year conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. Both states are keen to embolden and promote bilateral relations. Sudan also assured support for Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). In 2020, Ethiopia’s decision to start filling the dam’s reservoir without prior agreement with downstream states was heavily criticized by Sudan and Egypt. The tensions between both states also escalated following the conflict between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) triggering a humanitarian crisis and flow of refugees to Sudan. Both sides also differ over Al-Fashaqa, a fertile border strip cultivated by Ethiopian farmers but claimed by Sudan. Sudan in June 2021 recalled its ambassador to Ethiopia to protest about killing of Sudanese soldiers.

Attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Iran

An attack inside Azerbaijan’s embassy in Tehran on 27 January led to death of one security guard and two injuries prompting Baku to evacuate its diplomatic staff. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called the assault on the embassy as a “terrorist act” and requested swift investigation. Iran’s relations with Azerbaijan have witnessed tension for months. Azerbaijani government in a strongly worded statement mentioned that recent “anti-Azerbaijan campaign” encouraged the gun incident and accused Iranian authorities of ignoring Baku’s appeal to increase security at the embassy. Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack and assured thorough investigation. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has tried to calm the situation and mentioned that bilateral relations should not be affected after the attack. Top officials in Tehran has dismissed the attack as a “terrorist act” and speculated that it could be driven by “personal issues”.

Drone Strike at Military Facility in Iran

On 28 January, military facility in Isfahan suffered minor damage from drone strikes. Iranian Defence Ministry stated that three drones were launched out of which one was destroyed by air defence systems and two were incepted by “defence traps” causing minor damage to one building. Reportedly, the attack was conducted by Israel to disrupt missile production. Iranian authorities did not clarify about the activities at the site calling it a workshop. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called it a “cowardly” attack aimed at destabilizing the state.

Gas Deal between Italy and Libya

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during her visit to Tripoli on 28 January oversaw US$ 8 billion gas production deal between Eni and National Oil Corporation (NOC) aimed at increasing gas output for the Libyan domestic market and exports through the development of two offshore gas fields. According to the deal, the output will begin in 2016 producing 21 million cubic meters per day. Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi has hoped that the agreement will facilitate crucial investments in Libya’s energy sector contributing to local development and job creation while allowing Eni to play a leading role in Libya’s energy market.

Prime Minister Meloni met with Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, head of the internationally recognized Government of National Unity (GNU) and the discussion focussed on migration across the Mediterranean Sea. In the background of the Russia-Ukraine war, European states since last year have sought to diversify its energy imports. Italy signed energy cooperation with Algeria in 2022.

Turkey’s Diplomatic Row with Sweden and Denmark

Turkey’s diplomatic row with Sweden and Denmark has escalated after reports of Quran burning incidents in Stockholm on 21 January and Copenhagen on 27 January, in front of the Turkish embassy by a far-right activist, Rasmus Paludan. Turkey summoned the envoys of the two European states and expressed strong condemnation for providing permission that constitutes a hate crime. Ankara’s diplomatic relations with Stockholm has remained tense due to its opposition to Stockholm’s entry in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Sweden and Finland fearing aggression from Russia has expressed their intention to join NATO. The accession process however requires the approval of all NATO members. Turkey has hinted that its consent is conditional upon Sweden as well as Finland’s efforts to crack down on Kurdish armed groups, activists and other groups. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Quran burning warned Sweden not to expect support for its NATO bid.

Kuwaiti Cabinet Resigns

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf al-Sabah submitted his resignation to the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah on 24 January after dispute with parliament. During the September 2022 parliamentary election, the opposition figures increased their share leading to standoff with the government. The new government formed in October 2022 collapsed only after two months. The government and the parliament reached an impasse over a debt relief bill allowing the state to buy Kuwaiti citizen’s personal loans. The tussle between the executive and the legislature has impeded reforms and affected investments in the Gulf state.

West Asia Roundup-December 2022


For West Asia, 2022 ended with a hectic diplomatic activity. Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) of Saudi Arabia visited several countries in the region to ensure the presence of West Asian leaders at the ensuing China -Gulf and China -Arab Summits during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Kingdom from December 6-8. The statements issued were quite significant as China tried to retrieve and reinforce its regional influence and sync its BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) projects with the Vision 2030 and developmental paradigms of various regional powers. President Xi has been successfully able to wade through the regional rivalries especially between the Sunni Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and the Shia Islamist regime in Iran as well as the Israeli dynamic while underscoring the support to the Palestinian cause. Several agreements were signed. MBS stressed that the historical relationship between the Arab countries and China is based on mutual respect, friendship, and cooperation in many fields reiterating that “Our countries attach utmost importance to supporting the development process to develop their economies and the well-being of their peoples”. He lauded the role of China in putting forward several valuable initiatives, notably the Friends of Global Development Initiative, which matches many aspects of Saudi Arabia’s priorities towards supporting sustainable development and promoting food security.

On the other end of the spectrum, Israel witnessed the onset of an ultra-rightist government led by PM Benjamin Netanyahu which created deep concern in the region as well as in the US. Biden Administration said that they will hold PM Netanyahu personally responsible for the acts of his far right cabinet members including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, who have called for leveling the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and denying citizenship to non-Jews. In any case most observers feel that situation between Israel and Palestine might worsen.

Tunisia was said to be bright spot of the Arab Spring but in recent times the democracy dividend appears to have been decimated by the subsequent governments. President Kais Saied since 2021 is being accused of further undermining it. The December Parliamentary elections witnessed the citizens’ apathy and the lowest voter turnout.

As Qatar finally hosted the FIFA 2022 successfully, the controversies not only regarding the inhumane treatment of labourers continued in the western media but the influence peddling accusations by Qatar also surfaced. Members of the European Parliament voted to suspend access to the hemicycle’s premises to Qatari representatives as it was suspected of having offered “large sums of money” and “substantial gifts” to MEPs and assistants in a bid to influence European decision-making. Greek MEP Eva Kaili, together with three other suspects, has been charged with participation in a criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering.

Qatar and Germany signed a 15 year LNG deal following similar deal with China.

Saudi Arabia and UK signed a defence cooperation plan.

An estimated 10-20,000 registered Israelis bought tickets for the World Cup in Qatar, the Jerusalem Post reported, but only 3,500 registered as Israelis. However, it was not easy for Israel to find any private airline to initiate direct flights between Israel and Qatar, according to National Public Diplomacy Directorate head at Israeli Foreign Minister, Lior Haiat.

Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, flew to the UAE to meet with President, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Herzog reassured Bin Zayed that “the Abraham Accords are a national consensus in Israel.”Herzog, told Bin Zayed: “Now, we have to reach cruising altitude. That is, to upgrade ties between us even more, to strengthen them and to bring more nations into the Abraham Accords.”

President Herzog also visited Bahrain, where he addressed the Bahrainis, saying: “You are at the forefront of making history in the region, where Jews and Muslims can dwell together, the sons of Abraham, and move forward in peace.”

Following Herzog’s visit to the two Gulf States, and to consolidate economic ties, the Israeli delegation met with Moroccan officials in Rabat and signed a gas and oil exploration deal. Israeli New Med Energy said that it had signed agreements with Adarco Energy Limited and Morocco’s National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines.

Iran condemned the recent sanctions imposed by the EU against 20 individuals and one entity linked to the violent crackdown on demonstrations over the death of young Mahsa Amini as the protests and even executions leading to more protests have continued as tenor of their demands switched more against the regime and its removal. Meanwhile, United States claimed that the relationship between Russia and Iran has become a complete defence partnership. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Russia and Iran are giving each other an unprecedented level of military support. Kirby said a defence partnership between Iran and Russia where both will jointly produce drones will harm Ukraine and disturb peace in West Asia.

UAE and Saudi Arabia led mediation efforts saw the release of US basketball star Brittney Griner in a prisoner exchange between Russia and the US. In a joint statement, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced the success of the mediation led by President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown for the release and exchange of two prisoners between the United States of America and the Russian Federation. It also highlighted the important role played by the leaderships of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in promoting dialogue between all parties.

The second edition of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership supported by France was held on December 20 in Amman, Jordan. At the summit, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and several more Arab nations were present apart from representatives from the European Union, United Nations, Arab League, Gulf Cooperation Council, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation. President Macron also paid the bilateral visit to deliberate with King Abdullah II of Jordan preceding the conference. Amman invested a great deal of political capital in promoting Kadhimi, and a number of multilateral forums were established during his tenure, from the Baghdad Conference to the kingdom’s ongoing high-level meetings with Iraq and Egypt. This conference indicated the continuation of relations and their importance under new Iraqi PM Sudani between Jordan and Iraq.

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar visited UAE to attend the 5th Indo-Ocean conference and to discuss and bolster bilateral cooperation. He called on the President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, who has also been invited by India for the G20 Summit as the special invitee. UAE Minister Noura Bint Mohammed said, speaking on India’s Presidency and tenure at the UNSC said “Congratulate you and the Indian mission at very successful 8th term on the Security Council. Your voice at this chamber is necessary and UAE reiterates its endorsement of India’s bid for permanent membership of the reformed UNSC.”

More Details…
Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi Arabia

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Saudi Arabia between 6 and 8 December. Saudi Arabia is keen to expand its global alliances beyond its strategic partnership with the US. Xi Jinping’s last visit to Saudi Arabia was in 2016. Both states signed a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement and 20 bilateral deals worth US$ 29.26 billion. China and Saudi Arabia also signed 34 investment agreements in sectors such as green hydrogen, IT, transport and construction. Riyadh signed deal involving tech giant, Huawei Technologies to develop cloud computing, data centers and high tech complexes in Saudi cities. Jinping also attended the first China-Arab States Summit and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh. The US warned that China’s attempt to expand its global influence is not conducive to the international order. The US security officials cautioned that equipment from Huawei could be used to interfere with fifth generation (5G) wireless networks and collect sensitive information.

New Government in Israel

In Israel’s latest election in November, the right-wing parties i.e. Likud with 32 seats; Religious Zionist party with 14 seats; Shas with 11 seats; United Torah Judaism with 7 seats secured a majority of 64 seats in the 120 seat Knesset. The new grouping has been called as the most right-wing government in Israel’s history that could further worsen the status of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. The Israeli Prime Minister has called the settlement expansion in occupied West Bank as the top priority of his government. Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet officially took oath of office on 29 December after Knesset passed a vote of confidence in the new government. Among the 120 members, 63 voted in favour of the government and 54 voted against. US President Joe Biden mentioned that his government is looking forward to working with Netanyahu calling him “friend for decades”. The US President talked about jointly addressing challenges in the region including threat from Iran. Russian President Vladimir Putin also welcomed Netanyahu’s return to power and called for strengthening cooperation in all areas and ensuring peace and security in the region.

IS attack in Iraq, Syria and Egypt

The Islamic State (IS) on 18 December carried out bomb blast in Kirkuk killing nine federal police officers. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has ordered a clamp down to dismantle IS hideouts and suggested the security forces to maintain vigilance. In Syria’s Raqqa, IS on 26 December killed six Kurdish fighters in a targeted attack on security and military buildings. Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) subsequently launched offensive dubbed as Operation al-Jazeera Thunderbolt. On 30 December attacked Al-Taim oil field in Syria’s Deir Zor province. IS in December carried out 14 attacks in Deir Az Zor area, Hasakah and the al-Hol camp killing 55 people.

On 31 December, the terrorist group attacked a police checkpoint in the Egyptian city of Ismailia killing at least four people and injuring 12 others. The IS fighters after setbacks in Syria and Iraq have re-grouped in the security scarce Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian forces have been fighting against IS in the northern part of Sinai Peninsula. Earlier in 2018, Egyptian security forces launched campaign to dismantle IS hideouts in Sinai, parts of Nile Delta and border region close to Libya killing around 1000 terrorists. In May 2022, IS had killed 11 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai region.

Italian Prime Minister’s visit to Iraq

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during her first bilateral trip outside Europe visited Iraq and met with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and President Abdul Latif Rashid. Italy is pushing for close economic and energy ties with the oil-rich Arab state. The Italian Prime Minister identified economic cooperation with Iraq in agriculture, water and health. Moreover, security and cultural cooperation are crucial drivers in the growing bilateral relationship. Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Sudani invited Italian firms specialized in infrastructure and gas exploration to help in the state’s rebuilding process. Iraq is the second largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) producing more than 3.3 million barrels per day.

Low Turnout in Tunisia Election

Tunisian parliamentary election held on 17 December witnessed a low 11.2 percent turnout. The low turnout reflects the anguish by Tunisians against President Kais Saied’s efforts to consolidate power and diluting the progress in democratization in the post 2011 Arab Spring period. Saied dissolved the government in July 2021 and suspended the parliament. The President has stripped the powers of the parliament. The latest election was boycotted by all major political parties. Earlier on 10 December, hundreds of Tunisians organized protest with banners and chants saying “Saied get out”. It indicates frustration with Saied’s power grab. The protestors demanded a return to democracy.

Protest in Jordan

Public demonstrations have erupted in Jordan in December to criticize the high fuel prices that occurred due to limits on subsidies imposed by the IMF. The state is facing enormous debt and the unemployment level has reached at 23 percent. The government has taken measures such as cap on fuel prices, however inflation has continued. In Maan, one police official was killed during violent protest on 15 December. On 19 December, three more police officers were killed during a raid to arrest the suspected killers of the police officer killed on 15 December. The government has promised to take tough steps and deploy more anti-riot police to prevent violent protests.

Sanctions against Iran

The US and Canada on 9 December announced new round of sanctions against Iranian officials accused of human rights violations during the ongoing protest in Iran. The US has claimed that that the three officials have carried out illegal detentions and violence against protestors. The US also drafted a resolution to remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women for applying systematic violations of women’s rights. The 54 member UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted the resolution passed by 29 for and 8 against votes. 16 states abstained from voting. Iran condemned the move that could create an “unwelcome precedent”. The ministers of the European Union of Foreign Affairs imposed new sanctions on 20 individuals including Iranian clerics, senior officials and state media executives and one entity i.e. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting due to their role in suppressing protestors as well as for supplying drones to Russia

Iran in a tit for tat response imposed sanctions on 23 individuals and nine entities in the European Union (EU) and the UK. The sanctions include media institutions, military base and current and former politicians. Tehran blacklisted Radio Farda and French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo; two German firms i.e. Water Engineering Trading GmbH and Gidlemeister Projekta GmbH. Iran also sanctioned Tony Blair Institute of Global Change, British Institute of Human Rights Chair, Geoffrey Bindman and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) co-founder, Bernard Kouchner.

On 20 December, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian held meeting with European Union’s Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell in Amman on the sidelines of the second meeting of the Baghdad Conference for Cooperation and Partnership hosted by Jordanian King Abdullah. The meeting was aimed at identifying measures to restore the 2015 nuclear deal. The EU foreign policy chief emphasized on curbing military support to Russia and stopping internal repression in Iran.

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 50, 2022)

Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.


Biden aims to narrow trust gap with US-Africa leaders’ summit

President Joe Biden is set to play host to dozens of African leaders in Washington this week as the White House looks to narrow a gaping trust gap with Africa.Click here to read…

Biden tries to reboot US brand in Africa amid China, Russia inroads

When Barack Obama welcomed African leaders to Washington in 2014, many viewed the summit as historic. Click here to read…

Morocco’s World Cup victories overshadow Arab political rivalries

Morocco’s success at the World Cup in Qatar is bringing the Arab people together in a significant way. Click here to read…


Angola hosts 10th summit of the OACPS which represents 79 states

The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states, which represents 79 countries, held its penultimate meeting in Angola’s capital Luanda on Friday. Click here to read…

MWL Conference of African Ulemas Kicks off in Gambia to Promote Moderation

Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Dr. Mohammed al-Issa kicked off on Saturday the inaugural conference of African Ulemas in the Gambian capital Banjul. Click here to read…

Gambia, Muslim World League Ink MOU On Development Cooperation

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad of the Republic of The Gambia on Tuesday, 6th December 2022 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Muslim World League (MWL) a ceremony held at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Banjul. Click here to read…

Tunisians protest against Saied ahead of parliamentary elections

Hundreds of Tunisians have taken to the streets to protest against President Kais Saied a week before parliamentary elections are set to take place under a new constitution. Click here to read…

Junta chief says «fight for total independence» in Burkina Faso has begun

The head of Burkina Faso’s military junta, Ibrahim Traoré, has assured that “the fight for total independence began a few weeks ago”, after denouncing that part of the country “is occupied” due to the deterioration of security due to the operations of jihadist groups. Click here to read…

Chad jails more than 260 people after mass trial over protests

A court in Chad has handed out jail terms of between two and three years to more than 260 people arrested after anti-government protests in October, while defence lawyers have argued that the trial was “illegal”. Click here to read…

M23 says ready to ‘withdraw’ in eastern DRC, yet clashes reported

The M23 rebel group says it is ready to withdraw from occupied territory in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and will support regional peace-making efforts despite not being represented in talks. Click here to read…

DR Congo conflict: M23 rebels executed over 130 civilians – UN

A UN investigation has found that at least 131 civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo died in a November attack by the M23 rebel group. Click here to read…

Sudan generals and parties sign outline deal, protesters cry foul

Sudanese political parties and the military signed a framework deal on Monday that they said would pave the way for two-year civilian-led transition towards elections and end a sometimes violent standoff triggered by a coup in October 2021. Click here to read…

West Africa Contemplate Setting Up A Regional Peacekeeping Force After Coups In The Region

Leaders of West Africa, concerned by recent military coups in the region, have reportedly decided to set up a regional peacekeeping force. Click here to read…

Ugandan officials snub AU summit

Despite receiving official invitations in advance, Ugandan representatives—including two ministers—did not attend a significant African Union (AU) meeting. Click here to read…

Power back in capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray region

Power services have been restored in Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region, for the first time in over a year, state-affiliated Fana Broadcast said on Tuesday. Click here to read…

U.S. troops are back in Somalia and scrambling to help its special forces

The U.S. military is scrambling to make up for lost time in Somalia after President Biden this spring reversed his predecessor’s order to pull American soldiers out of the country and returned hundreds of them to the fight against one of al-Qaeda’s most powerful global affiliates. Click here to read…

‘Let the president continue’: Party backs South Africa’s Ramaphosa amid ‘Farmgate’ scandal

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was on Monday given a lifeline by his African National Congress’ (ANC) top executives, who decided to reject a report which found that Ramaphosa had flouted his constitutional obligations. Click here to read…

UN Sec-Gen urges Nigeria to investigate mass abortion report

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Nigerian authorities to investigate allegations of systemic and coerced abortions reportedly perpetrated by its army, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said. Click here to read…

Mauritanian indicted in 3 deadly 2015 terror attacks in Mali

A Mauritanian national suspected of planning and coordinating three lethal attacks in 2015 on Westerners in Mali was arraigned in a New York federal court on Saturday, a day after being transferred to U.S. custody in Mali. Click here to read…

Record number of mosques opened in Egypt this year

A record 1,200 new mosques opened across Egypt this year, according to the Ministry of Awqaf. Click here to read…

Burkina Faso To Raise 150 million Euros For War Fund

The Burkina Faso government has announced plans to raise 152 million euros for a “fund to support the war” against a bloody jihadist insurgency. Click here to read…

Tanzania’s President Cancels Independence Day Celebrations

Tanzania’s president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has canceled Independence Day celebrations scheduled for Friday and directed that the budget instead be used to build dormitories for children with special needs. Click here to read…

Tanzania’s Samia hints at a government shakeup ahead of 2025 elections

A major shakeup in the Tanzanian government looks imminent as President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who is also the national chairperson of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), seeks to get rid of “detractors” and “languid” individuals ahead of the 2025 elections. Click here to read…

France Seeking to End Political Crisis With Morocco

France is reportedly working to “find appeasement gestures” in an attempt to put an end to the lingering diplomatic crisis with Morocco. Click here to read…

Ghana Cedi posts world’s biggest gain against US dollar

It said the Ghana cedi took the title of the world’s best performer against the dollar last week amid optimism the country was moving closer to unlocking an International Monetary Fund bailout. Click here to read…

Tanzania ranked among best investments destinations in Africa

. Tanzania has been ranked one of the best investment destinations in Africa, thanks to its strong regulatory framework, sound macroeconomic fundamentals and a vibrant financial market. Click here to read…

New Italian-built power plant opens in Tunisia

A new 10 MW photovoltaic plant has started production in Tunisia. The plant, installed by the Italian energy company Eni in the city of Tataouine, will contribute to the country’s decarbonisation process. Click here to read…

Rwanda, Nepal to sign air service agreement

Rwanda and Nepal are expected to sign an air service agreement to operate flights connecting both countries, according to media reports.Click here to read…

Egypt’s pound keeps falling on black market ahead of IMF meeting

The gap between the official rate of the Egyptian pound against the dollar and the price on the black market has widened further, putting pressure on Egypt ahead of a crucial International Monetary Fund board meeting next week. Click here to read…

Sub-Saharan Africa’s debt burden increased to a record $789 billion in 2021, highest since 2010

The world’s poorest countries continued to borrow in 2021 due to the pandemic-induced disruptions to economic activity and supply chains, according to a new World Bank report. Click here to read…

without power for 19 hours a day as Kariba dam runs dry

Zimbabweans are being subjected to 19 hours of power cuts a day, because there is insufficient water in the Kariba dam to drive the nation’s main hydropower plant. Click here to read…

US sanctions ex-Guinea leader, Mali politician for right abuses

The US sanctions freeze assests including those of Guinea’s former President Conde and Mali’s former President Keita’s son. Click here to read…

Mozambique ex-president’s son, 10 others jailed over corruption

A court in Mozambique has sentenced the son of a former president, two ex-spy bosses, and eight others to years in prison for their part in a corruption scandal in which the government sought to conceal huge debts, triggering financial havoc. Click here to read…

Libyan Charged in 1988 Lockerbie Plane Bombing Taken into US Custody

A man accused of making the bomb that killed 270 people after it blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 is in custody in the United States, Scottish and U.S. law enforcement officials said on Sunday. Click here to read…

German aid worker freed after kidnapping in Niger four years ago

A 63-year-old German aid worker, Joerg Lange, has been freed more than four years after he was kidnapped in western Niger near the Malian border, his employer, humanitarian organisation Help. Click here to read…

Niger lawmakers want gay relationships criminalised

A group of lawmakers in Niger has backed a motion seeking to criminalise same-sex relationships in the country. The vast majority of Niger’s population is Muslim, but it has a secular government and there is currently no specific law on same-sex relationships. Click here to read…

Covid boosts heart-related deaths sixfold, Top Africa health insurer says

Africa’s biggest health insurer said the number of heart-related deaths rose more than sixfold during the Covid-19 pandemic among the clients of one of its units. Click here to read…


President Xi Jinping Meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

President Xi Jinping pointed out that as the regional and international environments are undergoing profound and complex changes, the strategic and overarching importance of China-Egypt relations has become all the more evident. Click here to read…

Xi Jinping Meets with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti

Xi Jinping noted that strategic mutual trust between China and Djibouti has been deepened in recent years, cooperation in various fields has made fruitful achievements, and bilateral friendship has been deeply rooted in people’s hearts.Click here to read…

Xi meets Algerian prime minister

Chinese President Xi Jinping met Algerian Prime Minister Ayman Benabderrahmane here on Friday. Xi Jinping stressed that China and Algeria enjoy traditional friendship and the practical cooperation between the two countries has yielded fruitful results. Click here to read…

Xi says China supports Tunisia’s development path, opposes external interference

China firmly supports Tunisia in pursuing a development path suited to its national conditions, and opposes external interference in Tunisia’s internal affairs, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday. Click here to read…

China ready to work with Mauritania to elevate friendly cooperation to higher levels, Xi says

China is willing to work with Mauritania to promote bilateral friendly cooperation to higher levels, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Friday when meeting with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani. Click here to read…

Xi says China to continue support for Sudan’s political transition

China supports all parties in Sudan in continuing to push for steady political transition through dialogue and consultation, opposes interference by external forces in Sudan’s internal affairs, and will continue to speak up for Sudanese friends on the international stage. Click here to read…

Xi Jinping Meets with Comorian President Azali Assoumani

On the morning of December 9, 2022 local time, President Xi Jinping met with Comorian President Azali Assoumani in Riyadh. Click here to read…

Xi says China supports the Comoros in playing greater role in int’l, regional affairs

China supports the Comoros in playing a greater role in international and regional affairs, and stands ready to work closely with the Comoros to firmly support each other, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international fairness and justice. Click here to read…

Chinese Port Projects Along Africa’s Coasts Come with Environmental Costs, Study Finds

China has constructed numerous ports, bridges and other coastal projects throughout the developing world in recent years in what’s been dubbed by Beijing the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” – part of President Xi Jinping’s greater Belt and Road Initiative to build infrastructure. Click here to read…

Gulf of Guinea Countries Agree to Stop Illegal Chinese Fishing

Chinese boats are decimating West Africa’s fish stocks and fishing communities in the Gulf of Guinea, say environmental groups. Click here to read…

China looking for naval bases near Diego Garcia

There is worry that Mauritius may give China a part of the Chagos islands to get its debt to that country written off. This poses a threat to both India and the US. The island of Diego Garcia in the region is a US military facility. Click here to read…

Mozambican undergraduates win Chinese Ambassador Scholarship

A total of 12 undergraduates from Mozambique’s University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), were awarded Friday in Maputo this year’s Chinese Ambassador Scholarship. Click here to read…


India extended ‘soft loans’ worth USD 2bn to Central Africa: Ruchira Kamboj

India extended ‘soft loans’ worth USD 2 billion for projects in Central Africa, India’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj on Thursday, as she underscored the cordial and friendly bilateral relations of New Delhi with the region. Click here to read…

Biden to announce support for African Union joining G20

President Joe Biden next week will announce U.S. support for the African Union’s admission to the G20 group of the world’s largest economies as a permanent member, a White House official said on Friday. Click here to read…

India working for speedy release of cargo vessel crew detained in Nigeria: EAM

The Indian government has been engaged with relevant authorities through the missions in Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria since August for the release of the detained crew membersClick here to read…

Gravita India shares gain on beginning production at recycling plant in West Africa

The company has been sourcing scrap from Togo for the last three years and has set up a strong scrap collection network before establishing the plant. Click here to read…

Ghana, India urged to leverage bilateral relations to boost tourism, culture

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Mark Okraku Mantey has underscored the need for Ghana to leverage the bilateral relationship it has with India to transform the Tourism, Arts and Culture sector. Click here to read…

India: Parliamentary Delegation from Zimbabwe calls on President

A Parliamentary Delegation from Zimbabwe led by Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Advocate Jacob Francis Nzwidamilimo Mudenda, called on President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (07 December 2022). Click here to read…

6 well-known Indian companies in Nigeria

Trade between Nigeria and India has strengthened over the years, resulting in a good number of Indian companies establishing their presence in Nigeria. Click here to read…

DCGI gives nod to SII-manufactured Ebola vaccine for export to Uganda

India’s first Ebola vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for export to Uganda, official sources said Thursday. Click here to read…

Uganda receives 1,200 doses of Ebola vaccine candidates for trials

Uganda’s health ministry today announced that the country has received 1,200 doses of a candidate Sudan Ebola vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO) Uganda office, which is slated for use in a clinical trialClick here to read…

Airtel Africa-IFC sign $194 million loan facility

Airtel Africa and the International Finance Corporation (‘IFC’) have signed a new $194 million facility with a sister organisation of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group. Click here to read…

What Sweden and India can teach Nigeria about the cashless economy

One of Adedeji Olowe’s financial predictions for 2022 was the possible introduction of an incentive — free transfers — for more Nigerians to adopt electronic banking, thus, promoting financial inclusion. However, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) recent directives on cash withdrawal limits approached the cashless economy conversation in a different and largely unexpected way. Click here to read…

Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 49, 2022)

Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.


Netanyahu’s return may augur well for India-Israel-Africa trilateral relationship

Against the backdrop of waning US influence, Israel, similar to India, seeks to stake its claim on the continent. Despite lacking clear direction, at least since the Netanyahu administration, Africa has begun to receive sufficient attention in Israel’s foreign policy.
Click here to read…

Ukraine crisis provides Africa another opportunity to reclaim its rightful place

The pandemic has taught African countries to take care of themselves and their neighbours, while being more assertive. Indeed, significant improvements to infrastructure and investment are needed.
Click here to read…


Obiang elected to another 7 years in Equatorial Guinea

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been elected to another seven-year term in Equatorial Guinea, where the 80-year-old has held the office since August 1979.
Click here to read…

Burkina Faso government suspends broadcast of France’s RFI

Burkina Faso’s military government has suspended the broadcast of France’s Radio France Internationale in the West African state over what it said were false reports and giving voice to armed groups.
Click here to read…

Coup attempt thwarted in Sao Tome and Principe, PM says

PM Trovoada says at least six people detained after overnight attack, including the National Assembly’s former president.
Click here to read…

Tunisia’s UGTT union says elections expected this month ‘have no colour or taste’

The elections, which are scheduled to take place on Dec. 17, will hand parliament far less power than that enjoyed by the previous one.
Click here to read…

Tunisia’s powerful labour union rejects December election, attacks president’s agenda

Tunisia’s powerful labor union attacked the president’s political and economic agenda on Saturday, including elections this month, saying it will no longer accept what it called a threat to democracy in its clearest challenge to him yet.
Click here to read…

South Africa’s Ramaphosa will not resign, says spokesperson

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will not resign and will seek a second term as leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after allies rallied behind him to stay on.
Click here to read…

Sudan’s Islamist movements reject transitional framework agreement

Sudan’s Islamist movements have expressed their rejection of the transitional framework agreement between the country’s military and civilian groups with a mass protest in the capital Khartoum on Saturday.
Click here to read…

Tigray forces in Ethiopia say 65% of fighters have left frontline

More than half of Tigrayan rebel fighters have withdrawn from the front lines in Ethiopia, their top commander says, a month after a ceasefire was agreed to end the two-year conflict in the northern region of Tigray.
Click here to read…

Buhari vows to restore political stability, security in West Africa

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to restoring democratic rule to Mali, Guinea and Burkina-Faso, and to ensure peace, and political stability in the West African Sub-region.
Click here to read…

South Africa’s Ramaphosa faces impeachment debate

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa could be impeached after an independent panel found he “may be guilty of a serious violation” of the country’s constitution.
Click here to read…

EU unveils details of $150bn Global Gateway investment plan for Africa

European Union and African Union (AU) leaders met in Brussels earlier this week to unveil details of the bloc’s $150bn Global Gateway Plan for Africa that is designed to fund projects in infrastructure, energy, and food security.
Click here to read…

Interpol seeks arrest of Angolan tycoon Isabel dos Santos

Global police agency Interpol is asking law enforcement authorities around the world to locate and provisionally arrest Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos, the Reuters news agency has reported.
Click here to read…

EUCOCO reaffirms support for self-determination for independence of Western Sahara

Participants in the 46th conference of the European Coordination for Support and Solidarity with the Saharawi People (EUCOCO), held on Friday and Saturday in Berlin, have reaffirmed their support for the right to self-determination for the independence of Western Sahara.
Click here to read…

Sudanese anti-corruption figure freed on eve of political deal

A prominent Sudanese politician has been released from jail one day before the civilian coalition he belonged to was due to sign an initial deal with the military to end a political standoff triggered by an October 2021 coup.
Click here to read…

African former rebels recruited as mercenaries by the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group have been abandoned in Ukraine, a report says

Former rebels from the Central African Republic who the Wagner Group recruited to fight in Ukraine have been left without money, food, or ammunition.
Click here to read…

Somali Military Liberates 4 Strategic Villages From al-Shabab Militants

Somalia’s defense ministry says the country’s national army, supported by local clan militias, has seized control of several strategic villages from al-Shabab Islamist militants.
Click here to read…

Nine Mali soldiers killed in November IED attacks

Mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) killed nine Mali soldiers during November in central and southern areas in thrall to a decade-long jihadist insurgency, the military said Sunday.
Click here to read…

11 sentenced to death in Tanzania over conservationist’s murder

A court in Tanzania sentenced 11 people to death on Friday over the 2017 murder of renowned conservationist Wayne Lotter.
Click here to read…

Thousands of churchgoers protest violence in DR Congo

Tens of thousands of Christians took to the streets across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Sunday to protest violence in eastern regions.
Click here to read…

Gunmen kidnap 19 worshippers in Nigeria mosque attack

The attackers stormed the mosque in Maigamji village, in Katsina state, during evening prayers Saturday and carried out the kidnappings after shooting and wounding the imam and another worshipper.
Click here to read…

49 people sentenced to death for mob killing in Algeria

An Algerian court has sentenced 49 people to death for the brutal mob killing of a painter who was suspected of starting devastating wildfires – but had actually come to help fight them.
Click here to read…

Missionary Pilot Imprisoned in Mozambique

An American missionary pilot has been detained for nearly a month in Mozambique on suspicion of supporting insurgents in the southern African nation.
Click here to read…

Four arrested after invasion of Niger Senator’s home

Four people have been arrested after an invasion of the home of Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator Sani Musa.
Click here to read…

Rwanda set to benefit from liberalised air transport market

Expectations are high behind the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), an initiative aimed at, among others, creating a single unified air transport market in Africa.
Click here to read…

Ghana to swap Cedi debt for new bonds in restructuring

The West African country will replace existing local-currency debt with four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037.
Click here to read…

German economy minister exploring new energy resources in Namibia, South Africa

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck began a five-day trip to Namibia and South Africa Sunday, part of a push to secure new energy resources for Europe’s biggest economy to compensate for the cut-off from Russian gas supplies.
Click here to read…

Uganda says its debut satellite launched into orbit

Uganda’s first satellite PearlAfricaSat-1 was deployed into orbit from the International Space Station,” Monica Musenero Musanza, minister for science, technology and innovation said in a statement.
Click here to read…

Zambia plans power cuts due to low water levels in Lake Kariba

Zambia will start rationing electricity supply to domestic consumers from December 15 following a big drop in water levels in Lake Kariba, threatening hydropower generation, the energy minister has said.
Click here to read…

Southern Africa’s Biggest Dam Halts Power Generation to Zimbabwe

The Zambezi River Authority has ordered the suspension of electricity generation on the Kariba Dam, which supplies energy to Zimbabwe’s power utility, until January due to a water shortage.
Click here to read…

Zimbabwean president urges national response to tackle power shortages

A broader national response is required to tackle the energy shortages gripping Zimbabwe, including increasing imports and harnessing renewable energy.
Click here to read…

Morocco enjoys record revenues thanks to fertilizer supply shock

A global fertilizer supply shock deepened by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought boom times for Morocco, the North African phosphate superpower, and earned the kingdom new diplomatic capital.
Click here to read…

Exxon to exit Equatorial Guinea amid wider Africa crude phaseout

The departure reflects a wider move by major oil producers to reduce crude production in West Africa and shift investments to lower-carbon natural gas development on the continent, and to more lucrative projects in the Americas.
Click here to read…

Kyiv launches ‘Grain from Ukraine’ scheme for poor African nations amid Russian invasion

In a bid to challenge the Russian narrative that the West’s response to the ongoing war has aggravated pre-existing food shortages in Africa.
Click here to read…

South Sudan to build dry port in Mombasa

Kenya will allocate land to South Sudan for construction of a dry port in Mombasa, President William Ruto has said.
Click here to read…

Ryanair in talks to expand into Egypt and Libya, CEO says

Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, Ryanair , is in talks with authorities in Egypt and Libya about operating flights to the countries for the first time, Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said on Tuesday.
Click here to read…

Egypt reaches out to Serbian Muslims

Egypt is working to strengthen its relations with Serbia’s Muslims as part of efforts to boost its influence in the southeastern European country.
Click here to read…

African continent finally to receive 1st mpox vaccines

Africa’s top public health body says the continent is set to receive its first batch of mpox vaccines as a donation from South Korea.
Click here to read…

British High Commission Commends YIAGA Africa, Partners for Advocacy on Youth Political Participation

The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa) and its parent partners have been commended for their dedication to youth empowerment and mobilisation for political participation, transparency, and accountability.
Click here to read…


India invites Egypt to G20 summits

India invited Egypt to participate as a guest country in the G20 meetings during its yearlong presidency of the intergovernmental forum, which starts on Dec. 1.
Click here to read…

Vice President describes India and Africa as neighbours across the Indian Ocean

The Vice President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar today addressed the valedictory session of UNESCO India Africa Hackathon as a Chief Guest at Gautam Buddha University, Uttar Pradesh.
Click here to read…

IIT Tanzania to become a hub for tech education in Africa: Education Minister

The Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said that an offshore campus of IIT in Tanzania can be a hub for technology education in Africa.
Click here to read…

Dharmendra Pradhan addressed UNESCO India-Africa Hackathon valedictory session; winners announced

Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan attended the valedictory session of UNESCO India Africa Hackathon 2022 at Gautam Buddha University in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh today.
Click here to read…

Tech Mahindra to establish delivery center in Egypt, hire 1,000

Tech Mahindra aims to hire more than 1000 employees over the next three years to serve both global and local customers from its newly inaugurated center in Cairo.
Click here to read…

Ukraine war weapons in Nigeria: Why India should be concerned

A few months after the Ukraine conflict began on February 24, there have been reports of West-supplied small weapons and ammunition having being found in the Islamist militancy-plagued regions of Africa.
Click here to read…

After Namibian cheetahs, India may add more big cats from South Africa

The Indian government is likely to add more cheetahs to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park (KNP). However, wildlife experts said that a delay in signing a formal agreement has worsened the health of cheetahs.
Click here to read…

Gujarat assembly polls phase 1: India’s mini African village to vote at special tribal booth in Jambur

As Gujarat is all set to vote for the first phase of the assembly elections, Jambur, India’s mini African village will vote in its special tribal booth for the first time.
Click here to read…

West Asia Round up-July 2022


After 19 months into his Presidency the US Administration decided that President Joe Biden embark on a ‘mending fences’ visit to West Asia including Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia to interact bilaterally and regionally with GCC++ leaders in Jeddah at the Security and Development Summit . While Khashoggi’s assassination and Biden’s berating of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his election campaign were the bitter pills both sides decided to swallow. Saudi Arabia and the US will cooperate on a range of future industries including 5G networks, enhanced cyber security, and space exploration, in addition to public health for which several agreements were signed.

Russia-Ukraine war was the backdrop as higher energy production to ease supply constraints especially to Europe remained a priority. So did update on the status of negotiations on the Iranian Nuclear Deal (JCPOA) while assuring its Gulf and Middle East partners of USA’s continued support and interest in their security. He said ‘USA was not going anywhere’. Biden also made greater efforts to persuade the Saudi’s to near- normalize ties with Tel Aviv even as Riyadh opened up its airspace for all airlines including El AL. Saudi FM, however, clarified that no normalization possible until the two state solution with Palestine is reached and opening of the air space was not a precursor either.

Biden also attended the I2U2 Summit leaders from India, Israel and UAE; it is considered to be a techno-economic extension of the Abraham Accords. It was agreed by all four sides to expedite the mutually beneficial projects in the six designated areas to begin with. This QUAD in once year with the appointed Sherpas and experts at beck and call as well as PPP enterprise seems to have achieved much more in less than a year including a Virtual Summit of leaders.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz claimed that Israel could use Abraham Accords and normalization of relations with Arab countries to strengthen the Palestinian Authority and develop confidence building measures. Even Biden asked Palestinian President Abbas to cooperate but the Palestinians feel that the Abraham Accords are a mechanism to bypass their cause. Meanwhile, interim Israeli PM Yair Lapid met with Jordanian King Abdullah II to discuss the regional situation as Israeli leadership was getting ready for an eventual confrontation with Iran if the various reports are to be believed.

One of the outcomes of the Biden visit was that U.S. State Department approved the potential sale of C-17 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to the United Arab Emirates for an estimated cost of $980.4 million, according to Pentagon.

Saudi Crown Prince visited France and held discussions in a more charming manner with Macron. Saudi Arabia and France agreed to boost cooperation on renewable energy including solar, wind and clean hydrogen following the guidelines of the Paris Climate Accords. France -UAE also signed an Energy Cooperation Deal.

As the Russia -US contest via Kiev continues, Tehran hosted Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan under the Astana Format on Syria. President Ebrahim Raisi reiterated “We stress the importance of implementing the previous agreements among the guarantor states – Russia, Iran and Turkey- on Syria and announce our support for the political resolution in the country along with combating terrorism till eliminating it completely”. He however beseeched his Turkish counterpart not to attack on Northern Syrians as this will embolden the terrorist groups. Erdogan and Raisi also co-chaired the 7th Meeting of the Türkiye-Iran High Level Cooperation Council.

Prime Minister Modi virtually participated in the I2 U2 Summit

A trilateral meeting of focal points of France, India and UAE was held in which the three sides exchanged perspectives on the Indo-Pacific region and explored the potential areas of trilateral cooperation including Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Blue Economy, Regional Connectivity, Cooperation in Multilateral Fora, Energy and Food Security, Innovation and Startups, Supply Chain Resilience and Cultural and People-to-People Cooperation. They also discussed the next steps to be taken for furthering trilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
India strongly condemned the recent killings in the Zakho district of Dohuk Governatorate, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which is a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty and a blatant disregard for international humanitarian law.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra spoke with Dr. Ali Bagheri Kani, Deputy Minister for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and discussed various elements of bilateral relations including progress on the Chabahar Port. Foreign Secretary underscored India’s commitment to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Iran in addressing shared opportunities and challenges. Both sides also discussed international and regional issues including Afghanistan as per MEA.

More Details ….

US President’s visit to Israel, Palestine and Saudi Arabia

US President Joe Biden made his first trip to the West Asian region after coming to power. In Israel, he called himself as a fellow Zionist and claimed that the connection between US and Israel is bone deep. Biden during his two days stay in Jerusalem met with Prime Minister Yair Lapid and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden’s interactions and speeches were largely concentrated to his personal ties and bilateral relations with minimal reference to solving Israel-Palestine conflict. He however expressed support for two-state solution without referring to Palestinians by name. Moreover, any discussion on new US initiated peace plan was muted. Biden briefly met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem and discussed about economic incentives. Joe Biden administration is keen to re-open its consulate in East Jerusalem.

In Saudi Arabia, Biden met with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman indicating re-acceptance of the controversial leader after his involvement in killing of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The US through the visit is seeking to solidify the alliance against Iran. Biden during his interaction with nine Arab leaders assured that the US will not de-prioritise the region that could expand the influence of Russia, China and Iran.

Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to France

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the last week of July met with French President Emmanuel Macron. The visit is seen as a diplomatic rehabilitation of the Saudi Crown Prince who became infamous for his role in killing of Jamal Khashoggi. The efforts by France and other western states to court Saudi Arabia should be seen in the context of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict; slow progress to revive the nuclear deal with Iran and the recent visit by the US President Joe Biden to Jeddah. The western states are seeking to reset engagement with Saudi Arabia to counter the rising regional influence of Iran, Russia and China. Emmanuel Macron’s office dismissing criticism to meet the controversial Saudi leader argued that meeting is important at a time of global energy and food crisis. Macron’s office assured that the subject of human rights would be raised. Macron during his meeting requested Saudi Arabia to increase its oil production to help in bringing down crude oil prices. Saudi Arabia is seen as integral for the diversification of energy supplies for European states. Both leaders expressed the need for ending Russia-Ukraine conflict as well as intensify cooperation to ease the effects in Europe. In case of Yemen, the French President appreciated the efforts by Saudi Arabia to find a political, global and inclusive solution under UN and hoped that the truce continues.

The Saudi Crown Prince prior to reaching France made a stop in Greece and met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on 26 July. Saudi Arabia and Greece signed agreement on renewable energy. Both leaders also talked about expanding engagement in security and promote investments. Earlier in May 2022, both states agreed to set up a joint venture to build a data cable i.e. East to Med Data Corridor which will be built by MENA HUB owned by Saudi Arabia’s STC and Greek firm, TTSA.

Protest in Iraq

The supporters of influential Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr entered the highly secure Green Zone on multiple occasions in July 2022. The protestors stormed the parliament building to prevent MPs from electing Mohammad al-Sudani who was nominated by Al-Sadr’s opponents as Prime Minister. The supporters of the Sadrist Movement also set up tents to prepare for a long sit-in at the parliament. The Sadrists are demanding fresh election to resolve the political stalemate.
Notably, during the October 2021 election, none of the political groups managed to win majority. Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sadrist Movement secured the highest number of seats winning 73 out of 329 seats. The Sadrist Movement’s political platform is based on Iraqi nationalism and opposition to foreign interference from the US as well as Iran. Al-Fatah alliance that includes Iran supported Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) managed to secure only 17 seats. The Sadrist Movement led coalition Saving the Homeland coalition that includes Al-Siyada or Sovereign Alliance and Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) failed to form the government. Eventually on 13 June, MPs from the Sadrist movement resigned deepening the political chaos. It led to coordination Framework becoming the largest bloc in parliament. However, there was no agreement on appointing a new Prime Minister, President and cabinet.

Iran-Taliban Clashes

Iranian forces during clashes with Taliban killed one fighter in Kong district of Nimroz province on 31 July. According to Taliban sources, Iranian forces initiated the attack which has been denied by the Iranian government. Tasnim news agency and Iran’s state run IRNA claimed that Taliban forces entered Iranian territory in Hirmand in Sistan and Balochistan province and tried to raise their own flag. Iranian government defended the military action by suggesting that Taliban fighters had mistaken a wall constructed within Iranian territory to prevent smugglers. Taliban fighters despite repeated explanations by Iranian government have considered the wall as the borderline. Earlier in 2021, similar border incident had occurred due to the confusion over the border.

Iran’s relation with Taliban has been difficult due to harassment and persecution of Shiite Hazara community. Tehran has refused to officially recognise the Taliban that took control over Kabul in August 2021 until it is willing to accommodate other political factions and form an “inclusive” government.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s meeting with Jordanian King in Amman

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid visited Jordan on 27 July and met with Jordanian King Abdullah II. King Abdullah II mentioned that Palestinians should be part of US sponsored regional economic projects necessary for stability in the region. Jordan has urged Israel to include Palestinians in water for energy deals between both states which could be financed by Gulf States. Historically, Jordan-Israel ties were marked by hostility and both states fought wars in 1947 and 1967. During the 1967 war, Israeli forces captured West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordanian control. Jordan eventually signed peace treaty with Israel in 1994 in the aftermath of the 1993 Oslo Peace Accord. Despite the peace treaty, the subject of Palestine continues to weigh on their bilateral relations. King Abdullah II during the current meeting stressed that Palestinian statehood and comprehensive and lasting peace is essential for reaching lasting peace. Moreover, he asked Israelis to honour the religious sanctity of the Al Aqsa Mosque and maintain calm in occupied East Jerusalem. On bilateral level, both states discussed about increasing economic projects in water, energy, food security and transport sectors. Amman also asked Tel Aviv to relax its grip on the flow of Jordanian exports to the occupied West Bank. Both sides also discussed about US President Joe Biden’s initiative to further normalise Israel-Arab relations to build a front against Iran.

Iran arrests Mossad Spies

Iranian police on 28 July arrested five spies allegedly linked to Israel’s external intelligence agency, Mossad. Iranian authorities did not reveal the nationality of those arrested and hinted that arrested individuals had received training for armed operations and sabotage. The individuals were reportedly given pledges from Mossad including financial promises to gather information about strategic sites from Iranian territory. Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office that oversees Mossad has refused to comment on the reported arrests. Israel in the recent months has carried out number of killings of Iranian military officials and scientists. Israel on official level did not confirm or deny their actions. Earlier on 24 July, Iranian intelligence forces arrested members of an Israeli cell who were planning to cause explosion in Isfahan. These individuals reportedly entered the state through Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Isfahan hosts some of the prominent nuclear facilities including Natanz that was targeted in 2020 and 2021.

Clash in Syria

On 26 and 27 July, clashes between local armed fighters and gangs aligned with the government security forces led to 17 deaths in the Druze majority province of Sweida in Syria. Reportedly, ten government loyalists from the Falhout faction and seven local fighters were killed. Moreover, at least 40 people were injured during the clashes. The latest violence was triggered after the abduction of two people close to local armed groups. Bashar Al Assad since 2011 has been facing domestic discontent backed by external powers to overthrow his rule. Assad however managed to retain his power due to military assistance from Russia and Iran. Assad backed fighters have gained significant ground in recent years and ordinary Syrians have complained about arbitrary detentions, roadblocks and kidnappings for ransom by these fighters. The two day long clashes finally subsided after local fighters surrounded the village headquarters of the pro-Damascus faction. The abducted locals were finally released after the violence.

Grain Silos in Beirut Port Damaged Again

Part of grain silos at Beirut port collapsed after week long fire caused by summer heat burning the grains. The northern block of the silos feel out on 31 July. The General Director of the Beirut Port Silos, Assad Haddad assured that the situation was under control. The Civil Defence Department however warned that other parts of the silos’ northern block were at high risk. The explosion at the port on 4 August 2020 had rocked the state killing 200 and injuring more than 6000 people.

The recent fire has raised criticism about the government’s ineffectiveness to manage the grain silos and overall incompetence in governance. In the aftermath of the August 20202 blast, the investigation by Lebanese authorities revealed that senior government and security officials were aware of the presence of dangerous material including ammonium nitrate stored at the port. However, none of officials have been convicted and the investigation was suspended after the implicated officials brought legal challenges against the judge who was leading the investigation.

VIF News Digest: National Security – Defence Studies & Terrorism, 16-31 July 2022


  • Chief of Army Staff Proceeds on a Three Day Visit to Bangladesh.
  • Prime Minister unveils ‘SPRINT’.
  • Joint Press Release of the 16th Round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting.
  • Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) conducted between Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Indian Navy.
  • Self-Reliance in Defence Manufacturing.
  • Development Work by Defence Industries.
  • MoD accords high priority to indigenisation of Software Defined Radios for the Armed Forces.
  • iDEX-DIO signs 100th contract for defence innovation.
  • Defence Acquisition Council, approves arms procurement proposals worth Rs 28,732 crore.
  • Second conference on Military Ammunition (Ammo India) inaugurated by RM.
  • Delivery of the prestigious Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’.
  • Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on a visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
  • Royal Army of Oman contingent for joint exercise Al NAJAH-IV arrive in India.
  • Vietnam India bilateral army exercise “Ex VINBAX 2022”.


West Asia
  • “Hizbu’llah has all of Israel in its missile range,” Hizbu’llah leader Nasrallah.
  • Al-Shabaab terrorists carried out cross-border attack into Ethiopia’s Somali region.
  • US airstrike killed two al-Shabaab terrorists in Lower Juba region.
  • Five Boko Haram terrorists surrendered in Borno State.
  • Islamist terrorists attacked Mali’s main military base outside Bamako.
  • “Al-Qa’ida and Islamic State are gaining strength in Afghanistan”, claimed the UNSC report.
  • US killed al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a counter-terrorism operation in Kabul.


Jammu and Kashmir
  • NIA searched multiple locations in Srinagar in “Chanapora Arms Recovery in Srinagar” case.
  • SIA unearthed the nexus between JeM and Punjab-based gangsters.
Left-Wing Extremism
  • NIA arrested a Maoist associate in connection with “Terror Financing by CPI (Maoist) in Bihar” case.
  • Police killed a Maoist in an anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh.
  • NIA searched multiple locations in Jharkhand in connection with “killing of police personnel and looting of arms and ammunition by CPI (Maoists)” case.
  • “Maoist-affected Districts reduced to 46 in 2021”, informed MoS for Home Affairs.
  • NIA arrested a Maoist associate in revival of Magadh zone of CPI (Maoist) case.
Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
  • NIA searched multiple locations in six States in connection with “ISIS module” case.
  • NIA arrested 08th accused in “Udaipur killing” case.
  • NIA searched multiple locations in connection with “PFI Phulwari Sharif” case in Bihar.
  • Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    • India raised concerns at the growth of pro-Khalistan movement in Canada.
    Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) Cases
    • NIA Special Court (Bihar) convicted and sentenced a FICN trafficker in “FICN case of East Champaran, Bihar”.
    • NIA searched multiple locations in Tamil Nadu in the case of “Narcotics and Arms trafficking to India and Sri Lanka”.


    DRDO conducts successful maiden flight of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator.

    Maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator was carried out successfully by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, way point navigation and a smooth touchdown. It is powered by a small turbofan engine, the airframe, undercarriage and entire flight control and avionics systems used for the aircraft were developed indigenously. This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Chief of Army Staff Proceeds on a Three Day Visit to Bangladesh.

    Continuing with the excellent bilateral defence ties between India and Bangladesh, General Manoj Pande, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) proceeded on a visit to the Bangladesh from 18 to 20 July 2022. This is the first foreign visit by General Manoj Pande since assumption as Army Chief.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Prime Minister unveils ‘SPRINT.

    Prime Minister (PM) Shri Narendra Modi unveiled ‘SPRINT Challenges’, aimed at giving a boost to the usage of indigenous technology in Indian Navy, during Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) seminar ‘Swavlamban’ in New Delhi on July 18, 2022. NIIO, in conjunction with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), aims to induct at least 75 new indigenous technologies/products into the Indian Navy. This collaborative project is named SPRINT {Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), NIIO and Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC)}. In the last 4-5 years, PM said the defence imports have come down by about 21 per cent. Today we are moving fast from the biggest defence importer to a big exporter. Last year, Rs 13,000 crore worth of defence export was done with more than 70 percent of which being from the private sector, he pointed out.

    In the conference Shri Rajnath Singh informed the Prime Minister that in line with the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign, the Indian Navy spent over 64% of its capital budget in domestic procurement in the last financial year and it is expected to increase to 70% in the current financial year.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Joint Press Release of the 16th Round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting.

    The 16th round India- China Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side on 17th July 2022.

    Building on the progress made at the last meeting on 11th March 2022, the two sides continued discussions for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector in a constructive and forward looking manner. They had a frank and in-depth exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the State Leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest. The two sides reaffirmed that the resolution of remaining issues would help in restoration of peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and enable progress in bilateral relations. In the interim, the two sides agreed to maintain the security and stability on the ground in the Western Sector. The two sides agreed to stay in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and work out a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.
    Reference: Click here to read…

    Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) conducted between Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Indian Navy.

    A Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) was conducted between Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Indian Navy on 23 Jul 22 in Andaman Sea. This exercise is part of the ongoing efforts between the two navies towards ensuring safe and secure international shipping and trade in Indian Ocean Region.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Self-Reliance in Defence Manufacturing.

    The Government has taken several policy initiatives in the past few years and brought in reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country, thereby expanding the production of indigenous defence equipment. With these actions of the Government, the expenditure on defence procurement from foreign sources which used to be 46% of the overall expenditure has reduced to 36% in the last four years i.e. 2018-19 to 2021-22.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Development Work by Defence Industries.

    In continuous pursuit of achieving self-reliance in defence manufacturing under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and in sync with the announcement made in the Union Budget 2022-23 that allocated 25% of Defence R&D Budget for industry led R&D, 18 (eighteen) major platforms have been identified and announced by the Ministry of Defence for industry led Design & Development under various routes prescribed in Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020, namely, Make-I, Make-II, Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX).
    For more information: Click here to read…

    MoD accords high priority to indigenisation of Software Defined Radios for the Armed Forces.

    Ministry of Defence (MoD) has fast-tracked the indigenisation of Software Defined Radios (SDRs) with country’s premier R&D institutions viz. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur to fulfill the increasing demand by the Armed Forces across a broad spectrum of operations. Two key elements of indigenous SDR technology are the standardised operating software environment (OE) and applications (also known as waveforms) with associated waveforms repository and test/certification facility. Standard OE enables waveform portability and interoperability among SDRs of multiple vendors. Towards this, the Ministry of Defence has taken a decision to define and develop reference implementation of India specific operating environment called India Software Communication Architecture (SCA) profile or Indian Radio Software Architecture (IRSA).
    For more information: Click here to read…

    iDEX-DIO signs 100th contract for defence innovation.

    iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence), signed its 100th contract on 26 July 2022. Till date, iDEX has launched iDEX Prime, seven rounds of DISC (including DISC SPRINT) and five rounds of OC, receiving more than 4,000 applications from individual innovators, MSMEs and start-ups. More than Rs 250 crore worth of projects have been allocated and procurement of 14 items worth over Rs 400 crore have been cleared. In the last four years, 17 start-ups in 14 projects have already been accorded the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for trial and procurement in March 2022. Projects from balance of DISC 1 & 2 and some from DISC 3 are nearing completion and may be accorded AoN by DAC by end of current Financial Year.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Defence Acquisition Council, approves arms procurement proposals worth Rs 28,732 crore.

    The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting under the chairmanship of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, was held on July 26, 2022. Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for Capital Acquisition Proposals of the Armed Forces amounting to Rs 28,732 crore were accorded by the DAC in this meeting under Buy (Indian IDDM) and Buy (Indian) categories giving a further boost to ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in Defence.

    Among the proposals approved by DAC in the meeting are three proposals of the Indian Army, viz. Guided Extended Range Rocket Ammunition, Area Denial Munition Type I and Infantry Combat Vehicle – Command have been designed and developed by DRDO. The total value of these three proposals is Rs 8,599 crore. DAC aslo accorded AoN for Bullet Proof Jackets with Indian Standard BIS VI level of protection. To combat the current complex paradigm of conventional and hybrid warfare and counter terrorism at the borders, AoN for induction of approx. four lakh of Close Quarter Battle Carbines for the Services has also been accorded by the DAC.

    AoN were also accorded for procurement of Autonomous Surveillance and Armed Drone Swarms has been accorded by the DAC under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category. The DAC also approved Navy’s proposal to procure upgraded 1250KW capacity Marine Gas Turbine Generator for power generation application onboard Kolkata class of ships through Indian Industry. This will give a major boost to indigenous manufacturing of gas turbine generators. In order to enhance the security in the coastal region of the country, the DAC also approved the proposal of procurement of 14 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) for Indian Coast Guard under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) with 60% IC.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Second conference on Military Ammunition (Ammo India) inaugurated by RM.

    Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has called for innovations in the field of ammunition for the creation of a strong and self-reliant base that keeps the Armed Forces fully prepared to deal with future challenges. He was addressing the inaugural session of the second conference on Military Ammunition (Ammo India) on the theme ‘Make in India Opportunities and Challenges’ in New Delhi on July 27, 2022. The Raksha Mantri described advanced ammunition as the reality of the new age warfare, which is a must for India, given its regional & global imperatives and security challenges.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Delivery of the prestigious Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant.

    Indian Navy took delivery of the prestigious Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant on 28 July 2022, from her builder Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Kochi. Designed by Indian Navy’s inhouse Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under Ministry of Shipping (MoS), the carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor, India’s first Aircraft Carrier. The 262 mtr long carrier has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes which is much larger and advanced than her predecessor. The ship is powered by four Gas Turbines totaling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots. Built at an overall cost of close to Rs. 20,000 Crs. The ship’s keel was laid in Feb 2009, followed by launching in Aug 2013, with an overall indigenous content of 76%.

    The ship would be capable of operating air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy). Using a novel aircraft-operation mode known as STOBAR (Short Take- Off but Arrested Landing).
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Chief of Army Staff (COAS) on a visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan.

    General Manoj Pande, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has proceeded on a visit to the Kingdom of Bhutan from 29 July. This visit will further enhance the unique and time-tested bilateral relationship, characterised by utmost trust, goodwill and mutual understanding.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Royal Army of Oman contingent for joint exercise Al NAJAH-IV arrive in India.

    The 4th Edition of India Oman Joint Military Exercise ‘AL NAJAH-IV’ between contingents of Indian Army and the Royal Army of Oman is scheduled to take place at the Foreign Training Node of Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (Rajasthan) from 01 to 13 August 2022. The Royal Army of Oman contingent comprising 60 personnel from the Sultan of Oman Parachute Regiment have arrived at the exercise location. The Indian Army is represented by troops from the 18 MECHANISED INFANTRY Battalion. The previous edition of Ex AL NAJAH IV was organised at Muscat from 12 to 25 March 2019.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Vietnam India bilateral army exercise “Ex VINBAX 2022”.

    The 3rd Edition of Vietnam India Bilateral Army Exercise “Ex VINBAX 2022” is scheduled to be conducted at Chandimandir from 01 to 20 Aug 2022. The exercise is a sequel to previously conducted bilateral exercise in Vietnam in 2019 and a major milestone in strengthening the bilateral relations between India and Vietnam. India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. The theme of Ex VINBAX – 2022 is employment and deployment of an Engineer Company and a Medical Team as part of United Nations Contingent for Peace Keeping Operations.
    For more information: Click here to read…


    West Asia
    “Hizbu’llah has all of Israel in its missile range,” Hizbu’llah leader Nasrallah.

    In an interview on 25 July 2022, Lebanese Hizbu’llah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that “all of Israel is within the range of Hizbu’llah’s missiles. Boasting about drones, Nasrallah said that the recent drone operation, targeting Israel’s Karish gas field, was carried out by the group. Though Israel shot down the drone, but Nasrallah informed Al-Mayadeen media that over the period in the past, Hizbu’llah used drones over Israel many times.

    Nasrallah suggested that Hizbu’llah could gain from the trip of the US President Biden to the region by bringing Iranian oil and gas to Lebanon, and that Hizbu’llah can exploit Lebanon’s crisis and the US’ desire for stability in the region.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Al-Shabaab terrorists carried out cross-border attack into Ethiopia’s Somali region.

    On 21 July 2022, al-Shabaab terrorists from Somalia launched a cross-border attack into Ethiopia’s Somali region. This is the first time that al-Shabaab carried out a terrorist attack in Ethiopia. According to Somali military and Ethiopia’s paramilitary Liyu police, several al-Shabaab terrorists crossed into the Afdher zone and took control of several of their positions. However, with heavy police casualties, all positions were recaptured. According to Somali military officials posted in Bakool— the region that borders Ethiopia, around 87 al-Shabaab terrorists were killed in the gun-battle.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    US airstrike killed two al-Shabaab terrorists in Lower Juba region.

    On 17 July 2022, the United States (US) Africa Command, in coordination with the government of Somalia, carried out airstrike and killed two al-Shabaab terrorists in a remote location near Libikus in Lower Juba region, Somalia. The strike was carried out after al-Shabaab attacked partner forces in the region. According to the statement released, “violent extremist organisations like al-Shabaab present long-term threats to Somali, regional and US interests.”
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Five Boko Haram terrorists surrendered in Borno State.

    On 22 July 2022, five Boko Haram terrorists, including Mallam Isa, a commander, surrendered before the 73 Battalion of the Nigerian Army during “Operation Hadin Kai” in Borno State. “Preliminary investigation discovered that terrorists were said to have come out from Gazuwa, a new HQ of Boko Haram, located about 08 kilometres to Bama Local Government area,” said Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency expert. According to the Theatre Commander of North-East Joint Task Force of ‘Operation Hadin Kai’— Christopher Musa, “more than 67,000 terrorists have surrendered to troops so far.”
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Islamist terrorists attacked Mali’s main military base outside Bamako.

    On 22 July 2022, Islamist terrorists of al-Qa’ida and Islamic State affiliated groups attacked Mali’s main military base in Kati, outside the Capital Bamako, however, the armed forces had repelled the attack and brought situation under control. In a statement released by military, “the attack involved two car bombs and was carried out by a local al-Qa’ida affiliated group— Katiba Macina.” Katiba Macina is more active terror group in Central Mali.

    In attack, a soldier was martyred and six people were wounded, while seven terrorists were killed and eight got arrested, read the statement. The military blamed Katiba Macina for several attacks on 21 July 2022 against military bases in Central Mali in which a soldier was martyred and 15 others were wounded.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    “Al-Qa’ida and Islamic State are gaining strength in Afghanistan”, claimed the UNSC report.

    The 30th report of the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team revealed the activities of al-Qa’ida (AQ), Islamic State (IS), and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan, and concluded that al-Qa’ida and IS related threats are high in the conflict zones and the neighbouring countries though both terror groups are likely to attempt an attack in non-conflicted areas.

    An Afghan national— Sanaullah Ghafari aka Shahab al-Muhajir, has been leading the Islamic State-Khurasan Province (IS-KP/IS-K) since June 2000. However, the IS core has established a separate structure called Al-Siddiq office under Sheikh Tamim al-Kurdi aka Abu Ahmed al-Madani for group’s regional agenda. The report also pointed about the IS-KP’s increased presence in northern and eastern Afghanistan. The group has terrorists from the Central Asia, who have increased activities in the north, bordering Central Asian states of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    US killed al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a counter-terrorism operation in Kabul.

    On 01 August 2022, United States (US) President— Joe Biden, announced that in a counter-terrorism operation carried out on 30 July 2022 in Kabul, Afghanistan, the US government killed the al-Qa’ida leader— Ayman al-Zawahiri. “Al-Zawahiri coordinated al-Qa’ida’s branches all around the world since Bin Laden’s death in 2011, including setting priorities for providing operational guidance that call for and inspire attacks against US targets,” explained the US President during the announcement.

    “The United States continues to demonstrate our resolve and our capacity to defend the American people against those who seek to do us harm,” Biden continued. “We make it clear again tonight that, no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out,” added the US President.
    For more information: Click here to read…


    Jammu and Kashmir
    NIA searched multiple locations in Srinagar in “Chanapora Arms Recovery in Srinagar” case.

    On 20 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched nine locations in Kashmir, including four in Srinagar district and five in Pulwama district, in the case— RC-04/2022/NIA/JMU related to the conspiracy of conducting terror attacks in and around Srinagar, in which four operatives were arrested and 15 pistols, 30 magazines, 300 rounds, and one Mahindra-built Scorpio vehicle were seized.

    The case was re-registered by the NIA on 18 June 2022. The NIA officials seized digital devices and other incriminating materials.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    SIA unearthed the nexus between JeM and Punjab-based gangsters.

    The State Investigation Agency (SIA) in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) unearthed the nexus between Pakistan-based terrorist group— Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Punjab-based gangsters, as the SIA filed a chargesheet against five operatives in a terror-funding related case registered in 2021.

    The case was related to the recovery of ₹ 43 lakh by Jammu police at the Sidhra bridge, from Kashmir-bound vehicle, on 16 November 2021. The SIA filed a chargesheet before the Special NIA court in Jammu on 26 July 2022, against five operatives, including JeM commander— Ashiq Nengroo (presently operating from Pakistan), Muzammil Ahmad Malik (JeM operative) from Pulwama, and other three Punjab-based gangsters— i) Ravi Kumar, ii) Jaideep Dhawan, and iii) Amarbir Singh (all residents of Punjab), under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], the Arms Act, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Left-Wing Extremism
    NIA arrested a Maoist associate in connection with “Terror Financing by CPI (Maoist) in Bihar” case.

    On 28 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials arrested— Rajesh Gupta, a Maoist associate, in connection to a conspiracy by CPI (Maoist) cadres and others for attempting to revive the banned organisation’s module in the Son-Ganga Bindh region of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (UP).

    The case— RC-19/2022/NIA/DLI was re-registered on 26 April 2022 and NIA taken over the investigation. Earlier, NIA had arrested 03 associates in this case on 12 April 2022 and 25 May 2022. Rajesh Gupta is a close associate of earlier arrested Vijay Kumar Arya— a Central Committee Member (CCM) and was actively involved in reviving the module in Son-Ganga Bindh region.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Police killed a Maoist in an anti-naxal operation in Chhattisgarh.

    On 26 July 2022, Chhattisgarh police eliminated a Maoist— Budh Ram Madkam aka Mahangu Deva, a member of Katekalyan Area Committee of CPI (Maoist), in forest near Jabrameta village of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA searched multiple locations in Jharkhand in connection with “killing of police personnel and looting of arms and ammunition by CPI (Maoists)” case.

    On 27 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched 03 locations of suspects in connection with suspects’ involvement in an attack on police party on 14 June 2019 at Kukru Haat in Saraikela-Kherswan district in Jharkhand. In the attack, five police personnel attained Veergati, and their arms and ammunitions were looted by perpetrators.

    The case— RC-39/2020/NIA/DLI was re-registered by the NIA on 09 December 2020. The NIA officials recovered digital devices, illicit weapons and ammunitions, and various incriminating materials.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    “Maoist-affected Districts reduced to 46 in 2021”, informed MoS for Home Affairs.

    The Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs— Nityanand Rai, on 26 July 2022, informed the Lok Sabha (the Lower House of the Indian Parliament) that number of Maoist-affected districts has reduced from 70 in the year 2014 to 46 in 2021. Along with, the incidents inspired from Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) have recorded significant reduction from 1,091 in 2014 to 509 incidents in 2021.

    The Minister also informed the Lok Sabha about Central government-led schemes for Maoist-affected areas, including Security Related Expenditure Scheme (SRES), Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS), Road Requirement Plan-1, mobile connectivity projects in Maoist affected districts.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA arrested a Maoist associate in revival of Magadh zone of CPI (Maoist) case.

    On 25 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested— Tarun Kumar, in connection with a case— RC-05/2021/NIA/RNC, where CPI (Maoist) cadre prominent— Pradyuman Sharma and others, were conspiring to revive a module of banned organisation in Magadh zone. Tarun Kumar, along with other accused conspired to raise funds for procurement of arms and ammunition and training the fellow cadres in fabrication of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).

    The group was also planning to create nexus with incarcerated naxals and Over-Ground Workers (OGWs) in various jails for commission of violent crimes.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
    NIA searched multiple locations in six States in connection with “ISIS module” case.

    On 31 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) searched 13 premises of Islamic State (IS) suspects in six Indian States— i) Gujarat, ii) Bihar, iii) Karnataka, iv) Maharashtra, v) Uttar Pradesh, and vi) Madhya Pradesh, in a case related to Islamic State (ISIS) module and its activities.

    On 25 June 2022, the case— RC-26/2022/NIA/DLI was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A].
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA arrested 08th accused in “Udaipur killing” case.

    On 21 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials arrested the 08th accused— Mohammed Javed (age 19 years), in the case— RC-27/2022/NIA/DLI pertaining to the killing of Shri Kanhaiya Lal Teli in Udaipur, Rajasthan, by two Islamic extremists armed with sharp weapons at his tailor shop on 28 June 2022.

    The NIA re-registered the case on 29 June 2022 and taken over the investigation. Earlier, 07 accused were arrested in the case on 29 June, 01 July, 04 July, and 09 July 2022. Mohammed Javed had played an important role in the killing by conducting recce and conveying the information about the victim to one of the main perpetrators— Riyaz, prior to the brutal murder.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA searched multiple locations in connection with “PFI Phulwari Sharif” case in Bihar.

    On 28 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials carried out searches at 10 locations of the PFI operatives in Bihar, for their alleged involvement with the Popular Front of India (PFI) in anti-national activities.

    The case— RC-31/2022/NIA/DLI was re-registered by the NIA on 22 July 2022 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The NIA officials seized digital devices and several incriminating materials from the sites.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) Cases
    NIA Special Court (Bihar) convicted and sentenced a FICN trafficker in “FICN case of East Champaran, Bihar”.

    On 22 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court, Bihar, convicted and sentenced— Mohammad Ali Akhtar Ansari for his involvement in the Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICNs) proliferation in India. The case— RC-08/2016/NIA/DLI pertains to the seizure of a parcel containing high quality FICNs worth around ₹ 25 lakhs. Mohammad Akhtar came to Raxaul, to take delivery of the FICNs consignment on 30 September 2015, and was subsequently arrested.

    According to the investigation, the seized FICNs had been smuggled from a foreign country into India and supposed to be delivered to another accused— Abi Mohammad of Nepal. Investigation also revealed that a Pakistani national— Syed Muhammad Shaffi, now residing in the UAE (United Arab Emirates), had couriered the parcel from the UAE via ICS (International Courier Service). Mohammad Akhtar Ansari rewarded 20 years of Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) with ₹ 50,000 as fine under Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], 10 years of RI with ₹ 25,000 as fine under Section 489B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and 07 years of RI under Section 489C of the IPC by the NIA Special Court (Patna), Bihar.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA searched multiple locations in Tamil Nadu in the case of “Narcotics and Arms trafficking to India and Sri Lanka”.

    On 20 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency officials searched 22 premises of suspects at various locations in Tamil Nadu in connection with the case— RC-29/2022/NIA/DLI, pertaining to illicit activities of Sri Lankan drug mafia being operated by C Gunashekharan in association with Haji Salim— drug and arms supplier based in Pakistan.

    The drugs and arms traffickers have been operating in India and Sri Lanka, and have been conspiring for the revival of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) terror group and to further its violent activities. The case was registered suo moto by the NIA on 08 July 2022 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UA(P)A], read with sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 32, 2022)

    Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.
    Week 32, 2022


    Tracing the Future of India-Africa Defence Cooperation

    In his address to the Ugandan Parliament in July 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi enunciated the ten guiding principles of India’s engagement with Africa and elucidated the importance of each principle. Click here to read…

    Burundi at 60 is the poorest country on the planet: a look at what went wrong

    Co-opted administrative and economic bureaucracies have appropriated power and wealth by force, first for the benefit of a Tutsi and then of a Hutu eliteClick here to read…


    Senegal’s ruling party, opposition both claim victory after legislative vote

    Senegalese President Macky Sall’s ruling party and the opposition both claimed victory after legislative elections on Sunday, while awaiting the release of official results. Click here to read…

    Tunisia civil society groups raise questions over referendum data

    Amid complaints over data management, election authority maintains the results of constitutional referendum are valid. Click here to read…

    Media on the spot as Angola’s vote looms

    The tone of the Angolan electoral campaign has risen again, with the Electoral Commission warning parties to avoid messages that can incite violence and division. Click here to read…

    South Sudan extends transitional govt by 2 yrs

    South Sudan’s parties to the unity government on Thursday extended the transitional period by two years. Click here to read…

    Mali agrees to integrate 26,000 ex-rebels into army

    Ex-combatants will be merged in “two tranches of 13,000” fighters, says junta-appointed government, a move billed to help restructure the national army and better represent northern Tuareg region. Click here to read…

    Egypt categorically rejects Ethiopia’s unilateral filling of GERD in letter to UN Security Council

    The letter stressed that this is a clear violation of the 2015 Declaration of Principles agreement and a serious violation of the applicable rules of international law, which oblige Ethiopia, as an upstream country, not to harm the rights of downstream countries. Click here to read…

    Ramaphosa scolds ruling ANC for losing South Africans’ trust

    In a sombre address to an ANC national policy conference in Johannesburg, Ramaphosa urged delegates to come up with ways to tackle the corruption, persistent poverty, unemployment and poor public services. Click here to read…

    UN relaxes arms embargo on Central African Republic

    The U.N. Security Council voted Friday to relax the arms embargo against the Central African Republic, a disappointment to its government, which sought a complete lifting of the ban on the sale or transfer of weapons and ammunition. Click here to read…

    Detentions loom over Egypt’s political dialogue

    After nine years of sweeping crackdowns on dissent, Egypt is set to launch a carefully choreographed political dialogue, but the main Islamist opposition movement is excluded and critics say a parallel move to release prisoners is proceeding too slowly. Click here to read…

    Social Media Platforms Under Scrutiny Ahead of Kenyan Elections

    Authorities in Kenya have given Facebook a week to comply with regulations related to hate speech after a report found the social media giant had failed to address the issue ahead of elections next month. Click here to read…

    Russia eyes Port Sudan as key naval hub

    On July 31, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving the country’s new Maritime Doctrine. This conceptual document redefines the goals and objectives of maritime policy, emphasizes the oceanic purpose of the Russian navy and strengthens the confrontation with the United States and NATOClick here to read…

    China allegedly deploying huge no of ex-PLA personnel in Africa

    In the beginning of the 21st century, China’s presence in Africa in terms of trade and investment was almost negligible. By 2009, it had overtaken the US in Africa by becoming its largest trading partner and by 2020, under the Belt and Road Initiative, it invested in Africa more than $60 billion of the total $139 billion it pumped in for projects across the world. Click here to read…

    Guinea junta slammed over use of force, urged to hold dialogue after deadly banned demos

    A coalition of political parties, trade unions and other bodies, demanded ‘the immediate opening of a framework for inclusive dialogue’ in Guinea and threatened new demonstrations from 15 August. Click here to read…

    Zambia cancels US$1.6 billion Chinese loans and halts infrastructure projects in move to avoid debt crisis

    Zambia has cancelled US$1.6 billion in agreed upon but not-disbursed Chinese loans, mostly from China Exim Bank and the Industrial Commercial Bank of China, to help manage its debt woes. Click here to read…

    Morocco king favours restoration of diplomatic ties with Algeria

    Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has called for a restoration of diplomatic ties with neighbouring Algeria, which broke off diplomatic relations with Rabat last year. Click here to read…

    From al-Shabab to the cabinet: Somalia’s move fuels debate

    Somalia’s appointment of a former al-Shabab leader to the cabinet is fuelling debate. Click here to read…

    Rwanda backing M23 rebels in DRC: UN experts

    A UN group of experts finds ‘solid evidence’ that Kigali is supporting M23 fighters despite repeated denials. Click here to read…

    After years of hostility, Turkey forges ties with eastern Libya

    Turkey’s hosting of the head of Libya’s eastern-based parliament sets a meaningful landmark in its bid to reshape its Libya policy. Click here to read…

    1st Deployment Of S-350 Missiles? Leaked Satellite Image of Russian-Made ‘Vityaz SAM’ Surfaces Online

    Algeria appears to have deployed its Russian-made S-350 ‘Vityaz’ air defense system near the border with Morocco, per recent media reports and satellite images doing the rounds on social media. The deployment reportedly comes in response to the recent Moroccan-Israeli rapprochement. Click here to read…

    More than 600 hostages of the Islamic State freed in northern Mozambique

    A joint Rwandan military contingent, with their Mozambican counterparts and forces of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), have liberated more than 600 hostages in the Province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique. Click here to read…

    10 killed by suspected rebels in DR Congo

    Suspected fighters from a notorious rebel group have killed 10 civilians in an attack in Ituri in eastern DR Congo, local officials said Saturday, as fighting continued. Click here to read…

    12 security personnel killed in attacks in Burkina Faso

    Suspected militants in northern Burkina Faso have killed three soldiers and nine civilian auxiliaries, local and security sources said on Friday. Click here to read…

    Mob attacks illegal miners after rapes shock South Africa

    Thousands of angry residents in the South African city of Krugersdorp attacked a group of illegal miners with machetes, golf clubs and hammers after a gang rape last week shocked the nation. Click here to read…

    Forgotten Zimbabwe City of Bulawayo Gets a Dam as Vote Looms

    A $42-million dam a century in the making could end water shortages for more than half a million Zimbabweans — and win votes for the ruling party in an opposition stronghold that may decide next year’s presidential election. Click here to read…

    Mauritania passes controversial bill on national languages in primary school

    Mauritania’s National Assembly passed a new law introducing national languages into primary education, but the text has been heavily criticized by the black Mauritanian community, which fears that Arabic will be imposed on them. Click here to read…

    Benin joins the electric motorcycle revolution

    Two-wheelers are sought after in many sub-Saharan African cities. The vehicles often charge less than cars for a ride. In Cotonou, Benin’s capital, there are more than 250,000 motorcycle taxi drivers, known as zemidjan. Click here to read…

    Africa observes Women’s Day to affirm social, economic status of women in Continent

    Africa is observing Women’s Day on Sunday, a day earmarked to recognise and affirm the role of women’s organising in achieving the political freedom of Africa and advancing the social and economic status of women on the continent. Click here to read…

    Uganda LGBT rights: Government shuts down key advocacy group

    Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) has been ordered to shut down with “immediate effect” for not registering properly with authorities. Click here to read…

    BOOK REVIEW: NoViolet Bulawayo’s novel is an allegory of Zimbabwe politics

    In Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo’s new novel Glory — longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022 — animals take on human characteristics. Through this she explores what happens when an authoritarian regime implodes, using characters who are horses, pigs, dogs, cows, cats, chickens, crocodiles, birds and butterflies. Click here to read…


    India-Gabon Relations: Building on Opportunities

    Last week a bevy of diplomats and high-level ministers from several African countries descended in capital for a two-day business summit. This was 17th edition of the conclave launched by CII-Exim Bank on India-Africa Growth Partnership, seventeen years ago in 2005. Click here to read…

    India, South Africa hold 11th Foreign Office Consultations, review ties

    India and South Africa held the third round of the 11th Round of Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi on Wednesday where both sides reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations. Click here to read…

    Abu Dhabi, India firms set to invest in Tanzania ports

    The government’s pro-business policies are increasingly attracting investors to Tanzania with the latest entrants being Abu Dhabi Ports PSJC (AD Ports Group) and India’s largest integrated ports and logistics company, Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd. Click here to read…

    India, Mauritius to include provisions in trade pact to deal with sudden rise in imports

    India and Mauritius have agreed to include provisions related to the automatic trigger safeguard mechanism in their trade pact to deal with a sudden increase in imports, the commerce ministry said on Thursday. Click here to read…

    Leyland ties up with Kenya bank

    Ashok Leyland’s authorised distributors – Deluxe Trucks and Buses in Kenya have signed a partnership agreement with Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) to jointly promote the Ashok Leyland brand of vehicles. Click here to read…

    INS Tarkash visits Dakar, Senegal

    INS Tarkash visited Port Dakar, Senegal, from 31 July to 01 August 2022 and was received at Dakar by officials of the Embassy of India, Senegal and Senegal Navy. Click here to read…

    India’s ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil weigh stake in Tullow’s $3bn Kenya project

    ONGC Videsh and Indian Oil Corp are in talks to acquire a stake in Tullow Oil Plc’s $3.4 billion project in Kenya, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Click here to read…

    India to source Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) from Senegal in West Africa

    As part of the self-reliant India initiative to promote self-sufficiency in Fertilisers, Government of India has been advising and supporting the Indian fertiliser companies to strengthen their backend supply chain. Click here to read…

    AD Ports Group and India’s Adani Ports to explore investment opportunities in Tanzania

    AD Ports Group, the operator of industrial cities and free zones in Abu Dhabi, and India’s Adani Ports have signed a preliminary agreement to explore joint investment opportunities in Tanzania. Click here to read…

    Mauritius Telecom CEO, who leaked Indian team visit, under lens for China links

    The country’s Central Criminal Investigation Department Special Cell has questioned Sherry Singh for three possible offenses: Breach of Information & Communication Technologies Act (Icta), Diffusion of False News and Criminal Defamation. Click here to read…

    Africa Now – Weekly Newsletter (Week 31, 2022)

    Welcome to Africa Now, your weekly newsletter for Africa, presenting the most important developments in the continent – news that matters.


    Forging a New Path for India-Africa Relations

    As the world transitions to post-pandemic optimism, India and Africa have emerged as twin centres of growth and are poised to transform their multi-faceted economic relationship. Click here to read…

    Islamic State’s Expansion in Africa and its Implications for Southeast Asia

    Will the group’s call for hijrah (migration) to Africa prompt Southeast Asian Muslims to join the struggle? Click here to read…

    France still not paid for humanitarian crimes committed in Africa

    It is now a known fact that colonialism, which has been adopted by the West, particularly in France, as an “innocent ideology of helping socially, economically and politically underdeveloped nations adapt to the civilized world.” Click here to read…


    Tunisia’s Saïed consolidates power with new constitution

    Tunisian voters have approved a new constitution by referendum vote, one that further consolidates power for President Kaïs Saïed despite concerns from the political opposition over the future of the country’s democracy. Click here to read…

    West Africa bloc chair says Guinea accepts two-year transition

    The chair of the West African regional bloc has said Guinea will cut the timeline of its planned transition to civilian rule from three to two years. Click here to read…

    Angola’s campaigns gain momentum as political parties call for peace

    The first week of the election campaign in Angola went more smoothly. The political tensions of the pre-election period dropped considerably and the tone of the candidates has also become more positive. Click here to read…

    The ‘Hustler-in-Chief’ or the veteran ‘Baba’ politician, who will be Kenya’s next president?

    On August 9, Kenyans head to the polls and with soaring food and fuel prices, high unemployment and post-pandemic stagnation, a change in leadership could not come at a more critical time for East Africa’s largest economy. Click here to read…

    Algeria, Niger and Nigeria sign MoU for Saharan gas pipeline

    Algeria, Nigeria and Niger have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a natural gas pipeline across the Sahara Desert. Click here to read…

    Blinken to Visit South Africa, DR Congo and Rwanda

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to three African countries from August 7 to 12 with visits to South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and RwandaClick here to read…

    Has the UN’s peacekeeping mission in DR Congo failed?

    Several killed in violent protests calling for UN peacekeepers to leave. At least 12 civilians and three members of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) have been killed in days of anti-UN protests. Click here to read…

    Egypt protests against Ethiopia’s plan to fill Nile dam reservoir

    Cairo lodges its protest at UN Security Council, objecting to Addis Ababa’s unilateral filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam without a binding deal with downstream countries including Sudan. Click here to read…

    In Mali, ‘risks of political and military escalation’ between the government and ex-rebels of the north

    The last time that relations were this tense between the former Tuareg rebel groups and the Malian government was in 2015 when the peace process was launched in Algiers. Click here to read…

    Al Shabab attacks military base on Somalia-Ethiopia border

    Al Shabab militants have attacked a military base on the Somalia-Ethiopia border, triggering fierce fighting that caused an unknown number of casualties, security officials said. Click here to read…

    Ethiopian Authorities to Create Buffer Zone Inside Somalia

    A local Somali official has welcomed a plan by Ethiopia’s Somali state to create a buffer zone along the border inside Somalia to fight militant group al-Shabab. Click here to read…

    Zimbabwe yearns for real change

    NOVEMBER 17, 2017 marked the end of the late former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s reign, who had tormented the people of Zimbabwe since 1980. Click here to read…

    Burkina Faso’s Compaoré apologises to family of murdered Sankara

    Burkina Faso’s former president Blaise Compaoré, sentenced in absentia to life in jail for the 1987 assassination of revolutionary icon Thomas Sankara, has apologised to the ex-leader’s family. Click here to read…

    Senegal legislative poll tests ruling party ahead of 2024 vote

    Senegal’s main opposition coalition is vying to gain clout in legislative polls on Sunday that will set the scene for a presidential election in 2024 – which could see President Macky Sall run for a controversial third term. Click here to read…

    Malawi President Launches Anti-Corruption Campaign to Fight Graft

    Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera launched a nationwide anti-corruption campaign Tuesday at the end of a two-day conference on graftClick here to read…

    Nigerian senators urge Buhari impeachment over insecurity

    Parliament is controlled by the ruling APC and any move to impeach Buhari would require support from two-thirds of the 109 senators. Click here to read…

    Tunisians vote to expand president’s powers

    Tunisians voted to drastically expand the president’s powers and critics warn the referendum could usher in a dictatorship. Click here to read…

    Civilians in crossfire as shifting alliances spark Libya violence

    Fathi Bashagha, one of Libya’s two rival prime ministers, is from Misrata – as is his rival, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, whose internationally recognised government sits in Tripoli. Click here to read…

    Power line kills 4 at anti-UN protest in eastern Congo

    Four people participating in demonstrations against the United Nations peacekeeping mission in eastern Congo were killed Wednesday when a high-voltage power line fell on them, officials said. Click here to read…

    France’s Macron heads to Africa for three-nation trip

    The four-day visit to Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau is the French leader’s first diplomatic trip outside of Europe since winning re-election, showing how Africa is high on the list of priorities for the former colonial power. Click here to read…

    Russia’s reengagement with Africa pays off

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is on a four-nation tour to Africa. The trip is part of Russia’s ongoing charm offensive on the continent to shore up support. Click here to read…

    Macron says France will stand by Africa on security issues

    French President Emmanuel Macron has wrapped up a meeting with Paul Biya, his counterpart in Cameroon, the first port of call on his three nation tour. He reiterated that France would continue to support Africa’s security needs. Click here to read…

    French president wraps up Africa tour in Guinea-Bissau

    French President Emmanuel Macron wrapped up a three-country Africa tour in Guinea-Bissau Thursday that saw him pledge funding for education and economic development as well as military support to fight extremism in West and Central Africa. Click here to read…

    Benin marks Macron visit by releasing 30 jailed opposition politicians

    This week’s visit to Benin by French President Emmanuel Macron was marked by the release of 30 opposition figures, imprisoned during the April 2021 election campaign. Click here to read…

    Israel Reaffirms Support for Morocco’s Sovereignty Over Western Sahara

    Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar reaffirmed on Wednesday his country’s support for Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara. Click here to read…

    Russia is plundering gold in Sudan to boost Putin’s war effort in Ukraine

    Days after Moscow launched its bloody war on Ukraine, a Russian cargo plane stood on a Khartoum runway, a strip of tarmac surrounded by red-orange sand. Click here to read…

    Uganda: Lavrov visit to Museveni creates headache for Washington

    Uganda welcomed its highest-ever ranking visit from a Moscow official on 26 July. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov got a warm welcome from President Yoweri Museveni. Click here to read…

    Zambia commissions China-financed project to improve water supply in Zambian capital

    Zambia on Friday commissioned a project financed by China aimed at improving water supply and sanitation in Lusaka, the Zambian capital. Click here to read…

    Central African Republic’s digital coin finds few buyers

    The sale of Central African Republic’s first digital coin got off to a slow start, with just over 5% of the target bought in the hours after its launch, amid questions about the project’s transparency and a wider downturn in the industry. Click here to read…

    Tanzania, Zambia Sh1.4 trillion power line to start in 2023

    The Coordinator of the Tanzania-Zambia Project (Taza) – which involves the construction of electricity transmission infrastructure between the two countries – Mr Elias Makunga, said yesterday that actual execution of the project will start in January, 2023. Click here to read…

    Mozambique LNG: Saipem says work will not restart in 2022 and original EPC contract will be revised

    Force majeure will not be lifted until 2023 at earliest, while contract to build LNG trains will be revamped to account for higher costs. Click here to read…

    Egypt cancels contracts for 240,000 T of stranded Ukrainian wheat

    Egypt has cancelled contracts for a total of 240,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat that were booked by its state grains buyer for February and March delivery but never loaded due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Click here to read…

    Burundi secretly sent troops to DR Congo – rights group

    Burundi has secretly sent hundreds of troops and members of a youth militia into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo since the end of 2021 to fight an armed rebel group, a Burundian human rights group said Wednesday. Click here to read…

    Wildfires in northern Morocco, a villager prosecuted

    A villager was charged for involuntary fire in the northern Moroccan province of Larache, the region most affected by violent forest fires, a judicial source said. Click here to read…

    Mali and Burkina Faso: Did the coups halt jihadist attacks?

    Widespread anger at chronic insecurity in the West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso paved the way for military men to kick out failing governments over the past two years. Click here to read…

    As Zimbabwe struggles with daily blackouts, Zambia declares huge 1,000MW electricity surplus

    ZAMBIA’S integrated power utility ZESCO has declared that the country how has surplus capacity of about 1,000 megawatts (MW) at a time the country is also enjoying an economic rebound. Click here to read…

    Chinese-built highway inaugurated in southwestern Cameroon

    A major Chinese-built highway in southwestern Cameroon was inaugurated on Friday. Click here to read…

    Rwanda on course to grow electric mobility market

    Five years ago, Rwanda announced plans to introduce environmentally friendly transport services as part of the efforts to prioritise a climate resilient low carbon economy. Click here to read…

    Africa Protected Areas Congress: Continent gets $200 billion conservation fund

    A $200 billion trust fund has been initiated to conserve around 8,600 protected areas covering 26 million square kilometres in Africa. Conservationists have called for global contributions to it. Click here to read…


    India extends 222 LoCs worth $14.07 bn in Africa, 37 LoCs to neighbours

    The LoCs projects in African nations are spread across sectors roads, railways, power, ports and shipping, education, telecom, health, and aviation. Click here to read…

    The 17th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India

    The CII-EXIM Bank Conclave in India, which was held recently, focused on enhancing India-Africa relations through entrepreneurial initiatives and trade. Click here to read…

    32,000 Africans earn scholarships from India

    Some 32,000 African students have benefited from Indian government scholarships since 2015, part of the 50,000 opportunities the country had pledged to give African students over a 10-year period. Click here to read…

    Egypt signs $8 billion agreement with India for Suez Canal Economic Zone

    Egypt and an Indian company have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to construct a green hydrogen factory in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Click here to read…

    ReNew Power eyes green hydrogen projects in Africa

    NASDAQ-listed ReNew Power Ltd is looking to foray into Africa by developing green hydrogen projects in Egypt and Morocco. Click here to read…

    Zambia attracts $5B investment from India

    Indian investment amounting to $5 billion is in the pipeline for Zambia, targeting sectors such as health, agriculture, and infrastructure development, the Zambian deputy president announced on Wednesday. Click here to read…

    India to invest $700m in Egypt

    India looks forward to pumping additional investments into Egypt amounting to about $700 million in the coming few years, New Delhi’s ambassador in Cairo has said. Click here to read…

    INS Tarkash commences Atlantic deployment by exercising with Morocco Navy

    Indian Navy on Friday said its guided missile frigate, INS Tarkash, completed her Mediterranean deployment and entered the Atlantic to continue with her long-range voyage. Click here to read…

    LS Speaker Om Birla and Esperanca Bias sign MoU of Cooperation between Parliaments of India and Mozambique

    Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla held a bilateral meeting with the Speaker of the Assembly of Mozambique, Esperanca Laurinda Francisco Nhiuane Bias at Parliament House Complex today. Click here to read…

    India, COMESA trade stands at $15bn

    THE value of trade between India and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states stood at US$15 billion in 2021. Click here to read…

    PM Modi calls for speedy probe in Congo attack

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, discussed with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the recent attack on UN mission personnel in Congo, in which two Indian peacekeepers were killed, and called for an expeditious investigation to bring the perpetrators of the incident to justice. Click here to read…

    President Ramaphosa welcomes Serum Institute of India’s $2.5 million pledge to boost Africa’s healthcare

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday welcomed the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) pledge to provide an initial 2.5 million U.S. dollars to support the African Union (AU) COVID-19 Commission to improve healthcare systems on the continent. Click here to read…

    Mozambique Parliamentary delegation calls on President Droupadi Murmu

    A Parliamentary delegation from Mozambique called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday. Click here to read…

    Will India Try Again for a Military Base in Seychelles?

    India’s previous efforts to secure a base on Assumption Island were rebuffed. As China gains ground, will New Delhi make another offer? Click here to read…

    India Calls for UN Security Council Meeting After Attack in DR Congo

    India had called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council after an attack on the UN mission in Congo killed Indian and Moroccan peacekeepers and also ensured that a strong-worded statement is issued by the 15-nation body that calls for accountability for the killing of the Blue Helmets. Click here to read…

    IIT-Madras considers setting up campus in Tanzania; Nepal, Lanka too send requests

    An offshore campus of IIT Madras in Tanzania is among the options on the government’s table as it works on a plan to ensure the country’s premier engineering institutes have a presence on the world map. Click here to read…

    Grand Hindu Temple in Madagascar’s Capital City

    India’s Ambassador to Madagascar and Comoros, Abhay Kumar, yesterday inaugurated a grand Hindu temple in Madagascar’s capital city Antananarivo. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the statues of the deities were unveiled amidst hymns and devotional songs. The temple, the first of its kind in the city, is built by the Hindu Samaj. Click here to read…

    Indian Overseas Center inaugurated in Madagascar

    The Foreign Minister of Madagascar, an East African country, Richard Randriamandrato, inaugurated the Indian Diaspora Center ‘Indian Dhow’ in Antananarivo on Friday. Click here to read…

    South African Tourism launches digital campaign for India

    South African Tourism has announced the launch of a digital campaign for India in partnership with Air Seychelles. Click here to read…

    Airtel’s Africa business reports net profit of $178 million in Q1FY23, a 25% on-year jump

    Revenue for the quarter ended June 2022 rose 13%-on year and 2.8% sequentially in reported currency, to $1.257 billion, the company said Thursday. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was up 0.6% on quarter and 4.4% on year, at $2.9. Click here to read…

    Ongc Videsh, Indian Oil weigh stake in $3 billion Kenya project

    ONGC Videsh and Indian Oil Corp. are in talks to acquire a stake in Tullow Oil Plc’s $3.4 billion project in Kenya, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Click here to read…

    How fears of Chinese digital espionage ‘got RAW involved in Mauritius, led to snooping scandal’

    Allegations that Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth allowed Indian tech team to install equipment for intercepting internet traffic have snowballed into growing political scandal. Click here to read…

    VIF News Digest: National Security – Defence Studies & Terrorism, 01-15 July 2022


    • DRDO conducts successful maiden flight of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator.
    • Indian Army organised the “Suraksha Manthan 2022”.
    • New manufacturing facilities at Bharat Dynamics Limited.
    • Indian Navy ships visit Singapore, Republic of Seychellesand a long range overseas deployment.
    • CEO of French aircraft engine maker SAFRAN Group calls on Raksha Mantri (RM).
    • 6th Deputy National Security Adviser Level Meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave.
    • Indian Navy’s INS Satpura and P8i participate in the RIMPAC Harbour Phase.
    • Indian Air Force contingent participating in a exercise with the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) in Egypt.
    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre of Excellence (Coe) launched by IAF.
    • First-ever ‘AI in Defence’ symposium & exhibition in New Delhi.
    • Brazilian Navy delegation on visit to India.
    • Ministry of Defence sets up an Apex Committee for Performance and Efficiency Audit.


    West Asia
    • “Hizbu’llah used Iranian drones against the Karish gas field”, claimed Israel’s Defence Minister.
    • Islamist attack freed hundreds of prisoners in Nigeria.
    • Ahead of FATF’s visit, Pakistan doubled the efforts to ‘locate’ JeM chief Masood Azhar.


    Jammu and Kashmir
    • NIA searched multiple locations in Kashmir in “Sunjwan terrorist attack” case.
    • Security forces eliminated two terrorists, including a JeM commander, in Pulwama.
    • “In last four years, 700 local youths were recruited by terror groups in UT of J&K”: MHA.
    Left-Wing Extremism
    • Police arrested a Maoist wanted in SP’s killing case.
    • Over 600 explosives and 495 detonators recovered in anti-Maoist operation in Bihar.
    • 50 IEDs seized from Aurangabad in Bihar.
    Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
    • NIA Special Court (Ernakulam) convicted three Islamic State members in “ISIS Valapattanam case”.
    • NIA searched multiple locations in Rajasthan in “Udaipur killing” case.
    • NIA conducted search at multiple locations in Maharashtra in “Umesh Kolhe’s killing” case.
    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    • NIA filed chargesheet against four KTF associates accused of conspiring the killing of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar.
    • MEA raised concerns over the participation of Australian Sikh soldiers at pro-Khalistan event in New South Wales, Australia.
    • Pro-Khalistan elements vandalized Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Canada.
    • Police arrested a pro-Khalistan supporter from Jalandhar.


    DRDO conducts successful maiden flight of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator.

    Maiden flight of the Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator was carried out successfully by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, way point navigation and a smooth touchdown. It is powered by a small turbofan engine, the airframe, undercarriage and entire flight control and avionics systems used for the aircraft were developed indigenously.This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Indian Army organised the “Suraksha Manthan 2022”.

    The Desert Corps of the Indian Army organised the “Suraksha Manthan 2022”, on aspects of Border & Coastal Security at Jodhpur (Rajasthan). During the course of the discussions, aspects of interoperability, operational cohesion and logistics were ironed out in order to enhance overall security along the International Boundary (IB) and coastal sectors. A joint training calendar was also formulated to achieve a higher degree of interoperability and jointness amongst the security forces. Current security threats and challenges, along with joint mitigation response, were deliberated upon and such scenarios would now form part of the forthcoming exercises. It was further decided to create an enabling security environment and develop a tangible capability development road map to achieve the same.
    Reference: Click here to read…

    New manufacturing facilities at Bharat Dynamics Limited

    Raksha Mantri dedicated to the Nation a number of new manufacturing facilities set up by the Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU). These include a Warhead facility at the Bhanur Unit and a Radio Frequency (RF) Seeker facility at Kanchanbagh Unit. The RF Seeker Facility, which was virtually inaugurated by the Raksha Mantri, is an integrated Centre for production & testing of RF seekers. This facility has been established by BDL with an investment of Rs 50 crore.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Indian Navy ships visit Singapore, Republic of Seychelles and long range overseas deployment

    As part of their deployment to South East Asia, Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Kadmatt under the Command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Bhalla, NM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, visited Singapore from 01 – 03 July 2022. INS Sahyadri is an indigenously built multi-role stealth Frigate and INS Kadmatt is an indigenously built ASW Corvette.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    INS Kolkata, an indigenously built Stealth Guided Missile Destroyer of the Indian Navy, was deployed to Port Victoria, Seychelles to coincide with the Independence Day of Seychelles on 29 June 22. During the port call, INS Kolkata delivered two engines of Dornier Aircraft of the SDF, which were overhauled at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Hyderabad. A set of engineering spares were also delivered to Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) for sustenance of SCG ships.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    As a part of the Long range overseas deployment, Indian Navy’s stealth frigate INS Tarkash, visited Djibouti as part of her long range overseas deployment followed by Maritime Partnership Exercise with Sudan Navy. The ship is on a deployment to Rio de Janerio, Brazil, which is intended to coincide with the Independence Day enabling her to hoist the tricolour in South America on the occasion as part of AzadikaAmritMahotsav.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    CEO of French aircraft engine maker SAFRAN Group calls on Raksha Mantri (RM)

    A high-level delegation of French company Safran Group led by its CEO Mr Olivier Andries called on Raksha Mantri in New Delhi on July 05, 2022. During the meeting, the CEO of Safran briefed the Raksha Mantri of their company’s plans to set up a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in India for overhaul of LEAP-1A & LEAP-1B engines in use by Indian and foreign commercial airlines. The MRO facility through direct foreign investment of $US 150 million in Hyderabad is expected to create 500-600 highly skilled jobs. The facility will be able to overhaul over 250 engines per year in the beginning.

    The CEO also briefed Shri Rajnath Singh of their plan to inaugurate this week Safran Aircraft Engines and Safran Electrical & Power India Pvt Ltd. – both to come up in Hyderabad and Safran-HAL Aircraft Engines as a joint venture in Bengaluru. Safran aircraft engine, Hyderabad, with an investment of Euro 36 million and located on 10 acres land in the Hyderabad SEZ, will produce parts and components for advanced aircraft engines including rotating seals. Safran Electrical & Power India Pt Ltd will produce harness for civil and fighter jets. The joint venture between Safran and HAL is for production of rigid piping for aircraft engines including helicopter engines. The joint venture is expected to hire 160 new highly skilled personnel.

    The CEO of Safran outlined his company’s long-term plan in co-development and co-production of advanced jet engines and transfer of technology as per existing policy of Government of India. He briefed Shri Rajnath Singh on capabilities of Safran in areas of technology beyond aircraft engine.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    6th Deputy National Security Adviser Level Meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave

    The Member States of the Colombo Security Conclave comprising India, Maldives, Mauritius and Sri Lanka, successfully concluded the 6th Deputy National Security Adviser level meeting held on 7 July 2022 hosted by the National Security Council Secretariat of India in Kochi. Delegations from Bangladesh and Seychelles participated as Observers.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Indian Navy’s INS Satpura and P8i participate in the RIMPAC Harbour Phase

    Indian Navy’s indigenous Frigate INS Satpura and P8I LRMRASW aircraft are at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii taking part in one of the largest multilateral Naval Exercises, the Rim of the Pacific exercise, also known as RIMPAC. INS Satpura and one P8I maritime patrol aircraft are participating in the exercise which spans over six weeks of intense operations and training aimed at enhancing interoperability and building trust among Navies of friendly foreign countries. 28 countries, 38 warships, 09 land forces, 31 unmanned systems, 170 aircraft and over 25,000 personnel are participating in the multi-dimensional exercise. The sea phase commences on 12 Jul 22 and will culminate with the closing ceremony on 04 Aug 22.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Indian Air Force contingent participating in an exercise with the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) in Egypt

    Indian Air Force contingent is reaching the midway point of the Tactical Leadership Programme (TLP) at Egyptian Air Force (EAF) Weapon School in Egypt (Cairo West Airbase). The programme commenced on 24 Jun and will culminate on 23 Jul 22. IAF is participating with three Su-30 MKI aircraft. Two C-17 aircraft were used for induction of the contingent. IAF Su-30 MKI aircraft undertook a non-stop ferry of six hours from Jamnagar airbase (India) to Cairo West airbase (Egypt), overflying four countries enroute. Tactical Leadership Program is a unique exercise, wherein IAF is participating with its aircrew as instructors. This exercise provides a good opportunity to showcase the reach and capability of the IAF. It will also assist in enhancing defence cooperation between the two countries and exchange of best practices.

    During the first two weeks of the exercise IAF aircraft participated in missions by day and night, involving air to ground & air to air combat scenarios and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) activity alongside Egyptian F-16, Rafale and Mig 29 aircraft.
    Reference: Click here to read…

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre of Excellence (Coe) launched by IAF

    The IAF Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence under the aegis of UDAAN (Unit for Digitisation, Automation, Artificial Intelligence and Application Networking) was inaugurated by Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS).

    A Big Data Analytics and Al Platform has been commissioned in the IAF’s Al Centre, for handling all aspects of Analytics, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Neural Networks and Deep Learning algorithms. The high-end compute requirements would be undertaken by the latest Graphical Processing Unit powered servers.Addressing the gathering, VCAS said that IAF has taken proactive steps to embed Industry 4.0 and Al based technologies in its war fighting processes. He reiterated that the AI COE with high end compute and big data storage capabilities, coupled with full spectrum Al software suites, would substantially enhance operational capability of IAF.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    First-ever ‘AI in Defence’ symposium & exhibition in New Delhi

    RakshaMantri launched 75 newly-developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) products/technologies during the first-ever ‘AI in Defence’ (AIDef) symposium and exhibition, organised by Ministry of Defence in New Delhi. The products, launched as part of ‘AzadiKaAmritMahotsav’ celebrations, fall under various domains. These includeAI Platform Automation; Autonomous/Unmanned/Robotics systems; Block Chain-based Automation; Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance; Cyber Security; Human Behavioural Analysis; Intelligent Monitoring Systems; Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems; Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Operational Data Analytics; Manufacturing and Maintenance; Simulators/Test Equipment and speech/voice analysis using Natural Language Processing.

    The RakshaMantri added that several MoUs have been signed with the industry for faster promotion of AI applications in the Services. Many AI-related challenges under the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) initiatives have also been given. The challenges are under various domains, including Radio Frequency Spectrum Management, Underwater Domain Awareness, Satellite Image Analysis and Friend or Foe Identification System. He urged the industry and start-ups to explore newer avenues and work hand-in-hand with the Government to ensure complete self-reliance in the field of AI technology.

    Delivering the welcome address, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar lauded the proactive efforts of the three Services, DRDO, DPSUs & the Industry in developing these 75 products and contributing to strengthen national security. He added that over 100 more projects are in various levels of development.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Brazilian Navy delegation on visit to India

    A Brazilian Navy delegation led by Vice Admiral Liberal Enio Zanelatto, Director of Industrial Production & Engineering, visited New Delhi on 15 Jul 22 and held discussion with senior officers of the Indian Navy. The head of the Brazilian delegation also called on Vice Admiral Sandeep Naithani, Chief of Materiel, Indian Navy. Earlier, Brazilian delegation also visited Headquarters Western Naval Command and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd at Mumbai on 11 and 12 Jul 22 respectively.

    Extensive discussions between Brazilian and Indian Navy leadership, on areas of mutual cooperation, with special focus on submarine maintenance, in addition as general maintenance philosophy, upgradation of weapons and sensors, and Indian Navy’s indigenisation efforts for achieving self-reliance.
    Reference: Click here to read…

    Ministry of Defence sets up an Apex Committee for Performance and Efficiency Audit

    The Ministry of Defence has set up an institutional mechanism comprising of an Apex committee with Defence Secretary as Chairman to conduct a Performance and Efficiency Audit into various aspects of its activities. This kind of audit is expected to provide valuable inputs to the top management of the Ministry of specific shortcomings, if any, in planning and execution of projects, and suggest systemic improvements in internal controls, soundness of financial procedures, identification of risk factors, etc. It is a major shift from the existing transaction-based compliance audit to carry out an outcome-based Performance/ Efficiency Audit aimed at enhancing overall efficiency.The members of the committee include Vice Chiefs of the three Services, Secretary Defence (Finance), Chief of Integrated Staff Committee (CISC), Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), Director General (Acquisition) and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

    The broad areas that have been identified for the conduct of Performance and Efficiency Audit include Defence Capital Procurements, provisioning, logistics, inventory levels, Maintenance of platforms/ assets, role and performance of Authority Holding Sealed Particulars (AHSP) etc. the Apex committee can also recommend any other specific area for Performance and Efficiency Audit.

    The committee chaired by Defence Secretary will identify specific areas for the conduct of performance and audit by CGDA and monitor performance audit reports and action taken thereon. It also shall advise Raksha Mantri on remedial measures to be adopted as well as measures for overall improvement in strengthening of internal oversight and Risk Management Framework.
    Reference: Click here to read…


    West Asia
    “Hizbu’llah used Iranian drones against the Karish gas field”, claimed Israel’s Defence Minister.

    In a briefing to military reporters, on 07 July 2022, Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz confirmed the use of Iranian drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) against the Karish gas field. “It should be said that the attack was carried out by Hizbu’llah on behest of Iran, and its weapons are made in Iran, whether it is manufactured there or knowledge acquired by them.
    On 02 July 2022, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) shot three UAVs by Hezbollah toward Karish rig, which is located within Israel’s economic waters but disputed by Lebanon.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Islamist attack freed hundreds of prisoners in Nigeria

    Suspected Islamists gunmen, armed with explosives, attacked on Kuje medium security prison, on the outskirts of Abuja and freed nearly 900 of prison’s 994 inmates, including number of terrorists. “They [gunmen] came in numbers, gained entrance into the prison, and released ‘some’ of the inmates,” said Nigeria’s Defence Minister— Bashir Magashi during a press briefing on 06 July 2022.

    Prison breaks have become more common in Nigeria, where in 2021, more than 1,800 prisoners escaped from Owerri prison in South-Eastern Imo state, after heavily armed men attacked with explosives.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Ahead of FATF’s visit, Pakistan doubled the efforts to ‘locate’ JeM chief Masood Azhar

    Ahead of the visit of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) officials to assess Pakistan’s commitment to carried out task list actions, Pakistan has doubled its efforts against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief and founder— Masood Azhar, and his brother Rauf Asghar. While Rauf Asghar was taken into custody along with 44 JeM terrorists in 2019, the establishment is assessing Masood Azhar’s whereabouts, including his doubtful presence in Pakistan.

    From 28 August-02 September, a team of senior FATF officials expected to visit Islamabad and other cities for an ‘on-site visit’, to verify if Pakistan has carried out all the actions mentioned on its 34-point task list. Pakistan is expected to be taken-off of ‘grey list’, during the FATF’s next plenary session in October 2022.
    For more information: Click here to read…


    Jammu and Kashmir
    NIA searched multiple locations in Kashmir in “Sunjwan terrorist attack” case

    On 13 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials carried out a search operation at three locations in Kashmir— 01 location in Pulwama district, and 02 locations in Anantnag district, in the case (RC-03/2022/NIA/JMU) related to indiscriminate firing upon security personnel on 22 April 2022, during a joint search operation in the area of Sunjwan, Jammu, in which an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) attained Veergati(fell in the battle), and several others were injured.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Security forces eliminated two terrorists, including a JeM commander, in Pulwama

    On 11 July 2022, security forces killed two terrorists, including a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander, in an operation in Wandakhpora village in Awantipora in Pulwama district. The JeM commander was identified as Kaiser Koka and was active in South Kashmir for the last four years.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    “In last four years, 700 local youths were recruited by terror groups in UT of J&K”: MHA

    According to the data available with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), as on 05 July 2022, a total of 82 foreign terrorists were operating in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), while there were 59 local terrorists. In last four years, terrorist groups managed to recruit 700 local youths into their fold, while 141 terrorists, are currently active in the Valley. Such large number highlighted the unabated infiltration from terror launch pads across the border. Mostly, terrorists belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its offshoot— The Resistance Front (TRF), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM).
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Left-Wing Extremism
    Police arrested a Maoist wanted in SP’s killing case, from Jharkhand

    In a joint operation, Jharkhand Police and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) arrested a Maoist— Nandlal Soren aka Hitesh, a member of the Special Area Committee of the CPI (Maoist), from Giridih district in Jharkhand. Nandlal Soren was carrying a bounty reward of ₹ 25 lakh.

    Soren was wanted in the killing of then-Superintendent of Police (SP) Amarjeet Balihar, and other police personnel in an ambush in 2013.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Over 600 explosives and 495 detonators recovered in anti-Maoist operation in Bihar

    In an anti-Maoist operation carried out during 04-11 July 2022 in Bihar, more than 600 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and around 500 detonators have been recovered by CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), a special jungle-warfare commando unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The recoveries were made from the jungles of Gaya district in Bihar.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    50 IEDs seized from Aurangabad in Bihar

    On 11 July 2022, the CRPF’s CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action), the Special Task Force (STF), and the district police carried out a joint operation on Ajnawa mountain range in Aurangabad district and recovered 50 IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) and other equipment. Other equipment included over two dozen gelatin rods, electric wires, batteries, pipes used in manufacturing of bombs were recovered.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Islamic Extremism (excluding J&K)
    NIA Special Court (Ernakulam) convicted three Islamic State members in “ISIS Valapattanam case”

    On 12 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Special Court, Ernakulam convicted three Islamic State (IS) members— i) Midlaj, ii) Abdul Razak, and iii) Hamsa, for providing support and conspiring a plan to travel out of India to join the terrorist organisation in Syria.

    After thorough investigation, the case— RC-02/2017/NIA/KOC was taken over by the NIA for further investigation by the NIA on 16 December 2017. A chargesheet was filed by the NIA on 21 April 2018 against the IS members.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    NIA searched multiple locations in Rajasthan in “Udaipur killing” case

    On 12 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched nine locations in Udaipur district in Rajasthan in “Udaipur killing case”. The case— RC-27/2022/NIA/DLI pertains to the killing of Shri Kanahiya Lal Teli in Udaipur, Rajasthan, by two Islamic extremists armed with sharp weapons at his shop located in Maaldas street, Udaipur, Rajasthan. On 29 June 2022, the NIA re-registered the case and taken over the investigation. During the search at the premises of both Islamic extremists, digital devices, including mobile phones, laptop and SIM cards, and other indiscriminating material was seized.
    Earlier, on 09 July 2022, the NIA arrested Farhad Mohammad Sheikh aka Babla, in relation to Shri Kanahiya Lal Teli’s murder conspiracy. Farhad Mohammad was a close associate of one of the main perpetrator— RiyazAttari.
    For more information: Click here to read… ; Click here to read…

    NIA conducted search at multiple locations in Maharashtra in “Umesh Kolhe’s killing” case

    On 06 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) officials searched 13 locations in Amravati district in Maharashtra in the case of killing of Shri Umesh Kolhe in Amravati on 21 June 2022.

    The case— RC-02/2022/NIA/MUM relates to the killing of a pharmacist— Shri Umesh Kolhe allegedly on account of certain social media posts. The NIA re-registered the case on 02 July 2022 and taken over the investigation. During the search, the officials recovered digital devices, including mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, and DVRs), pamphlets spreading hate messages, knives, and other incriminating documents and materials.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Khalistan-inspired Extremism
    NIA filed chargesheet against four KTF associates accused of conspiring the killing of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar

    On 04 July 2022, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a chargesheet at the NIA Special Court (Mohali) against four Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF) associates— i) Kamaljeet Sharma, ii) Arshdeep Singh, iii) Hardeep Singh Nijjar, and iv) Ram Singh, for conspiring the killing of a Hindu priest in Jalandhar, Punjab.
    The case— RC-27/2021/NIA/DLI pertains to an attack on a Hindu priest— Kamaldeep Sharma, native of Bhar Singh Pura village in Phillaur, Jalandhar district. According to the investigation, the conspiracy was hatched by Arshdeep Singh and Harshdeep Singh Nijjar, both based in Canada, to disturb peace and communal harmony in Punjab by killing a Hindu priest. The arrested duo, Kamaljeet Sharma and Ram Singh, had shot the victim (Kamaldeep Sharma), on behest of Arshdeep Singh.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    MEA raised concerns over the participation of Australian Sikh soldiers at pro-Khalistan event in New South Wales, Australia

    As the reports about Australian Army Sikh delegation’s participation in pro-Khalistan event in New South Wales, Australia, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), on 07 July 2022, has taken up the concern over the matter with the Australian government.

    “We came to know that there had been an instance in Australia. We have taken up the matter with the Australian government,” said MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Pro-Khalistan elements vandalized Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Canada

    On 13 July 2022, allegedly pro-Khalistan supporters vandalised the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Vishnu temple in Toronto, Canada. The statue had existed at the Vishnu temple in the area of Yonge Street and Garden Avenue for over three decades.
    “We are deeply anguished by this hate crime that seeks to terrorise the Indian community. It has led to increased concern and insecurity in the Indian community here. We have approached the Canadian government to investigate and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice swiftly,” observations made by the High Commission of India in Ottawa.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    Police arrested a pro-Khalistan supporter from Jalandhar

    On the intervening night of 14-15 June 2022, police arrested Manjeet Singh, resident of Patiala, for reportedly writing pro-Khalistan slogans on the walls in Jalandhar. According to police, similar cases had been registered against Manjeet in Karnal, and other districts in Punjab. During the probe, Manjeet revealed that an unknown person approached him through social media and offered money for writing pro-Khalistan comments on Facebook (now Meta), YouTube and other channels.
    For more information: Click here to read…

    West Asia Round up-June 2022


    One of the most important aspects during the month was engaging and hectic diplomatic activity and high level visits.

    Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman visited Jordan, Egypt and Turkey (June 20-22) essentially aiming at rapprochement and reconciliation as well as to garner participation at the July GCC +++ Summit with President Biden. Turkish President Erdogan had taken the initiative to intensify and reinforce partnership with Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Cairo pursuant to domestic economic challenges and external developments.

    Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi received his Venezuelan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan counterparts and discussed ways of enhanced cooperation. With President Maduro of Venezuela (a sore for the Americans and as sanctioned as the Iranians) Tehran signed a 20 years cooperation plan. Maduro also visited Qatar, Turkey, Kuwait and Algeria. Also in a bid to restart to JCPOA talks and in view of the pressing energy security and crisis, the EU’s foreign policy Chief Josep Borrel visited Tehran. It was agreed to hold talks in Doha though not much hope was evidenced.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian visited India and discussed among others the operations of transit routes relating to INSTC (North South Transport Corridor), Chabahar and Caspian Sea for the Russian cargo among other issues. He met Dr Jaishankar EAM and NSA Ajit Doval. He also called on PM Modi. India abstained on an IAEA Resolution that was critical of Iran.

    Iraqi PM Kadhimi visited Riyadh and Tehran in a bid to restart talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

    Algeria suspended its two decades old Friendship Treaty with Spain on account of Madrid’s pro Morocco stance over Western Sahara. Also it stopped all imports that might even impact the oil and gas exports.

    Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim in his first visit to Cairo conferred with President Sisi. Ties were tensed during the blockade for nearly four years between the two countries. He also received second time the National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun of UAE.

    PM Naftali Bennet paid a surprise visit to UAE to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. Also President Herzog paid a visit to Jordan to meet King Abdullah II in Amman. Probably the visits were aimed at framing up some elements of the proposed security architecture during the visit of Biden. Of course the bilateral and regional dimensions of the relationships are equally frayed and important. Israeli ruling coalition lost majority and the Knesset was dissolved paving way for 5th elections in a short period. Yair Lapid took over as the interim PM.

    Turkey changed its official name to “Turkiye” which was accepted by the UN. Turkey also lifted its objections after consultations with Sweden and Finland on their application to join NATO. At the same time it also provided a list of wanted Turks to be extradited. Israeli Foreign Minister also visited Turkey.

    Hamas restored ties with Syria. EU President Ursula Von der Leyen visited Ramallah and promised to provide all assistance and restore full funding to the Palestinian Authority.

    Returning from G7 Summit in Germany, PM Modi visited UAE to express his personal condolences on the demise of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed and to meet and congratulate his friend the new President Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed. This was his 4th visit to the Emirate and as a special gesture PM Modi was received by the Emirati leader and the meetings were held at the airport itself when a Joint Vision statement was also issued.

    Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu visited Qatar (June 4-5) and held meetings with the Qatari leadership and business community. Unfortunately, the visit was clouded by the controversy generated as a result of some remarks against Prophet Mohamed by a Spokesperson of the ruling party. This had witnessed protests by several countries however; Indian government’s stance and action taken by the BJP were broadly accepted by the countries in the region. OIC also issued a statement condemning the incident and statement which was rejected by India. Kuwait even apprehended and deported those protesting on the streets against India.

    India -Saudi Arabia Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation met. India and Egypt held joint air defence exercises. INS Kochi also made port of call on a goodwill mission to Red Sea port of Safaga.

    More details …..
    Indian Prime Minister’s visit to UAE

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 June visited the UAE with aims to deepen engagement with the Gulf state. This was Prime Minister’s fourth visit to the Gulf state which is a crucial energy provider for India. Prime Minister during the meeting with President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan conveyed his condolences on death of the preceding President and Emir of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Earlier in February 2022 Prime Minister Modi and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed held summit and both leaders signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The two leaders issued Joint Vision Statement titled “Advancing India and UAE Comprehensive Strategic Partnership: New Frontiers, New Milestones.” Narendra Modi during his latest visit reviewed the progress of the comprehensive partnership.

    Iranian Foreign Minister’s Visit to India

    Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on 8 June visited India at the invitation of External affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar. The Foreign Minister met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. During the meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister, both leaders discussed whole range of issues such as measures to improve political, cultural and people-to-people ties. India praised Iran’s role in facilitating India’s medical assistance to Afghanistan including supply of COVID-19 vaccines for Afghans living in Iran. They also talked about increasing regional connectivity and reviewed the progress made in Shahid Beheshti terminal, Chahbahar port. India is hopeful that Chahbahar port could provide sea access to Afghanistan. It can also be transformed into a commercial transit hub for Central Asian states. Indian Ministry of External Affairs has reported that teams from both states will meet in near future to evaluate the operational aspects. The Iranian Minister informed his counterpart about the progress in JCPOA talks and exchanged views on Russia-Ukraine conflict.

    New IRGC Chief Appointed

    Iranian government appointed Mohammad Kazemi, the former head of Intelligence Protection Organisation as the new chief of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp. (IRGC). Kazemi has replaced Hossein Taeb who according to Israeli media was behind the Iranian plot to kill or abduct Israeli tourists in Turkey. Israel in June has issued travel advisory to its citizens to avoid travelling to Turkey who could get killed or abducted as part of its retaliation policy.

    Notably, in June, two Iranians working in the aerospace industry were killed in separate incidents during their active duty. One of the victims, Ali Kamani was part of IRGC’s aerospace division in Khomein who died in a “driving accident” during an unspecified mission. Earlier in the month, Mohammad Abdous was also killed during a mission. Both victims have been labeled as martyrs indicating that their deaths were linked to foreign powers. In early June, one IRGC Quds Force colonel, Ali Esmaelzadeh was also killed in an accident.

    In related news, Iran tested Zuljanah satellite launcher for research purposes. The satellite vehicle was launched with a suborbital target which would be used to collect data from the launch.

    Iran Nuclear Talks

    Iran hosted the European Union (EU)’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on 25 June. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian during the meeting with EU foreign policy chief agreed to resume nuclear talks with the US. Iran expressed its desire to restore the 2015 nuclear accord and mentioned that it hoped the US will responsibly and fairly engage to reach final point of the agreement. Borrell also hoped to resume the talks to restore the nuclear deal that would benefit the region and the world. Meanwhile, Qatar played host to indirect talks between the US and Iran to salvage the JCPOA. The talks after number of rounds ended without any progress in June last week.

    Qatari Emir’s Visit to Cairo

    Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited Egypt on 24 June after years of cold relations including Cairo’s support for 2017 boycott of Doha due to alleged claims of backing terrorism. Qatar also opposed the 2013 military coup by Abdel Fatah Al Sisi to topple the democratically elected government under Mohammad Morsi. After the failure of the 2017 boycott and thaw in relations with Saudi Arabia, Qatar has sought to re-engage with the largest Arab state. In the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and resulting food insecurity and economic downturn in Egypt, Qatar provided US$ 5 billion as investment to improve the economy. Both sides discussed about the key regional issues; measures to improve bilateral and economic relations. The visit by the Qatari Emir was the first since the 2021 declaration to normalize ties with Doha. Notably, the Qatari Emir and the Egyptian President met on the sidelines of Glasgow Climate change summit and Beijing Winter Olympics.

    Saudi Crown Prince’s Visit to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the first leg of the regional tour visited Cairo and met with President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi. Egypt has been a close ally of Saudi Arabia and supported its war in Yemen and 2017 Qatar blockade. Both leaders shared their views about regional and global politics and talked about measures to combat terrorism.

    In Jordan, Saudi Crown Prince met with King Abdullah II. Jordan is facing the economic consequences of Russia-Ukraine conflict and the COVID-19 crisis. Jordan is seeking to jointly carry out economic projects and new investments. Saudi Arabia had committed investment worth US$ 3 billion, however it remained stalled. Therefore, the recent visit could unlock the investment projects aiding the Jordanian economy. Jordan and Saudi Arabia has closely coordinated on security issues. Jordan has refused to wholeheartedly back Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Ankara and met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aiming to fully normalize ties after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia is seeking to utilize its economic reserves and oil production capacity to ease tensions with Turkey and in fact offered financial aid that could help Turkey’s economy ahead of presidential election in 2023. Saudi Arabia is hoping that trip could lead to full normalization and restoration of ties. Both states have lifted restrictions on trade, flight connectivity and TV screenings.

    Israeli Foreign Minister’s Visit to Turkey

    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited Turkey on 23 June in an attempt to boost their bilateral relations. Israel is worried about the attacks on its citizens in Turkey by Iranian spies. Turkey has assured about the safety of all visitors and stressed on its commitment to fight against terrorism. Israel has appreciated Turkish cooperation in foiling Iranian operations. Turkey on official level has avoided taking sides between Iran and Israel but only mentioned that it will not allow any kinds of operations on its soil.

    On bilateral level, Turkey enjoyed close diplomatic and strategic ties with Israel which was disrupted in 2010 after Israeli forces attacked Turkish flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. Turkey in the recent years has been highly critical of Israeli policies in occupied Palestinian territories. Israel has also criticized Turkey for supporting Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood.

    Israel Government Collapse

    Israel’s coalition government made up of eight ideologically distinct political parties has collapsed in June 2022. The coalition government was formed in 2021 to deter Benjamin Netanyahu to return to power. The coalition government had weak majority since its formation. In recent months, few Members of Knesset withdrew their support due to political reasons leading to dissolution of the Knesset. The Jewish state will witness fifth election in three years in November 2022.

    Iraqi Parliamentarians Resign

    On 12 June, 73 members of parliament belonging to nationalist Shiite bloc under influential cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr resigned, complicating the political impasse in Iraq. During the October 2021 parliamentary election, the Sadrist Movement secured the highest number of seats at 73 in the 329 seat parliament. The Sadrist movement political agenda is based on Iraqi nationalism and opposition to external involvement including the US and Iran.

    After the October 2021 election, the political factions failed to agree on the appointment of a new Prime Minister, reserved for member of Sunni community. According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate that secures the second highest number of votes in their electoral district would replace them. The resignation of Sadrist MPs however empowered the pro-Iran Shiite factions and their allies such as the Coordination Framework with current majority at 122 seats.

    Iraqi Prime Minister’s Visit to Iran

    Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on 26 June visited Tehran and met with President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein. Both sides discussed about removing barriers on financial transactions, facilitating religious pilgrimages and railroad connectivity between Shalamcheh in Iran and Basra in Iraq. Al-Kadhimi prior to his visit to Iran met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Notably Iraq since 2021 has served as the mediating ground for Iran and Saudi Arabia. It has hosted series of meetings to resolve all outstanding issues between the two regional powers. In Saudi Arabia, both sides discussed about measures to support and strengthen regional security and stability. Raisi and al-Kadhimi during the press conference in Tehran did not specifically mention Saudi Arabia. They however talked about improving ties across the region. The Iranian President warned about normalizing ties with Israel as well as presence of foreign powers that would aggravate the problems in the region. Iran agreed with Iraq’s views on ending the Yemen conflict and both sides have supported UN negotiated truce in Yemen.

    Iraqi Court Sentences British man to 15 year in Prison

    An Iraqi court in Baghdad on 6 June sentenced a British tourist, Jim Fitton to 15 year in prison on charges of smuggling artefacts out of the state. Fitton is a retired geologist and was arrested at Baghdad airport on 20 March 2022 after security officials discovered 12 fragments of pottery and other shards in his possession. The artefacts were picked during a group tourism expedition in Eridu, a Mesopotamian site, in Dhi Qar province. The court dismissed Fitton’s claim that the items were collected as souvenirs and he was unaware of Iraqi laws and the value of the said artefacts. Besides, the British citizen, one German national, Volker Waldmann was also arrested. Waldmann while carrying the artefacts did not collect them from the site. The court found that he did not have criminal intent and announced his release. The verdict reflects the sensitivity attached to ancient artefacts which were willfully plundered and transported during colonial period by western powers.