The World This Week

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The World This Week
Military exercises in Russia’s Far East, Eastern Economic Forum summit, and India-Bangladesh relations

  GP Team

TWTW#181, 11 September 2022, Vol. 4, No. 30

Ankit Singh, Avishka Ashok, and Devjyoti Saha

Russia: Military exercise Vostok 2022 

What happened?
On 7 September, the Vostok 2022 military exercise concluded with the participation of 13 countries involving 50,000 troops. According to Russian President Putin, the objective was to conduct various operations along the inter-branches of force divisions from the coalition forces in the interest of “maintaining the security” in Russia’s far east. 

On 9 September, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister said: “The strategic command and staff exercises Vostok 2022 have increased the interoperability of Russian and allied forces.” 

An editorial in China’s Global Times mentioned that the Russian and Chinese drills were intended to deter troublemakers in the regions and safeguard regional peace. India’s official spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs clarified that India has been regularly participating in multilateral exercises in Russia, along with other countries.

What is the background?

First, a brief note about the Vostok military exercises. They are part of a series of strategic military training exercises held by Russia each year. It is hosted in various districts from east to west in Russia. The Vostok drills 2018 saw larger participation of around 300,000 troops. 

Second, the interoperability and evaluation of participating troops. Military exercises offer insights into battle preparedness and practical aspects of troop management of other nations. For countries like Armenia and Azerbaijan, India and China, the drills become a way to showcase and read the morale of the contingent from each side besides learning about technical and operational objectives of the participating troops. 

Third, Russia’s posturing. The West sees the Russian offensive losing steam and lacking in numbers in Ukraine.  For Russia, the Vostok exercise should be both political and military posturing.

What does it mean? 
First, the possibility of Sino-Russian cooperation in the far east. The opportunity of collaborating in north-east Asia with the growing US interest in the Indo-Pacific should be a strong factor for both Beijing and Moscow. 

Second, the participation of troops from Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) permanent members and the evolution of CSTO as inter-organisation cooperation. The CSTO has facilitated regional stability and is instrumental in developing net security among ex-soviet states. NATO has been expanding closer to the Russian border, and the CSTO may become more instrumental in maintaining the order.  

Third, support for Russia. It is not isolated yet. The presence of a contingent from India and China along with other nations from Latin America, former soviet republics, Southeast Asia, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe exhibited the strategic partnership of Russia. The drills were monitored by high-level delegations from Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Venezuela, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan, as well as military, attaches accredited in Russia and observers from 31 counties. Russia is enhancing its geographical and political allies to maintain its military and economic security and is not cornered yet.

Eastern Economic Forum: Russia appeals to the Asia Pacific for investments 
What happened?
On 5 September, Russia hosted the seventh Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The four-day forum themed “The path to a multipolar world” was attended by participants from more than 60 countries such as Armenia, Mongolia, Myanmar, India, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.  

On 7 September, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the plenary session and delivered a speech. On the theme of the forum, Putin said: “Of course, a certain polarization is taking place, both in the world and within the country, but I believe that this will only be beneficial because everything that is unnecessary, harmful and everything that prevents us from moving forward will be rejected." He also touched upon the war in Ukraine and said that Russia didn’t lose anything and continues not to lose anything while strengthening the country’s sovereignty. 

Putin also met with Myanmar’s Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and signed a roadmap for cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. General Hlaing addressed the forum and said: “Strengthening relations between Asian countries create an international North-South transport corridor. Strong trade and investment increase geopolitical stability in the Asia-Pacific region.” He also noted that the trade between Russia and Mongolia was growing healthily. Mongolian Prime Minister encouraged investments in Mongolia and said: “Mongolia is ready to cooperate with international investors in the framework of the implementation of projects for the arrangement of border checkpoints and other infrastructure projects, as well as in programs for the renewal of air transport and air cargo transportation.”

What is the background?
First, a brief note on the Eastern Economic Forum. It is an international forum was established in 2015 with the objective of encouraging foreign investments in Russia’s Far East. The forum is organized by the Russian government and displays the economic potential, suitable business conditions and investment opportunities in the region. The number of agreements signed between companies in the Asia-Pacific region at the Forum increased from 217 trillion Rubles to 380 agreements 3.6 trillion Rubles. 

Second, Russia’s Far East. The region encompasses one-third of Russia’s territory and is rich in natural resources such as fish, oil, natural gas, pulp, wood, diamonds, iron ore, coal, gold, silver, lead, and zinc. Moscow has strategically developed the region as it connects Russia to the Asian trading routes. With the fast modernization of cities like Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Ulan-Ude, and Chita, Moscow aims to attract more investments in the region. The sparse population living in the region is another factor in encouraging people to move and work in the Far East. The region’s richness and resources contribute to five per cent of Russia’s GDP. However, despite the abundance and availability of materials, procuring and supplying them is an issue due to the unavailability of personnel. 

Third, the China factor. The Forum is aimed at connecting the Far East with the Asia Pacific region. China is the biggest investor in the region as it sees potential in developing the ‘rust belt’ to promote the Belt and Road Initiative and the Polar Sea Route. Russia has been welcoming the investments since 2015 but welcomes it now more than ever due to the economic pressures caused by the war in Ukraine and the consequent sanctions. The Trans-Siberian Railway has further helped Russia and China in advancing the trade between the two countries. In 2018, Xi and Putin signed a six-year cooperation road map which enabled China in investing in agriculture, tourism and transport infrastructure. 

Fourth, the Japan factor. Japan and Russia share a lucrative relationship because of the trade ties. However, there is a longstanding obstacle caused by the Kuril Islands which is claimed by both countries. During the Vostok military exercise, Japan once again raised its objections to the conduct of the drills close to the islands. Japan’s close ties with the US is another factor of apprehension for Russia. 

What does it mean?
Russia is trying to attract the Asian economies in investing and developing the far east. The Ukraine war is a worrying issue as it affects the economic growth of the country. However, Russia believes that it can survive the economic slowdown and the sanctions with the help of China and other Asian powers. 

Although, the Eastern Economic Forum is an annual gathering, the forum comes at an opportune time for Russia who is dealing with the impacts of the sanctions. Moreover, the coming together of countries like Myanmar, Armenia, Russia, and China seems to form an anti-sanctions group in the international order. China is set is increase its support and investments in the region as it extends its hand to Russia in the background of the war and the sanctions. 

Bangladesh: Sheikh Hasina’s State visit to India

What happened?
On 5 September, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, arrived in India. On her arrival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with the President and Vice-President of India . 

On 6 September, she met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where a closed-door meeting followed. The subjects ranged from water-sharing agreements, road-transport connectivity, non-custom-transit route, energy and hydrocarbon partnership to defence lines of credit, ecological concerns, etc. 

Seven MOUs were signed between the two on various issues including waters, space and technology, railways and human resource development.

What is the background?
First, continuous engagement between the two states since 2014. The bilateral engagement has intensified since the NDA government came to power in 2014 under Prime Minister Modi's larger foreign policy initiative of the ‘Neighbourhood First’ Policy. Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Chiefs of Army Staff have paid multiple state visits, dealing with issues like the Land Boundary Agreement in 2014. Both have formed more than 50 bilateral mechanisms to look into the various mutual areas of interest, the most recent being the Joint Technical Committee for the Ganga Water Sharing Agreement 1996. Apart from bilateral engagements, both nations have actively participated in shared multilateral forums like the SAARC, BIMSTEC and IORA. 

Second, the emphasis on infrastructural connectivity. Since 2015, India and Bangladesh have focussed on transportation infrastructure, focusing on land and waterways. India seeks to improve and develop the railway infrastructure of Bangladesh in order to connect India’s North East. India has been helping Bangladesh in setting up dual gauge tracks and also helping with personnel training in Bangladesh. Through the BBIN, Bangladesh seeks to use the Indian territory as a transit to supply energy and logistics to and from Bhutan and Nepal. Both have recognized the importance of waterways as a cheap and efficient mode of transportation; as a result, the 1972 Protocol on Transit and Trade through Inland Waterways was renewed, which led to the establishment of inland waterway corridors. The development of the blue economy gained momentum through the Agreement on Coastal Shipping (2015) which allows India to use three coastal ports in Bangladesh.

Third, the focus on riverine issues. Bangladesh and India share 54 transboundary rivers; water-sharing talks feature almost regularly in bilateral meetings. The Teesta river water-sharing agreement continues to be a contentious issue between the two states, and both states are willing to solve it. 

What does it mean?
India-Bangladesh relations have been on a positive track and expanding. The relationship has been mutually beneficial for both countries. Initiatives like the NADI Conclave and interaction with the concerned parties at the official level can identify the common areas of interest between the two countries. Such an active involvement will address the regional concerns and interests that will further enhance India-Bangladesh relations at both national and regional levels.
For India, the role of Bangladesh is crucial for the realization of Modi's vision of an integrated, developed and prosperous Northeast. Investments in infrastructure in Bangladesh will thus help both Dhaka and New Delhi. 

Also in the news ...
Regional round-ups

East and Southeast Asia This Week
China: Ambassador to the UN warns of withdrawing support on human rights 
On 9 September, China’s Ambassador Chen Xu in Geneva warned the United Nations that Beijing might withdraw its cooperation with the human rights office after the ex-chief of the UNHRC, Michelle Bachelet published a damaging report on the violation of rights in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Xu said: "We cannot conduct cooperation as if nothing happened, when we were hurt by this exercise.” He further highlighted that China had opened to deepening bilateral cooperation and had signed multiple agreements during Bachelet’s rare visit in May. Xu said that the assessment puts all previous agreements in danger.  

China: Malaysia appreciates Beijing’s support to its economic development 
On 6 September, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah attended the opening ceremony of the 2022 China Smart Industry Trade Exhibition and Forum and appreciated China’s support and contribution to Malaysia’s economic development. He praised the economic ties between the countries and encouraged cooperation on infrastructure development and sharing of technologies. Abdullah said: "It is our hope that the entrepreneurs from China, through this trade exhibition, will use this networking platform to collaborate with Malaysian partners and vice versa."

Taiwan: French and American lawmakers visit Taipei
On 7 September, a group of French lawmakers visited Taiwan, marking the first high-level European delegation to visit Taiwan since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with President Tsai Ing-wen. The French delegation's visit was France's fourth visit in the past four months. On the same day, a six-member delegation from the US Congress also landed in Taiwan. The delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen and discussed issues such as US-Taiwan relations, regional security environment, economy and trade. 

North Korea:  New legislation to launch preventive air strike
On 08 September, the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea passed a law asserting itself as a nuclear weapons state. With the passing of the law, North Korea will be able to carry out a “preventive nuclear strike” by default in the situation of an impending threat. According to Kim Jong Un: “The utmost significance of legislating nuclear weapons policy is to draw an irretrievable line so that there can be no bargaining over our nuclear weapons.” 

Japan: Russian group hacks official websites
On 6 September, the websites of Japan’s e-Gov, Tokyo Metro Co. and Osaka Metro Co. were rendered inaccessible due to hacking by a Russian group known as Killnet. They proclaimed declaring war on the Japanese government due to their anti-Russian stance. Japan’s Digital Agency responded that they had resolved the problems and that there was no sign of personal information being leaked. The government suspects the cyberattack was a distributed denial-of-source attack.

Singapore: Deputy PM Wong visits Malaysia 
On 6 September, Wong in his four-day official visit to Malaysia said both the countries would closely work together. He said the visit was a chance to strengthen the bilateral ties between Singapore and Malaysia. He met king Abdullah Shah and reaffirmed the relationship between the countries and pledged in strengthening social relations, trade and investment for mutual benefits.

Thailand: Opposition parties move to amend the powers of the Senate to elect the Prime Minister
On 6 September, opposition parties in an attempt to amend the powers of Junta appointed the Senate to elect the next Prime Minister before the national votes earlier next year. Lawmakers are set to amend the 2019 military-backed constitution where the key notion seeks to remove the provision that gives the senate to elect the Prime Minister for the first five years.

The Philippines: South China deal with China gets cancelled
On 7 September, the discussions between the Philippines and China were hit as the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the Philippines failed to arrive at an agreement on profit sharing. In the bilateral talks, China seeks 50-50 per cent share instead of 60-40 per cent sliding to the Philippines, which was not acceptable to the later.

South Asia This Week
Sri Lanka: IMF terms the deal as a step forward
On 4 September, the IMF chief expressed satisfaction with a staff-level agreement to provide about USD 2.9 billion to help Sri Lanka. The loan programme spanning four years will support Sri Lanka's programme to restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability, while safeguarding financial stability, reducing corruption vulnerabilities and unlocking the country's growth potential. All Sri Lankan creditors, including China, have to agree to restructure their existing loans to the island nation before the IMF starts disbursing the USD 2.9 billion loan. The IMF has also called for action to raise fiscal revenue by implementing tax reforms, introducing cost recovery-based pricing for fuel and electricity, raising social spending to help the poor and the vulnerable in the ongoing economic crisis, and restoring flexible exchange rate, a capitalised banking system.

Afghanistan: New chapter of relations has begun with world, says Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs
On 8 September, The Kabul Times reported that Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mawlavi Amir Khan Muttaqi claiming that a new chapter of relations and engagement has begun between Afghanistan and the neighbouring countries, the region and the world. He said: “During the last year, in order to establish and maintain relations and interactions with neighboring countries, the region and the world, we have freed foreign exchange reserves, reactivated the country’s ports, developed cooperation.” He added, “Twenty-one political and consular missions and offices of international organizations have resumed their activities in Kabul, and continued relations have been secured with 35 political and consular missions abroad.”

Pakistan: UN Secretary-General in Pakistan for a ‘solidarity visit’ amid flood devastations
On 9 September, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in Pakistan for a two-day visit. During his visit, he met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and visited the National Flood Response and Coordination Centre (NFRCC). During the briefing, he said that Pakistan needs “massive” financial support for relief, recovery and rehabilitation amid the catastrophic floods that displaced more than 33 million people and are estimated to have caused USD 30 billion of damage. Additionally, he also visited Sindh and Balochistan two of the worst-hit provinces.

Central Asia, Middle East and Africa This Week
Azerbaijan-Turkey: Baku and Ankara discuss boosting trade and investment cooperation
On 7 September, Azerbaijan’s Economy Minister Mikayil Jabbarov met with Turkiye’s Ambassador Cahit Bagci. During the meeting, they discussed issues on expanding trade and investment cooperation as well as prospects for further strengthening of bilateral economic relations between the two countries. Additionally, they discussed strengthening partnerships in various economic sectors, including increasing investment in Azerbaijan’s infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia: Central Asian and GCC countries agree on expanding partnership
On 7 September, the inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council-Central Asia Strategic Dialogue was in Riyadh. During the meeting, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan adopted a Joint Action Plan for 2023-2027, which includes areas relating to politics, security, economy, transport, water resources, energy, education, health, culture, youth and sports. The GCC+CA Strategic Dialogue is a platform aimed at strengthening the political dialogue between the countries and developing interregional cooperation in the trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres.

Iran: Albania cuts diplomatic ties over cyberattack
On 7 September, the Albanian government broke diplomatic ties with Iran over a cyberattack on their websites that occurred on 15 July. The attack forced the Albanian government to temporarily shut down government digital services and websites. Prime Minister Edi Rama said that the investigation revealed that the attack was an act of “state aggression”, and not carried out by individuals or independent groups. 

The US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson welcomed the decision and stated that the “US strongly condemns Iran’s cyberattack…we join in Prime Minister Rama’s call for Iran to be held accountable for this unprecedented cyber incident.” Iran however, condemned the move to cut diplomatic ties and rejected the results of the investigation.

Iraq: political stalemate continues
On 7 September, Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court said that it was under its legal jurisdiction to dissolve the Parliament. The statement was a response to a petition seeking the Court to do the same. It also criticized the political parties and the current political situation in the country. The political stalemate continues from October 2021, ten months after the elections.

Africa: More than half a million lives lost to drought incidents, says WMO report
On 8 September, the World Meteorological Organization released the “State of the Climate in Africa 2021” report emphasising the water stress in Africa. The report raised concerns over droughts, disrupted rainfall, devastating floods, disappearing of glaciers and shrinking of lakes. The report estimated that by 2030, around 700 million in Africa would be displaced due to the water stress. The report observed that over the last 50 years, more than half a million lives were lost to drought-related tragedies. Increased temperature also led to a 34 per cent fall in agricultural productivity growth in Africa since 1961, the highest across all regions in the world.

Kenya: Odinga welcomes but disagrees with Supreme Court decision on elections
On 5 September, former prime minister and presidential candidate Raila Odinga accepted the Supreme Court’s decision to nullify his petition challenging William Ruto’s victory in the presidential elections. Odinga tweeted: “We respect the opinion of the court although we vehemently disagree with their decision today.” Previously on the same day, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld Ruto’s victory; Chief Justice Martha Koome said the court did not find proof that the results were tampered by hacking the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s servers, as claimed by Odinga's camp. 

Tunisia: Opposition announces boycott of December elections
On 7 September, Tunisia’s main opposition alliance, the National Salvation Front, announced a boycott of the parliamentary elections scheduled for December. The head of the Front Ahmed Nejib Chebbi said the decision was a response to the electoral law framed by President Kais Saied “alone” in the latter’s “coup against constitutional legitimacy.” If held, the elections would be the first in over a year and a half, after Saied suspended the assembly and dismissed the government in 2021.

Angola: Court rejects opposition party’s bid challenging the election results
On 6 September, Angola’s constitutional court rejected the UNITA party’s petition to annul the election results. The court ruled that the party’s complaint did not meet the requirements to nullify the election results. The UNITA leader, Adalberto Costa Junior said that his party “did not recognize the final results” by the election commission. On Facebook, he said: “The MPLA did not win the election … we have been in peace for 20 years, and we now need to embrace a true democratic rule of law.”  The MPLA, which has been in power for 50 years, secured a narrow majority with 51 per cent votes, handing President Joao Lourenco a second term.

Burundi: President replaces Prime Minister after suspected coup attempts
On 7 September, President Evariste Ndayishimiye replaced Prime Minister Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni with Security Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca. Bunyoni and the Chief of Staff General Gabriel Nizigama were sacked in a reshuffle and Ndirakobuca secured the support of all 113 lawmakers. Ndirakobuca is under EU sanctions for his suspected role in the violence against government opponents during the unrest in 2015. Al Jazeera explains that the violence was launched by Ndayishimiye’s predecessor, leaving 1200 dead, and drawing sanctions from the US and the EU.

UN report: Global HDI declined for two consecutive years 
On 8 September, the United Nations Development Programme released the Human Development Report 2021-2022. The report says the global Human Development Index (HDI) has declined for two consecutive years straight in 2020 and 2021 amid Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. It says nine out of 10 countries have a decline in their HDI score either in 2020 or 2021. However, countries like South Sudan, Chad and Niger recorded more than 40 per cent decline in both years. According to the report, Switzerland ranks the top with a value of 0.962, nearly tied with Norway and Iceland. The report noted that besides political, financial and climate related crises, a global drop in life expectancy dropped from 73 years in 2019 to 71.4 years in 2021, a major contributor to the global HDI decline.

Europe and The Americas This Week
Russia: Water contamination at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear site 
On 6 September, the head of administration at Energodar revealed that the latest round of shelling by Ukrainian forces at the nuclear power plant has caused a fuel oil leak. The strikes led by Ukrainian troops are said to have hit a fuel oil tank which leaked into a channel supplying water to the Zaporizhzhia plant following which, the specialists had to work in the area to stop the leak. Additionally, the officials also claimed that Kyiv's forces continued strikes despite the presence of IAEA Inspectors at the facility. 

Russia: IAEA Report and Moscow’s response 
On 6 September, the report from the IAEA inspection at the Zaporizhzhia power plant was released. Moscow’s UN envoy described his disappointment at the IAEA authorities' refusal to say who was shelling the plant. The IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, who personally led the team of inspectors, told in a statement to CNN that the determination of who is shelling is beyond the mandate of the IAEA and that it would require enormous capabilities to monitor the same. On 7 September, Putin made a statement at the East Economic Forum and placed on record that he trusts the IAEA report, while praising the agency for its professional leadership and for being a responsible international organisation. 

Russia: Military officially explains partial withdrawal amid Ukrainian offensive
On 10 September, the Russian Defense Military explained the reason behind the withdrawal of troops from multiple locations across Ukraine’s Kharkov region. The Russian military said in a statement, “In order to achieve the goals of the special military operation, a decision was made to regroup troops in the areas of Balakleya and Izyum in order to build up efforts in the Donetsk direction,” amid the development of an offensive in the Kharkov area by Kiev. The Russian ministry revealed that the troops from the area have been re-deployed in order to prevent damage to Russian troops amid the powerful missile, artillery and aircraft attacks. 

The UK: King Charles becomes the next monarch after the death of Queen Elizabeth 
On 8 September, UK’s Queen Elizabeth II who took the throne in 1952 passed away at the age of 96 in Balmoral Castle, Scotland. With the passing of the Queen, the next in line King Charles III has become the next monarch of the UK. As the head of the state for the UK, 14 countries including Australia and Canada, she has reigned from the period of Winston Churchill till the appointment of Prime Minister Liz Truss, marking 70 years.

NATO: Members attend the US led Ramstein conference in Germany
On 8 August, the US organized a Ukraine conference in the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, which was attended by NATO members and other western representatives. The discussion focused on maintaining the supply of military, financial aid to Ukraine, where NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg warned over the challenges in keeping the supply during the winter time. While Germany assured to provide equipment to Ukraine, Netherlands agreed to train the Ukraine forces in detecting and clearing of hidden mines. During the conference, US Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin announced an additional package of military assistance worth USD 675 million.

The UK: Liz Truss replaces Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister 
On 6 September, Liz Truss took over the office of the UK’s Prime Minister from Boris Johnson. Truss becomes the 56th Prime Minister of the UK and the third female leader to take-up the position. Challenges ahead for Truss are energy prices, and prioritising the national health care system which has pushed the cost-of-living crisis. Another bigger task is bringing back UK’s economy from inflation and setting up the unemployment rate.

Europe: Three Baltic states and Poland to restrict Russian travellers
On 8 September, EU member states, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia agreed to ban the entry of Russian citizens from Russia or Belarus to enter their countries. Exceptions will only be made for humanitarian and family reasons, lorry drivers, and diplomats. The announcement comes after several weeks of deliberations by EU countries regarding the increased Schengen Visa application from Russian tourists. On the increasing border crossing by Russians, Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said, “This is becoming a public security issue, this is also an issue of a moral and political nature.” Among the three countries, Estonia already had a softer ban in place, whereby it was barring the entry of only Russians with Schengen visas issued by Estonian authorities. However, now, all Schengen Visa holders will be restricted. The measure will enter into force on 19 September is aimed to prevent Russians from using these countries as transit points to travel further into Europe.

Ukraine: The US approves new package worth USD 2.8 billion 
On 8 September, the US State Department announced USD 2.8 billion for long-term assistance for Ukraine as investments. This is expected to increase the security of Ukraine and 18 more neighbouring countries against the risk of future Russian aggression. The package was announced by Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken during his surprise trip to Ukraine. Of this, USD 1 billion will be for Ukraine, and the rest will be divided among Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia, pending expected congressional approval. As a part of the new package, USD 675 million is allocated for military assistance to Ukraine, which will include more MLRS, ammunition, military vehicles, and anti-tank systems.

Chile: New president rejigs cabinet in the wake of rejection of new constitution
On 6 September, President Gabriel Boric met with the heads of the two chambers of congress to reform the current charter which dates back to the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The decision came after voters rejected newly proposed constitution on 4 September, Pinochet’s constitution remains in place with more than 61 per cent of voters rejecting the new constitution and only 38 per cent of voters approving it. The proposed constitution was one of the most progressive constitutions among the democratic nations across the world.

About the Authors
Ankit Singh, Harini Madhusudan and Rashmi Ramesh are PhD Scholars in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Avishka Ashok, Abigail Miriam Fernandes, Apoorva Sudhakar, Padmashree Anandhan, Rishma Banerjee, Sai Pranav, Joel Jacob and Anu Maria are Research Associates at NIAS. Devjyoti Saha is a Post Graduate scholar from Pondicherry University, Puducherry.

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