Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi elected as new chair of African Union

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s President, has been elected chairman of the African Union by the continental body at a summit in Ethiopia. He has been appointed the chair of the 55-member pan-African body after former Rwandan President Paul Kagame stepped down.

The Egyptian leader said he would target his fight against the armed groups on the continent and focus his efforts on rebuilding the countries recovering from conflict during his one year term as a chairman of African Union. According to Sisi, the African Union will use mediation and ‘preventive diplomacy’ as mechanisms for promoting peace and security in the continent. He added that his main focus would be on creating an Africa-wide free trade zone.

However, Amnesty International, the leading human rights group, expressed its concern regarding Sisi’s chairmanship as it would weaken human rights mechanisms in the African Union.

According to Amnesty’s Campaign Director for North African region, it was during the tenure of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he exhibited shocking contempt for human rights and the country underwent a catastrophic decline in rights and freedom. The human rights group stated that since 2015 Egypt has been organizing ceaseless political attacks against the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the body that monitors African States Human Rights records.

Chad President Idriss Deby Visits the UAE

The President of Chad, Idriss Deby paid a working visit to the UAE. He was officialy received at the Presidential Airport by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Lt. General Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

During his visit, Chadian President met the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.The two leaders discussed to boost bilateral relations, particularly in the fields of economy, trade, investments, development, and energy. They also scrutinized the aspects and opportunities which could potentially forge economic partnerships, joint development programs and vital projects between both the countries. A discussion on regional and international developments and issues of shared interests of Chad and the UAE also took place.

H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan underlined that the UAE under the guidance of its President H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is keenly interested in bolstering stronger relations with Chad and is eager to intensify dialogue to advance their ties. He wished the Chadian President further success, progress, development and stability for Chad. Mr. Idriss Deby also expressed his delight at visiting the UAE and showed his interest towards the expansion and advancement of successful bilateral ties between Chad and the UAE.

Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Ali bin Hammad Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for National Security; Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary at the Court of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince; Lt. General Lt. General Juma Ahmed Al Bowardi Al Falasi, Adviser to Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Force, and members of the delegation accompanying the Chadian president were also present during the meeting.

Mr. Idriss Deby also went to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. He keenly heard about the mosque’s history and distinct architecture and also praised its library. Yousef Al Obaidli, director general of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre presented him with copies of two of the centre’s publications. The Chadian President later visited the tomb of the late Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed and paid homage to him.

Afghanistan Wins Approval to Join WTO

Afghanistan has won formal approval to join the World Trade Organisation in a move the U.S.-backed government hopes will help lift its war-shattered economy and create jobs in one
of the world’s poorest countries. Afghanistan has till June 30 to ratify the agreement, the final step before becoming a full member of the organisation that underpins the global system of international trade.

According to a speech given by Afghanistan’s Deputy Chief Executive Mohammad Khan Rahmani in Nairobi, he stated that the trade-led growth will create new economic opportunities
and jobs, especially for women; it will reduce poverty, and increase prosperity.

It will certainly contribute in a major way to dramatically reduce extremism and achieve regional peace and security.

Modi’s US Visit

Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, has once again set the world stage ablaze with his confidence and stamina – he is at ease with several cultural worlds, international diplomacy, and of course business and investment proposals, managing all with a punishing schedule of meetings and speeches. He met with 47 CEOs in New York and the best of technology entrepreneurs in California. His visit reinforced the economic relationship of the two largest democracies of the world, unlocked new avenues of partnerships and sent strong signals to the world community about India being the next world engine of growth. The technology entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley shared their promise of assisting India transform into a smart and digital country. With the investment support Modi has garnered in the US, if India pushes through the much-needed economic reforms, within ten years it should emerge as the third-largest economy after the US and China.

US-India-Japan trilateral maritime security maintenance

India, US and Japan have recently come down to a consensus to work together on the maintenance of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. The trio reached a compliance at the inaugration ceremony of the US-India-Japan Ministerial dialogue held on 29th September, 2015. It was hosted by US Secretary John Kerry with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japenese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. The importance of international law and peaceful settlement of disputes, freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded lawful commerce was also accentuated. US and Japan also greeted Japan’s participation in the 2015 MALABAR exercise in the same meet.

BRICS nations’ foreign ministers ratify UN Security Council

The foreign ministers of the BRICS nations endorsed UN Security Council reforms with a view to make it more representative and efficient, whereas putting both China and Russia aside. The meeting was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Wang Yi of China and Mauro Vieira and the deputy foreign minister of South Africa on 29th of September. The joint statement released after the meeting clearly indicated that reforms of the International Monetary Fund are to be addressed soon. In order to enable full functioning of the New Development Bank and its African Regional Centre, leaders promoted timely implementation of the Strategy for Brics Economic Partnership.

Landmark Decisions in Bangladesh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sealed several deals during his last visit to Bangladesh. In a two-day visit, India & Bangladesh signed 22 pacts to deepen cooperation besides endorsing the historic Land Boundary Agreement or LBA. The Indian Parliament ratified the agreement after 41 years. This was Modi’s one of the biggest achievement, as the agreement was signed in 1974 and Bangladesh had endorsed it the same year, but India ratified in 2015. However, once it happened, the visit to Bangladesh was immediately planned by Modi. Some of the most important pacts included an agreement on coastal shipping, a MoU on setting up of Indian Economic Zones and allowing Life Insurance Corporation to operate in the country. With a view to boosting connectivity and enhance people-to-people contact, two bus services Kolkata- Dhaka-Agartala and Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati were flagged jointly by PM Modi and Bangladesh PM Hasina. The tour ended with an important event where Atal Bihari Vajpayee was to be given the Award of Bangladesh Liberation War Honour, which was received by Narendra Modi, on his behalf.

Aung San Suu Kyi Visits Beijing

Myanmar’s Leader of Opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, visited Beijing on a five-day tour with an aim to building ties with her country’s powerful neighbour, and also met the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. The meeting is being seen as a Chinese ploy to improve its declining influence in Myanmar in the aftermath of some democratic reforms through which the Southeast Asian country moved away from Chinese influence and toward Western Asian nations such as Japan and other potential investors who are ready to bring money into its economy. However, as a matter of fact, China is still the largest foreign investor in Myanmar, the erstwhile Burma.

The democratic reforms have made citizens of Myanmar freer to protest, and consequently some Chinese projects including a dam have been stalled by people over environmental concerns. China, on the other hand, doesn’t want to weaken its hold on its poor southern neighbour as it is strategically important as a gateway to the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, which China uses to secure oil and gas pipelines in Myanmar.

The root of the problem between the two countries is a skirmish between Myanmar’s military and rebels along the border, which resulted in the killing of five Chinese farmers and an influx of refugees into China. To ease the ensuing tension, China has extended its hand to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to create an image of love and peace and in contrast of China’s authoritarian hold in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, a democracy icon, was held for years under house arrest by Myanmar’s junta, the military group of Myanmar that rules the country. Suu Kyi believes that Myanmar should maintain friendly relations with China, and her recent visit to Beijing is in line with her newly created pragmatic politician and diplomatic image that she wants to project to contest Myanmar’s Presidential post.

The meeting is being projected as a party-to-party meet between China’s Communist Party and Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, before the elections in Myanmar later in 2015. Suu Kyi also needs diplomatic credentials and support from her neighbours and other governments and leaders in general, as she is constitutionally barred from the Presidential election through a provision that citizens of Myanmar married to foreigners are not allowed to contest the highest post in the country. Suu Kyi has been campaigning for an amendment in the Constitution to allow her candidacy for the post.

Suu Kyi is visiting Beijing, Myanmar’s largest and most influential neighbour, for the first time on invitation from the ruling Communist Party and is going to visit Shanghai and Yunnan province at the China–Myanmar conflict-ridden northern border. Because she is expected to visit the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang and China’s foreign-policy-focused State Councillor Yang Jiechi, it is being assumed that the meetings are politically important as such important people of China usually meet major national leaders, not opposition party heads. Her exclusion from elections is also seen as politically motivated, as her party, NLD, is expected to win comfortably in the November elections. The elections are one of many quasi-democratic transitions in Myanmar under international pressure; otherwise its military leaders still hold the real power, some after shedding their army uniforms.

General Aziz Ahmed designated New Army Chief of Bangladesh

Lieutenant General Aziz Ahmed has been recently appointed as the new Bangladesh Army Chief for tenure of three years. His term will officially start on 26th June 2018. Lieutenant General Ahmed is currently serving as the Quartermaster General of the Bangladesh Army.

The son of Wadud Ahmed, a former Bangladesh Air Force official raised in Chandpur, Ahmed passed his SSC exams from Mohammadpur Government High School and went to Notre Dame College to receive a Diploma in Textile Technology in 1980. He is a graduate of Defense Services Command and Staff College, Mirpur. Ahmed possesses extreme diligence and poise and has had an exceptional career that rightfully led him to his current designation.

In his career as a military man, he’s served in Chittagong Hill Tracts GSO-3 (Operations) and as a Brigade major for the infantry brigade, a Grade-2 official of the Army Training Directorate and a Grade-1 staff officer of the Army Directorate of Pay and Allowance. Ahmed has also had diverse experiences as a commander in the army and has commanded one Artillery Regiment, one BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) Battalion, two Artillery Brigades including an Independent Air Defense Artillery Brigade.

Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Indonesia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Indonesia as a part of his Three-Nation tour to East Asia.
His visit is a realization of his “Act East” Policy to create stronger bonds with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. Its main objective was bilateral cooperation between the 2 nations in maritime, trade and investment. The two leaders signed 15 agreements on areas including cooperation in

defense, exploration, use of outer space, science and technology, capacity building of public officials, dialogue and interaction between governments, think tanks as well as in health and railways.

Aviation strategies were also discussed to improve and strengthen the air route. Direct flights by Garuda Indonesia between Bali and Mumbai are being welcomed as well as flights by Batik Air and Air Asia Indonesia serving Indian and Indonesian cities.