Ruchira Kamboj Appointed As India’s Permanent Representative To UN

Senior diplomat Ruchira Kamboj, on Tuesday, has been appointed as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.

Kamboj, the current envoy to Bhutan, will succeed T S Tirumurti as the Indian ambassador to the UN. A 1987-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) office, Ruchira Kamboj, was the all-India women’s topper of the 1987 Civil Service batch and the topper of the Foreign Service batch in the same year. Kamboj’s diplomatic journey started in Paris, France, where she was posted as the Third Secretary in the Indian Embassy in France from 1989 to 1991. After that, she returned to Delhi, where she was appointed as an under-secretary in the Europe West Division of the Ministry of External Affairs from 1991 to 1996. From 1996 to 1999, she worked in Mauritius as First Secretary (Economic and Commercial) and Head of Chancery at the Indian High Commission in Port Louis. She later became India’s high commissioner to South Africa, from July 2017 to March 2019. From 2002 to 2005, Ms. Kamboj served as a counselor at India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. On 17 May 2019, she was appointed as Indian envoy to Bhutan.

The Ministry of External Affairs said in a brief statement that Ms. Kamboj is expected to take up the task soon.

Indonesia Stands for Comprehensive Partnership With India

An expert panel from India and Indonesia addressed two sessions in the Center for Global Affairs and Public Policy that hosted a round table conference on “G-20, Indo-Pacific and the Regional Economic Order: Collaborative Synergies between India and Indonesia” on June 20 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

In a session titled Exploring Synergies in the G-20, Dr. Tauhid Ahmad, INDEF’s Executive Director in Jakarta, said the government needs to develop a coherent policy to deal with Indonesia’s data protection issues. Furthermore, he said Indonesia is in favor of a comprehensive partnership with India.

Chief of International Trade Policy Division CII, Pranav Kumar said at the roundtable called for more cohesive steps toward climate and debt finance while highlighting India’s role in combating the climate crisis. During his talk, he also touched upon the issue of the global technological divide and the importance of establishing digital literacy and access to it for all.

He said, “G20 is important for India as it is the oldest engagement group. G-20 is also important because it is a multilateral forum core agenda of trade management, with India’s merchandise export up to billions, India has good agenda to move forward with WTO. The Geneva Package of agreement has also given WTO a good agenda going forward”.

China’s Foreign Minister Meets Mr. Rawat Ahead of BRICS Summit

On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Indian envoy Pradeep Kumar Rawat in Beijing ahead of the BRICS meeting. The two sides discussed boundary situations and broader bilateral relations.

Mr. Rawat met the Chinese Foreign Minister for the first time since his arrival in Beijing in March, ahead of the summit on Thursday. Speaking at a security conference in Slovakia earlier this month, Mr. Wang mentioned Foreign Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s remarks regarding “Europe has to grow out of the mindset that Europe’s problems are the world’s problems but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems”.

Mr. Wang stated that External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar publicly voiced his disapproval of European centralism and his objections to external forces meddling in China-India relations, reflecting India’s history of independence.

He further added that China and India have a lot in common and their interests far outweigh their differences and urged both sides to work together to maintain the positive momentum in China-India relations and get them back on track for stability and sound development as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rawat emphasized the importance of maintaining peace and tranquillity along the border to maximize the potential of the relationship.

ASEAN defense ministers vow to strengthen regional cooperation

The defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) agreed on Wednesday to strengthen the federation’s pervasiveness, solidarity, integrity, and a rules-based order for harmonized security and the good of the people in the region started a joint declaration.

The 16th edition of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) was held in person in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital on Wednesday (June 22), under the chairmanship of Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Tea Banh, after two years of online meetings brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministers also stated the key role of ASEAN as the most important driving force in improving defense, enhancing security cooperation, strategic dialogue, and confidence-boosting steps with the international community, with the universal aim to ensure peace, security, and prosperity in the region. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said the ADMM was productive and discussed a wide range of current security issues, including cyber and information domain threats.

The ADMM-Plus is a dialogue that includes ASEAN and Australia, China, India, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Russia, as well as the United States.

According to the declaration, the next ADMM will be held in 2023 in Indonesia.

Prime Minister Modi to attend virtual BRICS summit on invitation from Chinese President

On Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the annual summit of the five-nation grouping BRICS on June 23 and 24 following an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is China that hosts the summit as the chair of the group for the current year.

A group of five developing countries representing 41 percent of the world’s population, 24 percent of the world’s GDP, and 16 percent of global trade, the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) is the world’s largest group of developing countries.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, and Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa are expected to attend the summit.

The MEA said in a statement, “At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the 14th BRICS Summit hosted by China in virtual format on June 23 and 24. This includes a high-level dialogue on global development with guest countries on June 24”.

Other topics to be discussed include reform of the multilateral system, combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and global economic recovery. MEA said Mr. Modi will participate in the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum on Wednesday via a recorded keynote speech.

The second round of Colombian presidential election results: Gustavo Petro elected

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has been elected after defeating independent candidate Rodolfo Hernandez in the second round of elections in a very tight race, the state-run National Civil Registry reported. Petro will take office on August 7.

62-year-old Petro is a senator and former Mayor of Capital Bogota.

According to the reports 99.67 percent of polling stations, Petro, candidate of the leftist Historic Pact for Colombia coalition, received 11,266,138 votes, or 50.48 percent, while Hernandez received 10,546,163 votes or 47.26 percent.

The new president took to Twitter to express his job and wrote, “Let’s celebrate the first popular victory. This victory is for God, and for the people, and its history. Today is the day of the streets and squares”.

Despite previous reports indicating that the voting process was proceeding normally on election day, it was later reported that a soldier and an electoral witness were killed. According to Defense Minister Diego Molano, one soldier was killed in an attack by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. A death in Guapi, Cauca department, involving an electoral volunteer is also under investigation, he said.

ASEAN Foreign Ministers call on PM Modi

The Foreign Ministers of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 16 and talked about different facets of cooperation between the two sides. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers are in New Delhi as part of a two-day convention being hosted by India to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its relations with the 10-nation organization. The meeting between Modi and the ASEAN Foreign Ministers also had the presence of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

 Mr. Modi tweeted,” Had a good interaction with Foreign Ministers and Representatives of @ASEAN countries as we celebrate 30 years of close India-ASEAN cooperation,”

ASEAN is regarded as one of the most powerful associations in the region, with countries like India, the U.S., China, Japan, and Australia being its dialogue partners. It comprises Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Myanmar.

In 1992, a sectoral partnership was established at the start of the ASEAN-India dialogue relations and later moved on to full dialogue partnership in December 1995, strategic partnership in 2012, and elevated to summit level partnership in 2002.

 Mr. Jaishankar said in the meeting that India completely supports a strong, unified, and prosperous ASEAN with a key role in the Indo-Pacific, and both sides now should mark a new set of priorities.

Biden Set To Visit Middle East Asia To Improve US Ties With Saudi Arabia

US President Joe Biden is on his first trip to West Asia and will visit Saudi Arabia and meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next month in a bid to repair and build on ties with one of Washington’s closest allies. The decision marks the end of his administration’s tough stance toward the country, over which ties have frayed in recent years because of human rights concerns.

The White House also ended the speculations regarding Biden’s visit to Israel and Palestinian West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. This will be his first trip from July 13-16 since taking office. This trips major political takeaway is rebuilding ties with Saudi Arabia as the Biden administration majorly blamed Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 killing of Saudi dissident and Washington Poat columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

When Biden took office, he threatened to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” and to make it “pay a price.” He also directed the administration to issue an official report on the killing and to impose sanctions and visa restrictions on 70 Saudi nationals and entities.

In recent months, however, administration policy has been reshaped by strategic imperatives. Saudi Arabia, as chair of OPEC, is essential to maintaining a ceasefire with Yemen, and its decision on boosting oil production is crucial to stabilizing energy prices after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

First Meeting of India, Israel, U.A.E., and US Scheduled Next Month for New 12U2 Group

India, Israel, UAE, and the US formed a new 12U2 grouping that will hold its first virtual summit next month. The summit will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett to discuss the food security crisis and other areas of cooperation.

The meeting of the four countries would take place during Biden’s Middle East trip from July 13 to 16. According to the White House, it is the Biden administration’s effort to revitalise and reenergize American alliances across the world, and he is looking forward to this unique engagement with other leaders.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “India is a massive consumer market.” It is a massive producer of high-tech and highly sought-after goods as well. So, there are a number of areas where these countries can work together, whether it be technology, trade climate, COVID-19, or potentially even security as well”.

He further added that since the beginning, their part of the approach was never to solely revitalise and re-energise their system of alliance and partnership across the globe but to also switch together partnerships that had never existed or were not utilised to their full extent.

Bahrain exercises largest cabinet reshuffle, adding four women

Bahrain reshuffled its cabinet, the biggest cabinet restructuring in the country’s history, changing 17 out of 22 ministers, including the appointment of four women ministers.

Most of the new cabinets are from the younger generation and will take the oath of office on Wednesday. The reshuffle, done at the command of King Hamad, also included the appointment of Sheikh Khalid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure, Fatima Jaafer Al Sairafi as Tourism Minister, and Zayed Rashid Al Zayani as Industry and Commerce Minister. The new ministries also included a Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, and the Ministry of Infrastructure. Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, who was the Minister of Oil and Environment, was replaced by Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Dainah, the erstwhile envoy for climate affairs.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa was quoted as, “We look forward with optimism, determination, and responsibility to the coming days to achieve more gains and accomplishments in various sectors, to enhance Bahrain’s advanced position at all levels”. The reshuffle also brought the formation of four new ministries, and the detachment of some ministries to become separate entities.