1. Indian Foreign Policy
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from October 28-29th. It will be a one-day visit. He will be calling on the King HRH Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, delivering the key note address at the Future Investment Initiative summit and then will hold delegation level talks with the crown prince, HRH Mohammad Bin Salman.
Amongst the key agreements to be signed, the establishment of the Indo-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council will be the main one. The apex level of this forum will be headed by the Crown Price and the PM. It will also include the External Affairs/ Foreign Affairs and Commerce Ministers of both the nations.
Other agreements will include energy ties, investments, renewable energy, labour welfare amongst others. A joint naval exercise has also been announced which is to take place in December 2019/ January 2020.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be visiting India for a period of 3 days from October 31st. She will be holding an Inter-Governmental Dialogue with the Indian PM. Issues of international and regional importance such as Afghanistan, investments, renewable energy and trade are the top issues that will be discussed.
2. The BREXIT mess
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister has got entangled in a new mess. After successfully negotiating a BREXIT deal with the European Union, he received a set back after the House of Commons refused to vote on the deal. The vote has now been postponed and may well go beyond the proposed date of October 31st, the day when Britain was to have finalized the deal. The opposition wants to pass certain laws that will enable the BREXIT sequentially before reviewing this current deal.
The European Council President Donald Tusk has written to the members to give an extension to Britain which will enable them to ratify the deal in the Parliament.
It has now emerged that he will be calling for fresh elections this week. This is the third time he will be doing so in his short tenure. It appears that Britain is headed towards a political mess and the markets have given a thumbs down to this.
3. Pakistan protests
A mega opposition rally by members of the opposition lead by Maulana Fazl, the chief of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam will be held on October 31st in Islamabad. This protests is expected to be an indefinite sit down protests and is expected to bring the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to a stand-still.
It was only in August 2018 that Imran Khan became the Prime Minister after a dubious election, also called the selection process by a few observers due to the overwhelming presence of the Pakistan army in the electoral process.
The Pakistan economy is refusing to take off due to very many structural issues and is currently in a state of hyper-inflation. Pakistan was saved by a whisker last week from getting black listed at the FATF plenary session. They have received a reprieve till February 2020.
4. Developments in Syria-Turkey Region-
Turkey and US have arrived at an understanding over the issue of Turkish invasion of North Syria and the crackdown on Kurd dominated areas. There is a ceasefire that has been announced. Meanwhile, the US has announced troop deployment at the various oil fields in Northern Syria to protect them against the Islamic State militants.
Turkey has also announced joint patrols with the Russian armed forces. Syria may just become a ground for further geo political stability. One needs to watch the events this week and ahead.
5. Protests in Iraq and Lebanon-
In Iraq, anti-government protests have already resulted in the death of over 100 people. This week saw further protests even as the government is finding it increasingly tough to control the protests. A weak and unstable government that is adding to the economic woes of the people is the main reason for the youth to hit the streets. A resource rich country is finding it tough to get out of the war period and rebuild its nation.
Lebanon is a more serious case. The authorities have cracked the whip on the opposition parties. It is a nation that has witnessed civil war once before and may now very well see the same situation.