Commonwealth Security: Weekly Round-Up


1. Hurricane season officially starts as the Caribbean region braces for storms amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.


1st June marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is calculated to be more severe than usual, with up to eighteen named storms, eight of which will likely be hurricanes. This year the Caribbean will face the simultaneous threat of the hurricane season and the Coronavirus pandemic. Avenues of funding such as the IMF have already been tapped to help with the pandemic, so in the event of a major disaster there will be little funding left to deal with the aftermath. The risk of humanitarian catastrophe is significant. Recently, CSG has spoken with CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency) and the 5 Cs (Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre) to explore the threat of natural disasters in the region and options for their solution.



2. Terrorists in Mozambique are using increasingly sophisticated tactics, including the use of drones.


Mozambique’s interior minister, Amade Miquidade, has outlined some of the tactics used by Islamic insurgents in the North of the country, in response to questions raised by the assembly of the republic. Amongst the new tactics reported, the interior minister noted that the terrorists are using unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance as well as impersonating members of the Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique. This is a troubling sign as it signals greater organisation on the part of the insurgency, which has been more active in the first half of 2020 than previously.



3. Sri Lanka’s illegal wildlife trade booms despite lockdown.


Sri Lanka is struggling with the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) during the lockdown period. In April, there was a five-fold increase in necessary anti-poaching activities over the same period last year and a park ranger was killed by poachers. In light of the increased activity by poachers, there have been calls for the military to intervene. Demand for bushmeat is largely driven by local communities and has likely led to this increase in poaching.


CSG Comment: The Commonwealth Security Group has an ongoing focus on IWT. Opinion pieces considering options for tackling IWT from the University of Oxford and British Army can be found in our forthcoming Commonwealth Security Review 2020 and on our website respectively.



4. Drones are patrolling Papua New Guinea’s border with Indonesia.


Drones lent to the PNG Defence Force by the Australian Defence force are being used to patrol the Indonesian border to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This will enable the under resourced PNG Defence Force to respond to suspicious activities along the border without having to send out soldiers. The drones will be used to record and photograph illegal border crossers to ensure that they can be apprehended.


CSG Comment: The use of drones in this context, as well as civilian will be explored in depth in the forthcoming Commonwealth Security Review 2020. Contact us to know more or contribute.



5. India and Australia have now officially signed a series of trade and defence pacts, strengthening their relationship, especially on Indo-Pacific maritime Issues.


Following from last week's update, India and Australia put ink to a mutual defence pact on Thursday 4th of June which provides reciprocal access to military bases for logistical support as well as scaling up of general defence cooperation. This is thought to strengthen both countries position in the Indo-Pacific maritime arena. Other military issues that the countries have agreed to co-operate on are cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology, violent extremism, and other military technologies. As well as co-operating on defence Australia and India will cooperate on trade. The agreements between the two Commonwealth partners were signed during a virtual summit.


CSG Comment: The deepening ties between two prominent Commonwealth countries highlights the mutual benefits and opportunities for further Commonwealth security cooperation, both in a defence and civil capacity.

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