1. Royal Navy ship off Crimean coast sparks diplomatic incident with Russia
Royal Navy ship HMS Defender sparked a diplomatic incident with Russia after sailing through Crimea’s disputed coastal waters. HMS Defender sailed within the boundary of Crimea’s waters twelve miles off of Cape Fiolent, on a route between Ukraine and Georgia. Russia’s defence ministry claimed that one of its ships had fired warning shots at HMS Defender and one of its planes dropped four bombs nearby. The UK Ministry of Defence denies that either of these events took place. UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace noted that the crew were made aware of Russian ships engaging in routine exercises in the vicinity of Defender and noted that it was sailing in an “internationally recognised traffic separation corridor”.
2. SADC nations agree to deploy troops to Mozambique.
The Southern African Development Community has communicated that its members have reached an agreement to deploy troops to Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique to help tackle the countries barbaric insurgency. In a communique it noted that the forces would be deployed “to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism” but did not provide much in terms of concrete detail. Analysts believe that the forces are likely to be drawn from the more developed and stable nations in the region, such as South Africa. Whilst SADC troop deployments had been provisionally previously, this is the first firm commitment by regional powers to send troops to Mozambique.
3. Narendra Modi to meet with Kashmiri dissident leaders in milestone for troubled region
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to meet with pro-Indian politicians from the disputed territory of Kashmir for the first time since tensions re-ignited in the region. The meeting is scheduled to take place in New Delhi on Thursday the 24th of June, will included fourteen leaders from the region, and will be chaired by Modi. This meeting takes place against the backdrop of improving relations between India and Pakistan and alongside the re-affirmation of the 2003 ceasefire signed between the two nations.
4. Australia and Solomon Islands hold a ground-breaking ceremony in the Shortland Islands for the Western Border and Patrol Boat Outpost.
A ground breaking ceremony has been held to mark the development of a border and patrol post in the Solomon Islands to boost the country’s border and maritime security. The project, build with the support of Australia, signifies a deepening of security and development ties between the two nations. Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare declared, “I must commend the steadfast support Australia has rendered in ensuring the safety and security of Solomon Islands. In fact, our friendship is one that is not only built on trust and friendship, but one that is cemented by our friendship and recognition of mutual understanding.” While Australian PM, Scott Morrison, also praised the development, “The project will boost Solomon Islands’ capacity to respond to natural disasters, deliver health programs in the Western Border area and provide a foundation for economic growth in the region.”
5. Nauru turns to Australia for undersea cables in perceived snub to China
Nauru is in talks with Australia to be connected to Australian telecommunications networks via undersea cables, having previously rejected a similar proposal from Chinese company Huawei Marine. Australia and her Western allies have been very vocal about the fact that they believe China is using undersea cables in the Pacific region for spying and other activities that do not align with international standards. It is believed that the new proposed line, funded by the Asian Development Bank, would interface with the Coral Sea Cable system, a 4,700km network that connects Australia to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Cybersecurity is an issue of growing importance to governments in the Pacific, motivated in no small part by the intensification of geo-political rivalry in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.