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Weekly Spotlight: 22 October 2023

1. Trinidadian Prime Minister Requests Canadian Security Assistance to Combat Rising Violence

During the Canada-CARICOM summit, hosted in the Canadian capital of Ottawa between 17-19 October, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to help Caribbean countries reinforce their security as the region faces with worsening gun violence. In an address given on 19 October, Prime Minister Rowley stated that Trinidad and Tobago was treating the rise in violent crime as a “public health issue”, commenting that “there are few diseases killing as many in CARICOM as arms and ammunition." Specifically, Rowley requested assistance such as patrol vessels, specialist police training, and cybersecurity provisions from Canada to help combat the rise in regional gun violence, which has been driven primarily by the illegal influx of US-manufactured weapons.

2. Nigerian Military Begins Security Operation in Bayelsa State

On 17 October, the Nigerian Military initiated a security operation, dubbed Exercise Still Waters III, to combat pipeline vandalism, cultism, illegal oil refining, kidnapping, and other crimes in the southern state of Bayelsa. During a speech given at the exercise’s inauguration in the town of Otuokpoti, the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Army’s 6th Division, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, explained that the exercise would focus on key aspects of cyber warfare to counter inflammatory content distributed on social media. Also speaking at the event, State Governor Douye Diri praised the operation as critical in reducing crime and making the state safe for all, especially in advance of the state’s upcoming gubernatorial elections in November.

3. Zambia and India Commit to Strengthening Defence Partnership During Bilateral Security Summit

A summit held between Indian Minister of Defence Giridhar Aramane and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence in Zambia, Norman Chipakupaku, has yielded a joint statement committing to greater security collaboration between the two countries, particularly in arms manufacturing. The event, attended by a fifteen-person delegation from the Zambian Ministry of Defence, was hosted in New Delhi from 15-20 October with the purpose of exploring possible methods of deepening bilateral security ties based on the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation signed in 2019. During the meeting, Secretary Aramane assured Zambia of India’s full-fledged support for its armed forces, including military training and capacity building for the Zambian military. This support will be extended through a series of military exercises, and the deployment of specialist Indian training teams.

4. Singapore Hosts 8th International Cyber Security Week

From 16-19 October, the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre hosted the 8th Singapore International Cyber Security Week (SICW), at which several key developments were announced by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA). The event, which has become one of the most prestigious in the global cybersecurity community, was attended by both government and private sector delegations from around the world. The CSA announced a wide variety of proposals at the conference, including planned collaborations with both Microsoft and Google to create cyberthreat intelligence sharing platforms, plans to tighten cloud security, and a scheme aiming to increase the proportion of female workers within the cybertechnology sector. This event demonstrates Singapore’s ongoing commitment to developing one of Southeast Asia’s most robust and advanced cybersecurity networks, and to becoming a world leader in researching the sector’s most cutting-edge technologies and techniques.

5. Fiji and Australia to Pursue Greater Bilateral Cybersecurity and Defence Cooperation

After hosting Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka for a three-day summit, Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese announced increased future cooperation between the two nations in areas including defence, development aid, and cybersecurity at the Lowy Institute on 17 October. According to Prime Minister Albanese, Australia will provide further budget support to Fiji to aid economic growth, sell fourteen Bushmaster protected vehicles to support the Fijian military's peacekeeping operations, and include the country in a trial visa processing scheme which would streamline and fast-track Fijian applications. In response, Prime Minister Rabuka praised the common values which have cemented the strong relationship between Fiji and Australia, commenting that "we are more comfortable dealing with traditional friends. We have similar systems of government; our democracies are the same brand of democracy."


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