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Weekly Spotlight: 30th July 2023

1. Exercise Tradewinds Conducted in Guyana

On 27th July, the closing ceremony of the multinational Tradewinds 2023 exercise took place in Georgetown, Guyana. The two-week exercise involved over twenty countries from across the Caribbean and North America, including several commonwealth member states such as Belize, Canada, Jamaica, and the United Kingdom. Specifically, the exercise provided specialist training for a wide range of defence issues including jungle warfare, humanitarian relief, and cyber-attacks. Major Jamie Castillo of the Guyana Defence Force emphasised the importance of international cooperation at the closing ceremony, articulating that such collective efforts created a “better sum of our parts.”

2. Niger Coup Sparks Security Concerns for ECOWAS States

A coup launched by General Abdourahamane Tchiani in Niger has caused widespread concern within West Africa. The Nigerien general seized power from democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum on 28th July, and has already been met with strong condemnation and economic sanctions from ECOWAS member states. Military and government officials from the bloc met in the Nigerian capital of Abuja to discuss collective responses to the coup, with ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musah, telling reporters that “military action is the very last option on the table”, but that the bloc nevertheless must “prepare for this eventuality.”

3. Pakistan Suicide Bombing Leaves Forty-Five Dead and One Hundred Wounded

A suicide bombing at a political rally in Bajaur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, has killed forty-five and wounded over one hundred civilians in Northwest Pakistan. The 30th July attack targeted a rally organised by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), a party included within Pakistan’s current government coalition. Initial investigations from local authorities have suggested the Islamic State (IS) group, which operates in neighbouring Afghanistan and is an enemy of the Afghan Taliban, could be behind the attack, but that officers were still investigating. No group has yet claimed official responsibility.

4. Digital Personal Data Protection Bill to be Introduced in Lok Sabha

A new digital personal data protection bill, recently cleared by the union cabinet on 5th July, is set to be introduced to the Lok Sabha on 3rd August. The bill aims to establish a comprehensive legal framework for governing digital data protection within India, and is the government’s second attempt to introduce such an act. Whilst the bill has been met with criticism from opposition parties, who cite concerns regarding its potential for infringements on personal privacy, the government insists the bill balances “both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process such personal data for lawful purposes”.


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