While France has undertaken to work with both sides and to respect the outcome of the vote, if this year’s referendum results in a “yes” to New Caledonian independence, the loss of territory and influence will not be welcomed. For partners such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States, a potentially reduced French presence in the south-west Pacific at a time of growing Chinese influence in the region is likely to be viewed with some concern.
Unlike when it first struck a year ago, the recent Covid-19 wave has affected several ASEAN countries severely. While the absolute numbers of fatalities are not high in countries other than Thailand and Malaysia due to strict restrictions having been imposed, the slow rate of inoculation remains a concern.
There has never before been an Israeli government representing the entire political spectrum from the extreme left to the extreme right. It offers a rare chance to chart a new course to gradually end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will be tragic to miss this historic opportunity.
In a post-Covid-19 world, there is a need to deepen South Asian co-operation. In such a changing landscape, it is important for India to modify its approach towards the region.
Recent steps taken by the United States to reduce tensions with Russia are important, not just in the bilateral context but also the overall world order, because a more nuanced approach will help to prevent Moscow from veering further towards Beijing.
The increasingly restricted and intimidated freedom of journalists and commentators in Pakistan places at risk the country’s democratic future and demands the world’s attention.
While India’s plan to construct six nuclear-powered attack submarines is the result of decades-long perseverance in the face of ridicule and a lack of funding, Australia remains ideologically constrained.
If successfully actioned, the focus on such areas as economic development, improved maritime security and ecological protection has the potential to benefit not only the island countries of the south-western Indian Ocean, but also the wider region. Both the Commission and Australia would benefit from any move by Canberra to seek official observer status with the grouping.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia reiterates the importance – both economic and strategic – of the bilateral relationship in spite of the setbacks encountered in recent years.
The civil war that has consumed the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia has highlighted the inability of the African Union to respond effectively to the possible atrocities committed by one of its most powerful members.