What We’re Watching

What our analysts are watching and key events they are keeping an eye on
17th January 20224 min

Pakistan unveils first National Security Policy (NSP). Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled a public version of the country’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP), saying the country was in dire need of a multi-pronged strategy for the future to ensure the protection of its citizens and guard economic interests. The NSP document is meant for a five-year period (2022-26) but it will be reviewed at the end of every year. The full 110-page NSP document will remain classified. However, a shorter, nearly 50-page version was  published. Pakistan’s much awaited NSP seems to be emphasised on gaining economic security, quoting dependency on IMF. It also wants peace with India. But the document fails to address the country’s key economic problems with clear solutions. We will be watching the response to the document from other stakeholders. 

Slow progress in Russia-US talks over Ukraine. Formal face-to-face talks between Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov & Wendy Sherman, the US Deputy Secretary of State were held at the US diplomatic mission in Geneva over the fate of Ukraine amid high tensions driven by fears that the Kremlin will order an invasion. Russia has denied it is planning to invade Ukraine, but warned of an unspecified “military-technical response” if the US does not meet President Vladimir Putin’s demands to roll back Nato’s eastward expansion and pledge never to admit former Soviet countries, including Ukraine. “The talks promise to be long and substantial,” the Russian diplomatic mission in Geneva tweeted with Sherman responding “the US will listen to Russia’s concerns and share our own”. The  likelihood of Russia’s gaming concessions is likely to become clearer by the end of the week after Moscow receives a formal, written US response to its proposals.

Expert warns of impending ‘genocide’ of Muslims in India. The founder of Genocide Watch, Dr Gregory Stanton, who had predicted a genocide in Rwanda years before it took place in 1994 has warned of an impending genocide of Muslims in India, comparing the situation of the country under the Narendra Modi government to events in Myanmar and Rwanda. “We are warning that genocide could very well happen in India,” Stanton said, speaking on behalf of the non-governmental organisation he launched in 1999 to predict, prevent, stop and seek accountability for the crime. Videos of Hindu religious leaders calling for mass killings and for the use of weapons against Muslims that went viral on social media last month prompting the Supreme Court to order an investigation into hate speech in Uttarakhand state. Muslims comprise nearly 14% of India’s 1.4 billion people, while Hindus still form nearly 80% of the population. Modi’s BJP and its ideological parent, the far-right Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), have warned Hindus about religious conversions to Islam and Christianity, and called for action to prevent a “demographic imbalance” in the world’s second most populous nation.

Chinese spy caught in Britain.  Britain’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is coming under political pressure to explain why it did not alert lawmakers sooner about the activities of a suspected Chinese spy, who the security service now say was ‘knowingly engaged in political interference in the UK.’ The British security agencies have been warning in recent months about China’s increasing espionage activities in the country, but the alleged spy Christine Lee, a 59-year-old mother of two and legal adviser to the Chinese embassy, was allowed to work unhindered and even received an award in 2019 from Downing Street.

The MI5 alert said Lee is an agent for the United Front Work Department, a department that reports directly to the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The alert says she has been using the financial donations to gain access to British politicians and to exert political influence. One of the biggest beneficiaries was senior Labour MP Barry Gardiner. Britain’s interior minister Priti Patel told reporters that Lee’s behaviour was currently below the criminal threshold to prosecute her, but she said that by putting the alert out the government was able to warn lawmakers about Lee’s attempts to improperly influence them.

Calls grow for the British Prime Minister to quit. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under increasing attack after it emerged his private secretary had invited over 100 people to a “bring your own booze” party in the garden of Downing Street during the country’s first coronavirus lockdown. Revelations about a series of parties in Downing Street, the prime minister’s residence during a 2020 Christmas lockdown, have garnered popular derision and drawn criticism from opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, who said Johnson lacked the moral authority to lead the country. The United Kingdom’s death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic stands at 150154, the world’s seventh worst official toll. A senior government senior Civil Servant, Sue Gray, is currently investigating the allegations of at least five parties held in government departments last year during lockdown restrictions. Over recent months, Johnson, 57, has faced criticism over his handling of a sleaze scandal, the awarding of lucrative Covid contracts, the refurbishment of his Downing Street flat and a report he intervened to ensure pets were evacuated from Kabul during the Western withdrawal in August. We will be watching for any moves from Conservative MPs who will likely position themselves to become Prime Minister.

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