Following recent battlefield losses, IS has compressed its various wilayats (provinces) in Iraq and Syria into two and moved away from the proto-state model of the Caliphate. In other words, IS has pivoted from a territorial to a spiritual Caliphate.
In Afghanistan, things appear to be as stuck as they were back in 2011 or as further back in 2001 when the search for peace began. In 2019, the negotiations to negotiate the end of the conflict have once again been halted by different parties who do not want to see eye-to-eye.
The Pulwama attack has again exposed the vulnerability of India and Pakistan to terrorist blackmail, bringing the two to the brink of war. The aftermath of the attack underscores a new phase of militancy in Kashmir and renewed hostilities between India and Pakistan.
The International North-South Transport Corridor is a transit route designed to facilitate the carriage of goods from Mumbai in India to Helsinki in Finland, using Iranian ports and railroads, which Tehran plans to connect to those of Azerbaijan and Russia and its Baltic ports.
India and Pakistan have been fighting over Kashmir since their independence and the situation is exacerbating with time. Tensions flared once again on February 14, 2019, when more than 40 Indian paramilitary police were killed in India-administered Pulwama.
An International Court of Justice ruling has put the UK’s colonial claims to the Chagos in doubt. It is the US that has the most to lose, since it relies upon a long term lease from the UK to support its continued occupation of Diego Garcia, an important base in the Indian Ocean.
China’s growing economic and naval presence in the Indian Ocean region challenges India, the major South Asian power in the Indian Ocean area, and the US, the primary power since 1945. The question is why.
On January 12-13, 2019, India and the five Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, held their first ever ministerial dialogue in the beautiful and historic Uzbek city of Samarkand.