Ranil Wickremesinghe was fired as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on October 26, 2018. Shortly before sacking Wickremesinghe, President Maithripala Sirisena appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and suspended the parliament.
In October 2018, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa won the general elections of Bhutan while the governing party was eliminated. Many analysts believed that the new government would reduce dependence on India while strengthening cooperation with China.
On October 23, 2018, Saudi Arabia kicked off the “Future Investment Initiative” conference, showcasing the country’s progress and reforms. One of the high-profile guests at the conference was Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The recent by-election results in Pakistan should serve as a wake-up call for the PTI government led by Imran Khan. While renegotiation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor with China has helped in the long run, the economy is in the doldrums and patience is clearly wearing thin.
The President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev arrived on September 30, 2018 on his first official visit to India. This visit came soon after the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Uzbekistan, as part of her visit to the Central Asian Region.
In September and October 2018, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held two meetings in Islamabad and Washington to renegotiate the terms of engagement.
In July 2018, Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that India was going ahead with the purchase of the S-400 Triumf missile shield from Russia. The US had on numerous occasions conveyed its discomfort with India’s decision to make this purchase.
Amidst political turmoil and deadlock, Maldives voted in its third democratic election on September 23, 2018. Opposition leader Ibrahim Solih secured 58.3 percent against President Abdul Yameen, a strongman politician who conceded defeat with 41.7 percent vote share.
The US decision to cancel USD 300 million in military aid on September 1, 2018, just four days before Pompeo’s visit, came in for heavy criticism from sections of the Pakistan media as well as the political class.