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.
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.
During the recent floods in Kerala, a number of countries offered assistance, but two GCC countries, the UAE and Qatar, were the fastest to react. The UAE offered aid to the tune of INR 7 billion while Qatar pledged USD 5 million.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s tweets indicate the possible opportunities in the bilateral India-Pakistan relationship. The relationship has many dimensions, the first of which is the situation in Afghanistan and the likely role of the US.