Sponsored by Exensor
28 Jul 23. Australian, U.S. Defense Leaders Aim to Bolster Peace in Indo-Pacific. The United States and Australia share beliefs and values and will act together to uphold them, the nations’ defense leaders said in Brisbane, Australia, today.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III sat down with Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who also serves as his country’s defense minister, at the Gallipoli Barracks to discuss progress made in defending the international rules-based order that underpins peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
The men met ahead of the Australia-United States ministerial meeting where they will join Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Australian Foreign Minister Wendy Wong.
“Together, we’re taking important steps to deepen our unbreakable alliance,” Austin had said before the bilateral meeting with Marles. “Our two, proud democracies share core values and a long history of working together to defend the rules-based international order. Today, our cooperation is key to our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific in a world of rules and rights.”
The U.S.-Australian defense relationship stretches back to World War I when the two nations fought side-by-side. This expanded during World War II when tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel deployed to Australia and fought alongside Australian forces in some of the toughest battles of the Pacific War. In 1951, the United States and Australia became treaty allies.
Australian troops participated in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and Australia was among the first nations to offer assistance when the United States was attacked by terrorists in 2001. Australian combat troops became familiar sights in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The alliance is so close that Australian troops serve in integral and important jobs in the Pentagon and the U.S. combatant commands.
The U.S. National Security Strategy identifies the Indo-Pacific as the priority theater for the United States. “We seek a region where all countries are secure and prosperous, where states follow international law and international norms, and where disputes are resolved peacefully without coercion,” Austin said.
Both nations are concerned about attempts by China’s efforts to subvert and change the rules-based architecture. “We’ve seen troubling coercion from the East China Sea to the South China Sea to right here in the Southwest Pacific,” the secretary said. “And we’ll continue to support our allies and partners as they defend themselves from bullying behavior.”
But the two nations have global concerns, and Australia has been working alongside the United States to help Ukraine “fight for its freedom throughout Russia’s reckless war of choice,” Austin said. “And we’ll continue to work together for a world where autocrats can’t invade their peaceful neighbors with impunity.”
Marles emphasized that the Australia-U.S. alliance shares not only values, but the urge to action. He noted that the last Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations were in Washington in December.
“At that meeting, we agreed on a number of force posture initiatives, a number of increased engagements of the United States and Australia,” Marles said. “Since then, there have been the additions to what we see with the Marine rotation in Darwin, and the fantastic presence of the United States in Exercise Talisman Sabre. … That speaks to the fact that our relationship is going from strength to strength, but it also speaks to the fact that what we agree that we will do, we end up doing.”
The meeting also follows the release of the Australian Defense Strategic Review. They will discuss the review and look at force-posture initiatives and efforts to further multilateral cooperation, including with Japan; the Australia-United Kingdom-United States agreement; the Quad relationship with Australia, India, Japan and the U.S.; and more. They will also discuss U.S. support for Australia’s guided weapons and explosive ordnance enterprise.
“As we meet today, we do so in a world which is complex, which in many respects is volatile, and which in many respects is threatening,” Marles said. “We see the global, rules-based order under threat in Eastern Europe, and we see it under pressure in the Indo-Pacific. The way forward in respect of all that is not obvious. But one thing is really clear — now is the time to be working closely with friends.
“Australia has no better friend than the United States of America,” he continued. “The alliance between our two countries is at the heart of Australia’s national security and our worldview, and we look really forward to progressing that relationship.” (Source: U.S. DoD)
27 Jul 23. India: Vote of no confidence over Manipur violence will unlikely induce political instability. On 26 July, the alliance of opposition parties put forth a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to push him to address the ongoing ethnic clashes in the north-eastern state of Manipur (see Sibylline Daily Analytical Update – 21 July 2023). The clashes between Metei and Kuki tribes, which began in early May, have killed 142 and displaced 60,000 people so far. While the vote is unusual and elevates concerns for the political security of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it almost certainly will not pass. It is also unlikely to notably undermine the stability of Modi’s government, as the BJP enjoys a clear majority of 301 in a 542-seat parliament. As the vote comes ahead of general elections scheduled for May 2024, during which Modi will seek re-election, Modi will likely maintain the perception of stability and the country’s pro-investment outlook. (Source: Sibylline)
27 Jul 23. Niger: Coup significantly escalates operational risks, further escalation cannot be ruled out. On 26 July, air force commander Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum, a nationwide curfew between 2200-0500hrs (local time), the closure of land and air borders and the suspension of all state institutions. On the same day, hundreds of President Bazoum’s supporters marched to the Presidential Palace before the Presidential Guard dispersed the crowd with live ammunition. This increased security posture will almost certainly be sustained throughout the capital Niamey over the coming days, substantially restricting movement and operations therein. Following considerable delay the army command has now declared support for the coup, stating it wishes to avoid destabilisation. However, demonstrations by Bazoum’s supporters remain a realistic possibility, driving the likelihood of clashes around government buildings in Niamey, elevating risks to nearby assets and staff, including embassy personnel, and the threat of further escalation. (Source: Sibylline)
27 Jul 23. Papua New Guinea: Planned US coastguard deployment will sustain elevated regional tensions. On 27 July, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the deployment of a US coastguard ship to Papua New Guinea in August during a visit to the South Pacific country. The confirmation follows a bilateral security pact signed in May, which allows the US military to station troops and vessels at six airports and ports (see Sibylline Daily Analytical Update – 22 May 2023). The move is consistent with broader US competition for regional influence in response to China’s growing political, economic and military clout. Although Austin stressed that the US would not seek a permanent base in Papua New Guinea, the impending coastguard deployment will likely fuel regional tensions. China strongly criticised the transit of a US coastguard cutter through the Taiwan Strait last month. The increase in military assets in the region will drive the risk of tension escalation, such as stand-offs, which will represent a possible threat to commercial shipping and fishing. (Source: Sibylline)
27 Jul 23. Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia: Moscow’s indirect call to accept Baku’s rule in Nagorno-Karabakh will increase risk of anti-Russian protests in Armenia. On 25 July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indirectly urged ethnic Armenians from the Nagorno-Karabakh region to accept Azerbaijani rule for the first time, marking a notable shift in Moscow’s South Caucasus policy. Lavrov’s call followed the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement on 15 July that Armenia’s recognition of Baku’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh has fundamentally changed the terms of the Russian-brokered 2020 ceasefire. Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have demanded that Armenia’s Foreign Ministry formally oppose Lavrov’s declarations. On 25 July, thousands gathered in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, and in Yerevan to protest Baku’s ongoing blockade of the Lachin Corridor. Moscow’s policy shift will likely trigger renewed anti-Russian protests in Armenia in the upcoming days, with anti-government sentiment likely to grow if Yerevan does not officially oppose Lavrov’s statements. (Source: Sibylline)
27 Jul 23. Iraq: Delay of Kurdistan parliamentary election will sustain policy, government stability risks. On 27 July, representatives of the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) will meet to discuss the rescheduling of the parliamentary elections from 18 November 2023 to February 2024. The talks follow the announcement by the Iraqi electoral committee that it will not be able to hold the elections this November due to the Iraqi provincial council elections being held on 18 December. The Kurdish government is currently acting as a caretaker government with limited powers since the abolishment of the parliament in early July. The delay of parliamentary elections will elevate already heightened government stability and policy risks due to the limited powers of the caretaker government and likely increase socio-economic health risks. There is a realistic possibility that the delay will elevate tensions between the PUK and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), raising the risks of a fragmented government and further election delays. (Source: Sibylline)
27 Jul 23. Azerbaijan partners with Turkey’s “TUSAS” for Su-25 aircraft modernisation. Azerbaijan Defence Ministry and “TUSAS” sign a contract to upgrade Su-25 aircraft with Turkish-made smart bombs and avionics modernisation. The document includes detailed information on the manufacturers and suppliers and their products, along with contact details, to inform your purchasing decision. The project’s primary objective is to integrate advanced Turkish-made smart bombs and missiles into the Su-25 aircraft, along with avionics modernisation activities for the Azerbaijan Air Force. This collaboration between the two nations’ defence industries reflects their commitment to leveraging internal resources for mutual development and strengthening military capabilities.
The Azerbaijan Defense Ministry and Turkey’s “TUSAS” company joined hands in a momentous contract signing ceremony on July 26 at the 16th International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF’23).
The signing ceremony was graced by the presence of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Azerbaijan – Director General Agil Gurbanov, Chairman of the Turkish Defense Industry Committee, Haluk Gorgun, and other officials.
The modernisation project has received the attention of the highest authorities in both countries. It is under consideration of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Ilham Aliyev, and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The project outlines an approach that capitalises on internal and national resources of the fraternal country’s defence industry.
The strategic collaboration between Azerbaijan and Turkey marks a step in their efforts to strengthen defence capabilities and cooperation in the region. By integrating advanced Turkish technologies into Azerbaijan’s Su-25 aircraft, the nations aim to bolster their air force and ensure readiness for future security challenges.
Turkey’s Baykar and Azerbaijan inked a goodwill protocol on the joint manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) this year.
The signing of this contract underscores the growing bilateral ties between Azerbaijan and Turkey. The project reflects their shared vision of leveraging indigenous national security and development capabilities.
27 Jul 23. Austin, Papua New Guinea Leaders Discuss Plans for Defense Cooperation. The Indo-Pacific is the priority theater for the United States, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s visit to Papua New Guinea is all about keeping the region free and open.
Austin and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape spoke following meetings in the country’s capital city, Port Moresby. Both spoke about what the newly signed Defense Cooperation Agreement will mean to the Pacific.
“We’re expanding U.S. participation in several exercises with the PNG Defense Force,” Austin said. “We’ve also completed an important shiprider agreement that will mean greater cooperation on maritime law enforcement.”
The agreement will allow Papua New Guinea personnel aboard U.S. Coast Guard ships as they patrol in the region, which will help the nation to tackle illegal fishing and trafficking in the huge, exclusive economic zone. “And we’re not wasting any time,” Austin said. “A U.S. Coast Guard cutter will be here in August to kick this program off.”
The two men said the new Defense Cooperation Agreement will deepen ties between the United States and Papua New Guinea and strengthen cooperation and interoperability between U.S. and Papua New Guinea forces with an eye to better support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, if needed.
The nation’s parliament is debating the agreement and ratification is expected soon, said officials.
Once ratified, the U.S. effort to help modernize the country’s defense force will accelerate. This includes new equipment, more training and upgrades to defense facilities, Austin said.
The agreement is important, the secretary said. It will better enable the countries to work together to help the Papua New Guinea Defense Force become the security guarantor for the country that leaders want it to be.
Austin stressed that the United States is not seeking permanent basing in the country. He said he sees the agreement as a “fundamental, foundational framework, to deepen the defense relationship.”
The relationship between the United States and Papua New Guinea is decades old. Marape noted that Austin’s father served in the U.S. Army in New Guinea during World War II. “Our defense capacity must be built,” the prime minister said. “There is no better partner biggest democracy and the biggest military for this partnership. It is a partnership of choice that we made in respect to defense cooperation.”
Marape noted the security relationship would mean “cascading benefits that links to the economy.”
The agreement will last 15 years. Marape said how it moves forward will be through negotiations among friends. “That has been secured,” the prime minister said. “I want you to appreciate the USA never tampered with our autonomy and independence or with respect of sovereignty.”
“We invited them in the defense space; it is not them coming in,” he continued. “We invited them in the defense space to help build our defense to protect our own borders, including stopping fishing losses and blight of the illegal from our forests. They came in our invitation.” (Source: U.S. DoD)
27 Jul 23. Niger soldiers say President Bazoum’s government has been removed. Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has been removed from power, according to a group of soldiers who appeared on the West African nation’s national television late on Wednesday, hours after the president was held in the presidential palace.
Reading from a statement, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, seated and flanked by nine other officers, said defence and security forces had decided: “Put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”
Abdramane said Niger’s borders are closed, a nationwide curfew declared, and all institutions of the republic are suspended.
The soldiers warned against any foreign intervention, adding that they will respect Bazoum’s wellbeing.
The military takeover, which marks the seventh coup in the West and Central Africa region since 2020, could further complicate Western efforts to help countries in the Sahel region fight a jihadist insurgency that has spread from Mali over the past decade.
Land-locked Niger, a former French colony, has become a pivotal ally for Western powers seeking to help fight the insurgencies, but they are facing growing acrimony from the new juntas in charge in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Niger is also a key ally of the European Union in the fight against irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa.
France moved troops to Niger from Mali last year after its relations with interim authorities there soured. It has also withdrawn special forces from Burkina Faso amid similar tensions.
Bazoum’s election was the first democratic transition of power in a state that has witnessed four military coups since independence from France in 1960.
The United States says it has spent around $500m since 2012 to help Niger boost its security. Germany announced in April that it would take part in a three-year European military mission aimed at improving the country’s military.
Niger Army spokesman Colonel Major Amadou Adramane speaks during an appearance on national television, after President Mohamed Bazoum was held in the presidential palace, in Niamey, Niger, July 26, 2023 in this still image taken from video. ORTN/via Reuters TV/Handout via REUTERS
“Bazoum has been the West’s only hope in the Sahel region. France, the U.S. and the EU have spent much of their resources in the region to bolster Niger and its security forces,” said Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel programme for Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung think-tank.
He said a coup would create an opportunity for Russia and other actors to spread their influence in Niger.
Early on Wednesday presidential guards, headed by General Omar Tchiani, took over the presidency, prompting regional leaders to organise a swift mediation mission to try to prevent a coup.
Frustrations over state failures to prevent violent attacks on towns and villages have partly spurred two coups in Mali and two in Burkina Faso since 2020. A junta also snatched power in Guinea in 2021, contributing to instability in a region that had begun to shed its reputation as a “coup belt”.
There was a thwarted coup attempt in Niger in March 2021, when a military unit tried to seize the presidential palace days before the recently elected Bazoum was due to be sworn in.
The African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS earlier on Wednesday condemned what they called an attempted coup d’etat.
The president of neighbouring Benin, Patrice Talon, flew into Niger on Wednesday afternoon to assess the situation after meeting with Nigerian President and ECOWAS Chairman Bola Tinubu.
“All means will be used, if necessary, to restore constitutional order in Niger, but the ideal would be for everything to be done in peace and harmony,” Talon told reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The United States urged Bazoum’s release, while the European Union, United Nations, France and others condemned the uprising and said they were following the events with concern.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke with Bazoum on Wednesday when he was being held in the presidential palace, said the U.S. economic and security partnership with Niger depended on the continuation of democratic governance. (Source: Reuters)
26 Jul 23. Niger: Coup Attempt. On 26 July, members of the Presidential Guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum in the Presidential Palace in the capital Niamey. The Presidential Palace and surrounding ministerial buildings have been blockaded by military vehicles, however, reports indicate the situation in Niamey is largely calm. The National Armed Forces and National Guard are reportedly not involved in ongoing negotiations with President Bazoum.
- The incident likely reflects an ongoing coup attempt, with the commander of the Presidential Guard allegedly requesting Bazoum’s resignation. The exact cause is unclear, though reports have suggested it reflects specific grievances within the Presidential Guard (reducing prospects for support from the wider armed forces). This also follows a National Security Council meeting on 25 July.
- Since his election in 2021, President Bazoum has promoted strong military and economic ties with France, despite significant domestic criticism. Throughout the region, Russia has sought to undermine ties with France and bolster its own influence, with the Russian private military company Wagner Group recently indicating an intention to increase operations in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- The new Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has stated that the group will not accept any coup in Niger.
There is a realistic possibility that given reports of enduring support for President Bazoum among the National Guard and Armed Forces, the attempted coup is failing, and ongoing negotiations are now likely focused on securing concessions for the Presidential Guard. With reports claiming negotiations have broken down there is a realistic possibility that the Presidential Guard will refuse to stand down from their positions in the Presidential Palace, raising the likelihood of clashes with the National Guard and the National Armed Forces in the coming hours. Violent clashes in and around the Presidential Palace will elevate incidental risks to proximate assets and bystanders in affected areas, including embassy staff.
Over the coming days, regardless of whether the president survives the coup attempt, security forces in Niamey will likely adopt a heightened security posture, increasing the number of checkpoints and roadblocks. These measures will likely disrupt movement and increase potential exposure to corruption from checkpoint personnel. If violence breaks out or Bazoum is removed, there is a realistic possibility that authorities will limit internet and cellular data access, particularly within Niamey, disrupting communication with on-the-ground staff.
In the less likely event of a successful military takeover, it is highly likely that ECOWAS will impose sanctions, increasing Niger’s regional isolation and elevating risks to political stability. Economic isolation from ECOWAS will likely further undermine socio-economic development, driving domestic unrest and recruitment for armed groups, including jihadist organisations operating in the western and southeastern regions. A military takeover will also increase the prospect of Wagner expansion into Niger, threatening French military deployment in the country, and compounding the risk of jihadist expansion in the Sahel. (Source: Sibylline)
26 Jul 23. North Korea: Pyongyang will likely seek support from China, Russia amid heightened tensions. On 26 July, a Chinese delegation headed by Communist Party Politburo member Li Hongzhong will arrive in North Korea for Victory Day celebrations, which mark the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. This follows the arrival of a Russian delegation led by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, signalling Pyongyang’s resumption of in-person diplomacy after four years of isolation due to border closures during the pandemic. The Chinese and Russian dignitaries will attend commemorative events which will likely include a large military parade on 27 July. The visits come amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula driven by increased political rhetoric and military activities. The high-profile diplomatic engagements indicate Pyongyang’s intention to seek support from its closest allies, namely Beijing and Moscow. Security in the region will be heightened in response to possible North Korean military provocations to mark the national holiday, though the likely impact on business operations will be low. (Source: Sibylline)
26 Jul 23. Bolivia: Expansion of defense ties with Iran raises risk of US sanctions in the medium term. On 25 July, Bolivia’s Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo confirmed the country’s interest in obtaining Iranian drone technology to improve border security. The announcement comes after Novillo reportedly signed an agreement with his counterpart in Tehran on 20 July, prompting complaints from several Argentine officials. While downplaying criticism, Novillo stated Bolivia needed drones for monitoring remote areas as part of the country’s wider anti-smuggling efforts. In recent years, Iran has expanded security cooperation and drone sales abroad, including in Venezuela, which is one of Bolivia’s closest allies in the region. Nevertheless, the rapprochement between both countries is likely to increase the risk of US sanctions targeting Bolivian defence officials. This is likely to increase reputational risks for firms associated with the Bolivian government. (Source: Sibylline)
25 Jul 23. Austin First Defense Secretary to Visit Papua New Guinea.
This morning, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III departed Washington on a multiday trip to the Indo-Pacific region. The first stop is in Papua New Guinea. He’ll be the first U.S. defense secretary to visit the island nation, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a press briefing today.
Following his visit there, Austin will travel farther south to Australia.
“He will … join to meet with their counterparts for the 33rd annual Australia/United States ministerial consultations,” Singh said. “Then he’ll meet with U.S. and Australian service members participating in the largest military exercise between the United States and Australia: Talisman Sabre.”
According to the Australian defense minister, this year’s Talisman Sabre involves 13 nations and more than 30,000 military personnel; it will span about two weeks. Exercise operations will take place in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Norfolk Island.
U.S. Continues Support for Ukraine
Also today, the Defense Department announced the 43rd presidential drawdown of U.S. military equipment that will go to support Ukraine’s efforts to defend its sovereignty against the illegal Russian invasion that began in February 2022.
The $400m package includes, among other things, additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems and National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems; Stinger antiaircraft systems; additional ammunition for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS; 32 Stryker armored personnel carriers; Javelin and other anti armor systems and rockets; and over 28 m rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades.
Spotlight: Support for Ukraine
Since the Russian invasion began, the U.S. has provided more than $43bn in security assistance to Ukraine.
“One of the things that the president continues to say and the secretary continues to say is that we are with Ukraine for the long haul,” Singh said of the latest security assistance package. “We are going to … continue to assess what we can flow to them without dropping below our own readiness level.”
Tomorrow, Singh said, DOD will also commemorate the 75th anniversary of the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces.
On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, directing equal treatment and opportunity for all members of the U.S. armed forces without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.
As part of the commemoration, Singh said, the department will host an event in the Pentagon courtyard that which features Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks and other DOD leaders as speakers.
(Source: U.S. DoD)
25 Jul 23. After Qatar talks, France sees chance to develop defence partnership. France and Qatar have a common will to develop a defence partnership that builds on the existing cooperation with Rafale fighter jets, a French defence ministry source said on Tuesday, days after the minister visited Doha to cement military ties.
Qatar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The source declined to confirm a report from economic daily La Tribune newspaper on Tuesday that Doha wanted to buy 24 extra Dassault-made planes and possibly upgrade its existing fleet with the latest technologies. La Tribune did not identify its sources.
Sebastien Lecornu held talks with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Qatar last week.
The French source said the feeling was that Doha was satisfied with its Rafale purchase and their impression was that there was a will to take the partnership further.
That could mean buying new planes and upgrading the existing fleet, the source said.
The two countries sealed an initial $7bn (6.34bn euros) 24 Rafale deal in 2015 before Qatar ordered a further 12 in 2017.
In a statement on Friday, the French Defence Ministry said the discussions in Qatar had “focused on strengthening the Franco-Qatari strategic partnership, founded on diplomatic, operation and industrial cooperation”.
India last week approved the purchase of 26 Rafales, the latest in a string of contracts for Dassault, which 18 months ago received an order for 80 units from the United Arab Emirates. (1 euro = $1.1043) (Source: Reuters)
25 Jul 23. North Korea to welcome China and Russia with military display after pandemic isolation.
- Russian defence minister, China Politburo member visit
- First such foreign delegations since COVID pandemic began
- Visits may signal resumption of shuttle diplomacy
- Korean War holiday commemorates ‘defeat’ of ‘U.S. imperialists’
- Events to include parade, possibly with nuclear missiles
After years of pandemic isolation, North Korea has invited its friends back this week, hosting senior Chinese and Russian delegations for 70th anniversary commemorations of the Korean War and the struggle against the United States and its allies.
The visiting dignitaries, which include Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Li Hongzhong, are expected to be presented with one of North Korea’s signature events: a massive military parade showcasing its latest weaponry.
Analysts say the spectacle will likely include the North’s nuclear-tipped missiles banned by the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China are permanent members.
The visits are the first known foreign delegations to visit North Korea since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and come as Pyongyang has looked to deepen its ties with Beijing and Moscow, finding common ground in their rivalries with Washington and the West.
Thursday’s holiday, in which North Korea celebrates what it sees as a victory over U.S.-led allied forces in the 1950-1953 Korean War, provides a chance for Pyongyang to highlight the Cold War days when North Korean troops fought with Chinese and Russian support.
North Korea is still technically at war with the U.S.-led alliance after fighting ended in an armistice, rather than a formal peace treaty.
“North Korea inviting delegations from both countries seems to be a case of history rhyming, whereby Pyongyang is gearing up to stand up against the West, but perceives the need to maintain relatively balanced ties with both China and Russia,” said Anthony Rinna, a specialist in Korea-Russia relations at Sino-NK, a website that analyses the region.
Only time will tell if the visits signal a broader easing in North Korea’s bans on international travel, which could in theory provide an opening for U.S. officials to negotiate the release of U.S. soldier Travis King, who crossed into North Korea last week, Rinna said.
However, it seems unlikely that Pyongyang will seek to engage with Washington any time soon, and may consider itself to be in a full-scale New Cold War with the United States, he added.
Images from Russia’s defence ministry and North Korean media showed Shoigu being greeted by North Korean defence minister Kang Sun Nam and Russian ambassador Alexander Matsegora at the airport, and rows of North Korean and Russia troops.
The United States has accused North Korea of providing weapons to Russia during the war in Ukraine, including an arms delivery of infantry rockets and missiles to the Kremlin-backed Wagner mercenary group in November 2022.
Pyongyang and Moscow have denied those claims, but Kim has vowed to bolster strategic cooperation between the nations.
The military parade in Pyongyang is likely to include as many as 15,000 personnel, and possibly feature new designs of nuclear-capable weapons, said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.
Commercial satellite imagery over recent weeks have shown participants practicing, including in downtown Kim Il Sung Square where the event will take place, with large formations showing the number “70” and other slogans, said Dave Schmerler, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).
At a training ground outside Pyongyang, military units appeared to be practicing marching around the square track with vehicles behind them, Schmerler added, citing imagery provided to Reuters by U.S.-based firm Umbra, which used radar imaging satellites to peer through cloud cover.
Leader Kim Jong Un kicked off commemorations this week with visits to a cemetery for Chinese soldiers who fought in the war, known as the Fatherland Liberation War, state media KCNA reported on Wednesday. The only defence treaty China and North Korea have is with each other.
Kim also visited the Fatherland Liberation War Martyrs Cemetery on Monday, KCNA reported, as he praised the soldiers for “inflicting defeat” on U.S. imperialism.
Amid international sanctions over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programmes – which both Moscow and Beijing voted to impose – China has become by far North Korea’s largest trading partner. China’s exports to its secretive neighbour in June were eight times higher than a year before.
Beijing asserted on Monday that it “strictly” implements U.N. sanctions on North Korea.
Russia and China have rebuffed recent attempts by the United States and some European countries to impose new sanctions on North Korea.
They have instead pushed for existing measures to be eased for humanitarian purposes and to entice Pyongyang back to denuclearisation talks, which broke down in 2019.
Yang said the delegations could signal that long-stalled diplomatic visits could resume.
“If North Korea also sends a high-level delegation to China for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games, it means the resumption of high-level ‘shuttle diplomacy’ between North Korea and China since the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
25 Jul 23. Pakistan: Arrest warrant against opposition leader underscores elevated risk of unrest nationwide. On 24 July, the Election Commission of Pakistan issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against the leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Imran Khan, the latest in a series of legal hurdles facing the former prime minister. The warrant stated that Khan had failed to appear before the commission despite earlier notices. Since his removal in a no-confidence vote last April, Khan has been entangled in over 150 cases, including charges of sedition, terrorism, and murder. In May, he was arrested in connection with a corruption case, leading to nationwide violent protests. While it is unclear if the police will immediately act on the warrant, there is a realistic possibility that any police action indicating fulfilment of the warrant will trigger similar nationwide protests by PTI supporters, escalating unrest and security risks across the country. (Source: Sibylline)
25 Jul 23. Mali: Western efforts to contain Wagner will drive sanctions risk. On 24 July, the US imposed sanctions on the Malian Minister of Defence and two senior members of the Malian air force over allegations they facilitated the expansion of the Russian private military contractor, Wagner Group, in Mali. The development likely reflects an increased push by Western states to mitigate Wagner’s stated intention to bolster its presence in Africa, following similar UK sanctions against Wagner. The treasury department’s associated statement also alleged that as well as facilitating Wagner’s access to gold mining in Mali, the individuals had advocated for the Wagner Group in negotiations with Burkina Faso’s transitional government. Further sanctions targeting officials and entities deemed to support Wagner operations are likely. Within Mali, this will increase compliance challenges for Western businesses working closely with government entities, particularly in strategic sectors such as extractives. Sanctions and compliance risks will also increase in target Wagner markets, particularly neighbouring Burkina Faso. (Source: Sibylline)
25 Jul 23. Gabon: Opposition factionalism increases likelihood of incumbent victory in presidential election. On 24 July, the Gabonese Election Centre published a list of 19 candidates for the presidential election on 26 August, including incumbent President Ali Bongo Odinga. The opposition in Gabon is highly fractured and failed to agree on a single candidate. Bongo was elected for a second term in 2016, though voting irregularities drove outbreaks of violence. Since 2018, there have been significant concerns over Bongo’s health after he suffered a stroke and was not seen in public for ten months. Even so, the high number of opposition candidates will split the vote, increasing prospects for Bongo’s re-election. Opposition division will likely also undermine the capacity to co-ordinate protests in the post-election period, although incidents of violence in the capital Libreville remain a realistic possibility, elevating incidental risks to bystanders and assets. Moreover, a continuation of Bongo’s administration will almost certainly sustain governance risks to firms operating in Gabon, given significant corruption issues and executive interference in the judiciary. (Source: Sibylline)
25 Jul 23. Somalia: Al-Shabaab attack underscores operational risks in Mogadishu, further attacks highly likely. On 24 July, an al-Shabaab suicide bomber killed at least 30 security personnel in an IED attack on the Jaalle Siyaad Military Academy near the Minister of Defence in the capital Mogadishu. The attack remains consistent with al-Shabaab efforts to disrupt Somali military planning ahead of a prospective Somali counter-offensive in southern Somalia, rather than a further significant deterioration in national security. There are substantial concerns over the Somali National Army’s capacity to counter Al-Shabaab attacks given the drawdown of African Union peacekeepers, continued arms embargoes against the SNA and increasing strains on the unity of allied clan militias (see Sibylline Daily Analytical Update – 20 June 2023). Further al-Shabaab attacks are highly likely over the coming weeks as militants continue their disruption campaign in Mogadishu and other major cities. Militants frequently target military and civilian installations, including hotels associated with government personnel, highlighting significant risks to staff as targets and bystanders in affected areas. (Source: Sibylline)
25 Jul 23. Colombia: Guerrillas threaten political candidates in Norte de Santander, sustaining risk of attacks. On 24 July, the right-wing Centro Democratico party denounced constant threats by armed groups against their candidates in multiple municipalities of Norte de Santander department. The party leader stated that due to pressure from the ELN guerrilla and FARC dissidents, the party will be unable to run candidates for mayor or city council positions in over 16 municipalities in Catatumbo (Norte de Santander department) and other areas. The guerrillas have allegedly imposed a veto on Centro Democratico leaders where they operate. With the 29 October local elections approaching, the party demanded security guarantees from authorities to ensure their candidates can safely participate. The regional government has identified the following areas as high-risk: Cucuta, Ocana and Tibu. The risk of attacks and intimidation aimed at Centro Democratico candidates will likely remain elevated, raising bystander exposure to violence. (Source: Sibylline)
25 Jul 23. Ecuador: Government declares state of emergency amid recurrent surges in violent crime. On 24 July, President Guillermo Lasso declared a 60-day state of emergency and nightly curfews in Manabi and Los Rios provinces, and in the area of Duran (Guayas province). The curfew will be in effect from 2000hrs to 0500hrs (local time). The move comes after a wave of violence that left at least eight dead over the weekend (22-23 July). This included the fatal shooting of Manta’s mayor on 23 July in Manta (Manabi province) and riots at the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison in Guayaquil (Guayas province) on 24 July. Lasso has frequently relied on emergency measures to counter rising insecurity. However, while such actions have temporarily curbed violence in the past, separate trends, such as an uptick in turf wars and organised crime activity, have continued to drive the risk of violent crime. With homicide rates reaching record levels in 2022, further spikes in violent crime are likely to occur. (Source: Sibylline)
24 Jul 23. China and Russia boost ties to counter US influence in the Indo-Pacific. Joint naval drill signals growing co-operation between China and Russia, raising security concerns in the Indo-Pacific region.
AGlobalData defence analyst highlights the significance of China and Russia’s joint naval exercise, stressing its impact on regional security dynamics.
As China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) undergoes modernisation, the increasing military co-operation with Russia poses a notable challenge to the US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region. The move has prompted other regional powers, such as India, Australia, and Japan, to bolster their naval fleet modernisation efforts in response to China’s expanding naval capabilities.
Joint naval drill and military modernisation
China and Russia’s ongoing joint naval exercise, known as the Northern/Interaction-2023, has drawn attention to their deepening military co-operation. According to Udayini Aakunoor, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, this collaboration represents a strategic response to recent joint naval exercises conducted by Japan, South Korea, and the US in the East Sea.
The mutual military drills aim to exchange best practices, develop new tactics, and enhance interoperability between the two nations’ armed forces.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has been pursuing an ambitious modernisation agenda, investing heavily in surface vessels and submarines to bridge the capability gap with the US Navy.
Over the past decade, China has made significant strides in establishing a robust defence equipment manufacturing and shipbuilding infrastructure, expanding its naval fleet size and operational capabilities.
In the coming decade, China is projected to invest approximately $51bn in acquiring new surface combatants while also enhancing its submarine fleet through the procurement of advanced submarines like the Sui-class (Type 095) Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarine (SSN) and Tang-class (Type 096) Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN).
An estimated $25bn will be allocated to submarine procurement programs from 2023 to 2033.
Implications for US and regional powers
According to a GlobalData “China Defence Market 2022-2027” report, China and Russia’s relationship is based on pragmatism and shared interests. As relations with the US cool on both sides, cultivating a relationship with each other holds both political and economic advantages.
The growing military cooperation between China and Russia and China’s robust modernisation efforts pose a significant security challenge for the US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
The US Air Force recently completed the deployment of B-52 Stratofortress bombers, strengthening interoperability in the Indo-Pacific, following an exercise in Indonesia.
US efforts and proposed security alliance
Udayini Aakunoor, the GlobalData Defense Analyst, underlines the implications of this cooperation, stating, “The rapid expansion of the PLAN, along with increasing naval cooperation with the Russian Navy, is expected to present significant security challenges for the US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
The growing China-Russia military ties have also compelled other major regional military powers, such as India, Australia, and Japan, to initiate naval fleet modernisation programs to counter PLAN’s expansion.”
To contain the threat of China, the US has proposed a quadrilateral security alliance between the US and Indo-Pacific countries such as India, Japan, and Australia to secure maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region and jointly patrol regional waters to contain the influence of China, according to GlobalData’s “US Defence Market 2022-2027” report.
With China and Russia strengthening their military ties, the strategic balance in the Indo-Pacific region is evolving rapidly. As nations in the region assess the potential ramifications, defence modernisation becomes a top priority to protect their respective interests and maintain stability amidst the changing dynamics of regional security. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 Jul 23. America Marks 70th Anniversary of End of Korean War. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel and attacked South Korea. Three days later, North Korean forces captured South Korea’s capital, Seoul.
The following week on July 1, the first U.S. ground troops, arrived in Korea to support South Korea.
The decision to aid South Korea was made by President Harry S. Truman. In his “Memoirs,” published in 1956, Truman states: “If South Korea fell, the communists would attack other nations, resulting in World War III.”
The communists he referred to, were the former World War II U.S. allies China and the Soviet Union, which now supported North Korea.
By early August 1950, the North Korean army had overrun most of South Korea except for a small pocket in the far southeast known as the Pusan Perimeter.
During the months of August and September, U.S. Soldiers and Marines, along with United Nations forces, landed in Korea to bolster South Korea’s defense.
U.N. forces besides the U.S., were the United Kingdom, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Philippines, New Zealand, Thailand, Ethiopia, Greece, France, Colombia, Belgium, South Africa, Netherlands and Luxembourg.
U.S. forces landed on the western port city of Inchon Sept. 15, and two weeks later, U.N. forces captured Seoul.
The following month saw U.N. forces crossing the 38th parallel into North Korea, capturing Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and advancing to the Yalu River, the northern boundary of North Korea and China.
In late October 1950, Chinese forces crossed into North Korea to aid their ally. By January 1951, Chinese and North Korean forces recaptured Seoul.
By March 1951, U.N. troops recaptured Seoul.
On April 11, 1951, Truman relieved MacArthur, who had led the U.N. Command. MacArthur had wanted to expand the war into China, which was against the directives of the president, who didn’t want a wider conflict, which would likely involve the Soviet Union.
“We were in Korea in the name and on behalf of the United Nations. This ‘unified command’ which I had entrusted to Douglas MacArthur, was a United Nations Command, and neither he nor I would have been justified if we had gone beyond the mission that the United Nations General Assembly had given us,” Truman states in “Memoirs,” an account of his presidency.
By the latter part of 1951,1952 and 1953, heavy fighting continued, with the front line stabilizing in a stalemate in the vicinity of the 38th parallel.
Dwight D. Eisenhower became president Jan. 20, 1953, and on July 27, 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, ending the fighting. Prisoners were exchanged and South Korea gained a bit of territory northeast of the 38th parallel.
About 37,000 Americans lost their lives during the Korean War and over 92,000 were wounded and 8,000 were missing.
South Korea sustained 1.3 m casualties, including 415,000 dead. Casualties among other U.N. forces totaled 16,500, including 3,100 dead.
No peace treaty was ever signed between North and South Korea and in the decades since the Korean War, North Korean forces have conducted numerous cross-border incursions and other acts of aggression.
U.S. forces and U.N. representatives are still in South Korea with the goal of preventing another war.
U.S. Forces Korea is responsible for supporting and training joint South Korea-U.S. forces and United Nations Command multinational forces.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., honors those who served and sacrificed.
The Korean Armistice Agreement, signed on July 27, 1953, was the culmination of many months of bickering between officials from the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, the former Soviet Union and United Nations forces.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when communist North Korean troops invaded South Korea. The U.S. and U.N. quickly moved troops and equipment into South Korea to prevent the country from being overrun.
“We could not stand idly by and allow the communist imperialists to assume that they were free to go into Korea or elsewhere. This challenge had to be met — and it was met. It had to be met without plunging the world into general war,” wrote former President Harry S. Truman in his 1956 book “Memoirs.”
The fighting over the next few months or so was fluid, with large swaths of the Korean peninsula being overrun first by North Korean forces, then by U.N. forces and later by North Korean and Chinese forces who crossed into Korea in the fall of 1950.
By the late spring of 1951, the battle lines had stabilized around the area of the 38th Parallel, which had previously divided the two Koreas prior to the invasion.
On June 23, 1951, with no further progress in sight for communist forces, the Soviet Union, which backed North Korea, called for armistice talks.
The U.S. and U.N. were amenable, and armistice talks began July 10, 1951, at Kaesong, which is in the southern part of North Korea near today’s demilitarized zone.
However, there were some major sticking points that the two sides could not agree on.
First and foremost was the prisoner exchange policy. U.S. diplomats, led by Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and U.N diplomats wanted a exchange that allowed the prisoners to decide if they wanted to be exchanged.
The communists demurred on this point, desiring all prisoners to be returned, even if it meant involuntarily repatriation.
“It was here that the most serious wrangling began, and it was here also that I insisted that we could not give ground,” Truman wrote in his book.
“Communism is a system that has no regard for human dignity or human freedom, and no right-thinking government can give its consent to the forcible return to such a system of men or women who would rather remain free.” Truman wrote.
This sticking point resulted in the communists breaking off negotiations on Aug. 23, 1951.
Another roadblock to an armistice was South Korea’s President Syngman Rhee wanting U.N. forces to help South Korea take over the entire peninsula.
U.N. forces continued to put pressure on communist forces, leading the communists to resume talks Oct. 25, 1951, at Panmunjom, which now straddles the Demilitarized Zone.
After lengthy haggling with no lack of progress, the U.N. delegation declared an indefinite recess to armistice talks on Oct. 8, 1952.
On Jan. 20, 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as U.S. president. Like Truman, he hoped for a diplomatic solution, and, once again, armistice talks began on April 26, 1953.
Three months later, all sides — except for South Korea — agreed to the armistice.
The armistice was signed by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William Harrison Jr. and U.S. Army Gen. Mark W. Clark, representing the United Nations Command; North Korean leader Kim Il Sung and Gen. Nam Il, representing the Korean army; and Peng Dehuai, representing the China’s People’s Volunteer Army.
The armistice established the DMZ, put into force a cease-fire, and finalized the repatriation of POWs who wished to be repatriated.
About 82,500 Chinese and North Korean POWs chose to go home, while 50,000 decided to stay in South Korea or go to other democratic nations.
(Source: U.S. DoD)
24 Jul 23. Second US submarine arrives in South Korea amid North Korea tensions. A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine arrived in South Korea on Monday, only days after the first U.S. nuclear armed submarine made port in the country in four decades, as the two allies seek to boost American strategic assets to deter North Korea.
The USS Annapolis entered a naval base in South Korea’ southern island of Jeju, to load military supplies while on an unspecified operational mission, the South Korean navy said.
“The two countries’ navies plan to strengthen the combined defence posture with the arrival of the USS Annapolis, and conduct exchange activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the alliance,” it said in a statement.
The USS Kentucky, a U.S. ballistic missile submarine, made port in South Korea last Tuesday. It was the first visit since the 1980s of a U.S. nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) and coincided with the launch of talks between the U.S. and South Korea to coordinate responses in the event of a nuclear war with North Korea.
North Korea launched two ballistic missiles on Wednesday hours after the USS Kentucky’s visit, and again fired several cruise missiles on Saturday. The USS Annapolis is not nuclear-armed unlike the USS Kentucky and specialises in anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, and joined trilateral anti-submarine exercises with South Korea and Japan last September in international waters off the Korean peninsula. (Source: Reuters)
21 Jul 23. Indian navy fosters bilateral ties in Indonesia. Indian and Indonesian Navies enhance cooperation and interoperability during the Indian Naval Ships INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata port call in Jakarta. In a display of maritime diplomacy, the Indian Navy’s frontline ships, INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata, made a friendly visit to Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 17, 2023. The visit aimed to strengthen the ties between the two nations and foster cooperation and understanding through a series of professional interactions and joint exercises.
The Indian Navy’s INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata, mission deployed in the South Eastern Indian Ocean Region, were welcomed by the Indonesian Navy upon their arrival in Jakarta. The visit marks a step in advancing bilateral relations and reinforcing the existing camaraderie between the two navies.
During the port call, personnel from the Indian and Indonesian navies will engage in various activities, including professional interactions and cross-deck visits. These interactions are designed to build upon the mutual respect and understanding between the naval forces of both nations.
A highlight of the visit will be the Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) at sea, which will witness the participation of INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata alongside the Indonesian Navy. This exercise aims to bolster the high degree of interoperability between the two navies, enhancing their capacity to work together during joint operations.
According to GlobalData’s “Indonesia Defense Market 2022-2027” report, India and Indonesia elevated their bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which includes fighting cross-border terror. India and Indonesia have also signed 15 agreements, including one to boost defence cooperation and called for freedom of navigation in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
The report also reveals that Indonesia is purchasing BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles from India, strengthening the defence cooperation between the two countries.
INS Sahyadri, a Project-17 class stealth frigate, and INS Kolkata, a Project-15A class stealth destroyer, represent India’s indigenously designed and built naval prowess. Both vessels were crafted at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai, showing the country’s commitment to self-reliance in defence technology.
The visit of INS Sahyadri and INS Kolkata to Jakarta emphasizes India’s dedication to maintaining ties with neighbouring nations and showcases the significance of maritime diplomacy in fostering regional stability and cooperation.
This engagement is expected to pave the way for future collaborations and joint ventures, creating a more secure and prosperous maritime environment in the South Eastern Indian Ocean Region. (Source: naval-technology.com)
21 Jul 23. Australia prioritises modernisation and indigenous capabilities in defence. GlobalData’s “Fleet Size Dashboard” reveals impressive figures showcasing Australia’s commitment to enhancing its military capabilities.
Australia’s recent defence acquisitions emphasise a dual focus on modernisation efforts and developing indigenous capabilities within its Armed Forces. GlobalData’s latest analysis highlights the nation’s proactive approach to maintaining a technologically advanced fleet, boosting domestic defence industries, and fostering self-reliance for a secure future.
Australia’s defence equipment has recently transformed, marked by an emphasis on enhancing indigenous capabilities and modernisation.
GlobalData, a leading data analytics company, reports that recent acquisition programs, including the LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Vehicle, Hunter-class (SEA 5000), F-35A, and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), indicate Australia’s strategic vision to strengthen its military capabilities across multiple domains.
According to GlobalData’s “Fleet Size Dashboard,” approximately 70% of Australia’s military fleet, comprising land vehicles, fixed-wing aircraft, rotorcraft, artillery systems, naval vessels, missile defence systems, and submarines, boasts an average lifespan of less than ten years.
Almost the entire fleet of military platforms operated by the Australian Defence Force is under 30 years old, showcasing the nation’s proactive approach to maintaining a modern and technologically advanced fleet.
A notable revelation is that 83% of Australia’s military fleet is indigenous, signalling the country’s commitment to nurturing domestic defence industries. This commitment aligns with Australia’s broader vision of self-reliance and securing its sovereign territories, reducing its dependence on foreign suppliers and ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience.
Harpreet Sidhu, Aerospace and Defence Analyst at GlobalData commends Australia’s investment in modern assets, “Australia’s investment in modern assets indicates its focus on operational readiness and strengthening the ability to respond effectively to evolving threats.
Over the years, the Australian government has been encouraging international businesses to establish manufacturing facilities in the country in collaboration with local companies, which has not only improved its domestic defence capabilities but also boosted economic growth by creating jobs.”
In addition to catering to its armed forces, Australia has emerged as an exporter of locally manufactured defence platforms to various countries worldwide.
The majority of Australian exports are directed towards countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Indonesia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. Furthermore, Australia has successfully exported defence platforms to countries such as the Netherlands and Ukraine in the European region.
As Australia’s strategic focus on indigenous capabilities continues, it strengthens its defence industry, promotes innovation, and enhances its ability to tackle future challenges independently.
GlobalData believes Australia’s commitment to modernisation and indigenous capabilities will position the nation as a significant player in the global defence market, fostering a secure and self-reliant future for the country and its Armed Forces. (Source: army-technology.com)
20 Jul 23. Chile’s defence market poised for modernisation amidst political stability. GlobalData’s “Chile Defense Market 2023-2028” report reveals Chile’s Navy, Air Force, and Army prospects in a recovering budgetary landscape and regional collaborations.
Chile’s defence budget, hampered by economic challenges and the pandemic, is projected to rebound and reach $2.6bn (17bn pesos) by 2028.
With the election of President Gabriel Boric and improved economic conditions, the country’s Navy, Air Force, and Army are expected to witness increased spending, embracing modernisation and strengthening strategic alliances.
Stabilising defence budget
Chile’s defence budget has experienced a turbulent journey in recent years. GlobalData’s “Chile Defense Market 2023-2028” report highlights the fluctuations, with the budget peaking at $2.5bn in 2019 and declining to $2.2bn in 2020 due to Covid-19 and the repeal of the Copper Laws.
However, with the election of President Gabriel Boric and economic recovery, the defence budget is set to stabilise and grow, reaching $2.6bn by 2028.
Driving factors of defence expenditure
Various key factors influence the rise in defence spending. Firstly, Chile is actively committed to peacekeeping missions and humanitarian efforts, necessitating a modern and effective military. Additionally, the country faces internal security threats and territorial disputes, reinforcing the importance of maintaining a strong defence force.
Modernisation efforts to replace ageing equipment, including submarines, amphibious ships, and UAVs, also increase spending.
Strategic alliances and geopolitical impact
Chile’s defence strategy involves forging strategic alliances with international organisations such as the UN and regional entities like the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Pacific Alliance.
The country’s relations with major players like the EU, China, and the United States further influence defence decisions and acquisitions, fostering cooperation and technological exchange. Chile and Spain recently explored new areas of collaboration in the cyber defence and defence industry this year.
Challenges and opportunities
Chile’s defence sector faces challenges and opportunities amidst political and economic changes. The recent repeal of the Copper Laws and the election of President Gabriel Boric presents a turning point for reforms in defence funding and procurement processes.
Challenges include limited coordination between the government and armed forces in procurement decisions, which the repeal of Copper Laws seeks to address by centralising decision-making.
Focus on modernisation
Chile’s defence market focuses on modernisation across its Navy, Air Force, and Army. Investments in submarine capabilities, naval logistics, and military transport vessels are underway, with the Chilean Navy leading efforts to strengthen maritime capabilities. The Air Force’s potential acquisition of the C-390 Millennium aircraft showcases the commitment to enhancing aerial capacities.
Chile’s defence market is poised for growth, driven by political stability, economic recovery, and modernisation initiatives. The Navy, Air Force, and Army are set to benefit from increased defence spending, enabling them to strengthen their capabilities and play an active role in international peacekeeping missions and humanitarian efforts.
Strategic alliances and geopolitical considerations will continue influencing Chile’s defence landscape, providing opportunities for investors and industry stakeholders in the evolving market.
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company