On 9 October 2023, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh embarked on a diplomatic visit to France and Italy that will last until the 12th of the same month. Singh is set to meet with his Italian and French counterparts, Guido Crisetto and Sebastien Lecornu, to bolster the Indian strategic defence partnership with these nations and explore opportunities for military industry cooperation.
This Info Flash outlines the necessity to take a closer look at Russian-Belarusian military cooperation. While increased military cooperation between Russia and Belarus can be expected in an ongoing war, this depends on many more factors, and it is rather difficult to estimate its exact form. For the European Union, however, this cooperation poses a significant risk, and even though the involvement of the Belarusian army in the war seems unlikely, many factors at play can change this. The previously reached factors and many more factors are further discussed in this work, with the main research questions focusing on how close is the Belarus-Russian military cooperation and why it poses a threat to the European Union.
The Mediterranean region and the European continent are inextricably linked from a geographical, historical, and strategic point of view. For this simple reason, it is impossible for the countries that lie on the two shores of this almost-closed sea to ignore each other for a long time. Consequently, international cooperation between them has always been intense, being reinforced by strong cultural and economic ties. Nevertheless, due to the high degree of instability that traditionally affects this area, the EU’s foreign policy towards many of its southern neighbours has usually been dominated by the theme of the security–development nexus. Lebanon is no exception. Having its modern history characterized by recurring social unrest, economic crises and civil wars, this small country has often drawn the attention of European policymakers. In 2019 the nation that was once called “the Switzerland of Middle East” has fallen again into a severe political paralysis and started to experience a deep economic downturn, which undermines inter alia the normal implementation of cooperation programmes with the EU (World Bank, 2021) The general election held in May 2022 was intended to put an end to this situation, but it didn’t. For as long as the crisis perseveres, risk Lebanon risks falling into another devastating civil war is becoming feasible. Therefore, stronger European engagement to maintain the country’s stability seems to be a matter of necessity, and it could be one of the last opportunities to save Lebanon from sinking.
Closer ties between Putin’s Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of security cooperation (voennoe sotrudnichestvo) has attracted significant attention from Western foreign policy-makers and academic scholars in recent years. Diplomatic isolation and commonly shared dissatisfaction with the long-established American hegemony has driven both countries into a pragmatic, stable and mutually beneficial rapprochement nearly a decade after a new chapter in their relationships was opened in 2012 (Ghadbeigy, 2017). By this time the return of Vladimir Putin to power was clearly interpreted as marking a watershed moment in Russian foreign policy doctrine and strategies that had long since been in vogue under the rule of Dmitriy Medvedev (Kozhanov, 2015).
On 20 July 2022, the European Commission announced that it would grant €1.2 billion to 61 collaborative defence research and development (R&D) projects under the European Defence Fund (EDF). The selected projects focus on a broad range of high-end defence capability development, from next-generation aircraft, ships and tanks to artificial intelligence and cyber capabilities, semiconductors and new materials, and quantum and other potentially disruptive technologies.