South China Sea conflict; India COVID crisis; Russia-Ukraine conflict

In today's episode, we will examine hostilities between nations in and around the South China Sea, revisit the COVID situation in India which continues to register an alarmingly increasing number of COVID cases and finally discuss Russian military activity at the Ukraine border.  
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • After weeks of unheeded requests to remove over 200 Chinese vassals from the Whitsun Reef, the Philippines announced it would send diplomatic protests each day as long as China allows the ships to remain stationed at the disputed area that Manila claims is a part of its 200-mile exclusive economic zone. Last Tuesday the Japanese foreign ministry announced in a statement that the country’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi had expressed strong concerns about the situation with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi over the telephone. The USA, which remains at loggerheads with China over several issues and accuses Beijing of trying to intimidate and provoke other nations by parking its vessels near the Reef, deployed aircraft careers into the East and South China Seas. 

  • India started this week with a record rise in the number of coronavirus infections in the country. Last Monday, India become the second country after the United States to record over 100,000 new cases in a single day. With elections ongoing in four important states in the country, the situation is expected to worsen in the coming weeks. The state of Maharashtra, home to the country’s financial capital Mumbai accounted for over half of this number, registering 57,074 new cases overnight. The state capital Mumbai has announced additional lockdown curbs last Sunday creating alleged unrest among small traders.

  • NATO voiced concern over what it said was a big Russian military build-up near eastern Ukraine last week. Among the allies, the United States of America has asked the Kremlin to explain the "provocations", with its state department saying that the USA is ready to engage in the situation. The movements of the Russian military were suggestive of a likely invasion by Moscow on the erstwhile Soviet Republic. Both the European Union and USA have promised unwavering support to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinskiy in Ukraine's confrontation with Russia-backed separatists holding parts of the country's eastern Donbas region. 

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