India COVID-crisis; Somalia political clashes; UK-Australia trade deal

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Today on The Leaders' Brief -

  • The COVID situation for India remains dire, and Prime Minister Modi, known for maintaining excellent bilateral ties with countries across the world, has requested all allies for medical aid. The USA, under President Joe Biden, has agreed to lift restrictions for the supply of vaccine-making materials to India after initially refusing to do the same. Among other countries, France will send medical equipment, ventilators, liquid oxygen containers and oxygen generators to India. French President Emmanuel Macron announced in a tweet written in Hindi on Tuesday, that France and India have always remained united and the country is doing all it can to help.

  • Several residents continue to flee Somalia’s capital Mogadishu after a clash broke out between opposition forces and the government after a disagreement over elections. Fighting began last Sunday between pro-Government forces and opposition military units after the country’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed moved to extend his term, which had officially ended in February, for another two years. The clashes which began at the capital Mogadishu have spread to other parts, and the political instability created could see extremist groups like Al Shabaab exploit the situation.

  • The UK and Australia have agreed on "the vast majority" of a post-Brexit free trade deal after talks last week, according to a joint statement by the two countries. The two countries said that they aim to conclude a deal by June. Part of the joint statement read: "Both countries are confident the remaining issues will be resolved, and will now enter a sprint to agree on the outstanding details with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle." The development comes at a crucial time for Australia as it seeks to decrease trade dependency on China, with whom it shares the largest trade volume.

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