Robert Mugabe’s Resignation Letter

President Robert Mugabe yesterday announced that he was stepping down as the president of Zimbabwe. His official resignation letter was read out by Zimbabwe parliamentary Speaker Jacob Mudenda in Harare where a discussion of an impeachment motion was set to be held.

State House

Harare

Zimbabwe

21 November 2017

The Honourable Jacob Mudenda

Notice of resignation as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe

In terms of the provisions of section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe, amendment number 20, 2013. Following my verbal communication with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda at 13:53 hours, 21st November, 2017 intimating my intention to resign as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe with immediate effect.

My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire to ensure a smooth, peaceful and non-violent transfer of power that underpins national security, peace and stability.

Kindly give public notice of my resignation as soon as possible as required by section 96 (1) of the constitution of Zimbabwe.

Yours faithfully,

Robert Gabriel Mugabe President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Image: CNN

US Elections: Are Indian foreign policy pundits missing the bigger picture?

India has reached a stage where there exists a bipartisan agreement in the US for a strong bilateral strategic partnership with India. Nevertheless, foreign policy dynamics are much more complex and it will be naïve for India to take comfort in these statements alone.

By Dr Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan 

The US elections are less than two months away and the campaign is reaching its pinnacle. Going by some polls, Republican candidate Donald Trump may enjoy a small lead over the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in some of the swing states. With the numbers running neck to neck within the possible margin of error, the only thing that can be predicted is that it will be a tight race.

Even as we are close to the election, little is known about the foreign policy positions of the two candidates. Hillary Clinton, having been the Secretary of State during the first term of the Obama administration, is a relatively known entity on foreign policy. Trump’s views are a lot less known and therefore it is important to analyse what his foreign policy might look like.

Recently, Newsweek magazine did a story on how Trump’s business dealings in foreign countries could upset US national security. The story is clearly to take a dig at Trump who has made a big issue of the Clinton Foundation. It was alleged that those who made donations to the Clinton Foundation benefited from special influence when Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State. It is difficult to prove this one way or the other.

The Newsweek story spoke about the Trump Organisation’s investments in Maharashtra and elsewhere and reported that the organisation has engaged in shady deals in Mumbai, Pune and Gurgaon. The article suggests that a Trump presidency, in order to advance his financial interests, could try to please the Indian government by taking decisions that may hurt US national interests. It raised a pointed question, “If Trump takes a hard line with Pakistan, will it be for America’s strategic interests or to appease Indian government officials who might jeopardise his profits from Trump Towers Pune?”

The merit of this argument is hard to accept, to say the least. But generally, many foreign policy pundits in India seem happy that Trump has kept a positive tone on India. For instance, the Republican Platform talked of India as a ‘geopolitical ally and a strategic trade partner’ whereas the reference to Pakistan was in terms of securing its nuclear arsenal and in the context of the war on terror. In the larger strategic context, the Grand Old Party (GOP) looks to India to play a larger role in Asian and global affairs. The 58-page Republican platform went on to say that ‘the dynamism of its (Indian) people and the endurance of their democratic institutions are earning their country a position of leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world.’

It is almost certain that China is not excited about what Trump had to say about Beijing. The GOP platform, for instance, talked about the complacency of the Obama administration and how that has emboldened China to engage in a series of provocative actions such as issuing “threats of intimidation through the South China Sea” and “parading their new missile ‘the Guam Killer’.”
In addition, the platform drew attention to the continuing cultural genocide in Tibet and Xinjiang as well as how the promised autonomy of Hong Kong is stripped off. China as a currency manipulator and its offences against intellectual property rights were also highlighted. And the list goes on.

Taiwan also figured prominently, with the platform talking about the shared ‘values of democracy, human rights, a free market economy and the rule of law.’ The platform went on to say that the bilateral relations with Taipei will continue to be guided by the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, while noting opposition to either side trying to change the status quo. It further added that if China were to use means other than dialogue to force upon a situation on Taiwan, ‘the United States, in accord with the Taiwan Relations Act, will help Taiwan defend itself.’ The manifesto also mentioned the need to pursue ‘timely sale of defensive arms including technology to build diesel submarines.’ This categorical statement must be reassuring to Taipei in the wake of a strong and mighty China that has unilaterally tried to change the status quo in South China Sea and elsewhere.

Indian foreign policy pundits are excited that the mention of India, though limited, is in a positive light and that New Delhi is seen as an actor that should play a greater role in the Asian strategic framework, something former President George W Bush also talked about in his campaign. The fact that China and Pakistan do not stand to benefit a special relationship with the US if Trump were to be elected must be particularly soothing to Indian ears.

[Paraphrased and sourced from New Delhi-based Diplomatist Magazine, www.diplomatist.com

 

BRICS: Built on a solid foundation with KV Kamath at the helm

It’s a $100 billion encore for Kundapur, Vaman Kamath, who is the first head of the five nation (Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa) bank, officially known as the New Development Bank. Kamath has been credited with transforming the banking industry in India. ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank was founded under Kamath’s leadership in 1994, now commands an asset base of over $100 billion. China made the biggest contribution of $41 billion to the fund while Russia, Brazil and India contributed $§8 billion each. South Africa’s investment was $5 billion.

The New Development Bank is headquartered in Shanghai where Kamath spent a good amount of time during his tenure at Asian Development Bank between 1988 and 1996. The 68-year old banker is affectionately known as ‘KV’ by his friends, began his career in 1971 at ICICI, the erstwhile financial institution that was incidentally set up at the initiative of the World Bank. ICIC Bank was later set up as subsidiary of ICICI Ltd in 1994, while the parent later merged it in 2002. As Chief Executive Officer, he led the group’s transformation into a diversified, technology-driven financial service group that has leadership positions across banking insurance and asset management in India and abroad.

Back in 2008 when ICICI Bank was hit by widespread rumours of ‘run-on-the-bank’, Kamath lead from the front and brought everything back into order, even as hundreds of bank customers were queuing at branches and ATM’s to withdraw funds. Kamath said the rumours were ‘baseless and malicious’.

He retired as Managing Director and CEO in 2009 and became its non-executive chairman. Kamath has a mechanical engineering qualification and an MBA from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. He’s also served on the board of several other companies, including that of IT giant Infosys where he also serves as a non-executive chairman.

A Padma Bushan awardee, Kamath has always been a believer in the India growth story, including during the years of slower growth. Recently too, when some industry leaders including eminent banker, Deepak Parekh, expressed dismay over delay in reforms, Kamath remained confident about deliverables of the new government. He went to the extent of chiding the industry leaders to first set their own houses in order by improving their balance sheets.

Friends, colleagues and other industry leaders have known Kamath as a man of ‘big ideas and numbers’. When the entire world was heading towards a deep meltdown in 2008 – 2009, Kamath continued to exude confidence in the long-term growth potential of the Indian economy, the Indian banking sector and the Indian markets. In an interview with PTI, Kamath had said that he wanted a few Indian banks, including ICICI Bank, to be part of what he called ‘Ivy League of global banks’. He had also forecast that a few banks from China would be part of that league.

Some Chinese banks have indeed made it to the top of the charts globally, although the Indian banks had to cut down their global presence in the recent years due to a slowdown in the world economy.

-Economic Times

GLOBAL POWER: The US Election’s impact on BRICS

By Kester Kenn Klomegah

Some experts say that the many unresolved issues between the BRICS countries and the US will stand in the way, whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins. BRICS Journal asks academics and journalists for their political take

The basic approach will not change, US-centrism and commitment to US leadership/hegemony is an integral part of the American political mindset.” – Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs

“… the US still looks at BRICS as individual countries, albeit important countries. That may change when the BRICS development bank starts to make serious loans.” – David H Shinn, adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University

“The BRICS exchange has led to enhanced cooperation among the members along a wide range of policy areas where ministerial and expert-level work is conducted.” – Scott Firsing, an adjunct professor of International Politics and National Security at Coastal Carolina University 

 

“The India-Brazil-SA (IBSA) members of BRICS are all viewed individually and in bilateral terms. US policy overall is to ‘cherry pick’ among different countries in accordance with whatever agenda it has in play,” Francis Kornegay, senior research fellow at the Institute of Global Dialogue at the University of South Africa

 

 

With a few months to the next US presidential elections, media experts and scholars are discussing how the US foreign policy will be restructured under the new president and its implications for the BRICS countries. Later this year, the Republican Party’s nominee Donald Trump or the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, representing the Democrats, will replace President Barrack Obama in the White House in Washington, DC. Some experts say that whether Trump or Clinton wins, US policy will generally seek to intimidate Russia, and this would lead to high tensions between the US and Russia.

“The US view on BRICS is swinging between utter hostility and disparaging neglect. There are two ways [the US] interprets [BRICS]: it is an anti-American alliance forged by ugly Putin on the first hand, or that BRICS is a virtual non-existent fantasy by failing giants. [Subconsciously, perhaps they are] concerned by the emergence of something big and non-Western, but never articulate it because they don’t want to legitimise it,” says FYODOR LUKYANOV, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs and a member of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy in Moscow.

Lukyanov does not foresee a significant role will be played by Trump or Clinton in reshaping BRICS. The basic approach will not change, US-centrism and commitment to US leadership/hegemony is an integral part of the American political mindset. Although he does think that Trump could engender further hostility.

DAVID H SHINN, adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University in the US, however, explains that the US looks at BRICS as an organization. It still looks at BRICS as individual countries, albeit important countries. That may change when the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) starts to make serious loans.

According to an agreement made during the group’s sixth summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, in July 2014, the BRICS member countries established the NDB, with an initial authorised capital of $100 billion at its disposal. The bank officially started its operations in the Chinese city of Shanghai on 21 July, 2015.

Shinn, who is a former US ambassador to Ethiopia (1996-99) and Burkina Faso (1987-90), says: “To the best of my knowledge, Trump has said nothing about BRICS and I doubt he has given any thought to the organisation. Clinton, having served as Secretary of State for four years, is clearly familiar with BRICS, but I don’t believe she has discussed them so far during the campaign. I doubt that the election of either Clinton or Trump would change the US approach to BRICS as an organisation. But there could be significant differences in the way the two candidates deal with individual member countries, especially Russia and China.”

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