Indian Elections: Modi claims victory for BJP

After seven weeks long and seven phases the India election which started on 11 April, has finally come to a close. Prime Minister Narendra Modi garnered a landslide victory securing he and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) another term – vote counting is on-going.

According to The guardian, the BJP amassed 290 seats. The BJP is expected to gain almost 300 seats out 542 in congress which is up from their previous result in 2014 of 282 seats.

A new five year term for Modi and an endorsement of his policies means that he has more breathing space and stronger mandate to enact policies unable in his previous term.

Modi also promised to unity India after elections, the second most populous country in the world is not without its divisions.  In terms of foreign policy, Modi will now the tackle the tension with Pakistan and  resolve its issues with the US over Iranian oil and Russia weapons purchases.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

India launches new satellite to observe Earth

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched a new satellite yesterday –  Radar Imaging Satellite-2B (RISAT-2B) satellite took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota and will be the third satellite to join India’s RISAT satellites already in space.

The RISAT satellites will observe earth and India’s weather patterns, a first of its kind for the country. India also plans on launching a new series of satellites in the future, for other task such agriculture conservation and telecommunications. The satellites will also help in disaster relief efforts.

 

Source: www.space.com

Cape Town Theatre School to partake in the BRICS Drama Festival in Moscow

Image source: Waterfront Theatre School

Waterfront Theatre School, a Cape Town, South Africa based school will be participating in the BRICS Drama Festival in Moscow. Students from the esteemed theatre school have been once again invited to The University of Theatre Arts in Russia – with the support of the Presidential Grant Fund, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Moscow Culture Department.

Members of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa association during the 10th annual summit of the grouping agreed to more collaboration in arts and culture.

READ MORE:The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes

The 3rd BRICS drama school festival will be held from the 27 May to 6 June 2019. “The project has also received support from the Western Cape Department of Arts and Culture, Proud Partners, the South African National Dance Trust (SANDT) and The M Lahann Trust”, as reported by broadwayworld.com.

This year’s topic is “Greek Theatre and the chosen text is Oedipus Rex”. As per broadwayworld.com, the Waterfront Theatre School will be focusing on choral scenes in Oedipus Rex. Their performance will be concentrated on the traditional African practices of worship, prophecy, protest, celebration and mourning to the ancient text. The focus will be specifically Xhosa tradition.

Brazil will this year host the 11th BRICS Summit. 

READ MORE: Brazil confirms date for the 11th BRICS Summit

 

Source: broadwayworld.com

SA attends WTO Ministerial meeting in India

 

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will this morning attend the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) Ministerial Meeting in India.

The aim of the ministerial meeting is to exchange views and ideas on how to best address the challenges facing the Multilateral Trading System (MTS), as well as discuss issues of concern to developing countries.

The two-day meeting which gets underway today, is taking place in New Delhi.

This as there are different diagnoses of problems facing the MTS. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the exchange of views among participating countries on current developments in the Multilateral Trading System with a view to promote inclusive growth and development.

“We need to shape a multilateral trade environment that is conducive and supportive of industrialization, and supports structural transformation and economic diversification. This includes recognizing the necessity of policy space for developing countries, especially African countries to pursue our development objectives and promote regional integration,” said Davies.

The Minister further highlighted that the meeting is taking place at a time when global trade is going through a period of uncertainty with an increase in protectionism in some countries and a backlash against trade agreements and globalization due to lack of inclusive growth.

The Government of India that is organizing this meeting, expressed the hope that this meeting will provide a direction on how to constructively engage on the various issues facing the WTO.

These include the current challenges in the appointment of Appellate Body Members in the build up to the next WTO Ministerial Council meeting that will take place in 2020.

The meeting in Delhi will conclude tomorrow.

 

– SAnews.gov.za

France makes plea for India, Brazil, Germany and Japan to be included as permanent members of UNSC

France has made a plea for India, Brazil, Germany and Japan to be included as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). According to France his is “absolutely needed” as only a reformed and enlarged UN Security Council will better reflect contemporary realities. The inclusion of these countries is among France’s “strategic” priorities.

 François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York and head of France’s UN mission said that “Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and a fair representation of Africa in particular are absolutely needed at the table to get towards a fairer representation of the Security Council. This is for us a matter of priority.”

 

 

Source: domain-b.com

How BRICS can use AI to lead in the 21st century

In October 2017, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took part in an online conference with people in China. During the conference, one of the participants asked what China-Russia ties would look like in 2050.

Medvedev’s response did not make headlines. It should have – because he talked almost entirely about artificial intelligence (AI). Several months later, in May 2018, a similar development took place.

Following a trip to China by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, China and India launched an AI corridor, boosting co-operation between Indian software companies and Chinese firms in high-tech manufacturing and information technology projects.

As with Russia, this development did not make headlines. In June 2017, a Sino-India standoff occurred over disputed territory near the three-way border between India, its ally By Abishur Prakash

How BRICS can use AI to lead in the 21st century Bhutan, and China. The dispute lasted a few months and nearly led to war. Then, in an effort to “reset” or mend ties, India and China turned to AI.

A few months after this, in July 2018, at the 10th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg, a memorandum of understanding was introduced to bolster co-operation on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as “Industry 4.0”.

As AI and robotics create new opportunities and challenges, BRICS member states are starting to look to each other for support. The writing is on the wall for anyone paying attention. BRICS, a grouping of nations that represent 25% of the global economy, is looking to AI for its future.

For now, AI is being used to strengthen ties between members. But in the future, BRICS could go beyond this. The bloc could start using AI to redefine and restructure geopolitics – a move that could take the world in brand new directions.

Full Article in BRICS Journal Issue 7

How innovation is playing an increasingly central role in India diplomacy

Innovation is increasingly becoming a buzzword in India. In 2016, the country launched its flagship innovation programme, Atal Innovation Mission, focused on scaling start-up incubation centres and promoting innovation culture among schoolchildren by providing them with hands-on experience in 3D printing, the internetof things (IOT) and robotics.

A consistent policy focus on innovation seems to have helped India improve its ranking in the Global Innovation Index, from 81st in 2015 to 57th in 2018. Notably, this strong domestic policy focus is supplemented by the country’s ongoing diplomatic efforts in forging strong economic ties with other nations, based on innovation – a strategy known as ‘innovation diplomacy’.

India’s ongoing efforts in promoting bilateral investment and cooperation in the area of innovation had a strong impact in 2017. The theme of innovation, R&D and start-ups remained an important agenda point in almost all the bilateral visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in other diplomatic engagements.

The launch of the India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund in August and India’s hosting of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (convened by the US) in November reflected the serious intent of the Indian government with regard to innovation diplomacy.

Full Article in BRICS Journal Issue 7

Focus sectors for the 2019 BRICS Summit

Brazil, 2019 BRICS host has outlined focus sectors for their host year. The South American powerhouse announced interesting sectors as priorities for the 11th Summit.

Related: Brazil confirms date for the 11th BRICS Summit

Among the focus sectors announced by Brazil are scientific technical and innovative cooperation, digital economy, fight against organized crimes and money laundering. Brasilia will this year be taking the rotating presidency of the bloc created in 2006 that includes also Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

South Africa played a host of the BRICS 10th Summit with a diversity of discussions – development, economic growth, prosperity, peace, and security.

Related: The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes

 

Source: Economic Times

India successfully launches PSLV rocket

The India Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in to orbit early this mornin. The rocket which carried military electronic surveillance satellite and 28 nano-satellites for companies in the United States, Lithuania, Spain and Switzerland successfully deployed its cargo at two different altitudes.

The rocket also had solar panel arrays allowing it to generate power which let the rocket move in to two different altitudes. Launched from the Sriharikota base and island off Indian East Coast, it will mark the first time ISRO has put Satellites in to three different orbit. It will also be the first time and India Rocket has multiple stages in its delivery of its payload.

The PSLV was the third generation rocket and carried the combined weight of 220 Kgs of satellites which further shows how the Indian Space Industry advancements are catching up to the US, EU and Russia. The first PSLV was launched in 1994 and has since proven its reliability have since 39 successful mission launches.  

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka  

 

BRICS New Development Bank positive on Asian economies

Annual reports from the Boao Forum for Asia say that Asia remains competitive in creativity, tech innovation, and economic openness. Some are concerned whether Asia can keep its competitiveness in face of global volatility, but Leslie Maasdorp, vice president of the BRICS New Development Bank is bullish on the momentum of Asian economies.

“There is no question as the reports suggested. Asia right now is and will continue to be a significant growth engine in the world economy,” he told CGTN.

He mentioned that, in addition to traditional growth engines, the openness of the economy, application of new technology as well as innovation become the new sources of growth in Asia.

2018 witnessed some serious currency depreciation in emerging economies, between 10 and 40 percent against the U.S. dollar. Maasdorp said that it’s fundamentally because of a strong U.S. dollar, not a domestic problem.

“Emerging markets suffer from the direct impact of the movement in the U.S. interest rate. If the U.S. dollar rises, it directly leads to the reversing capital flows out of the emerging markets. So many of the emerging markets, like Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey, suffer from this,” he explained.

“Let’s take Turkey as an example. The impact of that significant depreciation in the Lira has taken huge and immediate effect on other emerging markets,” he added.

He noted that for Asian economies or any other emerging market, the key thing is to insulate from any extremeness of global volatility. “You can do this in a number of ways. One way is to have strong savings and investment rate, which is Asian economies have,” he said.

He also said that other emerging markets are not so fortunate as their investment flows are influenced by external volatility. And he thought commodity-based economies are more easily affected by external factors as they are pricing commodities in U.S. dollars.

As the U.S. Fed signals no rate hike for 2019, he believed that depreciation pressure would be absolutely eased. “A stable U.S. interest rate that is predictable for the future should provide a better environment for investment decision,” he stressed, projecting that emerging economies would develop in a more stable and predictable environment.

 

ISSUED BY: CGTN Global Business