Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 21.2021
2021.05.24 — 2021.05.30
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
Officials of BRICS hold extensive talks ahead of its foreign ministerial meet (Официальные лица БРИКС проводят обстоятельные переговоры в преддверии встречи министров иностранных дел) / India, May, 2021
Keywords: foreign_ministers_meeting

New Delhi, May 28 (PTI) Officials of the BRICS grouping have held extensive discussions spanning four days on possible deliverables during India''s tenure as the bloc''s chair this year. The discussions took place at the second BRICS Sherpas'' and Sous Sherpas'' meeting from May 25 to 28, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.

It said the officials discussed the preparations for the meeting of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) foreign ministers on June 1. India is hosting the meeting which will be held in the virtual format.

It is learnt the discussions largely focused on issues relating to security, economy and finance besides ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The BRICS is known as an influential bloc that represents over 3.6 billion people, or half of the world''s population. The BRICS countries have a combined GDP of USD 16.6 trillion.

"They negotiated key deliverables for India''s BRICS 2021 chairship, including outcome documents for the foreign ministers'' meeting," the MEA said in a statement.

"The negotiations took place in a constructive and cordial atmosphere and BRICS partners appreciated the positive leadership of the Indian Chair in advancing intra-BRICS cooperation, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic," it said. PTI MPB AAR AAR

Second meeting of BRICS Sherpas and Sous Sherpas (Вторая встреча шерп и су-шерп БРИКС) / India, May, 2021
Keywords: top_level_meeting

The second BRICS Sherpas' and Sous Sherpas' meeting was convened under India's Chairship from 25-28 May 2021. The meeting was chaired by Secretary (CPV&OIA), Mr. Sanjay Bhattacharyya and Additional Secretary (Economic Relations), P. Harish, as India's BRICS Sherpa and Sous Sherpa respectively. Amb. Sarquis J.B. Sarquis, Brazil's BRICS Sherpa; Amb. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's BRICS Sherpa; Amb. Ma Zhaoxu, China's BRICS Sherpa; and Amb. Anil Sooklal, South Africa's BRICS Sherpa led their respective delegations.

BRICS partners discussed the preparations for the upcoming meeting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers of 1 June. They negotiated key deliverables for India's BRICS 2021 Chairship, including outcome documents for the Foreign Ministers' meeting.

The negotiations took place in a constructive and cordial atmosphere and BRICS partners appreciated the positive leadership of the Indian Chair in advancing intra-BRICS cooperation, despite the challenges of the Covid 19 pandemic.

BRICS meeting deliberated on emerging issues in Biotechnology and Biomedicine (На встрече БРИКС обсуждались актуальные вопросы биотехнологии и биомедицины.) / India, May, 2021
Keywords: cooperation, innovations

Experts deliberated on emerging issues in the various fields of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the fourth BRICS Working Group meeting on the subject area.

More than 60 participants, including researchers, academicians, and government officials participated from all five BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, participated in the online meeting organized from May 25 to May 26 2021.

The members of the working group on Biotechnology and Biomedicine suggested future directions of research collaboration among BRICs countries in the areas such as Antimicrobial Resistance, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health Medicine, Non-Communicable Diseases, Neurological Disorders, Agro-biotechnology, Food and Nutrition, Cancer, long Post-Covid Challenges and Complications including Molecular Pathogenesis of COVID-19 virus.

The meeting was sponsored by, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), China and was organized by the China National Center for Biotechnology Development. From Indian side, key scientific institutions that participated include Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, India, Banaras Hindu University, Delhi University.

India proposed BRICS Consortium to address Post Covid challenges, tackling Non-Communicable Diseases as Flagship Programme whereas Russia proposed Sustainable Agro-biotechnology for Healthy Food & Nutrition, advanced Virtual Reality assisted technology for neurorehabilitation. China proposed flagship on Cancer research as Flagship Programme.

The BRICS call secretariat representative indicated that the next call may likely be announced in the second half of 2021 and would include the Working Group recommendations.

The Indian side was led by Dr Sanjeev Kumar Varshney, Advisor & Head, International Cooperation Division, DST, who reiterated Indian commitment for co-investment of resources, including funding for supporting BRICS multilateral projects. Each BRICS country shared their experiences in fighting against Covid-19 and their pandemic preparedness. They presented their present work, their interests of joint funding areas, including opportunities for collaboration with other BRICS countries, their strengths, milestones and achievements in the field of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, highlighting research activities.

Key institutions from BRICS countries that participated in the meeting included The Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute and Hospital, Tianjin, China, Peking University, China, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, China, Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa, Skolovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), Russia, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ministry of Health, Brazil, South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC), South Africa.

This meeting is part of BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Calendar of Activities 2020-21 adopted by all BRICS countries. India has assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021; about 100 events, including Ministerial level meetings, Senior Official meetings, and sectorial meetings/ conference, will be organized as part of BRICS 2021 Calendar.
High Performance Computing (HPC) and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) discussed at BRICS Working Group Meeting (Высокопроизводительные вычисления (HPC) и информационно-коммуникационные технологии (ICT) обсуждались на заседании Рабочей группы БРИКС) / India, May, 2021
Keywords: innovations, cooperation

Future directions of research collaboration among BRICS countries in the areas such as High Performance Computing (HPC) and its weather-climate-environment applications; application of supercomputers to drug design, artificial intelligence, and HPC based precision medicine and public health, particularly for fighting pandemics as well as geoinformatics for sustainable development were discussed at the BRICS working group meeting.

Under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track, the Fifth BRICS Working Group meeting on High Performance Computing (HPC) and Information Communication Technologies (ICT) was hosted and organized in online mode by South Africa on 27th -28th May 2021.

All five BRICS countries Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, participated. More than 50 participants, including researchers, academicians, and government officials, took part in the meeting.

Mr. Sanjeev Kumar Varshney, Advisor & Head, International Cooperation Division, DST, who led the meeting from the Indian side, emphasized on the importance of this area in view of emergence of new disciplines like AI, big data, machine learning, and their potential applications in the areas of medical sciences, agriculture, earth science modeling and simulation. He confirmed India's commitment for co-investment of resources, including funding for supporting BRICS multilateral projects. Each nation shared their country's progress in building an HPC infrastructures network and areas of interest for advancing BRICS collaboration.

From the Indian side Dr. Sanjay Wandhker, Senior Director from C-DAC, presented India's initiative of Indigenous development of supercomputers under the National Supercomputing Mission and their applications in drug design to develop and deploy a user-friendly and comprehensive early warning system for flood prediction.

India will share the concept note on cooperation amongst the BRICS startups in deep technology in areas of healthcare, agriculture, and education. China proposed AI+HPC+5 G-based digital twin platforms and an open-source ecosystem for smart manufacturing, precision farming, and; precision medicine. Brazil and South Africa proposed the flagship project on Digital Earth.

The Working Group recommendations, which have been agreed by all BRICS nations unanimously, may be included in the next BRICS Call for Proposals. The BRICS call secretariat representative has indicated that the next call may likely be announced in the second half of 2021.

The BRICS HPC & ICT Working Group provides a platform for researchers from BRICS member countries to discuss and deliberate on mutual interest areas to forge partnerships and develop deep technology-based solutions for societal challenges such as affordable healthcare, sustainable agriculture, extreme weather events, and weather, and climate modeling etc.

The key scientific institutions that participated from BRICS countries included the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC) from India; National Laboratory of Scientific Computation (LNCC), Brazil, Senai Cimatec, Research Institute in Brazil, Research Computing Center, Moscow State University (RCC MSU), Russia, Guangzhou University, Sun Yat-sen University from China. And Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa, National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa, South African Weather Service, South Africa.

This meeting is part of BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Calendar of Activities 2020-21 adopted by all BRICS countries. India has assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021. About 100 events, including Ministerial level meetings, Senior Official meetings, and sectorial meetings/conferences, will be organized as part of BRICS 2021 Calendar.

BRICS As New Development Partners – Are They Different From Traditional Donors? (БРИКС как новые партнеры по развитию - отличаются ли они от традиционных доноров?) / Russia, May, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion, global_governance, political_issues

Valeriia Gorbacheva, GR-Director of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research – special for InfoBRICS

Dynamic and sustainable development of any country in the era of economic globalization reflected, inter alia, in closer integration of commodity and financial markets is bound to depend on economic conditions of both its immediate neighbors and many far away countries. Therefore, the developed nations, particularly members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, pursue their international development assistance policies proceeding from the assumption that failure to assist underdeveloped countries increases development risks for the entire global economy, undermines stability and security in most regions of the world, and worsens the threat of the spread of terrorism, infectious diseases, unregulated migration, and environmental disasters.

Russia considers sustainable socioeconomic development of countries and peoples as an indispensable element of the modern collective security system. A clearly formulated and targeted socioeconomic component of international initiatives can largely improve projects and programs designed to provide adequate responses to contemporary global challenges and threats.

Despite the evident progress, the international community still faces numerous development challenges:

- Global extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress. About 120 million additional people are living in poverty as a result of the pandemic, with the total expected to rise to about 150 million by the end of 2021.

- Half of the poor are children. Women represent a majority of the poor in most regions and among some age groups. About 70 percent of the global poor aged 15 and over have no schooling or only some basic education.

- More than 40 percent of the global poor live in economies affected by fragility, conflict and violence, and that number is expected to rise to 67 percent in the next decade. Those economies have just 10 percent of the world's population.

- Life expectancy in such countries is 40 years. They also have an urgent need to combat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB.

- About 132 million of the global poor live in areas with high flood risk.

Many people who had barely escaped extreme poverty could be forced back into it by the convergence of COVID-19, conflict, and climate change.

The complexity of the international development assistance (IDA) architecture is increasing over time, new actors are appearing, and the role of emerging donors is increasing. Effective interaction between all participants of the IDA process, and major improvements in its effectiveness, are required to achieve Sustainable Development Goals for the period up to 2030.

The effects of the current crisis will almost certainly be felt in most countries through 2030. Under these conditions, the goal of bringing the global absolute poverty rate to less than 3 percent by 2030, which was already at risk before the crisis, is now beyond reach without swift, significant, and substantial policy action.

History shows that urgent and collective action can help us tackle this crisis.

Russian aid

Russia shares the view that the governments of developing countries must shoulder primary responsibility for overcoming poverty and underdevelopment of their nations. However, it is clear that a radical improvement of socioeconomic conditions in these countries will be possible only if the international community takes resolute and concerted action to facilitate their development. Progress in poverty reduction and achieving sustainable economic growth demonstrated by a number of countries shows that international development assistance is crucial for addressing major challenges of the 21st century.

In the mid-2000s Russian official assistance was provided through multilateral channels. The Concept of Russian Federation's State Policy in the Area of International Development Assistance 2014 approved the development of bilateral aid channels as a priority for multilateral. Projects are also carried out on a trilateral basis involving international organizations. The UN and its structures are involved in the implementation of trilateral projects – UNDP, UNIDO, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, IBRD, etc.

Russia provides external economic assistance to developing countries in financial form (grants, concessional loans) and material form (various goods).

Debt cancellation due to limited resources and the presence of debts of developing countries to Russia remains one of the important areas of the Russian Federation in the field of IDA. The debt cancellation scheme involves the use of debt as a source of financing for development. Russia also assists in the energy sector by developing energy infrastructure in recipient countries. In the field of education, the Russian Program for the Promotion of Education for Development (READ) has been implemented jointly with the World Bank since 2008, aimed at strengthening the role of the Russian Federation as a donor in the field of education. In addition, foreign students study in Russian educational institutions at the expense of the state budget. Recipient countries are also provided with food assistance from Russia and assistance in the field of agriculture.

New donors vs. Traditional donors

The promotion of international development is a dynamic system, and in recent years, changes have been largely attributed to the growing role of so-called new donors. These include developing countries that are not members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), such as the Arab States and the BRICS group. At the same time, the name "new donors" is conditional, since all BRICS countries began to provide assistance back in the 60s of the last century.

There is no consensus on the place of "new donors," and BRICS in particular, in the system of promoting international development. On the one hand, their aid levels are still small relative to key traditional donors, so it is too early to talk about any significant changes in the overall architecture of development assistance. This is especially evident when compared with the largest five donors, which include the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, France.

The total amount of aid from traditional donors that are members of the Development Assistance Committee is $131 billion, while the amount of assistance from BRICS countries is $6.6 billion (2015). Thus, it cannot be said that BRICS members could at the moment radically change the existing system of development assistance, due to the relatively small amount of assistance provided.

On the other hand, the rapid increase in the volume of assistance and the increasing influence give reason to believe that in the 10-15-year term they can become significant players in the field. Countries themselves are actively promoting the new concept of South-South aid-partnership, which is positioned as an alternative to the traditional system of assistance resulting from political and economic reforms.

Among BRICS members, China and India are the most active in advancing this concept. Their assistance is largely aimed at stimulating exports by linking projects to the purchase of Chinese and Indian goods and services, as well as the development of transport infrastructure between them and neighboring countries.

Russia and South Africa on the aid strategy are more consistent with the strategies of traditional donors. So, most of Russia's assistance is sent to the EAEU countries (in particular, Kyrgyzstan) and Cuba. South Africa provides assistance aimed mainly at maintaining peace in the region (including in Sub-Saharan Africa).

The specific features of the South-South concept relate to the distribution of BRICS assistance by sector, which is slightly different from the distribution of aid from traditional donors.

Traditional donors operate within the modern paradigm of financing for development, that is, pro-poor and pro-inequality, and work in three ways: empowering the poor, promoting these opportunities, reducing vulnerability and improving the security of the poor. Thus, the main sectors to which development assistance flows are channeled are humanitarian assistance, public administration assistance to improve the efficiency of public authorities and improve the institutional environment.

In BRICS countries, especially in China and India, preference is given to infrastructure projects that can be mutually beneficial to the donor and recipient. In addition, in most cases, the choice of these projects is based solely on economic motives, such as stimulating the export of goods from the donor country to the recipient country. This is in line with the concept of South-South and the principles of non-interference in national policies and mutually beneficial assistance. At the same time, the differences between "new donors" and the traditional ones in the overall sectoral structure of aid are not fundamental, and the social sectors (health, education, humanitarian assistance) in the financing of development by BRICS countries receive quite a lot of attention, as in developed countries.

It should be noted that sectoral priorities differ among the BRICS countries themselves, and not all the five countries are characterized by this kind of aid structure. For example, Brazil and Russia prefer projects in the social sector. China and India mainly finance infrastructure and energy projects. Given that China and India are the largest donors to the group, energy and infrastructure are on the first places in measuring the total share of sectors in BRICS assistance. South Africa prefers to finance humanitarian projects and carries out peacekeeping activities in the countries of the region.

The geographical distribution of aid from "new donors" is relatively similar, given that most of the poorest countries are located in two regions, Asia and Africa. BRICS countries prefer assistance to African countries, with the exception of Russia. So, Brazil provides 65% of assistance to African states, India - 51%, China - 46%, South Africa - 70%.

The most significant difference between aid from Development Assistance Committee countries and "new donors" is the conditionality of aid.

- In the traditional system, the receipt of assistance is due to political and economic reforms, usually aimed at improving institutions, reducing the State budget deficit, privatizing State-owned companies and liberalizing the market.

- The concept of South-South implies non-interference in the domestic policies of the recipient country, so assistance is provided without conditions for certain reforms.

Consequently, with the increase in such support, traditional donors fear that assistance from developing countries will negate their efforts to improve the political and institutional environment of recipient countries. Indeed, since the negotiation of terms is a fairly lengthy process, credit without terms from "new donors" may look more attractive because of the relative speed and ease of receipt.

However, it should be noted that the problem is not so acute for several reasons.

- First, conditions are often not met by recipient countries without any severe sanctions from donor States.

- Secondly, compliance with conditions does not always improve the situation in recipient countries.

- Thirdly, the number of refusals of traditional donors in favour of "new donors" has been greatly exaggerated.

At the same time, the speed of aid negotiations and the absence of long bureaucratic procedures for approving the terms of funding of the project can be a decisive factor for recipient countries and therefore make assistance from "new donors" an addition to the existing system of financing for development.

- Fourth, infrastructure projects that are a priority for "new donors" can also help reduce poverty and inequality in recipient countries through several channels, including, inter alia, productivity gains by reducing transaction costs; increasing the income of the local population by involving them in the construction of facilities; Improved coverage and quality of education as a result of increased school attendance.

Thus, it can be said that aid from "new donors" has the same end-state goals and results as aid from traditional donors - reducing poverty and inequality in the recipient country, but the approaches to solving this problem vary among traditional and "new donors".

It could be concluded that it was not yet a question of creating an alternative system for promoting international development, but rather of complementing the existing system with new opportunities. Recipients do not refuse the assistance of traditional donors, but in some cases the assistance of "new donors," including BRICS countries, is more profitable and timely.

New Development Bank

The New Development Bank (NDB) is seen as a challenger of the international aid architecture dominated by the United States and its allies in Western Europe and Japan.

Slow and insufficient response to the COVID-19 crisis by traditional donors represents an opportunity for emerging powers such as BRICS to play a bigger role in the international development assistance framework. BRICS countries, especially China and Russia, have already shown a readiness to provide leadership on global issues and provide beneficial and well-timed international development aid.

Thus, the NDB has approved the first NDB Emergency Assistance Program in Combating COVID-19 in March, and by now has provided loans to Brazil, China, India and South Africa, totaling US$10 billion.

China and Russia have also taken some bilateral measures aimed at support of other developing countries.

Russia has distributed COVID-19 tests, protective and medical equipment, medicine, medical personnel and directed funds to 46 countries around the world. Apart from bilateral aid, Russia made additional contributions to international organisations such as United Nations Development Programme, Red Cross and World Health Organization.

In May 2020, China announced a US$2 billion aid package for other developing countries to be distributed in 2020-2021, the establishment of a cooperation mechanism of Chinese hospitals with 30 African hospitals, a debt relief programme, and promised to make any vaccine developed by China a global public good.

Obviously, these measures are similar to humanitarian aid actions taken by traditional donors, and to take the leadership, BRICS should present a striking difference to other countries, including scaling up of resources, increasing effectiveness of development assistance and its transparency.

Thus, if traditional donors follow the historical trend and decrease their ODA volumes in the post-crisis period, it will seriously challenge the world's ability to get on a sustainable development path in the near future. In this case, the BRICS nations, which often position themselves as representatives of emerging countries, have an opportunity to increase their role in global governance, although it depends on their ability to develop an ambitious agenda in development assistance sphere and show an example of effective and beneficial post-crisis development aid.

Russia and India: Natural Partners in Building a Digital World (Россия и Индия: естественные партнеры в построении цифрового мира) / Russia, May, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion, digital, social_issues

Much as for today's Russia, digital transformation has been one of the priorities for India's government, its entrepreneurs and the civil society. Despite the turmoil caused by the pandemic, the changes on the path of digitization taking place in Russia and India open up new opportunities for cooperation between the two countries and pose new problems.

Given that forecasts of India's economic growth are again—as it happened a year ago—downgraded, and the footage of today's tragic situation in the country dominates TV screens, it is difficult to believe that a significant part of the positive transformations of recent years in India has to be attributed to the technological progress of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the expansion of knowledge economy and a rapid digitization. However, this remains the case, and a study published recently by the SKOLKOVO Institute for Emerging Markets Studies in cooperation with the Indian School of Business focuses on the digitization aspect of the profound transformation that extends to the Indian economy and society as a whole.

The research report "India Goes Digital. From a local phenomenon to a global influencer" examines the main distinctive features that, as the authors argue, make India's digitisation profile unique. They include both fairly well-known aspects, such as the system of biometric identification of citizens operational in India, as well as less familiar features, including a close partnership between the state and private businesses in designing and implementing digitization programmes, their impact on the increasing financial inclusion as well as the boom of entrepreneurship, which is also largely associated with the rapid proliferation of digital technologies in India.

The study also examines the impact of digitization on the education sector, critical to India's development. It explores the great potential that India's educational companies have; after all, as of today, they are the fastest growing in their segment on a global scale, seeking international expansion, which makes quality education more accessible and effective for both developing and developed countries.

The study provides insights into the companies, institutions and entrepreneurs that make up the emerging digital India. In the segment of the study concerning Russian-Indian cooperation, the authors analyze the experience of Russian businesses in India and argue that it is necessary to strengthen the technological segment within the strategic partnership between Russia and India, which is not only dictated by the present-day requirements but also has a very significant potential.

The Russian-Indian partnership in the era of digital transformation

In 2020, Russia and India celebrated 20 years since the Declaration on Strategic Partnership was signed in New Delhi by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Vladimir Putin in October 2000. In December 2010, the India-Russia partnership was upgraded to the level of a special and privileged strategic partnership. In April 2019, President Putin signed an executive order, awarding Prime Minister N. Modi the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called for his distinguished contribution to the privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India and fostering friendly ties between the Russian and Indian peoples. The strategic status of relations is not exclusive for both countries; however, a profound mutual understanding on most of the issues on the contemporary and historical agendas is a unique feature of the Russian-Indian relations. The annual meeting of the leaders of the two countries did not take place in 2020; however, the next face-to-face summit is reportedly planned for 2021. The views of Moscow and New Delhi on the geopolitical situation in the two most important macroregions—Eurasia and the Asia-Pacific—where both Russia and India play an important role and where the two countries seek to smooth out the emerging divergence in approaches to their future deserve a separate analysis.

In April 2021, it was announced that a "two + two" dialogue with the participation of foreign and defense ministers would be established between Russia and India. India is already working with the United States, Japan and Australia in the same format.

In addition to the strong political ties, traditional cooperation in the energy sector, as well as military-technical partnership, is particularly prominent and important for both India and Russia. In September 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The Russian Far East, a vast territory designed to become Russia's new gateway to Asia, is open for Indian business, striving to become one of the new engines for the development of the Russian-Indian ties.

The planned Vladivostok-Chennai maritime corridor will become an important new transport link connecting the Russian Arctic and the Far East with India. In this regard, the energy bridge between the two countries, which implies trade and investment in oil and gas, LNG, nuclear energy, coal mining and processing, will certainly expand, given the natural complementarity of the economies of the two countries. Cooperation in the field of renewable energy, on which India puts a clear premium, and in the hydrogen economy, are also under discussion. The co-production of COVID-19 vaccines is an important recent addition to the list of priority areas for bilateral collaboration.

Besides, Moscow and Delhi intend to expand military-technical cooperation using the advantages of localization within the framework of the "Make in India" and AtmaNirbhar Bharat ("Self-Reliant India") programmes that are actively promoted by the Indian government and personally by PM N. Modi.

However, for various reasons, as is well-known, economic cooperation between Russia and India lags behind the level of their expanded political partnership. In 2019, Russian-Indian trade turnover amounted to $11.16 billion (while Russian exports to India amounted to $7.24 billion, India's exports to Russia amounted to $3.92 billion). Before the pandemic, the governments of the two countries set a goal to triple their trade turnover to $30 billion and to increase bilateral investments from $30 to $50 billion by 2025. N. Modi and V. Putin identified the intensification of trade and economic relations as a priority area of bilateral cooperation. The establishment of a free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is being considered.

Governments of India and Russia were tasked with identifying and removing the bottlenecks and obstacles to expanding economic ties. Russia's Ministry of Economic Development and India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion have launched fast-track, single-window mechanisms to facilitate smooth investments by Russian and Indian companies. "Invest India," an investment promotion and facilitation agency, established a special Russia desk to provide Russian businesses with a convenient platform for support and advice on investment issues. The Far East Investment and Export Agency, the Russian Export Center, Delovaya Rossiya, as well as the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and other organizations promote direct contacts between Indian and Russian business communities. Two rounds of strategic economic dialogue took place between India and Russia: in St. Petersburg in 2018 and in New Delhi in 2019.

2020 was the year of Russia's BRICS chairmanship, and despite the fact that the BRICS summit, like all other work, had to be held remotely, Russia tried to make the content of this work most up-to-date and relevant to today's requirements. Thus, the topic of cooperation between the BRICS nations in digitalization-related areas was reflected in the 12th BRICS Summit Moscow Declaration adopted at the meeting. In the new Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025, one of the three main directions identified was—for the first time—cooperation in digital economy. 2021 is the year of India's chairmanship in BRICS, meaning that the topic of digitalization, which is very close to India, will undoubtedly find further reflection in the work of the grouping. In recent years, India has made tangible progress in promoting Internet penetration, digital literacy, e-government, financial technology, e-commerce and so on.

Digitalization as Russia's top priority

Digital transformation is now one of the top priorities for Russia as well. This was reflected in the appointment of Mikhail Mishustin as Prime Minister of the country in January 2020. Speaking at the State Duma in 2020, M. Mishustin noted: "Digital is the oil, gold and platinum of the 21st century. If we do not get digital, digital will get us." Prior to his appointment as Prime Minister, M. Mishustin headed the Federal Tax Service of Russia, where he managed to overhaul the work of this department on a completely new digital foundation and in a rather short time span. Russia has developed the National Technological Initiative (NTI), a long-term programme aimed at ensuring the leadership of Russian companies on new high-tech markets that will emerge in the global economy during the next 15-20 years.

Like India, Russia is now preparing to test and deploy 5G networks. The national "Digital Economy" programme (planned up to the year 2030) is currently under implementation. NTI and Russia's other efforts in the technological field can be coordinated with the strategic plans of India in similar areas.

Complementarity and new cooperation avenues

So far, India's experience with digitalization is not well-known in Russia. With some exceptions, Russian businesses are largely unfamiliar with the changes taking place in India. Although Russian and Indian IT-industries have evolved differently, new complementarities and new opportunities for collaboration between them are emerging. It is noteworthy that the Russian Association of Software Development Companies RUSSOFT, founded in 1999, was created following the example of the Indian National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM). Today, companies, such as MaximaTelecom (solutions for digital cities and businesses), Lighting Technologies (lighting systems for smart cities), Technonicol (advanced building materials), Zyfra (artificial intelligence and industrial solutions based on the Internet of Things), Tactise Group (advanced solutions in the field of labour protection and industrial safety), as well as state giants such as Rosatom (India's key partner in the nuclear industry), are actively involved in India's innovative development path.

However, there exists great potential for expanding this list. Despite severe competition with both Indian and international players, solutions from Russia are in demand, Indian businesses and the national government are willing to work with Russian companies in their own interests, regardless of possible pressure from the outside. Several investment funds of Russian origin are also working with India, building bridges and striving to blend Russian, Indian and international experience. These include Sistema Asia Capital, RTP Global, DST Global. These are experienced tech-savvy investors, representing "smart money", equipped with the knowledge of working with complex markets, such as India.

The two countries have the potential for cooperation in deep technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, machine learning, smart energy infrastructure, smart logistics, photonics and new materials, microelectronics and semiconductors, as well as blockchain and financial technologies. An important element of support from the governments on both sides could be the establishment of so-called regulatory sandboxes—so that experimental legal regimes could facilitate cross-pollination and testing of ideas between technology companies and start-ups from India and Russia.

Amid today's realities, India cannot be solely viewed as a potential sales market. It is necessary to work with India as a valuable partner. India welcomes foreign businesses that help address its challenges without aggravating the country's problems (in particular, unemployment and environmental degradation). India offers incentives to localize production and has unique experience in scaling low-margin products and services. Importantly, Indian businesses are going global very actively and can serve as a springboard for Russian solutions to enter international markets.

Another potentially important area of cooperation between India and Russia is cybersecurity. In the rapidly unfolding digital world, the environment where people and businesses operate is becoming increasingly permeable, while the space that needs protection is more and more difficult to delineate with a security perimeter. Securing critical infrastructure will require new approaches and principles that may be based on quantum technologies and quantum cryptography. Currently, a national cybersecurity strategy is under development in India, and the country is facing regular cyber-attacks on its infrastructure, which Indian regulators, knowing the complexity and ambiguity of this topic, rightly avoid attributing to any specific groups of cybercriminals or naming their origins. At the same time, India's Western partners rush to attribute these attacks to China or North Korea.

Against the backdrop of the global pandemic crisis, the dangers associated with high technology seem to have receded into the background. However, there is no doubt that the pandemic has significantly accelerated digitalization; and in the new digital world, national independence and sovereignty of countries are becoming more dependent on technology than ever before.

Over the years, Russia has consistently advocated for a broad international consensus under the auspices of the UN to work out the principles of international law to govern cyberspace. Meanwhile, in response to growing digital threats and in the absence of comprehensive international regulation, cyberspace is becoming increasingly regional. In a newly evolving international environment, there are likely to be several technology clusters, each with their own security principles. It is in the interests of both Russia and India to agree on these principles at an early stage, so as not to find themselves on different technological continents in the near future.

Given the constant and consistent striving of both countries for sovereignty and adherence to international law and the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, Russia and India are natural partners in the formation of a new digital world, and if their efforts are intensified, this will stand to benefit not only the two countries but also the international community as a whole.

In line with global trends and reflecting the accelerating technological transformation within India, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs announced in 2020 the creation of the New and Emerging Strategic Technologies (NEST) department that will deal with technology diplomacy, foreign policy and international legal aspects of the new technologies. This is expected to enable India to become more involved in the global debate on technology governance and to better advocate for the country's national interests in this context.
Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, May 26, 2021 (Брифинг официального представителя МИД Марии Захаровой, Москва, 26 мая 2021 г.) / Russia, May, 2021
Keywords: mofa, sergey_lavrov, foreign_ministers_meeting, quotation

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend a Stand-alone Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs

On June 1, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in a Stand-alone Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations via video conferencing.

The Foreign Ministers are expected to discuss important issues on the international agenda, including ways to strengthen international institutions, regional conflicts, efforts to counter new challenges and threats including COVID-19, and cooperation between the five BRICS countries in the multilateral fora.

The five countries plan to review the status of and prospects for cooperation during this year of India's BRICS Chairship in three main areas – policy and security, economy and finance, culture and humanitarian contacts.

We support the priorities of the Indian BRICS Chairship under the motto "BRICS @15: Intra BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus", including strengthening the multilateral system, cooperation in combating terrorism, using digital and technological solutions to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, and enhancing cultural and humanitarian contacts. We share the Chairship's commitment to developing cooperation in healthcare and boosting the role of women in the economy.

In the run-up to the Ministerial Meeting a traditional Meeting of BRICS Sherpas/ Sous-Sherpas will also take place.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
The Role of BRICS Countries in Achieving SDGs Partnerships with Developing Countries (Роль стран БРИКС в партнерстве с развивающимися странами в достижении целей устойчивого развития) / Russia, May, 2021
Keywords: expert_opinion, economic_challenges

Matheus Marques, Intern of the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research – special for InfoBRICS

BRICS has been promoting internal and external agreements to build partnerships that are beneficial for both parties involved. Nonetheless, BRICS is still far away from what Western aid is, except for the Chinese case. Moreover, BRICS aims to support the sustainable development of other countries as they see solidarity and equality in their international relations.

BRICS countries have emerged in the early 2000s as the future of the world economy. As Goldman Sach's Jim O'Neill stated in 2001, BRICS economies were growing faster than G7 levels and they would consequently play key roles in the political, legal, and socioeconomic scenarios across the world.

In the early 2000s, BRICS saw the implementation of the United Nations Millennium Goals Campaign (2000-2015). However, most world countries were not taking the necessary efforts to mitigate the state of affairs, hence, the United Nations decided to implement new objectives for world development. That is how the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030) were born with 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030.

As new goals are supposed to be achieved, some inconsistencies lead to a situation where SDGs represent an unfeasible target for both developed and emerging economies, as many of the Millennium Goals were already ignored by them and the international community could have advanced much more.

Speaking of this, it is worth noting that BRICS countries have been progressing in the Agenda 2030 particularly in the field of decent work and economic growth (Brazil and Russia), industry, innovation and infrastructure (India and China), and peace, justice, and strong institutions (South Africa).

With the new Agenda 2030 of the Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, BRICS have also been showing that they are the main representatives of what is still the so-called developing world. BRICS have been building international partnerships, agreements, and projects to improve the living conditions of other countries. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa have also given foreign aid to enhance their cooperation efforts, especially in the global south.

Currently, this cooperation particularly seeks to implement sustainable development targeting key SDGs for developing nations. To exemplify, the End of Poverty (SDG 1), Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Industry Innovation and Infrastructure (SDG 9), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10), Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions (SDG 16) and Partnership for Goals (SDG 17).

To meet the SDGs globally, BRICS countries have increased their participation in international initiatives focused on expanding their geopolitical power in other regions across the globe. This means that they have been financially supporting developing nations with their infrastructure, economic growth, sanitation, industry, energy sector, and new technologies. Nevertheless, it is still lacking a common approach towards BRICS and their partners' development and none of those countries have a mutual partnership that addresses a common development for all of them together.

Additionally, BRICS is closer to developing states as this group represents emerging economies and is more linked to the South-South cooperation even with Russia being a country with indicators related to the global north. Consequently, these countries are more likely to have relations with countries in development because of historical similarities between them as third-world economies.

For example, China has been growing its relations lending money to African countries. On the other hand, insofar as those countries are increasing their debt, many of them can not honor that debt in the long term. Such cooperation is not limited to African countries but goes to Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America, which is aimed to improve the logistics, communications, and energy sectors.

From another point of view, one of the main differences between the usual aid from developed nations (OECD group) and the BRICS is that this last one looks forward to building connections that are beneficial to both parties without interfering in the political or ideological sphere of the respective country. However, the "Western countries" are more likely to have conditions that are imposed on the least developing countries as a way of interfering in their political and ideological structures.

Plus, when considering the most important sources of international aid such as the United States, Japan, and Germany, they are historically sending more aid to both developing and developed countries although BRICS still does not have a similar significance and only started aid policies back to the 1950s.

Looking into the South-South relations, BRICS represents a very important case of developing nations that registered exponential economic growth and social progress for a more efficient sustainable development. However, it is contradictory to see that if within the BRICS, there is a huge gap of socioeconomic conditions and human development indicators. For instance, to promote sustainable development, it should be observed that all these countries could already have better indicators or even close indexes. In the case of Russia, the country scores 0.824, which is a very high HDI, but for India, the HDI is 0.645.

Then, how can BRICS promote international cooperation for SDGs and create initiatives within their alliance to have a better sustainable development that considers their needs and also their partners'? This question remains unsolved as the BRICS cooperation is also recent. Hence, the SDGs and the BRICS for their partners is a long road that is still unknown and sometimes, like in the case of China, neoimperialist.

Recognizing this is essential to reach a common agreement where BRICS countries can be new partners for world development regardless of the obstacles for the success of their partnerships. Besides that, if BRICS countries begin doing what the traditional donors do, the aim of South-South cooperation will be broken and this will represent a critical point for the development of BRICS allies.

BRICS shall be a new door for international development from infrastructure, educational, scientific, and economic cooperation rather than being the key to close new opportunities for other developing nations that aim to have better living conditions and promote sustainable development with decent economic growth and open to improving people's lives. That is one of the reasons why BRICS was born.

World of Work
«BRICS. World of Traditions» holds the presentation of the multilateral Project of Truth about the Second World War («БРИКС. Мир традиций »проводит презентацию многостороннего Проекта Правды о Второй мировой войне.) / Russia, May, 2021
Keywords: social_issues

On the commemoration of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, the Second World War and the war against Japanese militarism the Regional public organization «BRICS. World of traditions» implemented the multilateral Historical and Literary Project «Peoples of BRICS. Dedicated to the War Heroes» (hereinafter – Project) in 2020.

The peoples of all BRICS countries, i.e. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, took part in the Second World War within the anti-Hitler coalition. The Jubilee Project is aimed at bringing people together on the basis of universal memory of war events, historical truth and respect for their heroes and serves to form the moral culture of the younger generation in the BRICS countries, prevent manifestations of nationalism and extremism in the youth environment, foster a deep respect for the history of their country and other states of the «Five» among children and adolescents.

The presentation of the Project of truth devoted to the events and heroes of the World War II was held on May 12, 2021 in the Hall of Fame of the Central Victory Museum. The Project of the truth solidarity of the BRICS peoples on the battlefields. The Project of truth about the great role of the Soviet people in the Victory over fascism and Japanese militarism.

People get this truth from historical and literary sources in the form of documentaries and books from authors based in the five countries. One of this films, «Unknown Stalingrad», filmed by the BRICS TV channel, was demonstrated before the start of the celebration.

The books revealing the true events that were presented at the exhibition on that day had been collected in the difficult year of 2020, in masks and gloves, literally, on the field, bit by bit.

A memorable part of the Presentation was an exhibition of truthful books by authors from the five countries, as well as an art exhibition of paintings on the topic of the Project, made by talented students of the College of Design and Decorative Arts of the Stroganov Moscow State Academy of Arts and Industry, who perfectly decorated the exposition of the books exhibition.

The host of the event, the PhD student of RUDN University, Anita Dkhar, with solemn fanfare on the background, announced the start of the long-awaited presentation of the Project, which had been organized in difficult conditions within more than a year period.

After the solemn presentation of a copy of the Victory Flag by the cadets of school No. 1547, the author and head of the Project, President of the RPO "BRICS. World of Traditions" Lyudmila Sekacheva, noted when opening the presentation: "The project of truth has become a literary and educational platform to call for the world with an appeal for non-violent resolution of all international and internal conflicts, disputed territorial issues.

Great representatives of the BRICS peoples teach us this values: Confucius, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Baron Rio Branco, who left their peaceful philosophical heritage to humanity as a moral instruction, a moral vaccine against the virus of violence reigning in the modern world."

Here the wise words of the Great Indian Teacher, the leader of the non-violent liberation from British rule, Mahatma Gandhi symbolically complete this idea: "Wherever there is a quarrel, no matter how opposed the opponent, conquer him only with love, as the law of love is stronger than any law of destruction ... An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind!"

Therefore, at the art exhibition guests could see wonderfully painted portraits of the Great Teachers of BRICS by students of the painting faculty of the College of Design and Decorative Arts of the Academy. S.G. Stroganov under the leadership of Olga Demidenko, specially prepared for the presentation. The artists presented their works to the Embassies of the BRICS countries to the Russian Federation during the ceremonial part of the presentation.

The event was organized by the RPO «BRICS. World of Traditions» (Moscow) and the International Union of Public Associations "Public Committee of War Veterans" (Moscow) represented by Vladimir Bednov.

The General partner of the event is URALCHEM JSC, the official partner is ASKOM (Moscow), project partners: Business Club «Territory of Success», Company «Zhasmin» (Sochi), «Concierge Service No. 1», «Lifebox», Charitable Foundation «Gift of the Sunshine».

The media partners of the presentation are the «International Affairs» magazine, TV «BRICS TV» channel, «Zvezda TV» channel, «Revista Intertelas» magazine (Brazil, Rio de Janeiro), «Confederation of Young Leaders of India» media platform (New Delhi).

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sherpa of Russia to BRICS Sergey Ryabkov, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sous-Sherpa of Russia to BRICS Pavel Knyazev, senior diplomats of the territorial Departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Ambassador of India to Russia Mr. D. B. Venkatesh Varma, Ambassador of Brazil to Russia Mr. Tovar da Silva Nunes, Ambassador of South Africa to Russia Mr. Mzuvukile Jeff Maketuka, Defense Attaché of the Embassy of China to Russia, Major General Kui Yanwei, military attaché of the embassies of Brazil and South Africa to Russia, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the International Union of Public Associations "Public Committee of War Veterans" Alexander Kovalev, deputy of the Moscow City Duma of the VI convocation, director of the Moscow State Budgetary Educational Institution "School No. 1409" Irina Ilyicheva, as well as the daughter of Leonid Mitrokhin, author of the book "Friends of the Soviet Union. Soviet-Indian Solidarity during the Great Patriotic War" - Olga Solodkova took part as the Honorary guests of the event.

The war veterans from Russia, teachers and students of MGIMO, Moscow State University, RUDN, partners of the Project became the guests of the meeting.

Opening the solemn part of the presentation, Sergei Ryabkov stressed that "BRICS countries are united not only by a common present, but also possess common plans for the future. They are united by history, our joint Victory over the common enemy." "Unfortunately, today we are witnessing incessant and growing attempts to falsify history, to denigrate the soldiers-liberators, to whitewash the Nazis and their accomplices. BRICS states are united in condemning these actions," the Deputy Minister emphasized.

The Ambassadors of the BRICS member countries to Russia addressed the participants with words of gratitude to the organizers of the event and reaffirmed the invaluable role of the Soviet Union in the Victory over fascism and Japanese militarism. The Ambassadors touched upon the development of relations between the countries of association in various fields.

The Ambassador of the Republic of India to Russia Datla Bala Venkatesh Varma emphasized that "the Soviet Union has been India's closest partner for several decades. India develops a diversified cooperation with the USSR successor - Russia. In particular, we are very grateful for the Russian assistance during the most difficult period for us during the spread of the coronavirus pandemic."

Brazilian Ambassador to Russia Tovar da Silva Nunes spoke about the circumstances of his country when joining the anti-Hitler coalition, noting about the expeditionary corps, which fought in Italy from September 1944 to April 1945, contributing to the liberation of the country. The diplomat especially stressed that the Brazilian military was sharing food with the starving population of the liberated country, helping to overcome the difficulties of the war.

The Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Russia Mzuvukile Jeff Maketuka recently arrived in the Russian capital, but already visited Red Square as a guest of honor on the Victory in the Great Patriotic War celebration and was shocked by the scale of the parade. In his speech, the diplomat emphasized that modern Russia and South Africa have been linked by strategic partnership since 2013.

"We have been developing economic and cultural contacts for almost three decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Friendship is developing between our peoples, and we hope that this will help our countries reach new frontiers. Friendship, which contributes to the promotion of new high-quality results,"- concluded the South African Ambassador to Russia.

Defense Attaché of the Embassy of the Peoples` Republic of China to the Russian Federation, Major General Kui Yanwei recalled in his speech that 76 years ago, after 1418 days of stubborn struggle, the Soviet people won the Great Patriotic War, while the Chinese people on the eastern part of military operations were still fighting Japanese militarism.

«The Chinese people will always remember the contribution of the USSR and the peoples of other countries to the victory over the Japanese invaders», - said Kui Yanwei.

According to the Attaché, "the Damocles sword of war still hangs over humanity. In these conditions, BRICS countries and other states must jointly maintain the international order and the system of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter".

Following the speeches, Ambassadors of BRICS countries received paintings and portraits of the Great Teachers of BRICS as a gift from young artists. The portrait of Mahatma Gandhi made by Nemo August was transferred to the Indian Embassy. The Brazilian Ambassador received the portrait of Baron de Rio Branco by Victoria Shevlyagina. Astakhov Makar presented his painting "Unification" - a portrait of Nelson Mandela, to the Ambassador of South Africa to Russia. Likhokon Varvara presented the portrait of Confucius to the China`s Embassy to Russia as a gift to the Defense Attaché at the Embassy of China.

Deputy of the Moscow City Duma of the VI convocation, director of school No. 1409 Irina Ilyicheva received a portrait of Leo Tolstoy with children from its author Mordalimova Adele as a token of gratitude for the implementation of the project "Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: a unique legacy" at the school.

Alexander Kovalev and Olga Solodkova also made a welcoming speech and received gifts from the organizers of the Presentation.

Oksana Voloshina, President of the «Territory of Success» Business Club, took part in the ceremony of portraits and gifts presenting during the solemn part of the Presentation.

Lyudmila Sekacheva cordially thanked the Department of Foreign Policy Planning and Territorial Departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Rossotrudnichestvo for supporting the Project.

The author of the Project expressed her gratitude to the Embassies of China and South Africa to Russia, Russian Embassy to India, the Russian Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro, Rossotrudnichestvo office in South Africa, and partners from India for assistance in obtaining books for the exhibition.

Special gratitude was expressed to the Embassies of India, China and South Africa to Russia for the gifts provided. A huge gratitude was also expressed to the General Partner - Uralchem JSC for the invaluable assistance in the organization of the Presentation.

Participants and guests of the event watched an information video "Writers and Journalists of the BRICS Countries speak about the Second World War" by the BRICS TV channel and a video report about the "Immortal Regiment" action in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 presented by the Brazilian magazine "Revista Intertelas".

The performances of the pupils of the «Katyusha» Center of Aesthetics and Beauty led by the Honored Worker of Culture of Russia Zemfira Tsakhilova were greeted with delight. Young artists recited poetry, performed the touching and costumed dance composition "The grandchildren of Victory", and the wonderful dance suite "Friendship of peoples".

The "Minute of Silence" was followed by an exciting mini-march of the Heirs of Victory - the Children's March «Immortal Regiment» with the song "Cranes" on the background. The march was performed by the pupils of the "Katyusha" Center, cadets and a dance group of senior pupils from school No. 1409 wearing white clothes and holding candles; together with them a nine-year old Russian-Brazilian great-grandson of the war Dmitry Guadanin Galashin was standing with two portraits of his Russian and Brazilian grandfathers.

The Presentation ended with the song "Victory Day" performed by Alexander Rishko. Children, honor guests, all the celebration participants sang along, holding gifts, white paper cranes made by students of school No. 1409, bright flags "Children of War" provided by the ASKOM Company and red carnations.

The festive event and the entire Project itself demonstrated the friendship and solidarity between the peoples of the "five" at all times of history, the unity of government and public diplomacy aimed at strengthening our common home BRICS - a beacon of peace, mutual understanding, trust and harmony.

Video report of the magazine "International life":

Video report of the international network "TV BRICS":

BRICS IBD Consortium International Office Settled at Renji Hospital (Международный офис консорциума BRICS IBD разместился в госпитале Ренджи) / China, May, 2021
Keywords: cooperation

On May 21st, the inauguration ceremony of the BRICS IBD Consortium International Office and the Symposium on New Concepts of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) were successfully held at Renji Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine. At the ceremony, it was announced that the BRICS IBD Consortium International Office was officially settled at Renji Hospital. Well-known experts and scholars in the field of inflammatory bowel disease at home and abroad attended the meeting or sent video messages or online calls to congratulate the establishment.

After the ceremony, Shanghai Symposium on New Concepts of IBD was held to discuss four MDT cases. Specific clinical problems were solved through multi-disciplinary discussion on the difficult cases in clinical diagnosis and treatment underwent joint consultation. Experts shared their insights enthusiastically and considered this event highly beneficial.

In 2019, the BRICS IBD Consortium was established under the joint initiative of Professor Claudio Fiocchi, an international gastroenterologist and American expert, Professor Flavio Steinwur, a Brazilian expert, and Professor Ran Zhihua, who was elected as the first chairman of the BRICS IBD Consortium after its establishment. The members of the consortium include the most outstanding scholars and clinicians in the IBD field in China, Brazil, South Africa, Russia and India, and is committed to actively promoting cooperation with internationally renowned IBD teams. The consortium has achieved fruitful results in the basic, clinical and educational fields of IBD. After more than two years' efforts, with the approval of the Council of BRICS IDB Consortium, the permanent address of the consortium international office was settled at Renji Hospital, and Shen Jun, chief physician of the Department of Gastroenterology, served as the director of the consortium international office. This is a major event in the international communication of the hospital, which marks the establishment of a solid international platform for the research of inflammatory bowel disease within Renji Hospital and also shows that the multidisciplinary IBD research team at Renji Hospital has received wide recognition from the international community.

BRICS research center to focus on vaccines (Исследовательский центр БРИКС сосредоточится на вакцинах) / China, May, 2021
Keywords: covid-19, research

A vaccine research and development center, namely the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center-China Center, was launched on Friday in Beijing to enhance ties among BRICS nations.

Chinese COVID-19 vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech said on Friday the establishment of the center, authorized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, will usher in broader international cooperation between the emerging markets that make up BRICS members-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The new facility is the only BRICS Vaccine R&D Center in China, said Xu Qiang, director of the Beijing Science and Technology Commission, at the launch ceremony-an event paired with the closing ceremony of Beijing Science and Technology Week in Haidian district on Friday.

The establishment of the center is in line with the central leadership's call at the 12th BRICS summit in November to work with other BRICS countries both online and offline to advance collective vaccine research and trials, set up plants, authorize production and recognize each other's standards.

President Xi Jinping said at the summit that to support the development of the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center, China has designated its own national center.

Yang Guang, chief business officer for Sinovac Biotech Ltd, said at the launch that the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center-China Center will further carry out cooperation not only with BRICS countries but also with other regions, and enhance ties with universities, scientific research institutions as well as health and disease control institutions worldwide to monitor contagion changes and virus mutations in order to promote vaccine research and industrialization. Sinovac will fund relevant institutions in real-world study regarding vaccine development.

The center plans to recruit scientists from around the world, Yang said.

She added that Sinovac has carried out fruitful cooperation with its Brazilian partner the Butantan Institute in developing and testing COVID-19 vaccines.

Moreover, following authorization, approved vaccines have achieved localized production in Brazil.

"In addition, Sinovac also cooperated with scientists from Indonesia, Turkey, Chile and other countries on the research of CoronaVac (a COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinovac Biotech)," Yang said.

So far, Sinovac has supplied around 540 million doses of CoronaVac for recipients in China and nearly 40 countries and regions globally, accounting for around a quarter of the total global coronavirus vaccine supply.

Xu added: "The establishment of the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center-China Center in Beijing demonstrates Beijing's edge in the vaccine field. In the future, the center will represent China's vaccine R&D capabilities and promote vaccine cooperation in the establishment of factories, strengthen research and development trials as well as authorize production to expand cooperation among BRICS countries."

BRICS vaccine center opens in Beijing (В Пекине открылся центр вакцинации БРИКС) / China, May, 2021
Keywords: covid-19, social_issues

BEIJING, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The BRICS Vaccine R&D Center-China Center was launched by Sinovac Research and Development Co., Ltd. Friday in Beijing.

The center will combine online and offline methods to promote joint research, vaccine development and testing, and factory building. It will also promote authorized production and mutual recognition of standards between Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the Beijing-based company said.

Sinovac supplied 540 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac to China and nearly 40 countries and regions worldwide, accounting for about a quarter of the total global supply. Nearly 400 million doses of CoronaVac have been administered globally, data showed. Enditem

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