Information Bulletin of the BRICS Trade Union Forum
Issue 2.2020
2020.01.06 — 2020.01.12
International relations
Foreign policy in the context of BRICS
BRICS must define the scope of the Upcoming War (БРИКС должен определить масштаб предстоящей войны) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: expert_opinion, national_security
Author: Dr Sundaram Rajasimman

Assassination of Qasem Soleimani [the head of Iran's elite Quds military force] under direct orders from the President of the United States is likely to further escalate into a military conflict in a region that holds vital security implications for India and other members of BRICS group of nation. By assassinating an influential military commander in the region the US has created a strategic opportunity that it has been looking for many years – a direct military conflict with Iran. While the US has issued threats to Iranian leadership of massive military retaliation in case of an Iranian military response to Soleimani's assassination on 03 January, Iran must remain wise not to take the bait.

However, Iran has no choice but to respond given Soleimani's stature in Iran and Iraq. As expected on 07 January Iran walked into the trap by launching a surface-to-surface ballistic missile (09) attack on Ain al-Asad airbase (Iraq), the largest of the Iraqi military compounds where foreign troops are based – not yet[1].

It is most likely that in response to Iran's rocket attack, the US will respond as it has warned to do so. If this follows, then Iran next move would be to take-over Bahrain – Iran now has fully entered the trap. In his first public statement after the Iran's missile retaliation President Trump ended his address by calling for peace and bright future for Iran. However, prior to greeting the audience at the start of his address he stated "as long as I am the President of the United States, Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons".

It is very likely that the US is going to decapitate Iran's nuclear weapons facility through air strike or other means. Can't predict this for sure given the signaling given by Russian President through his sudden visit to Syria – if I can defend Syria, I can defend Iran as well.

Iran's military capability at this point in time cannot absorb the offensive onslaught of the US military offense given that its strength is oriented towards defense and asymmetric warfare. Iranian military leadership is already taking about a proportional response and the end of escalation cycle thereafter. However, the US game plan is to set up Iran for a direct military confrontation where it has no military strengths and decimate its military potential in long-term and allow it minor influence in the regional politics of Middle East. In simple terms the US wants to be attacked so that it can then engage with Iran with its strength in conventional warfare as against asymmetric warfare – this is a set-up.

For India and other members of the BRICS group of nations, the sudden rise in oil prices and disruption in supply upon which its economic growth depends would be crippling. All major economic crises in India are directly linked to the events occurring outside of her. A sudden surge in oil prices or its delivery will have very immediate effect on the lives of its ordinary citizens and this in turn can cause political disruptions as well. Given this direct correlation India has no choice to remain a silent spectator to events in Middle East following the Iranian commander's assassination. It quite clears that India's strategic culture and its comprehensive national strength does not allow it to intervene in situations like these unilaterally. However, India is part of the powerful BRICS group of nations that can shape the outcome of the ongoing escalation cycle between Iran and the US.

BRICS from its inception 2008-09 has been a strong advocate of multi-lateralism and affirms the role of the United Nations in seeking peaceful resolution to international disputes.The sixth BRICS annual Summit held at in Fortaleza, Brazil, on 15 July 2014 for the first time recalled that "development and security are closely interlinked, mutually reinforcing and key to attaining sustainable peace.It condemned unilateral military interventions and economic sanctions and emphasized the unique importance of the indivisible nature of security, and that no State should strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others"[2].

However, apart from Russia no other BRICS member nation has devoted its military for this purpose. Russia's military intervention in Syria following the US led war on Libya was a case in point. Along with India and China, the BRICS group is a military superpower in every sense of the word. All annual summit meetings of BRICS group have stated in unequivocal terms the displeasure regarding the trend towards unilateralism

The US decision to by-pass not just the UN but also its domestic law making institutions to conduct assassination strike against a key military leader in Middle East responsible for defeating the territorial ISIS calls for not just a rhetoric but a tactical military posture from BRICS groups.

Though in popular perception BRICS is a grouping of emerging market economies, many of its policy objectives are directed against a West led international political and economic order. The situation in Iran provides BRICS nation with a strategic opportunity to establish itself as a force to reckon within the international system.

While Russia is perhaps the only country that can dedicate its military resources in defense of Iran given its combat experience and capability, India and China must also use this opportunity to expend its military potential in a region of vital strategic importance to them. India in particular must not aid the US forces as it did during the Gulf war and China must not see this war as a US distraction from the Western Pacific as it has in the past. The options therefore for India and other BRICS member nations are as following;

• Encourage Iran to delay its comprehensive military response indefinitely and await appropriate conditions to do so.

• Seek military assistance from BRICS in case of a full scale war.

• Allow Iran such military capabilities that would discourage the US from seeking a direct military conflict.

• Increase BRICS military presence in Middle East under the cover of humanitarian assistance to citizens of BRICS nations in the region.

• Allow Iran the capacity for protracted warfare and deny the US force a quick military victory.

• Mobilize public opinion in the western world against the US war plan.

• Advice military leadership of Iran to defend itself against hi-tech driven first wave of the US offense and preserve its forces during the initial days of the US offensive strikes.

The US war plans in Iran are directly linked to the security of BRICS member states in both long-term and short-term. BRICS must view this situation as a strategic opportunity and seize it. World economic history is testimony to the fact that war has its shadow all over global economy. The west led politico-economic world order was born in war will have to end in war. This is the reality and BRICS cannot escape it but face it.


[1]"Iran Fires "More Than Dozen" Missiles At Iraq Airbases Housing US Troops"NDTV (World News), 08 January, 2020. Available at [Accessed on 08 January, 2020].

[2]Sixth Summit: Fortaleza Declaration and Action Plan, Fortaleza, Brazil, on 15 July 2014.
Investment and Finance
Investment and finance in BRICS
Modi Govt Hits a $10.84 Bln Jackpot Ahead of National Budget (Правительство Моди выиграло джекпот в 10,84 млрд долларов) / Russia, January, 2020
Keywords: economic_challenges, narendra_modi

New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian government has hit a $10.84 billion jackpot nearly a month prior to the scheduled tabling of the national budget in Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 1 February, a sign of possible good news for the country's economy, which has just 4.5 percent growth at present.

Narendra Modi government has received a bumper response to the Legacy Dispute Resolution Scheme which aimed to facilitate small taxpayers to clear the baggage of disputes under legacy taxes like service tax and central excise that were subsumed in the Goods and Service Tax in July 2017.

A Finance Ministry source told Sputnik: "87.5 percent of the taxpayers who were eligible for the scheme have availed the scheme, declaring tax dues of $10.84 billion."

Balance taxpayers, mainly the large taxpayers, haven't yet opted for the scheme. "Amount worth $23.94 billion is under litigation from large taxpayers," the source said, adding that the department is pursuing them to pay up as the scheme closes on 15 January.

This comes as a breather for the Indian economy, which is facing a fiscal challenge amid falling revenues.

Foreign direct investment into BRICS: an empirical analysis (Прямые иностранные инвестиции в БРИКС: эмпирический анализ) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: economic_challenges, research
Author: Javeria Maryam, Ashok Mittal


This paper examines empirically the role of selected macro-economic variables in determining FDI inflows in the context of BRICS countries. The study employed the Pooled Mean Group (PMG) Auto-Regressive Distributive Lag (ARDL) method for annual dataset over the period 1994 to 2018. The findings of the study indicate that factors like GDP, trade openness, exchange rate, gross capital formation and availability of infrastructure facilities are significant in long run. The country-specific analysis for short run indicates that among BRICS, the FDI determining variables differ in each country. Among BRICS, China is the finest country with the significant and positive effects of examined variables in stimulating FDI inflows. As BRICS economies are facing challenge at the global level, the study suggested the need of adoption of liberal policies to attract more FDI along with growth promotion.

Brazil's Vector of Dedollarization of Trade and Settlements between BRICS Countries (Бразильский вектор дедолларизации торговли и расчетов между странами БРИКС) / Russia, January, 2020
Keywords: trade_relations, research
Author: Natalia Khmelevskaya


The resultant backlash is accelerating monetary dialogue among the BRICS countries through their common financial institutions (BRICS NDB, BRICS CRA) in the rise of protectionism, current account imbalances, currency mismatches, mounting strains on national banks, increasing external shocks on payments systems. Analytically, this study is based on the quantitative parameters of intra-BRICS trade from 2009-2018, the exchange rate statistics and indicators (NER, REER).

Keywords: BRICS, exchange rates, export growth, trade settlements, dollarization
Which Countries Will Grow And Which Countries Will Shrink In 2020 (Какие страны будут расти и какие страны будут сокращаться в 2020 году) / USA, January, 2020
Keywords: economic_challenges, expert_opinion
Author: Kenneth Rapoza

The World Bank published its Global Economic Prospects report for 2020 on Wednesday, and almost everyone is growing—everyone that is except Argentina, Iran and much poorer countries like Haiti.

(Venezuela is no longer on the World Bank's map.)

Argentina's economy is projected to contract 1.3%, with Haiti contracting 1.4%. Iran growth is seen flat at the moment, at 0%, though that will surely change as President Trump announced tougher sanctions against the Persian nation on Wednesday. U.S. officials are set to meet with their European counterparts in the days ahead to discuss ways to pressure Iran back to the negotiating table on the broken nuclear power deal.

One takeaway from the annual report is that everyone is growing and there is no recession in sight for at least the next two years, despite the constant hemming and hawing about it in some segments of the financial media.

Overall global growth for 2020 is forecast to reach 2.5%, up from 2.4% estimated in 2019. The World Bank has global growth inching up in 2021 to 2.6% and in 2022 to 2.7%.

U.S. GDP is seen coming in at 1.8% this year, then slipping to 1.7% in 2021.

Meanwhile, emerging markets will have a better year this year than last year, especially in Brazil and Russia, which hope to push their average GDP to 4.1% growth in 2020 from 3.5% last year, and a forecast 4.3% next year.

Not bad.

Within the BRIC countries, China will grow below 6% growth for the next three years, but that is no surprise. Even Beijing has forecast this now. The World Bank has China growing 5.9% this year.

Growth has decelerated more than previously expected due to cooling domestic demand and heightened trade tensions. Trade policy uncertainty and higher tariffs on weighed on corporate investor sentiment for most of 2019. Industrial production growth has reached multiyear lows and trade flows have weakened substantially, the World Bank said in its report.

The next three years of Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro should be good, economically speaking at least. His country's GDP growth rate will actually beat the U.S. for the first time in many years, rising to 2% this year, 2.5% next year and 2.4% in 2022 if all goes according to plan.

Russia is forecast to grow 1.6% in 2020 and 1.8% over the next two years.

Low interest rates and public infrastructure projects from the National Projects program are helping the Russia growth story, a story plagued by U.S. sanctions and lackluster demographics.

Lastly, within the big four emerging markets, India should grow by 5.8% this year, up from 5% forecast for 2019. India's growth rate is expected to rise over the next two years as well, providing the locals can drive the economy with consumer spending.

Key risks to India's outlook include a sharper-than-expected slowdown in their trading partners, a re-escalation of regional geopolitical tensions with Pakistan, and a setback in fixing state banks that lent too much money to high-living, big-spending executives like former Forbes listed billionaire Vijay Mallya, and suffered mightily because of it.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is slowing, but growing.

The manufacturing sector remains weak, possibly due to trade issues with China. Also, support from tax cuts and regulatory rollback in Trump's first two years is expected to fade fully this year and no longer be a growth factor, World Bank economists wrote.

Even though all economies in the world are in growth mode, a few of them are not growing as much as they did in 2019, with China being the biggest standout in emerging markets.

The only developing countries the World Bank reviews that will grow less in 2020 are Poland and Pakistan. Other developing nations that are not part of the emerging markets index, namely Vietnam, will also grow less in 2020, with a forecasted growth rate of 6.8% versus 6.5% for 2019.

The U.S., Japan and euro zone economies will also grow less this year.
Political Events
Political events in the public life of BRICS
SA needs more visa-free deals if it wants to stop losing 'passport power' - expert (ЮАР нуждается в большем количестве безвизовых сделок, если она хочет прекратить терять «паспортную власть» - мнение эксперта) / South Africa, January, 2020
Keywords: social_issues
South Africa

Although the South African passport has lost 10 positions over the last decade on the latest Henley Passport Index, the country could play catch-up if a concerted effort is made to secure mutual visa waivers with so-called "high quality nations".

This is the view of Amanda Smit, managing partner and head of South, Central and East Africa at the UK-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm Henley & Partners.
South Africa ranks 56th on the latest index, which ranks passports in the world according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The UAE, for example, managed to increase its passport's position on the index by 47 places over the last 10 years to 18th place, Smit told Fin24 on Wednesday.

Going places

Looking specifically at the BRICS countries, of which SA forms part, Smit said that, while Brazil and China improved their positions on the index over the past 10 years by nine and sixteen places respectively, India and Russia have also seen the power of their passports decline during that time, dropping by seven and two places respectively.

Smit says one might think the SA passport's visa free or visa on arrival access to 100 destinations is a lot, but compare that to the Japanese passport (ranked in first place on the index) which offers 191 visa-free destinations.

On top of that, none of the 100 visa free destinations for an SA passport are in what Smit describes as the "most popular" destinations. In her view, that makes it more difficult to be "mobile" for business or leisure purposes.

She also argues that, while other African countries' passports mainly remained static on the index, the SA passport lost ground.

Among African countries, the Seychelles remains the regional lead, ranking 29th globally with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 151, while Mauritius retains second place with a visa-free or visa-on-arrival score of 146.

"My advice is that, if SA wants to improve the strength of our passport, we must be more proactive to obtain mutual visa agreements with other countries - preferably 'high quality' nations," Smit says.

Down, down, down

The index shows the US and the UK continues on a downward trajectory.

While both countries remain in the top 10, their shared 8th-place position is a significant decline from the number one spot they jointly held in 2015. Finland and Italy share 4th place, while Denmark, Luxembourg, and Spain together hold 5th place. Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the index, with access to only 26 destinations worldwide.

Countries with citizenship-by-investment programmes continue to consolidate their positions on the index. Malta currently sits in 9th place, while Montenegro holds on to 46th place. In the Caribbean, St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda have secured 27th and 30th spot, respectively.

List of PM Narendra Modi's international visits in 2019 (Список международных визитов премьер-министра Нарендры Моди в 2019 году) / India, January, 2020
Keywords: narendra_modi

As we know that Narendra Modi's schedule is so tight that while travelling to save time he sleep inside the aircraft. His international trips reveal not just his preference for allies in India and abroad, but also provide some important link in his trips. Let us have a look at the list of international or foreign trips made by PM Narendra Modi in 2019.

JAN 8, 2020 15:52 IST

PM Narendra Modi's Foreign Visits in 2019
There are several international visits or trips made by PM Narendra Modi in 2019 year for various purposes. Analysis of his tips with purpose, date, etc. are provided in this article that will help to revise the aspirant preparing for competitive examinations whether UPSC, PSC, SSC, etc.

List of PM Narendra Modi's international visits in 2019

1. Brazil (13 November, 2019 - 15 November, 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official visit from 13 November to 5 November, 2019 was to Brazil.

Purpose of the visit

- To attend 11th BRICS Summit. This was second visit of PM Narendra Modi to Brazil.

- Bilateral talks with the counterparts from China, Brazil and Russia. Let us tell you that this was the sixth time that Modi Ji participated at the BRICS Summit. Fortaleza in Brazil 2014 was his first BRICS summit.

About 11th BRICS Summit

BRICS Summit of 2019 was the 11th annual BRICS Summit. It is an international relations conference attended by heads of government or heads of state of the five member states namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Meeting was held at the Itamaraty Palace where the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located.

Theme of BRICS Summit was "Economic growth for an innovative future".

Topics discussed in the Summit: To strengthen the cooperation in the field of science, technology and innovation, to enhance cooperation on digital economy, cooperation to fight against transnational crime, especially against organised crime, money laundering, and drug trafficking, to encourage the reapproachment between the New development Bank (NDB) and the BRICS Business Council.

Meeting between PM Narendra Modi and China President Jinping

- To meet high-level mechanism on trade and economy.

- Special Representatives will have another meeting for discussing matters related to the Boundary Questions and reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and security in the border areas.

- Also focus on trade and investment.

Meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin

- Both the leaders reviewed the progress made in the bilateral relationship since PM Modi's visit to Vladivostok.

- The target of bilateral trade that is $25 billion has already achieved.

- To dismantle the barriers of trade at regional level, the first Bilateral Regional Forum at the level of Russian Provinces and Indian States be held next year.

- Both leaders reviewed the progress made in the field of the infrastructure mainly railways in context of raising the speed of the Nagpur-Secunderabad sector railway line.

- Decided to cooperate in Defence sector and Civil Nuclear Energy.

Meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Brazil President Jair Messias Bolsonaro

- PM Narendra Modi invited Bolsonaro to be the Chief Guest at Republic Day 2020.

- To enhance strategic partnership between both the countries.

- Discussed the cooperation regarding space and Defence sectors.

- PM Modi Ji also welcomed the decision of the President to grant visa free travel to Indian citizens.

2. Thailand (2 November 2019 – 4 November 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official visit to Thailand took place from 2 November to 4 November 2019.

Purpose of the visit

- ASEAN related summits including 16th ASEAN India Summit, 14th East Asia Summit, the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit and related events.

Note: This was Modi's seventh ASEAN-India Summit and sixth East Asia Summit.

- PM Narendra Modi held meetings with the world leaders and discussed about the importance of bilateral and global issues.

- At ASEAN Summit he discussed about bilateral and global issues.

- He attended Sawasdee PM Modi community programme in Bangkok.

- The state negotiations were also reviewed by the leaders in the summit.

14th East Asia Summit

It was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 4 November, 2019. Let us tell you that East Asia Summit is a meeting held annually by the nation leaders from the East Asian region and adjoining countries. 18 countries, head of state and heads of government had participated in the summit. The host of the East Asian Summit 2019 is also the Chairperson of ASEAN, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha.

- Cooperation on political, security and economic issues of common regional concern were discussed and also plays an important role in the regional architecture.

- The theme of East Asia Summit is Advancing Partnerships for Sustainability.

Important points regarding visit

- On 2 November PM Narendra Modi arrived Bangkok and released a commemorative coin, marking the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and a Thai translation of the Tirukkural, a great Tamil classic.

- In the ASEAN Summit, Modi Ji addressed the centrality of ASEAN in India's Act East Policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.

- He also highlighted the convergence of our approaches to the Indo-Pacific.

- He also focused for intensification of partnership in capacity building including areas like agriculture, science, IT, engineering and network of universities.

- He also called for greater surface, maritime, digital and people to people contacts and connectivity.

- Between India and ASEAN countries, he referred to $1 billion line of credit which could be used to strengthening the connectivity in both physical and digital way.

- Under the India-ASEAN university network, he announced in creating an endowment of about Rs 50 million to promote exchanges between faculty as well as students.

- 50 scholarships will also be offered in agriculture universities.

- Announcement to hold the Tata festival along with India – ASEAN Hackathon early on in 2020.

- Sub-regional cooperation including the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation and India's recent joining as development partner of ACMECS initiative which is the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy.

- Various initiatives of India are under implementation like commitment of India to offer 1000 PhD scholarships for ASEAN students at IITs.

- Establishment of Centers for Excellence in software development and training in the CMLV countries with a budget of about $8.6 million.

- To enhance connectivity and strengthen ASEAB mechanisms through sea, land, air, digital, people to people, deepening economic partnership, enhancing cooperation in the digital domain like cyber security, and improving maritime security.

3. Saudi Arabia Visit (28 October 2019 - 29 October 2019)

PM Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the King of Saudi Arabia Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Purpose of the visit

Bilateral talks were held with the Crown Prince, took part in the separate delegation-level talks with him and also addressed the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh.

Important points of the visit

- Discussed about regional and international issues of mutual interest.

- Friendship and partnership in economic, social, cultural and civilisational ties between the people of two countries.

- Both agreed on the importance of bilateral engagement to promote ways to ensure the security and safety of waterways in the Indian Ocean region and the Gulf region from the threat and dangers that may affect the interests of the two countries including national security.

- It also called for closer cooperation in the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center, strengthening cooperation in combating terrorist operations, exchange of information, capacity building and strengthening of cooperation in combating transnational crimes within the framework of the existing bilateral security cooperation.

India and Saudi Arabia signed 13 MoUs

  • Strategic Partnership Council Agreement
  • Agreement on Security Cooperation
  • MoU Cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy between Saudi Ministry of Energy and Ministry of New & Renewable Energy of India.
  • MoU Cooperation in the Field of combating illicit trafficking and smuggling of narcotic drugs, physocotropic substances and chemical precursors.
  • MoU between Saudi General Authority of Military Industries (GAMI) and Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence concerning collaboration in military acquisition, industries, research, development and technology.
  • MoU cooperation in the field of Civil Aviation.
  • MoU between central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) for Cooperation in the field of medical products regulations.
  • Letter of Intent between Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, of the Republic of India.
  • Cooperation and Programme between Foreign Service Institute, MEA and Prince Saud Al Faisal Institute of Diplomatic Studies (IDS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia.
  • MoU between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited and Saudi Aramco.
  • MoU for cooperation between National Stock Exchange and Saudi Stock Exchange.
  • MoU between National payments Corporation of India and Saudi payments.
4. USA visit (21 September 2019 - 28 September 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the United Nations and his itinerary visit was in Houston in Texas and New York.

Purpose of the visit

- Multilateral engagements at the United Nations.

- Bilateral visit covering political meetings, interaction with the business community and with the Indian Diaspora.

- Bilateral meetings in New York with world leaders.

Important Points of the visit

- USA (21 September 2019 - 28 September 2019)

- He addressed a large gathering of over 50,000 Indian-Americans in Houston event 'Howdy Modi'.

- On 22 September, PM Modi Ji addressed the Indian community.

- On 23 September, several multilateral events were there in New York beginning with the Climate Summit that was organised by the UN Secretary-General.

- It was followed by another event hosted by UN Secretary-General on Universal Health Coverage.

- PM Modi Ji also focused on the Government's program, Ayushman Bharat.

- On 23 September, another event was the leader's dialogue on Strategic Responses to Terrorists and Violent Extremists Narratives.

- In the UN an event was organised by India to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in the UN. The title of the event was "Leadership Matters - Relevance of Gandhi in Contemporary Times". Three launches took place in the event: First, to install the Gandhi Solar Park installation of solar planet at the rooftop of the UN headquarters and for this $51 billion grant was sanctioned.

- Second, to inaugurate the Gandhi Peace Garden at the State University of New York Campus at Old Westbury. Here, around 150 trees were planted to honour Gandhiji's 150th birth anniversary.

- The third was a release of a UN postage stamp on Gandhi Ji.

- On 24 September, Prime Minister Modi Ji was honoured by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the Global Goalkeeper's Goal award for his leadership in the field of sanitation through the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

- PM Modi Ji also on 24 September addressed the opening plenary of the Bloomberg Global Business Forum.

- On 27 September, he addressed the General Assembly.

- Besides these meetings, PM Modi Ji had several other bilateral meetings on various topics across all continents.

5. Russia Visit (4 September 2019 – 6 September 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Russian Federation on the invitation of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

Purpose of the visit

- 20th India – Russia Annual Summit in Vladivostok.

- Modi Ji also participated in the 5th Eastern Economic Forum as the Chief Guest.

Important Points about the visit

- Both leaders at the jubilee of the 20th Annual Summit discussed the progressive development of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.

- Also, they decided to cooperate with their parliaments and focused on the importance of interparliamentary interaction.

- Satisfied with the trade turnover and wanted to bring it to $30 billion by 2025.

- To engage more actively the impressive resource and human resource potential of India and Russia.

- To enhance industrial cooperation.

- To create new technologies and investment partnerships mainly in advanced high-tech areas. Also, to find new avenues and forms of cooperation.

- Both the leaders also welcomed the holding of the 2nd edition of the India- Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue that took place on 10 July, 2019 in New Delhi.

- The aim of the 2nd edition was to promote cohesive and mutually beneficial economic cooperation across core sectors by way of structured and continuous interaction between our two countries.

There are several MoUs and agreements signed between the two leaders some of them are as follows:

  • Joint Statement "Reaching New Heights of Cooperation through Trust and Partnership".
  • Joint Strategy for the enhancement of trade and investments between India and Russia.
  • Cooperation in Audiovisual Co-production and for this the agreement is signed between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Russian Federation.
  • Cooperation plan between the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Ministry of Finance, Republic of India and the Federal Customs Service Russian Federation for combating customs violation in 2019-2022.
  • Investment Collaboration and for this cooperation agreement between invest India and the Russian Direct Investment Fund was signed, etc.
List of Important Schemes launched by the Modi Government

6. France Visit (22 August 2019 – 23 August 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visited France at the invitation of President Macron.

Purpose of the visit

- Bilateral meetings

- G-7 Summit as 'Biarritz Partner'

Important points about the visit

- Before G-7 Summit, Prime Minister held bilateral meetings with the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe.

- A memorial was dedicated to Indian victims due to two Air crashes that took place in France in the 1990s and 1960s.

- From both side, it was noted about the progress made in the development of bilateral trade and economic relations.

- India-France Administrative Economic and Trade Committee (AETC) provide an appropriate framework to promote bilateral trade and investment.

- Also, they will solve the issues related to trade and investment issues between the French and Indian companies, including additional ways and mechanisms.

- In the digital space also the two countries will support economic and social development through open, secure and peaceful cyberspace in which international law applies.

- To expand Indo-French bilateral cooperation and for that, both the leaders have adopted cybersecurity and digital technology road map mainly in high-performance computing sectors and artificial intelligence.

- The Cooperation agreement was signed between the centre for Development of Advanced Computing and Atos to develop quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and exascale supercomputing.

- They have also signed several MoUs.

What is Cyber Crime and how is it increasing day by day?

7. United Arab Emirates and Bahrain Visit (23 August 2019 – 25 August 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's State visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took place on 23-24 August 2019 and Bahrain on 24-25 August 2019.

Purpose of UAE visit

- State visit

- Bilateral Meetings

Important points about the UAE visit

PM Narendra Modi met His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

- PM Modi Ji also received the 'Order of Zayed', the highest civilian decoration conferred by the UAE government.

- With the bilateral investments and annual bilateral trade of about $60 billion, the UAE is the third-largest trade partner of India.

- The UAE is the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India.

Purpose of Bahrain visit

- This was the State visit to Bahrain and the first-ever Prime Ministerial visit from India to Bahrain.

- Bilateral meetings

Important points about the Bahrain visit

- PM Narendra Modi met with the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Prince Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa to discuss the entire spectrum of bilateral relations.

- Regional and international issues were discussed in the meeting.

- Bahrain King namely Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa also hosted banquet dinner in the honour of Prime Minister.

- PM Modi Ji also launched the renovation of Shreenathji temple in Manama.

- From the last few years trade between India and Bahrain increases and reached about $1.3 billion in 2018-19.

- Around 3, 50, 000 Indian nationals in Bahrain participated in the development of Bahrain.

= There are almost 3000 India-owned/Joint Ventures in Bahrain that indicate the intense economic engagement between the two countries.

- Several MoUs were signed between them.

8. Bhutan visit (17 August 2019 – 18 August 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bhutan at the invitation of Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister of Bhutan. After assuming office for the second time in May 2019, this was Narendra Modi's first bilateral visit.

Purpose of the visit

- State visit

- Bilateral talks related to trade, developments, etc.

Important points about the visit

- Both the leaders met in a restricted format. In the honour of Modi Ji, Tshering hosted a State Banquet.

- The King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the Queen hosted a lunch in the honour of Modi Ji.

- During the talks, both the leaders reviewed all the aspects of the bilateral relationship including regional and international developments.

- Reaffirmed the shared security interests and reiterated their commitment to maintain close coordination on matters related to security and national interests.

- Both the Prime Ministers formally inaugurated 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Plant.

- Both the leaders had launched the facility of the use of the Indian-issued RuPay cards in Bhutan which will facilitate Indian travellers to Bhutan by reducing the need to carry cash. Also, it will boost the economy of Bhutan and integrate the economies of both countries.

- Both the leaders have decided to work on the next phase of the project that is the issuance of RuPay cards by the Bhutanese banks that will benefit Bhutanese travellers to India and allow inter-operability of RuPay cards.

- Feasibility study for the use of India's Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app in Bhutan was also agreed to promote the cashless payments between the two countries.

- Both the Prime Ministers also inaugurated the Ground Earth Station of the South Asian Satellite in Thimphu which was constructed by the support of ISRO.

- Tshering also appreciated Modi Ji's launch of the South Sian Satellite (SAS) in 2017 as a gift to the countries in the South Asia region that make cost-effective Bhutan Broadcasting Service and also enhance the disaster management capacities within the Kingdom.

- Both the leaders also agreed on the joint development of a small satellite for Bhutan. Joint Working Group (JWG) will be formed for this work.

- Several MoUs were also signed between both the Prime Ministers.

Which country has the strongest passport in the World and why?

9. Japan visit (27 June 2019 – 29 June 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Japan.

Purpose of the visit

- 14th G20 Summit in Osaka from 28-29 June 2019.

- Runs a meeting marathon in G20 Summit

- Bilateral meetings

- He met with the leaders of Japan, US, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, and Australia.

- Pull-side meetings with Thailand, Vietnam, World Bank, UNSG, France, Italy, Singapore and Chile.

Important points about the visit

- Under the Japanese Presidency the G20 Summit theme was "Human-centered future society".

- Issues discussed in the summit are Free trade and economic growth, global economy including taxation, finance, Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence, inclusive and Sustainable World, Energy and Environment, Quality infrastructure, Global Health, Aging, Climate Change, and Marine plastic waste.

- The Summit had also adopted the declaration.

- India has participated in all the G20 Summits and 2022; India will host the G20 Summit for the first time.

- Issues that are important for India and discussed in the G20 Summit are energy security, financial stability, disaster-resilient, infrastructure, reformed multilateralism, WTO reforms, countering terrorism, the return of economic fugitives, food security, democratisation of technologies and portable security schemes.

- The Sabang port is developing by India in Indonesia which is a big step in the nation that will provide waterways in the Indian Ocean.

- Modi Ji met with the President of Brazil also and discussed the trade and investment, agriculture, and biofuels in the context of climate change.

- Modi Ji also held discussions including defence and counter-terrorism with the President of Tokyo, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Also, talked about the strong development partnership between Indian and Turkey.

- The meeting between Modi Ji and Donald Trump was focussed over trade as US raising tariffs on aluminium and steel and revoking India's beneficiary status under generalised system of preference (GSP) and India responding raising tariffs on certain categories of imports.

- The second Japan-India-US trilateral summit established its position as the core group to power the Indo-Pacific strategy.

- On June 27 Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a talk with the Shinzo Abe on the global economy, issues of fugitive economic offenders and disaster management.

- Both the leaders also discussed the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor and a convention centre being built in Varanasi.

10. Kyrgyztan Visit (13 June 2019 – 14 June 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Kyrgyztan.

Purpose of the visit

- Modi Ji attended the meeting Council of Heads of State (CHS) of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek (Kyrgyz Republic) on 13-14 June 2019.

- Bilateral Meetings

Important points about the visit

- Topics like the global security situation, multilateral economic cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and on topical issues of international and regional importance were discussed in the summit by the leaders.

- Modi Ji met with the President of Kyrgyztan Republic Sooronbay Jeenbekov and exchange views on bilateral relations, international and regional issues of mutual interest.

- Both the leaders developed cooperation in the industrial sphere, mainly in textiles, garments, mining and information and communication technology.

- To improve connectivity projects will be generated that will benefit both the countries.

- Cooperation in the fields of science, culture, education, health care, tourism, sports, information, protection of intellectual property and innovations, protection of the national cultural heritage and other areas.

- Both the leaders agreed to jointly explore the opportunities of training and capacity, development in the areas of Tourism, Ecotourism, Environment Protection and Wildlife Conservation.

11. Maldives and Sri Lanka visit (8 June 2019 – 9 June 2019)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Purpose of the visit

- Neighbourhood First Policy

- Bilateral Meetings and State Visit

Important points about the Maldives visit

- Modi Ji visited Maldives at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

- The discussion was focused on ethnic, historical, socio-economic and cultural ties between the two countries.

- They inaugurated the Composite Training Facility of the Maldives National Defence Force in Maafilafushi and the Surveillance Radar System by remote link.

- To achieve sustainable social and economic development, they welcomed the signing of $800 million Line of Credit Agreement in March 2019.

- Both discussed to work on several projects including port development, health, agriculture, fisheries, tourism and energy.

- Highlight the impact of combating climate change, especially detrimental to developing countries like Small Island Developing States such as Maldives and agreed to strengthen the global response to climate change through the UNFCC and the Paris Agreement.

Note: Do you know that PM Modi Ji is the only second foreign Head of State or Government to address the People's Majlis in its 86 year history.

Important points about the Sri Lanka visit

- PM Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka on 9 June 2019.

- This was the first visit by a foreign leader after the tragic events of 21st April when several bomb blasts that resulted in huge casualties in Sri Lanka.

- He met with the President of Sri Lanka Sirisena and with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

- He met with the leader of opposition Mahinda Rajapakse and head of TNA, the Tamil parties, Sampanthan.

12. South Korea visit (21 February 2019 – 22 February 2019)

PM Narendra Modi visited South Korea at the invitation of Moon Jae-in, the President of the Republic of Korea (ROK). This was his second visit to Seoul.

Purpose of the visit

- State Visit

- Bilateral meetings

Important points about the visit

- The Future map was prepared that focused on a shared vision of people, peace, and prosperity for the future.

- Bilateral trade is $21 billion, two ways and the target that was set is $50 billion by the year 2030. The main focus was on how to push this target.

- Negotiations on CICA.

- President Moon Jae-in showed interest in the defence corridors that the government is developing in India, one in Tamil Nadu and other in Uttar Pradesh

- Agreement to have a post stamp on princess Suriratna.

- Coproduction of a film on the life of Princess Suriratna between an Indian and a Korean film company.

- The Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation ceremony was held on 22 February.

These are the foreign visits in detail made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.

World of work
Social policy, trade unions, actions
Confucius Institutes in Brazil and BRICS Education Cooperation (Институты Конфуция в Бразилии и сотрудничество БРИКС в сфере образования) / China, January, 2020
Keywords: social_issues, cooperation

For the most part of the first decade in the 21st century, the five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — were among the fastest growing emerging markets. Certainly, the term, first coined as "BRIC" by Goldman Sachs in 2003, does not mean that these countries are a political alliance (like the European Union) or a formal trading association, though they have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc. Leaders from the BRICS countries regularly attend summits together and often act in concert with each other's interests.

The first BRICS summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia; the 11th summit was held in Brasília, Brazil in November 2019. During the past 10 years, the BRICS countries have had many achievements in various fields, such as infrastructure construction, international trade, education, and so forth. And among all the different kinds of cooperation, educational cooperation and cultural exchanges are playing the key role as bridges, among which Confucius Institute and Chinese language teaching/learning activities have made a great contribution.

The rapid rise of China has set off a global "Chinese wave," and Chinese language teaching has also developed rapidly in Brazil. Since language is the carrier of culture, the lack of language skills is one of the major obstacles to the political, economic, trade, and cultural exchanges between China and Brazil. There are a number of elements involved in this issue, such as the external conditions of Chinese learning in Brazil, the motivation of Brazilian students to learn Chinese, the political relations and economic ties between China and Brazil, as well as the quality of education provided by Chinese Confucius Institutes. As a result, there is in an urgent need to strengthen the study of current problems in the process of China-Brazil education cooperation and language teaching/learning activities.

In the perspective of language education theory and cultural exchange, it is clear that the extraterritorial dissemination of language is always influenced by various cultural differences, and the process has never been smooth. The official language of Brazil, Portuguese, and Chinese have huge differences in nearly every aspect, including writing systems, pronunciation, grammar, cultural background, and so forth. All these differences have put sand in the wheels of the popularization of the Chinese language in Brazil.

As such, in order to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the current situation of Chinese teaching/learning in Brazil and the relationship between the two countries, this article will make a brief review of the past and present of Chinese teaching in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and present insights on the problems and future development.

The Development of Chinese Language Teaching and Learning in Brazil

Historically, the Brazilian people first entered into exchanges with China through their bilateral trade with Macau as the medium. In August 1880, the government of the Qing Dynasty and the Brazilian mission signed the "China-Brazil Treaty of Good Trade and Navigation" and formally established diplomatic relations between the two countries. However, due to geographical and economic factors, the two countries were not able to form a closer relationship. On August 15, 1974, China and Brazil signed a communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Since then, China's national strength has been comprehensively upgraded, especially after "reform and opening up," and the links between China and the rest of the world, including with Brazil, have also been fully rolled out. In this context, China-Brazil relations have reached a new height. The promotion of Chinese language teaching and learning in Brazil has also grown at the same pace as the development of Chinese national strength as well as the bilateral ties between China and Brazil (in the framework of BRICS).

Most of the earliest Chinese language teachers and tutors in Brazil were immigrants and their descendants, who came to South America from southeastern China in the late 19th century. Before the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and Brazil, Brazilian students were learning traditional Chinese for the most part, and most of their teachers and tutors were from Taiwan.

The political and economic relations between China and Brazil have developed rapidly in the 21st century. In December 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), and Chinese language teaching in Brazil enjoyed an unexpected and rapid development boost.

In 2009, China became Brazil's largest trading partner, largest export destination, and second largest source of imports. As China's large enterprises successively invest and build factories in Brazil, China-Brazil economic and trade cooperation has reached a new high. Exchanges and cooperation in the fields of science, technology, education, and culture have also been further deepened. The local media of Sao Paulo even coined a word "Chinamania," which means "crazy about China," to describe the popularization of the Chinese language.

Currently, the Confucius Institute is the main institution for the spread of Chinese in Brazil. The first Confucius Institute in Brazil was established in July 2008 by Hubei University and São Paulo State University. The scale of the college has been expanding since the establishment of Confucius Institute.

In the past 11 years, the number of students at the Confucius Institute at São Paulo State University has grown from the 104 to more than 2,000 registered in 2019; the number of teaching points has increased from the original 1 to 14.

The main campus has five multimedia classrooms and a voice lab, a 300-person multi-purpose lecture hall, a dedicated library, and complete hardware facilities. The Confucius Institute at São Paulo State University now employs more than 20 Chinese teachers and volunteers and about 10 local Brazilian staff, who are serving more than 7,000 students in that city. Therefore, it has become the largest Confucius Institute not only in Brazil but in South America. Due to its growing contribution to people-to-people exchanges and cultural communication between the two countries, it has won the title of "Best Confucius Institute in the world" twice, in 2012 and 2016.

Up to now, Brazil has built 11 Confucius Institutes and three Confucius Classrooms. In addition to the regular Chinese language courses, the Confucius Institutes and Classrooms are also fully integrated with the practical conditions of each school, offering courses in additional topics such as business Chinese and kung fu, and actively cooperate with the local education bureau to promote Chinese language courses in Brazilian middle schools.

The Confucius Institute also makes full use of Chinese traditional festivals, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Spring Festival, to hold lion dances, Tai Chi performances, Chinese calligraphy demonstrations, cheongsam displays, and other Chinese cultural performances, so that Brazilians can get close to China and Chinese culture. The cultural activities, jointly organized by the Confucius Institutes and domestic partner universities, are warmly welcomed by Brazilian students and local citizens. Overall the Confucius Institute has become an indispensable bridge for cultural exchanges between China and Brazil, both in terms of the scale of teaching/learning activities and in terms of public influence.

Promoting China-Brazil Education Cooperation in the Framework of BRICS

The 5th BRICS Education Ministers Meeting was held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on July 5, 2017. Delegations led by Chen Baosheng, China's minister of education; Prakash Javadekar, India's minister of human resources development; Lyudmila Ogorodova, Russia's vice minister of education and science; Marcos Caramuru de Paiva, Brazil's ambassador to China; and Diane Parker, South Africa's deputy director-general for universities of the department of higher education and training.

The ministers agreed that the past decade had witnessed rich fruits of cooperation in politics, economy, and people-to-people exchanges, among BRICS countries. In particular, cooperation in education has continuously and steadily deepened and achieved important progress, which greatly improved cultural and people-to-people interactions and the overall cooperation among BRICS countries.

BRICS countries have continuously expanded their cooperation in the educational sector, registering positive progress in the level, scope, content, and mechanism of the cooperation. In order to stay resolved and united and deepen cooperation to boost the development of education, BRICS countries should join hands in promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges and enriching the forms and content so as to make educational cooperation a pillar and highlight of cultural and people-to-people exchange among BRICS countries.

As all delegates agreed that more "BRICS initiatives" should be proposed to lead and promote the development of quality and equal education around the globe. Language teaching and learning activities may play the most important role in cultural communication and people-to-people exchange. The rapid growth of Confucius Institutes in Brazil has made a lot of contribution in this field since 2008 when the first Confucius Institute was jointly established by Hubei University and São Paulo State University.

Looking ahead to the future, more two-way communication and exchanges are urgently needed, in which Chinese students may also enjoy and learn about the splendid Brazilian culture and history through Confucius Institutes and its Brazilian counterparts or cooperation partners. In particular, the growing strategic mutual trust generated by the BRICS framework may provide the indispensable political environment for all these people-to-people exchanges and cultural activities, and finally construct a valid source strengthening the people-to-people ties among all BRICS countries.

Wang Peng is Associate Research Fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.

Think tank meets to promote BRICS cooperation (Аналитическая группа встретилась, чтобы способствовать сотрудничеству БРИКС) / China, January, 2020
Keywords: think_tank, cooperation

The association of BRICS has become one of the most important multilateral cooperation mechanisms in the world, during which think tanks from the five member countries have put forward many valuable and feasible policy suggestions, said participants attending a forum.

Hosted by the China Council for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Think Tank Cooperation (CCBTC) and organized by the Beijing International Studies University, the 3rd annual conference of CCBTC was held in Beijing on Friday.

More than 200 Chinese scholars and representatives of universities, research institutions and enterprises had in-depth exchanges on the theme "Path to Rejuvenation amid Biggest Change in a Century."

The forum discussed diverse topics such as great changes unseen in a century and China-US relations, global governance and new South-South cooperation, and new industrial revolution and a community with a shared future for mankind.

Guo Yezhou, CCBTC chair and vice minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), said that the council's responsibility and value are to provide intellectual support for BRICS's cooperation.

Guo stressed that all governing units should focus on promoting new South-South cooperation, and pay close attention to the turning points caused by scientific and technological changes to grasp insightful methods of the changing international environment.

Guo also noted that the council will continue to provide platforms and resource support for all governing units.

Huang Yiyang, a deputy director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that think tank cooperation among BRICS countries have been enriched and expanded under the guidance of CCBTC, and many valuable and feasible policy suggestions have been put forward for BRICS's cooperation.

Huang stated that BRICS's cooperation has become one of the most important multilateral cooperation mechanisms, and hoped that all governing units of CCBTC can take full advantage of their strengths, actively deliver suggestions and speak out to the outside world and make contributions to the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

The council released two academic achievements: the blue book of the South-South Cooperation - BRICS cooperation and development report (2019) and the BRICS sustainable development report 2018, and also hosted the inauguration of the council's official website.

The first BRIC summit was held in Russia's Yekaterinburg on June 16, 2009, before the induction of South Africa in 2010, focusing on means of improving the global economic situation and reforming financial institutions.

The CCBTC was established in January 2017 during China's presidency through the initiative of the IDCPC, reported on Monday.
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