THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 24 January 2020 (As India prepares to honour Bolsonaro )

As India prepares to honour Bolsonaro

Mains Paper 3:
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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi often does the unexpected, the surprise sometimes being agreeable, at other times the reverse.
  • His invitation to leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at his inauguration in 2014 and hosting all the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders at the Republic Day in 2019 were in the first category; the demonetisation in the second.
  • He has now produced another surprise by inviting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to be his guest of honour for Republic Day 2020.

Imbalance within the bloc:

  • Apart from Mr. Bolsonaro’s woeful record as President, a larger question pertains to the future of BRICS, the grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • This was set up as a move towards greater multi-polarity; hence the spread across three continents and both hemispheres.
  • The BRICS combination accounts for about one-third of global output, but a glance at the GDP table and growth rates will show the infirmities of the group.
  • In terms of GDP, China occupies the second position; India the fifth; Brazil the ninth; Russia the 11th; and South Africa the 35th.
  • In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.
  • Both politically and economically, Brazil and South Africa have been the laggards in recent years.

Achievements of the grouping:

  • The main achievement of BRICS is the New Development Bank, with each country contributing equally to its equity.
  • The bank has so far financed over 40 projects at a cost of $12 billion.
  • The BRICS countries are also developing a joint payments mechanism to reduce foreign trade settlements in U.S. dollars.
  • An offshoot of the group, dealing with climate change, is BASIC (BRICS without Russia), which met at the Spain conference last month and reiterated its support to the Paris Agreement. Way ahead:
  • The closing statement of the last BRICS summit deftly steered clear of the pitfalls of clashing ideologies and interests, while containing many formulations of self-congratulation that officials in the Indian Ministry of External

Affairs can produce in their sleep.

  • It enumerated 30 statements and communiques as a result of two summit meetings, 16 ministers meetings, and others at various levels totaling 116 gatherings.
  • Under the forthcoming Russian chairmanship, this number could exceed 150.
  • India is taking the lead role in digital health, digital forensics, film technology, traditional medicine, sustainable water management, internships and fellowships.

What are the major challenges for India to improve intra-BRICS partnership and trade?

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