Global Partnership On Artificial Intelligence


  • On 15th June, 2020, India joined the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), as one of the founding members to jointly work towards an ethical, human centric development and use of AI.

About Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence

  • GPAI is the first worldwide initiative for better comprehension of the issues and potential around AI utilising the experience and diversity of participating countries.
  • It was first officially proposed by France and Canada at the Biarritz G7 Summit in August of 2019.
  • GPAI will look to close the gap between theory and practice on AI by leveraging cutting-edge research and applied action on AI-related objectives.
  • As a part of GPAI, participating nations will consider experimentation to create a controlled setting in which AI systems can be easily tested, and scaled-up, as needed.
  • The GPAI will comprise of four working groups each centred on responsible AI, the future of work, data governance, and commercialisation and innovation.

Other Members

  • This multi-stakeholder global coalition includes Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Role of OECD

  • Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will host Secretariat of the new Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) in Paris, along with two Centers of Expertise – one each in Montreal and Paris.
  • OECD will enable the GPAI to create a strong relationship between policy development and technical discussion on AI, by applying OECD’s established expertise on AI policy as illustrated by its leadership on establishing the very first global standard for trustworthy AI – the OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence.

Benefits for India

  • India is a founding member of GPAI and is expected to play a critical role in expanding the responsible utilisation of artificial intelligence for the world.
  • India has recently been very active in boosting National AI Strategy by putting in action committees and National AI Portal to bring the impact of the technology across various economic sectors like agriculture, healthcare, education, manufacturing, finance and telecommunication.
  • In the past, the Indian Government has come forward with an AI policy draft and stated its willingness to build an ecosystem in the nation that focuses on a fast shift from the research and development (R&D) phase to the deployment and operation phase for AI systems.
  • By working with other global nations, India will be a beneficiary of AI innovation and standardisation that are needed for this technology.
  • The initiative will help towards bridging the hiatus between theory and practice, and bolstering usage of AI in cutting-edge research for inclusive growth in the country.

11th BRICS Summit


  • The 11th BRICS Summit took place from 13th -14th November 2019 in Brasilia, Brazil, held under the theme - Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.
  • Brasilia Declaration was adopted by the BRICS member countries.

Major Highlights of Summit

  • The Summit focused on the following priorities:
    • Strengthening of the cooperation in Science, technology and innovation
    • Enhancement of the cooperation on digital economy
    • Invigoration of the cooperation on the fight against transnational crime, especially against organized crime, money laundry and drug traffic
    • Encouragement to the rapprochement between the New Development Bank (NDB) and the BRICS Business Council.
  • Need to Reform Multilateral Organisations: BRICS countries called for an urgent need to strengthen and reform the United Nations and other multilateral organisations, including the WTO and the IMF, to address the significant challenges being faced by the developing countries.
  • Obligation to Multilateralism: BRICS is committed to multilateralism, cooperation of sovereign states to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and build a brighter shared future for the international community.
  • Wider Role for Member Countries: Emphasizing on their commitment to shape a more fair, just, equitable and representative multipolar international order, the leaders underlined the imperative that international organisations be fully driven by member states and promote the interests of all.

Main Highlights of Brasilia Declaration

Global Trade Governance

  • The BRICS leaders reiterated their continuous support for the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • It is critical that all WTO members avoid unilateral and protectionist measures, which run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO.

Intra-BRICS Trade

  • The BRICS leaders acknowledged that trade expansion among BRICS members will further contribute to strengthening international trade flows.
  • It noted the progress achieved by the BRICS Customs Administrations regarding the draft BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement.
  • They also noted the importance of the implementation of the BRICS Authorized Economic Operator Program by the end of 2022.
  • In the development of trade relations, special attention has been accorded to the cooperation of the business communities of BRICS countries.
  • The Brasilia Declaration welcomes the holding of the BRICS Business Forum and the establishment of the BRICS Women Business Alliance.

Investment And Finance

  • The Declaration outlined the directions for the New Development Bank (NDB), the sole international organization established by the BRICS countries which will further contribute to the mobilization of resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and otheremerging markets and dynamic economies (EMDEs).
  • To create a BRICS bond fundwhich involves the establishment of the BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund and continuous consideration of creating an alternative international payments system?

Regional Situations

  • To work together for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means, and recognize the role of the UN Security Council as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security

India’s Proposals

India proposed the following actions during the 11th BRICS Summit-

  • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure Initiative: India requested BRICS countries and NDB to join Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure initiative.
  • First Meeting of BRICS Water Ministers: Emphasizing the need of sustainable water management and sanitation, India proposed to hold the first meeting of BRICS Water Ministers in India.
  • Coalition in Health Field: Recalling about the recent Fit India Movement started in India, PM stressed to increase contacts and exchanges between the BRICS in the field of fitness and health.
  • Mutual Social Security Agreement: India suggested that the five countries together should also consider a Mutual Social Security Agreement, a move that would provide benefits of detachment, totalisation and portability to employees of the five nations.

BRICS

  • BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • In 2001, the British Economist Jim O’Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
  • The grouping was formalised during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers in New York in 2006.
  • In 2011, at the Sanya Summit, South Africa became part of the grouping, adding the "S" to the acronym, now BRICS.
  • The five BRICS countries are also members of G-20.
Significance
  • BRICS brings together five economies accounting for 42% of the world’s population, 23% of the global GDP and an around 17% share of world trade.

Role of BRICS in the International Order

Important Global Pillar:

  • What makes BRICS important is the fact that with over 40 percent of the world’s population in its fold, the combined output of these countries constitutes more than 20 percent of the world GDP. This means, the BRICS economies collectively have evolved into a strong economic force as reflected in the increasing share of BRICS in the world GDP, making it an important pillar of global order.

Financial Role:

  • What led to the relevance of BRICS in international order was the financial crisis of 2008, which raised skepticism and concerns over the dollar-dominated monetary system.The establishment of a New Development Bank is a part of general efforts on the part of the BRICS group to promote international development and reflects their understanding of where the priorities lie when it comes to promoting development.Such initiatives will open up to the developing world new resources, experiences, and an understanding of the priorities of emerging powers.

Role in International Peace and Security:

  • All BRICS countries are key UN members when it comes to maintaining international peace and security. Most of them make valuable contributions to UN peacekeeping operations by providing troops, training, or voting for supportive mandates. Besides peace operations, BRICS members consider the UN to be the most legitimate institution for adopting collective action for restoring and keeping peace such as preventive deployments and post-conflict peace-building.
  • In August, 2019, USA formally withdrew from Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) which mandated the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.The decision has the potential to incite new armsrace. Here comes the relevance of BRICs, which can play a significant role in assuring world peace by playing an active role in dispute resolution, maintaining peace and stability.

Role in Poverty Reduction and Development:

  • Despite recession at the global level, BRICS countries accelerated economic growth, drove millions out of poverty and reducing international inequalities.The BRICS nations are leaders within their own regions and surrounded by a cluster of smaller neighbours. This also provides significant opportunities for the smaller neighbours to benefit from external growth and development.

Way Forward

  • Since its inception, BRICS has played a vital role both in practical as well as ideational terms in reforming the global financial system as well as in the norm setting processes with in world politics.
  • Looking ahead to the next decade, the BRICS countries, as an emerging international actor representing emerging and developing countries, will need to participate in global governance on the international stage with new cooperation structures and concepts.
  • BRICS is marching towards the next "golden decade," and science, technology and innovation are among the most important areas of cooperation. In order to achieve more success, it is necessary to take the following measures:
  • First of all, BRICS needs to identify the most important areas for cooperation. As science, technology and innovation cover many aspects related to the fourth industrial revolution as well as to a nation's economy, society and even military, it is better for BRICS to promote cooperation in the critical areas such as computer chips, fifth generation (5G) wireless technology and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Secondly, in the process of cooperation, the principle of mutual consultation, contribution and shared benefits should be upheld. Only by adhering to this principle can BRICS nations make good use of their comparative advantages to keep up the momentum of cooperation and eliminate the barriers for technology transfers among themselves.
  • Thirdly, the financial issue needs to be dealt with in a proper way. R&D in the fields of science, technology and innovation is capital-intensive and requires significant funding. Therefore, the New Development Bank should set up an R&D fund to provide financial support for scientific and technological innovation cooperation among the BRICS countries.
  • Last but not least, BRICS should adopt an inclusive and open attitude towards other emerging economies. On the one hand, R&D is a trans-border activity; while on the other, many emerging economies outside of BRICS have progressed to a very high level in the fields of science, technology and innovation. So it is also essential for BRICS to start cooperating with non-BRICS countries.

UN Report Finds Saudi Crown Prince Linked To Khashoggi Killing


UN experts on 19 June, reported credible evidence to link Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Relevance of the News: The news highlights criminal conspiracy by Saudi Arabia to suppress media activism pursued by Jamal Khashoggi.

Details of the Report:

  • The allegation regarding Prince Mohammed’s possible direct role in Khashoggi’s execution was detailed in a new report by the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions.
  • The special rapporteur asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to initiate a formal international criminal investigation into the case and also called for initiating sanctions on Prince’s foreign assets.
  • Although there is no evidence of who ordered the killing but persons directly implicated in the killing report to the MBS.
  • The report places responsibility of Khashoggi’s murder on the state of Saudi Ariabia and asks for further investigation of high-level Saudi officials.
  • The report finds half-hearted attempts by the Saudi officials in investigation of the crime and cites evidence of forensic cleaning of the crime scene by Saudi officials which amounts to obstructing of justice by Saudi Arabia.

Murder of Jamal Khashoggi:

  • Khashoggi was a Washington Post journalist and was a critic of Prince Mohammed.
  • He was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2, 2019 and his body has not been found yet.
  • Saudi Arabia has blamed rogue agents for the murder of Khashoggi and Saudi prosecutors have absolved the Crown Prince from any involvement.

Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT)


Why is it in News?

The executive secretary of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has invited India to be an observer in the CTBT.

How could India benefit by being an Observer?

  • Being an observer, India could gain access to data from the International Monitoring System. This system can detect even small nuclear explosions using seismology, hydro-acoustics, infra-sound and radionuclide technology.
  • This quality of data would aid India in earthquake monitoring and other civil and scientific applications like gas exploration.
  • Pakistan too, is an observer at the CTBTO and being an observer does not change a country’s status with respect to the CTBT.

India’s View:

  • India has always considered the CTBT to be a flawed agreement. Ratification of CTBT by non-nuclear nations neither poses any threat to the nuclear nations nor does it lay any framework for nuclear disarmament.
  • CTBT can be credible if it lays down disarmament timeline which should be ratified by all parties. Currently, the US and China have only signed the agreement but not ratified it.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):

  • CTBT bans nuclear explosions worldwide or anywhere else- in the atmosphere, underwater and underground.
  • It makes it very tough for nations to develop nuclear bombs initially, or for nations that already have them, to make more powerful bombs. It also averts the huge destruction caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to humans, animals and plants.
  • It remains unenforced as 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, eight are still missing: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA. India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT.

Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO):

  • It is an organization based in Vienna which was founded in 1996. The CTBTO’s main tasks are the promotion of the Treaty and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.
  • CTBTO manages over 300 stations in 89 countries have been built to monitor for signs of nuclear explosions around the globe and round the clock.
  • The International Monitoring System (IMS) of CTBTO monitors the Earth’s crust, atmosphere and the oceans to look for traces of radioactivity. It produces data that is useful in applications like disaster early warning, scientific research on the Earth’s inner structures, climate change or meteors.

North Korea Missile Test


Why it is in the News?

  • North Korea fired two short-range missiles on 9th May less than a week after it test-fired multiple rockets and a missile.
  • The tests seem to be a protest by the North Korea for failing to reach an agreement during the Hanoi summit with the US on the sanctions imposed on North Korea by the US.

Background:

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met in Hanoi, Vietnam on 27 February 2019 for their second bilateral summit meeting. The first summit was held in June 2018 in Singapore.
  • In the second meeting, North Korea was hesitant towards complete denuclearization which it had promised in 2018 and the US insisted on complete denuclearization thus ending the meeting without any conclusive agreement.
  • North Korea expects the Trump administration to show more flexibility in talks or else it will go back on its promise to scrap its deadly nuclear arsenal and programme.
  • Meanwhile South Korea has expressed its willingness to hold a fourth meeting with North Korea to push for a truce between the two Koreas.


Source: TH