A massive infrastructure push is underway across Asia. The region’s infrastructure market could grow by 8 percent annually over the next decade, rising to nearly 60 percent of the global total. All told, the region’s infrastructure needs are estimated to exceed $1 trillion annually. China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative is at the center of this push. Estimates vary, but all point toward an ambitious endeavor. Geographically, OBOR could span 65 countries responsible for roughly 70 percent of the world’s population. Economically, it could include Chinese investments approaching $4 trillion.
India’s Smart City vision is part of a larger agenda of creating Industrial Corridors between India’s big metropolitan cities in India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision “Digital India,” has set an ambitious plan to build 100 smart cities across the country. Modi in his speech quoted, “Cities in the past were built on riverbanks. They are now built along highways. But in the future, they will be built based on availability of optical fiber networks and next-generation infrastructure.”
As this report spells out, “By 2030, Asia-Pacific countries will comprise nearly two-thirds of the global middle class, dwarfing the projected one-fifth for Europe and North America combined.” Along with climate change this is one of the great geopolitical meta-trends that will define the 21st century. In the U.S., one has to also add The Emerging White Minority Trend. And yet you will find barely a mention of this anywhere in corporate media. Why is that do you think? Austerity economics and deregulation have virtually destroyed the American middle class, certainly made it a shadow of its former self. In those European countries which embraced Austerity Economics a similar process has been going on. At the same time India, China, the Asia-Pacific nations, are creating a middle class that will dwarf its White counterpart. Power will shift. Our intransigence concerning climate change, means leadership will go elsewhere, and will increase the speed of this transfer. We are going into a different world. And because profit is our only cultural priority, we are doing it rather badly.
India-Russia-Afghanistan: India, Russia and Afghanistan quietly have created a triangular arrangement for providing arms aid to Afghanistan after NATO withdraws. None of the countries have made an official announcement. Only a small number of news services, including The Moscow Times and Pakistani newspapers, have published articles about it.
The arrangement was finalized in February when an India team visited Moscow, but it had been under discussion during the past year. It was one of the discussion items when President Karzai visited India last December.
Under the agreement, smaller arms such as light artillery and mortars will be provided by Russia and moved to Afghanistan from the north, while India paid Russia for the equipment. An inventory of Russian-made equipment in Afghanistan has been completed. Afghanistan has presented India with a list of requirements and Russia reportedly has made one or more initial shipments.
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In India, climate change is forcing farmers to adapt in order to survive. While scientists race to breed a new batch of climate-resilient super seeds, locals are instead turning to the ways of their ancestors.
Saltwater intrusion, flooding, droughts, rising sea levels and violent storms wreak havoc on the agriculture of countries like India, forcing many to seek out more resilient seed varieties. Rice conservators like Debal Deb are helping to reintroduce traditional, salt-tolerant solutions for struggling farmers. “They are more precious than gold,” says a local affected by cyclone Isla four years ago. People like Deb say these seeds rival modern scientific billion-dollar investments, including GM. But scientists say reintroducing old seed varieties simply doesn’t produce enough to feed 9 billion people on a climate-changing planet.
Centre for Investigative Reporting