On a radiant afternoon in Tokyo, the leaders of the four Quad countries scripted a new chapter in their journey, marked by solidarity, creativity and action-oriented cooperation to secure the rules-based world order against “coercion, provocative and unilateral actions” that change the status quo and violate sovereignty of other nations.
The rapport and connect among the leaders of the four liberal democracies at the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office was almost instantaneous at the second in-person Quad summit here, despite the two of them participating in their first Quad summit.
What was remarkable was that the four of them spoke in a similar language about shared interests, including freedom, rule of law, democratic values and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The discussions among Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, US President Joe Biden, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on 24 May were marked by “warmth and a positive approach,” India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told the visiting Indian media in the Japanese capital. The leaders decided to advance “action-oriented cooperation among Quad partners and countries of the Indo-Pacific for peace and security of the region,” said Kwatra.
FORCE FOR GOOD
In a span of around 16 months, a new idiom and vocabulary of Quad has emerged, which will bring the four countries closer in days to come. In their opening remarks, all the four leaders underscored their shared commitment to the constructive agenda of the Quad for shaping a free and open Indo-Pacific. PM Modi branded the four-nation grouping as a “Force for Good,” which has been reflected in the Quad joint statement after the leaders’
meeting on 24 May. “Just over one year ago, leaders met for the first time. Today in Tokyo, we convene for our fourth meeting, and our second in person, to demonstrate, at a time of profound global challenge, that the Quad is a force for good, committed to bringing tangible benefits to the region,” said the joint statement. “In our first year of cooperation, we established the Quad’s dedication to a positive and practical agenda; in our second year, we are committed to deliver on this promise, making the region more resilient for the 21st century,” said the statement.
The Ukraine issue figured prominently in discussions, but India’s resolute stand not to allow any explicit criticism of Russia prevailed, with the Quad leaders focusing on peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law. Japan’s PM Kishida and President Biden took a strong stand on Ukraine, but PM Modi decided to keep quiet on it. “Since we last met in person in September, an incident that overturns the rules-based international order has happened: the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Kishida said in introductory remarks. “It is a blatant challenge to the principles set in the United Nations charter. We must not allow the same thing to happen in the Indo-Pacific.” Biden called the Ukraine war “more than just a European issue.” “It’s a global issue,” he said. The major takeaway from the Tokyo summit was that India’s stand on the Ukraine issue, underpinned by its principle of strategic autonomy, will not adversely impact the broader and constructive agenda of the Quad that pivots around vaccines, global health security, cyber security, resilient infrastructure and critical and emerging technologies.
TAKING ON CHINA, QUAD-STYLE
Chinese assertiveness and attempts to subvert the status quo dominated the discussions among the four Quad leaders. Like before, there was no explicit mention of China in the Quad joint statement, but Beijing was the subtext of the intra-Quad discussions. “We strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo and increase tensions in the area, such as the militarization of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities,” said the joint statement. Intra-Quad cooperation to maintain freedom of navigation in the East and South China Seas figured prominently in discussions. “We will champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight, to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas,” said the joint statement.
Many key initiatives that emerged from the Tokyo summit were animated by the collective strategy to constrain China’s rules-bending behaviour. These included, among others, the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) and the establishment of the “Quad Partnership on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the Indo-Pacific”.
IPMDA is designed to work with regional partners to respond to humanitarian and natural disasters, and combat illegal fishing. IPMDA will support and work in consultation with Indo-Pacific nations and regional information fusion centers in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands by providing technology and training to support enhanced, shared maritime domain awareness to promote stability and prosperity in our seas and oceans. “IPMDA embodies what the Quad stands for: catalyzing our joint efforts towards concrete results that help to make the region more stable and prosperous,” said the joint statement.
In a move designed to provide an alternative to China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Quad leaders decided to extend more than 50 billion USD of infrastructure assistance and investment in the Indo-Pacific, over the next five years. The Quad infrastructure partnership will be animated by promoting debt sustainability and transparency in close collaboration with finance authorities of relevant countries, including through the “Quad Debt Management Resource Portal,” which consists of multiple bilateral and multilateral capacity building assistance.
The Quad’s model of infrastructure development will be demand-driven and meets specific needs of countries in the region, said Foreign Secretary Kwatra in a veiled critique of China’s BRI which is accused of pushing many recipient countries such as Sri Lanka into a dept trap.
FROM SPACE TO 5G
In initiatives that will buttress the Quad’s reputation as a force for good, the leaders decided to collaborate closely in the area of 5G and beyond 5G, and focus on harnessing critical and emerging technologies to enhance the prosperity and security of the region. Space cooperation got a boost with as the Quad countries decided to work together to create an Earth observation-based monitoring and sustainable development framework.
Looking ahead, the May 24 Quad summit in Tokyo has raised the stature of the four-nation grouping as a guardian of the rules-based order and a formidable resistance against coercion and intimidation that seeks to subvert the rules-based international order. The grouping, which nearly died over a decade ago, has experienced a miraculous rebirth to emerge as a robust pillar of an emerging world order.
The summit has also burnished India’s credentials as a major emerging power which can hold its own in a conflicted international order and partner with like-minded countries to create better lives and future for nearly two billion people living in the four Quad countries. At the summit, the other three Quad leaders lavished praise on PM Modi’s deft and successful handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world’s second most populous country.
(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs)
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CLOUD-BASED TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING BUSINESSES
Several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals by embracing the SaaS model.
The groundbreaking SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) idea has the potential to disrupt many industries, including banking. SaaS, being a cloud-based technology, may assist both fintech startups and banks, particularly in satisfying regulatory requirements and providing security to their consumers. Without a doubt, SaaS is gaining popularity among financial services organizations due to its promises of more business flexibility, faster deployment, and support for an open ecosystem.
Symbiotic relationship between SaaS platforms and Fintech growth
The Fintech approach, which makes use of the resourceful SaaS foundation, allows businesses to access and utilise cloud-based applications rather than purchasing or building their own software. Financial firms may reap advantages such as end-to-end cost reductions, data security, scalability, and agility from the fintech industry. PwC, a well-known rating agency, predicts that more fintech businesses will utilise SaaS to address concerns generated by the post-Covid environment.
Understanding the significance of the SaaS model is not rocket science. According to Financesonline.com, the SaaS market capitalization will reach $623 billion by 2023. The use of the SaaS model in the fintech industry may foster innovation and creativity while also improving efficiency and profitability. Fintech companies can also save huge amounts of operational capital every year because of SaaS. This is not possible with the traditional model, in which companies hire experts.
SaaS solutions are extremely scalable, allowing a financial institution to digitally alter its operations while boosting security and enhancing compliance. It is also feasible to minimise physical footprints and increase efficiency via automation. By embracing the SaaS model for online transactions, several fintech businesses have outmanoeuvred their rivals and the banking and finance industry at large. FinTech lenders, for example, might accept business loan applications online, process them in minutes, and send the money to qualified customers a day or two later.
What makes SaaS a magic sauce for Fintech growth
SaaS platforms have shown the power of open platforms in the open-platform vs. patented technology argument over the last several decades. This has given SaaS a long-term viability and scalability that was previously unheard of, particularly in the financial services sector. For a fraction of the price, fintech companies have started bringing in the bulk of the capabilities that sophisticated legacy systems had inside mega banks.
There was a chance to develop an ecosystem with the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) to allow banks to interact with these fintech partners, who could bring in novel processes and products at a relatively low cost and with relatively low usage of resources. It is also critical to incorporate outside innovation into an internal environment dominated by legacy technologies in financial organizations. The necessity to start small, to be nimble, and to expand with the market’s and customers’ ever-changing needs is obvious.
The maturation of SaaS models has aided the rise of APIs in the financial services sector, while laws such as the Payment Services Directive (PSD2) are driving banks to establish and promote open platforms. While API-based SaaS platforms have opened up a wide market and empowered the developer community, they have also contributed to the abolition of faceless goods that dominated conventional industries. It has also aided in the extraction of enormous value from data and innovative system integrations, which is now shared across a bigger and more powerful ecosystem.
The triple-edged efficiency of SaaS
Scalability, sustainability, and convenience are the three pillars furnished by SaaS to the Fintech ecosystem. The compulsions in the financial sector are being addressed by the three pillars of a SaaS delivery model. Scalability and the need to quickly add new products to existing systems, as well as a high level of data and platform security and the ability to better control costs, are all reasons why SaaS models are the delivery method of choice for banks around the world, both big and small. It is also the best strategy for working with banks, development communities, incubator programs, and data suppliers in the ever-expanding fintech ecosystem. All of this is wrapped up in a customer experience layer that is easy to use and lets business users, with only a little technical knowledge, launch products in a way that is good for business.
This transformation of SaaS-based delivery models into revenue-generating and customer-driven ones is beneficial to all parties involved. Some issues persist, but the overall contribution of proprietary and open businesses built on the SaaS cloud to the financial services sector has been spectacular. If the total cost of ownership data for the manufacturing sector is any indication, the collaborative delivery models that have recently been brought to the market will almost certainly have an almost immediate effect on banks’ total expenses.
Rahul Meena is the founder and CEO of Treflo.
‘SYL’ SPARKS CONTROVERSY AMONG HARYANVI YOUTH
The last song of singer Sidhu Moosewala, ‘SYL’ released after his demise is said to have sparked the dispute pending for decades over water sharing between Punjab and Haryana and also featured visuals of controversial figures. Sutlej Yamuna Link’s abbreviated form is SYL, which contains a topic about the same. The Singer starts the song with controversial lines, “Give us our social history and our families back. Return Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana to us. In case you do not give us sovereigntyand authority. We will not even give a drop of water to anyone,” stirring up controversy and resulting in anger among the people of Haryana for the slain singer Moosewala. In response, a number of Haryanvi musicians have also sought to express their rage and agony in the same way, stalking their claims over the SYL problem.
A song named ‘SYL-Haryanvi’ by a Haryanvi musician claims that Haryana owns 50% of the SYL water. In response to Moosewala’s song, the songs ‘Tipka-Tipka Koni-Paani Aadha Lewange’ and ‘Haq Sai Mara SYL’ became popular on YouTube and other media. These songs reflect the ire of Haryana residents who delayed the release of SYL water in defiance of Supreme Court orders. Other than this, a number of additional songs that are popular among Haryana residents have become the talk of the state›s towns and can be found on social media.
Millions of views on YouTube for these songs are a clear sign of their popularity. In addition, a different Haryanvi artist released a song on the same subject in reaction to Moosewala’s declaration that we will take our fair share of the water. The song is currently receiving widespread distribution throughout the state. These Haryanvi songs continue to feature images from the farm protest that express the feelings of how the Haryana agricultural community welcomed the protesters from Punjab.
MUKHTAR ANSARI, HIS WIFE STAYED TOGETHER IN JAIL IN CONGRESS TENURE: AAP
The Jail Minister orders FIR and probe after receiving a Rs. 55 lakh bill from an SC lawyer.
Punjab Jail Minister Harjot Bains created a sensation on Tuesday in the state Assembly when he disclosed that the previous Congress government spent Rs. 55 lakh to hire a Supreme Court lawyers to protect Mukhtar Ansari instead of handing him over to the UP Police. The Jail Minister said that the then Congress government had registered a fake FIR against Mukhtar Ansari and did not even present a challan against him. Ansari was lodged in Ropar Jail in Punjab in 2019 in a extortion case.
Making the revelation in the House, the minister said that this was a serious matter. The gangster had, while in Ropar Jail, a whole barrack to him and given VIP treatment. His wife also stayed with him in the barrack.
To get Ansari’s custody, the UP Police issued production warrants 26 times but he was not handed him over to them. The UP government moved the Supreme Court. The then Congress government hired a well-known lawyer in the Supreme Court to help Ansari and the Punjab Government has now received a bill of Rs. 55 lakh.
Bains also informed the House that he has ordered to register an FIR and investigation into the matter.
Ansari was accused of demanding Rs. 10 crore from a builder in Mohali. He was brought to Mohali on a production warrant by the Punjab Police and was lodged in Ropar jail since January 2019. He was handed over to the UP Police upon a Supreme Court order in April last year.
Mukesh Ambani resigns from Reliance Jio Board, Akash new Chairman
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has resigned from the board of Reliance Jio handing over reigns to his elder son Akash Ambani, who will be Chairman of the Board of Directors.
In a stock exchange filing, Reliance Jio Infocomm said the company’s board has approved the appointment of Akash M Ambani, non-executive director, as chairman of the board of directors of the company.” It said that the Board of Directors in their meeting held on June 27 noted the resignation of Mukesh D Ambani as Director of the company effective from the close of working hours on June 27, 2022.
Akash has been closely involved with the disruptive and inclusive growth path charted by the digital services and consumer retail propositions of Reliance group and is now leading the creation of the ‘convergence dividend’ for over 500 million consumers, digitally and with high-inclusivity across geographies and income levels.
His elevation as Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm recognises the specific contributions made by him to the digital services journey and rededicates him to even higher levels of responsibilities, going forward.
Mukesh Ambani will continue to be the Chairman of Jio Platforms Ltd, the flagship company that owns all Jio digital services brands including Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Akash Ambani, who has graduated from Brown University with a major in Economics, has been closely involved with the creation of the digital ecosystem around Jio’s 4G proposition. He was closely involved with a team of engineers in inventing and launching an India-specs focussed Jiophone in 2017 which became quite a revolutionary device to take many people out of 2G to 4G.
Akash personally led the key acquisitions made by Jio in the digital space in the last few years and has also been keenly involved with the development of new technologies and capabilities including AI-ML and blockchain.
He was integrally involved in the trailblazing global investments by tech majors and investors in 2020, which in many ways catapulted Jio onto the global investor map.
Akash is expected to continue to operate on the cutting-edges of innovation and technology to encourage an ecosystem that will further digital solutions and make the power of data and technology more accessible to all, including those who are still at the margin.
Amid new Russia sanctions, Modi sticks to India-first mantra
Perched 1000 metres above sea level in the Bavarian Alps, in the pristine Schloss Elmau resort Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced G7 leaders to the Indian way of an eco-friendly LIFE and underscored New Delhi’s India-first foreign policy as he focused on knock-down effects of the Ukraine crisis on food crisis and energy crisis.
As the Group of 7 club of the world’s wealthiest nations vowed to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes”, and decided tighten the squeeze on Russia’s finances with new sanctions that include a gold export ban and a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, Mr Modi pitched for diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the festering crisis. In the two sessions he spoke at the G7 summit, PM Modi called for an immediate or as early as a possible end to the hostilities and advocated the path of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the situation. “Even in the present situation, we have constantly urged for the path of dialogue and diplomacy. The impact of this geopolitical tension is not just limited to Europe. The rising prices of energy and food grains are affecting all the countries,” he said at the session on “Stronger Together: Addressing Food Security and Advancing Gender Equality” at the G7 Summit here.
The Ukraine crisis dominated the agenda at the June 26-28 G7 summit, and figured in bilateral discussions PM Modi had with some G7 leaders. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra placed India’s nuanced position on Ukraine in perspective. The prime minister very strongly put forward his view on the knockdown effect of the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” he said at the media briefing at Kempinsky hotel.
Indicating that India will not cut down oil imports from Russia just to please the international community, PM Modi explained that “India would continue to do what it thinks is best in the interest of our own energy security when it comes to the question of global oil trade,” said India’s top diplomat. PM Modi made a valuable contribution to the G7 discourse on global food security by stressing India’s efforts to ensure the food security situation of the vulnerable economies.
India’s position on the polarising Ukraine crisis, grounded in its strategic autonomy, has earned appreciation from G7 leaders. “I think our position which the Prime Minister articulated during the G7 Summit was well understood. I would even say it was appreciated by his counterpart leaders from other countries,” Mr Kwatra said.
Enhancing multilateral coordination to combat corrosive effects of climate change featured prominently in G7 discussions. While
German President Olaf Scholz raised the bar and pushed hard for a climate club of green-minded nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi showcased India as a model for developing countries for taking decisive action to curb climate change. Blaming the rich world for the current global crisis, Mr Modi exhorted rich countries to support India’s climate mitigation efforts and called for expanding the constituency of Triple-P pro-planet people. Alluding to the launch of the Global Initiative for LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment) campaign last year, the Indian leader stressed that “the goal of this campaign is to encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle.” “We can call the followers of this movement Triple-P i.e. ‘pro planet people’, and we should all take the responsibility of increasing the number of Triple-P people in our own countries. This will be our greatest contribution to the coming generations.”
With the world leaders listening in, PM Modi highlighted a host of pioneering steps taken by India for green growth like achieving the target of 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol five months before the deadline and the target of 40 percent energy-capacity from non-fossil sources 9 years before time.”
In the two days PM Modi spent in Munich, PM Modi, besides speaking at G7 sessions, held a string of bilateral meetings with the leaders of Germany, Argentina, Canada, Indonesia, South Africa and the president of the European Commission. Camaraderie, conviviality and comfort marked PM Modi’s interactions with world leaders.The enthusiasm and back-slapping with which he was greeted by world leaders showcased Modi’s rising stature as an international statesman who is consistently shaping the global agenda by aligning national goals with international obligations of India. US President Joe Biden walking up to meet PM Modi just as the latter was cosseted with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau is one of the more captivating photos to emerge from the G7 summit this year.
The overarching message that emanated from the latest edition of the G7 summit is the growing recognition of India’s indispensability to addressing cross-cutting issues ranging from climate change and pandemic control to food and energy security. India is looked upon as a solution provider and part of any sustained effort to solve the challenges which are currently being faced by the world,” said Foreign Secretary Kwatra.
(Manish Chand is CEO-Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, and India and The World magazine. He is Director, Centre for Global Insights India, a think tank focused on global affairs. He is in Munich to report on and analyse G7 summit.
Maharashtra wants Fadnavis-led BJP govt: Poll
With uncertainty still looming over Maharashtra political crisis, The Daily Guardian Review (TDGR) on Tuesday conducted a massive poll, bringing the voice of the people of Maharashtra to the forefront.
As per the TDGR poll, the people of Maharashtra want an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena to come to power, with Devendra Fadnavis as the chief minister. The majority of the respondents stated that Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. In the wake of the rebellion, it is the Eknath Shinde camp that actually controls Shiv Sena, as per the respondents. At the same time, the respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of the MVA government.
When asked which party would they like to see form a government in Maharashtra, the majority of the respondents (42.19%) said that they would like to see an alliance of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena come to power. 32.15% respondents voted in favour of the BJP, 17.23% were in favour of an alliance between the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)BJP and only 8.42% voted for Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance.
Devendra Fadnavis emerged as the most preferred choice for the post of the chief minister of Maharashtra with 35.20% of respondents voting in favour of him. 23.58% of the respondents wanted Uddhav Thackeray to retain the chief minister’s seat. Eknath Shinde might claim the support of a majority number of MLAs, but only 19.20% respondents want to see him become the chief minister of Maharashtra. 16.62% respondents voted in support of Supriya Sule, whereas only 5.41% respondents voted in favour of Raj Thackeray.
34.70% respondents believe Uddhav Thackeray went against Hindutva Ideology and that is the main reason for the rebellion within Shiv Sena. 30.22% respondents said that Uddhav shut doors of CM house for MLAs and public. 20.48% respondents attributed Sharad Pawar’s overarching role in running MVA government behind the Shiv Sena rebellion. Giving Aaditya Thackeray number 2 position in MVA government (8.04%) and Sanjay Raut’s instigating remarks and statements (6.57%) were not substantial reasons for the rebellion, according to the respondents.
Two-third of the respondents (34.08%) stated that Eknath Shinde›s camp is controlling Shiv Sena in the wake of his rebellion against the party. About 26.51% respondents said they couldn’t say who controls Shiv Sena, whereas 24.03% respondents said that Thackeray family controls the party. Only 15.38% respondents said Sanjay Raut controls the party.
The respondents were divided over how should a decision be arrived at on questions raised over the majority status of MVA government. 27.74% respondents said rebel MLAs should be paraded in front of the governor, 26.74% respondents said the speaker must decide, 24.73% suggested a floor test in the legislative assembly and 20.79% respondents said the Supreme Court must decide the fate of the Maharashtra government.
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