India set to turn the tables on Oppn over price rise, inflation

Despite all the difficulties and global problems, the rate of inflation in India is around 7 per cent which is very low as compared to the global situation…reports Asian Lite News

The opposition parties keep targeting the BJP government at the Centre for rising inflation in the country. Since July 18, when the Monsoon session of Parliament opened, the opposition has been incessantly creating a ruckus in both the houses of the Parliament demanding a discussion on the issue of GST on food items and inflation.

Leaving aside the proceedings of July 28 and 29 (when there was an uproar in both houses over the statement of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury), for eight consecutive days, there was a commotion in the Parliament over inflation and GST.

The opposition parties may feel that they can expose the government by discussing inflation and GST imposed on food items, but instead of being defensive about the matter, the government is batting it aggressively. While the leaders of opposition parties are preparing to grill the government with their list of questions, BJP and and its ministers have geared up for the duel.

A senior minister said that the opposition is extracting political mileage from the issues of inflation and GST. The opposition ministers of their respective state governments supported the proposal for GST in the GST Council meeting but outside, these political parties pretend to oppose. He said that if the issue is raised in the House, then the opposition will be exposed.

The BJP has a long list of questions ready for discussion in the Parliament. The government will put forth the questions to the parties that are creating an uproar – primarily Congress, TMC, TRS, DMK, AAP and Left – about what their state governments have done so far to bring relief to people in the face of inflation. Why did their state governments not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel as on the lines of NDA governments? Regarding the political ruckus over GST imposed on food items, the government is ready to question the opposition about how the ministers of the state governments of Congress, TMC, TRS, DMK, AAP and Left allowed the GST Council to pass this resolution unanimously.

“After all, what kind of politics is this that the same resolution which the ministers unanimously passed in the GST Council meeting are now opposing it vehemently and not allowing the proceedings of the house to continue,” the source said.

It is learnt that citing the rate of inflation during UPA regiem, the government will also stand by the fact that despite the global crisis, due to the efforts of the Modi government, the inflation rate in India has remained between 4-6 per cent on an average. In contrast, the rate of inflation has increased from one-and-a-half per cent to 11 per cent in America and European countries. Despite all the difficulties and global problems, the rate of inflation in India is around 7 per cent which is very low as compared to the global situation.

After two weeks of uproar in the Parliament, on Monday, the issue of inflation would be discussed in Lok Sabha under Rule-193. Notice has been given by Congress MP Manish Tewari and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut to discuss the issue of inflation under Rule 193, which has been accepted.

The opposition parties may want to corner the government on the pretext of this discussion, but the source is confident that BJP, which specialises in surprising the opposition parties, is now working on a strategy to expose the opposition by raising counter-questions on the same issue.

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Tanzania joins hands with Unicef to end child marriage

An estimated three in 10 women in Tanzania get married as children, making it home to the 11th largest number of child brides worldwide, said the statement…reports Asian Lite News

An estimated three in 10 women in Tanzania get married as children, making it home to the 11th largest number of child brides worldwide, said the statement.

The government of Tanzania and the UNICEF have launched a campaign aimed at ending child marriage in the country.

The statement from the Unicef said the campaign, which was launched on Wednesday and called Binti, meaning daughter in Kiswahili, aims to rally public support to increase girls’ marriage age and change societal perceptions about the importance of the girl child, reports Xinhua news agency.

An estimated three in 10 women in Tanzania get married as children, making it home to the 11th largest number of child brides worldwide, said the statement.

The statement said preventing child marriage is an entry point to addressing broader issues around children and young peoples’ aspirations and life opportunities, the value of girls in society, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, and ensuring the roles of young people as agents of change.

“We need to take a closer look at the opportunities that girls in Tanzania are missing out on due to child marriage,” said Shalini Bahuguna, the Unicef representative in Tanzania.

“When girls are conditioned to expect to sacrifice their learning, childhood, and dreams in order to get married, it’s damaging to their mental health, and they are exposed to a cycle of violence, exploitation, health challenges, and poverty. They cannot fulfil their full potential and contribute meaningfully to society.”

With a population of nearly 60 million and more than 50 per cent under 18 years, Tanzania is experiencing increasing demands for quality education, improved healthcare, and growing challenges for young people to get employment, among other bottlenecks, said the statement.

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Manushi joins team ‘Tehran’

Based on true events, ‘Tehran’ is reportedly a geo-political thriller revolving around the Russian-Ukrainian War…reports Asian Lite News

Former beauty queen Manushi Chhillar, who made her Bollywood debut with the Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Prithviraj’, will be seen in an action avatar in the upcoming film ‘Tehran’ featuring John Abraham.

Manushi has joined John on location for the action thriller’s shoot.

Based on true events, ‘Tehran’ is reportedly a geo-political thriller revolving around the Russian-Ukrainian War.

A Maddock Films production in association with Bake My Cake Films, Tehran is directed by Arun Gopalan, written by Ritesh Shah and Ashish Prakash Verma, produced by Dinesh Vijan, Shobhna Yadav and Sandeep Leyzell.

John will also be seen sharing screen space with Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan in the upcoming movie ‘Pathaan’. Manushi has a film with Vicky Kaushal in the pipeline.

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Jacinda meets Australian counterpart

Ahead of the meeting, Albanese said in a tweet that he and Ardern would discuss “opportunities for our countries to grow and improve living standards”…reports Asian Lite News

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese met in Sydney on Friday for their first annual Australia New Zealand Leaders Meeting.

The meeting aimed to “further cement the close renewed relationship between Australia and New Zealand”, Xinhua news agency quoted Ardern as saying in a statement.

The Prime Ministers discussed cooperation and engagement in the Pacific region, climate change and the responsibility of countries to commit to ambitious climate change action among others.

Ahead of the meeting, Albanese said in a tweet that he and Ardern would discuss “opportunities for our countries to grow and improve living standards”.

“We live in the most dynamic region in the world. The possibilities are boundless,” he added.

The two leaders met informally in Australia in June shortly after Albanese won the election.

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‘Half of Canadians infected with Omicron in five months’

The highest level of infection was found in young adults aged 17 to 24, based off of donations made to Canadian Blood Services…reports Asian Lite News

Half of the Canadian population, or more than 17 million people, were infected with Omicron in only five months starting December 2021, local media has reported.

The media outlet quoted a report by the Covid-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) showing that prior to Omicron, just 7 per cent of Canadians had antibodies from being infected by the virus. The proportion rose by 45 per cent from December 2021 to May 2022, Xinhua news agency reported, reffering to National Post.

According to the report, this increase is equivalent to more than 100,000 infections per day, which is more than 10 times the number of daily cases seen during previous peaks of SARS-CoV-2 waves over the last two years.

The highest level of infection was found in young adults aged 17 to 24, based off of donations made to Canadian Blood Services. A total of 65 per cent of them had antibodies at the end of May, the report revealed.

The results are based on population seropositivity, or “the proportion of people with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in their blood”, the report explained, adding that the research differentiated between antibodies that occurred naturally as a reaction to being infected by the virus and antibodies created by the vaccine. They were thus able to determine which antibodies were a sign of past infection “to track the magnitude of the Omicron wave”.

“Omicron has been a tsunami,” CITF Executive Director Tim Evans was quoted as saying. He said that new sublineages of the virus have been spreading since then, pushing the percentage of Canadians who have been infected “well above” 50 percent.

“Millions of Canadians now have hybrid immunity from a combination of Covid-19 vaccines and an infection,” said CITF Co-Chair David Naylor.

“Unfortunately, emerging evidence suggests that most of these individuals remain at risk of re-infection with viruses in the Omicron lineage,” Naylor was quoted by the National Post.

On April 23, 2020, the Canadian government launched CITF with a mandate to catalyse, support, fund and harmonise knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 immunity for federal, provincial, and territorial decision-makers in their efforts to protect Canadians and minimise the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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G7 leaders sew up big plan to counter China’s BRI

Biden said that the G7 leaders aim to mobilise nearly $600 billion by 2027…reports Asian Lite News

G7 leaders have launched a detailed plan to to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars and deliver quality, sustainable infrastructure in a move deemed to counter Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

According to the BBC, the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) relaunches a scheme unveiled at last year’s G7 talks in Cornwall, England.

Addressing the summit in Krun on Sunday, US President Joe Biden said that last year in Cornwall, the G7 made a commitment to “step up and provide financing for quality, high-standard, sustainable infrastructure in developing and middle-income countries”.

“We’re offering better options for countries and for people around the world to invest in critical infrastructure that improves the lives, their lives, all of our lives, and delivers real gains for all of our people, not just the G7, all of our people,” the President was quoted as saying in a readout issued by the White House.

Biden said that the G7 leaders aim to mobilise nearly $600 billion by 2027.

Of the total, the US will raise $200 billion via grants, federal funds and private investment, while the European Union (EU) has pledged 300 billion euros ($316 billion).

“These strategic investments are areas of critical to sustainable development and to our shared global stability: health and health security, digital connectivity, gender equality and equity, climate and energy security.”

He further clarified that “this isn’t aid or charity; it’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone”.

“It’ll boost all of our economies, and it’s a chance for us to share our positive vision for the future and let communities around the world see themselves the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies,” Biden added.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the aim of the latest project was to present a “positive powerful investment impulse to the world to show our partners in the developing world that they have a choice”, the BBC reported.

The infrastructure plan was first unveiled at the 2021 G7 summit, which was called the Build Back Better World at the time.

The US-driven plan however, faltered from a lack of progress, and the project was renamed to PGII before being resuscitated at the ongoing summit.

Jinping’s BRI, launched in 2013, provides financing for emerging countries to build infrastructure like ports, roads and bridges.

While it has developed trade links, it has also been criticised as a means of providing “predatory loans”, forcing debt-saddled countries to cede key assets if they fail to meet their debt repayments, said the BBC.

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Aoun Warns Israel Over Kairsh Field

Lebanese President Michael Aoun warns Israel against oil drilling in disputed areas

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has warned that any drilling activities by Israel in the territorial disputed area with Lebanon “constitute a provocation and a hostile act”.

In a statement released by Lebanon’s Presidency on Sunday, Aoun said that Lebanon has already sent a letter to the UN Security Council, warning that any drilling activities by Israel in disputed areas may pose threat to international peace and security, Xinhua news agency reported.

Aoun added that talks to demarcate maritime borders between the two countries had not been completed yet.

Aoun’s remarks came after an Energean Power ship entered the Karish oil field, a disputed area between Lebanon and Israel, to start oil and gas exploration.

Israel had initially claimed the Karish North field as its own property, but later Lebanon expanded its claim in territorial waters, which would include at least part of the oil field.

This has resulted in the halting of indirect negotiations for the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries.

Israel rejects

 Israel said on Monday that the Karish gas field in the Mediterranean Sea where drilling has been planned is “in Israel’s territorial waters,” rejecting Lebanon’s claim that at least part of the field is disputed.

“The Karish field is in Israel’s territorial waters even according to a map submitted by Lebanon to the United Nations in 2011,” Shaked Eliyahu, spokeswoman of Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, told Xinhua.

“The field is located south of the two border lines both Israel and Lebanon submitted to the United Nations in 2011,” she said.

The Israeli government issued a drilling license for the Karish field as early as 2008, according to the Israeli spokesman.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli Energy Ministry announced in a statement that a natural gas rig has reached its destination in the Karish gas field.

The rig is expected to connect Karish and other nearby fields and supply about half of the demand for natural gas in Israel’s economy, said the ministry statement, adding commercial production from Karish is expected to begin in September.

Israel had initially claimed the Karish field as its own property, but later Lebanon expanded its claim in territorial waters which would include at least part of the oil field.

This has resulted in the halt of indirect negotiations for the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries.

In another development, Lebanese authorities decided to invite U.S. Energy Envoy Amos Hochstein to resume its indirect border demarcation talks with Israel in a bid “to prevent any escalation that would not serve the stability in the region,” the National News Agency reported.

The decision came after a meeting between Lebanese President Michel Aoun and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati following that Israel sent an Energean Power ship to enter the Karish oil field, a disputed area between Lebanon and Israel, to start oil and gas exploration.

ALSO READ:Israel rejects Lebanon’s claim on Mediterranean gas field

The two officials also agreed to carry out a series of diplomatic contacts with the major countries and the United Nations to explain Lebanon’s position and affirm the country’s adherence to its maritime rights and wealth.

They also considered that any exploration, drilling or extraction activities carried out by Israel in the disputed areas constitute a provocation and an act of aggression that threatens international peace and security, and obstructs negotiations.

Israel had initially claimed the Karish North field as its own property, but later Lebanon expanded its claim in territorial waters, which would include at least part of the oil field.

This has resulted in the halting of indirect negotiations for the demarcation of the maritime borders between the two countries.


Creative inspiration from literature

Tulle in all weathers was paired with utilitarian accessories inspired by Thomas Hardy’s ill-fated 19th-century British heroine, Tess Durbeyfield…reports Asian Lite News

Tulle has been joined by taffeta, organdie, and silk in voluminous, tiered, and frilled joyful creations over the seasons. Molly Goddard has been a fixture on the British runway since 2014, with the designer known internationally for her ethereal tulle dresses, which have been worn on the red carpet and on screen by actresses Sonam Kapoor, Rosamund Pike, and Jodie Comer, among others.

Molly found inspiration in the English countryside as well as classic narratives of English literature, particularly Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Molly explained that these looks were about being frivolous and fabulous while also being strong, tough, and resilient — about thriving rather than just surviving. Tulle in all weathers was paired with utilitarian accessories inspired by Thomas Hardy’s ill-fated 19th-century British heroine, Tess Durbeyfield.

Christie’s announce that ‘The Art of Literature Exhibition’ will include fashion by Molly Goddard, a designer whose creative inspiration comes from a variety of sources, including author Thomas Hardy’s work. ‘The Auction Highlights’ will feature a selection of artistic masterpieces inspired by literature throughout the ages, alongside looks from Goddard’s Autumn/Winter 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection, which was inspired by Tess of the d’Urbervilles. On display at Christie’s King Street in St James’s from June 6 to 15.

Goddard comments, “Hardy paints an incredible picture of the English landscape and seasons in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. The collection was definitely about being wrapped up against the weather physically and metaphorically. The pieces included in the exhibition are a very good representation of what we do best, by which I mean taking simple designs and turning them into something totally different, using techniques like shirring and hand-smocking, or by scaling them up and using unexpected fabrics.”

Annabelle Scholar, co-curator comments, “We are thrilled to include these wondrous creations by Molly in ‘The Art of Literature Exhibition’, pieces which were inspired by a work of literature and ushered in a new era of British fashion. In this cross category exhibition spanning three millennia we’re looking at how the written word has inspired artists and creatives to make works of art, or bring new meaning to existing works of art.”

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Checkmating China in South East Asia

The visit of the American President to South Korea and Japan was an important step to ensure that the USA maintained its technological edge over China.

 The initiative by US President Joe Biden in South East Asia has checkmated Beijing in the Indo-Pacific, both militarily and economically, and further isolated China among its neighbours who are members of the ASEAN.

In a series of diplomatic moves, the American President first had a meeting with leaders of the ASEAN in Washington in May 2022, and then later in the month visited South Korea and Japan where he launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework; that has been designed as the economic arm of America’s initiative in the Indo-Pacific.

President Biden also chaired in Tokyo a summit meeting of the leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the alliance between Japan, Australia, India and the US, that has been formed to challenge China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. In Seoul, the US President was assured of greater co-operation of South Korea for Quad.

In the process, he has reaffirmed the American support for ASEAN; the bloc of 10 countries that was formed in 1967 with five members — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — to contain the growing Chinese influence in South East Asia.

China’s relation with ASEAN has been antagonistic; historically China had considered ASEAN as a grouping of nations designed to encircle it. Brunei joined ASEAN in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Laos and Myanmar in 1997 and Cambodia in 1999.

Besides promotion of trade among themselves, one important area of co-operation of ASEAN was joint research and technical co-operation among the member governments.

ASEAN has since emerged as a leading voice on regional security issues as well. In July 1992, the ASEAN foreign ministers signed the ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea in Manila; calling for the exercise of restraint by involved parties, and co-operation in areas of mutual interest.

In July 2012, ASEAN foreign ministers issued a joint statement on six-point principles on the South China Sea and called for self-restraint and peaceful resolution of disputes.

Resolving disputes among the member countries being one of the main aims of ASEAN, the grouping can be an important bulwark to protect rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific; which Washington wants to uphold to protect this region from Beijing predatory swoops.

Four of the 10 member states of ASEAN — Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia — have an ongoing territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea.

China wants full control of the South China Sea to dominate the major trade and oil routes. Observers have said that one purpose of President Biden’s latest initiative in Asia was to explore the possibility of Quad working in greater cooperation with South East Asian nations.

ASEAN can play a pivotal role in the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US to contain China.

The principal takeaway of the ASEAN bloc from the Washington meet was some leverage to stand up against China as the centrality of ASEAN to the Indo-Pacific strategy of the USA was once again reaffirmed. The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) that President Joe Biden formed later in the month in Tokyo has provided the ASEAN bloc an economic framework with some concessions and a clearer strategy towards regional security, especially involving the South China Sea, according to analysts.

Seven of the leading ASEAN members, significantly, are also members of the newly formed IPEF; among them Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The other members of the IPEF are Australia, India, Japan and New Zealand. Three of these countries, together with the USA, form the Quad. The IPEF will thus serve as a bridge between ASEAN and Quad; a grouping that will not be to China’s liking. Predictably, Beijing has reacted with alarm, its principal worry being that the regional economies of South East Asia would now be decoupled from the Chinese economy.

The IPEF would help the US and Asian economies to work more closely in areas of supply chain, digital trade, clean energy, protection to workers and anti- corruption efforts. It has been described as the most significant international economic engagement that the United States ever had in South East Asia that presented the Indo-Pacific countries an alternative to China. Developing a reliable supply chain in this region independent of the Chinese economy would help the smaller countries reduce their dependence on Beijing.

The formation of the IPEF was a clear signal that the USA would not cede the mantle of leadership to China and that it had the ability to offer practical solutions to critical problems such as supply chain bottlenecks, the greening of infrastructure and the dissemination of digital technologies that would help in transmission of information and date across borders.

Spokesman of Foreign Ministry of China Wang Wenbin has lamented that IPEF would establish US-led trade rules, restructure the system of supply chains and decouple the regional countries from the Chinese economy.

IPEF excludes China, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Among these countries, Laos and Cambodia are considered too close to China and Myanmar is ruled by a brutal military junta to which Beijing has extended unstinted support.

The IPEF is a strong economic grouping representing, along with the US, 40 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of the world. Washington in any case now has an edge in its competition with Beijing. In 2022, the American economy is expected to grow at 2.8 per cent; compared to 2 per cent for China where growth has suffered due to the draconian lockdown measures.

The other major factor pulling down the Chinese economy is the rapid fall in prices of real estate, especially in smaller cities of China where property accounts for a substantial part of household wealth. The fall in real estate prices has dampened consumer confidence and affected retail sales of even items like clothing. The myth that China would supplant the US as the leading economy of the world has exploded.

The visit of the American President to South Korea and Japan was an important step to ensure that the USA maintained its technological edge over China.

In his meeting with Joe Biden in Seoul, President of South Korea Yoon Suk-yeol took a sceptical view of China and showed inclination to step up cooperation with Quad and to cooperate with the United States on economic security measures, like investment screening and export control.

A White House statement on Joe Biden’s visit to South Korea said: “Recognizing that scientists, researchers and engineers of the Republic of Korea and the US are among the most innovative in the world, the two Presidents agree to leverage this comparative advantage to protect and promote critical and emerging technologies; including leading-edge semiconductors, eco-friendly EV batteries, artificial intelligence, quantum technology, biotechnology and autonomous robotics.”

Japan, too, has adopted a defensive economic statecraft against China, agreeing with the US President during his stopover in Tokyo to develop and guard the emerging technologies and increase resilience of critical infrastructure and supply chain.

In view of the growing assertiveness of China in the Indo-Pacific and the military threat it is posing to the neighbouring countries, it has become important to prevent critical technologies from falling into the hands of China.

Developing a reliable supply chain independent of China and protecting the critical technologies from falling into its hands are also the cornerstones of the B3W (Build Back Better World) initiative of the G-7 countries.

In the midst of this economic initiative taken during Joe Biden’s Asia visit to challenge the dominant attitude of China, what has come as a shock to Beijing is the assertion of the US President that America would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan.

“We agreed with the One China policy, but the idea that it (Taiwan) can be taken by force is just not appropriate,” he said.

The burden to protect Taiwan was “even stronger” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The American President made it no secret that the sanctions against Russia for invading Ukraine would send China a warning against invading Taiwan, that such action was unacceptable.

Though the main focus of the Asian initiative of the US President was to build an alternative for the South East Asian countries to face the growing economic might of China, there was also emphasis on ensuring a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific that could stand up to the bullying tactics of Beijing.

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At a time when Beijing is increasingly challenging democratic values, the leaders of Australia, Japan, India and the US at the second in-person meeting of Quad leaders firmly opposed any provocative or unilateral attempt to change the status quo.

A joint statement was issued from the Quad summit, saying: “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.”

The reference is clear, the coercive activities China is undertaking in the South China Sea to the detriment of the other littoral countries of the area. Beijing has also built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

“Quad will champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, and the maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight, to meet challenges to the maritime rule-based order, including in the East and South China Seas,” the joint statement said.


Zimbabwe Defends Aid From China

Zimbabwean president defends Chinese investment in Africa against Western incitement

 Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has praised Chinese investment for changing the economic landscape in his country and other parts of Africa, while blasting the West for plundering African resources for decades.

In his weekly column for the government-run The Sunday Mail newspaper, Mnangagwa said that the Chinese investment’s late entry into Africa had made a telling difference over a short time.

“They have brought value and employment to our economies and societies, enabled through mutually painful partnerships never experienced before in our troubled history as a continent,” he wrote.

“We have seen Chinese capital supporting landmark and iconic infrastructural projects across the African continent,” he noted, adding, “Here in Zimbabwe, China has helped fund and implement several projects in the sectors of energy, air transport, water, real estate, industrial value addition, mining and defense.”

“All these have secured and bolstered our independence while changing the structure of our economy in this season of punitive Western sanctions,” the president said.

However, the West, Mnangagwa said, has been unhappy about the Chinese footprint on the continent and advising African leaders to be wary of the Chinese, as well as the Russians, Indians, Brazilians and Arabs.

“Apart from generous grants, interest-free or light loans, they have now come back to the continent they helped liberate as new, non-traditional investors. Read against time and historical circumstances, they are new and latecomers in this domain, unlike Western interests which have been exploiting our continent even well before its formal occupation,” he said.

“Including here in Zimbabwe, we have seen some Western governments sponsoring several false environmental and mining advocacy groups which seek to agitate communities against non-Western mining interests,” he said. “Their advice to us is false and cynical; we reject it with utter contempt it deserves.”

ALSO READ: Inflation Dogs Zimbabweans

Citing as an example Bikita Minerals, situated in the Bikita hills of Masvingo province in Zimbabwe, he said it is the West that sponsors the opposition to protest against the presence of Chinese miners in Bikita as the community’s claims are old ones traced back to when the mine was run by the Western owners.

“Ironically, Bikita Minerals was only taken over by a Chinese investor earlier in the year, after being owned and exploited by Western interests for many years since the resource was discovered back in colonial days.”

“While those mining properties were in Western hands, both long before our independence and after, not once did the host communities benefit. Nor were host communities incited, mobilized and sponsored to defend their depletable resource and environment,” he said.

The mine was on the brink of collapsing until the new investor rescued it and expanded its operations with fresh capital, thus securing jobs for Zimbabweans, he said.