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BRICS innovation base

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

BRICS innovation base:


China is “actively considering the establishment of a BRICS innovation base in China, in order to strengthen practical cooperation with the BRICS”.

  • Aim: To take forward 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cooperation among the five countries.

Rationale behind the proposal:

China’s interest in promoting 5G within the BRICS bloc could be part of its interest in pushing tech giant Huawei internationally – Huawei’s name has come up as a contender to build the network in Brazil and South Africa even as it is embroiled in controversies in other countries.

How BRICS countries have responded?

  • Russia said it would work with China on 5G.
  • In South Africa, Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei is providing services to three of its telecom operators in the roll-out of their 5G networks.
  • Brazil has allowed participation in trials but is yet to take a final call.

However, India is the only country in the grouping that is leaning towards excluding Chinese participation in the roll-out of its national 5G network.

Way ahead for India:

India is unlikely to allow Chinese participation in 5G, particularly in the wake of recent moves to tighten investment from China and to ban 59 Chinese apps, citing national security concerns.

  • The ban, which followed the June clash in Galwan Valley, cited a “threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India” posed by the apps.

Indian intelligence assessments have also expressed concerns on the possible direct or indirect links of several Chinese companies, including Huawei, with the Chinese military.

India has made clear a return to normalcy cannot be possible while tensions along the Line of Actual Control remain unresolved.

Similar efforts by UK- 5G club:

In May, British government approached the US with the prospect of creating a 5G club of 10 democracies.

  • It includes G7 countries –UK, US, Italy, Germany, France, Japan and Canada – plus Australia, South Korea and India.
  • It will aim to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.

What underlying technologies make up 5G?

5G is based on OFDM (Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing), a method of modulating a digital signal across several different channels to reduce interference.

  • 5G uses 5G NR air interface alongside OFDM principles.
  • 5G also uses wider bandwidth technologies such as sub-6 GHz and mmWave.

The previous generations of mobile networks are 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G.

  1. First generation – 1G
    1980s: 1G delivered analog voice.
  2. Second generation – 2G
    Early 1990s: 2G introduced digital voice (e.g. CDMA- Code Division Multiple Access).
  3. Third generation – 3G
    Early 2000s: 3G brought mobile data (e.g. CDMA2000).
  4. Fourth generation – 4G LTE
    2010s: 4G LTE ushered in the era of mobile broadband.

1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G all led to 5G, which is designed to provide more connectivity than was ever available before.


Prelims Link:

  1. Members of 5G club proposed by UK.
  2. About BRICS, when was it launched?
  3. BRICS innovation base was recently proposed by?
  4. When South Africa joined this grouping?
  5. About New Development Bank.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the proposed BRICS innovation base.

Sources: the Hindu.