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The Asia-Pacific Report

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
16 May 2024 | 12:41 SAST
1-minute read

In the world’s largest election, over 900 million voters are exercising their democratic rights across India. With national upper and lower halves of parliament up for grabs, the stakes are high as the election is set to conclude by June 3rd.

Electronic voting systems are being used to streamline the process and aid in the efficient counting of votes, research associate at the Centre for Global Dialogue, Sanusha Naidu told Radio Islam on this week’s segment of the Asia-Pacific Report.

It has been smooth sailing thus far, Naidu reports. One factor impacting the proceedings is the prevailing weather conditions. Heatwaves are affecting the country, with recorded temperatures of up to 45, which are posing a logistical hurdle and potentially affecting voter turnout.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is vying for his third term as the head of state, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims for its third consecutive governance. Some opposition candidates in certain constituencies are either abstaining from contesting or defecting to the BJP, leading to easy victories for the ruling party in those areas.

Small pockets of protests have erupted, addressing unresolved government policies such as agricultural subsidies, youth unemployment, and economic promises. Despite assurances from the BJP regarding new employment opportunities and economic reforms, discontent lingers, particularly among new graduates and marginalised communities.

On the international front, geopolitical tensions between the United States and China were discussed.

President Biden’s advocacy for new tariffs on Chinese goods, particularly in the semiconductor industry, is reverberating globally. This move, ostensibly aimed at protecting US industries from Chinese subsidies, is creating a ripple effect in Europe, where concerns about competitiveness vis-à-vis China’s subsidisation are mounting.

Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Europe has underscored the significance of China’s dominance in the semiconductor industry, with European companies expressing apprehensions about their ability to compete under similar tariff regimes.

President Biden’s actions are not only reshaping trade dynamics but also intensifying the discourse on protectionism versus a rules-based system, as advocated by institutions like the World Trade Organisation, Naidu noted.

Listen to the Asia-Pacific Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.

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