India polls; US-China tech war; Myanmar coup

In today’s episode, we will discuss ongoing elections in four major states in India and how it may impact the country’s political dynamics at a time it is facing a fresh surge of Coronavirus cases, examine increasing trade tension between the USA and China after Washington blacklisted several Chinese supercomputing groups, and finally revisit the political situation in Myanmar as clashes between protestors and government authorities continue to escalate.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • Four major states in India, with a combined population of over 200 million people are voting to elect their state legislators this month. Among them, Assam is ruled by the federal ruling party - BJP, Tamil Nadu’s incumbent AIADMK remains a BJP ally. Of the other two states, namely Kerala and West Bengal, the former saw a communist government for the last five years and the latter is ruled by a regional party, the Trinamool Congress. Both have become an important battleground for the country’s political future. But as everyday rallies, large gatherings and long queues outside polling booths have become the norm in these states, a fresh surge of coronavirus cases in the country, increasing by almost 100,000 every alternate day threaten a completely different crisis in the country; that of a new health emergency. 

  • In a move that further damages the prospects of ending the ongoing US-China trade war, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted seven Chinese entities involved in the country’s next-generation supercomputer programme, last week. According to the DoC, technology being developed by these companies could serve military purposes, including the development of nuclear and hypersonic weapons. The entities or groups spearheading China's supercomputing development and plans for chip self-sufficiency will now need the approval to trade with American companies and would be denied American technology. 

  • Nineteen people were sentenced to death in coup-hit Myanmar, last week, for allegedly killing an associate of an army captain, as announced by the Myawaddy TV station, a broadcasting service owned by the country’s military. Announcing the sentences, a first since the Tatmadaw took control of the country’s government on February 1st this year, Myawaddy TV said that the killing took place on March 27 in the North Okkalapa district of the country’s biggest city, Yangon. The area has been placed under martial law. Despite increasing protests even after the death of over 600 people by security forces and over 18 countries calling for the restoration of democracy and the release of political prisoners, the Tatmadaw remains undeterred. 

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