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BRICS Astronomy Working Group on telescopes

Context:

The BRICS Astronomy Working Group has recommended networking of telescopes in member countries and creating a regional data network.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Groupings affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Highlights of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) Meeting
  2. What is BRICS?

Highlights of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) Meeting

  • Under the science, technology and innovation track of the BRICS 2021 calendar, India hosted the seventh meeting of BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) on online mode in May 2021. It witnessed participation from all five BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Future directions

  • The members of the working group indicated future directions of research in this area such as building a network of intelligent telescopes and data, study of transient astronomical phenomena in the universe, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning applications to process the voluminous data generated by the enhanced multi-wavelength telescope observatory.
  • The delegates deliberated on strategic and operational matters and recommended the networking of existing telescopes in BRICS countries and creating regional data network.
  • They agreed to develop a flagship project in this area, according to a statement by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. From the Indian side, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, and the DST coordinated the meeting.

Enhance collaboration

  • The BAWG, which provides a platform for BRICS member countries to collaborate in the field of astronomy, recommended that each country should present the scientific results of the work being carried out in their country.
  • This will help seek funding support to realise the flagship project whenever funding opportunities were announced by BRICS funding agencies.
  • The BAWG noted the importance of enhancing collaboration among astronomers from the BRICS countries.
  • India assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021.

What is BRICS?

  • BRICS is the international grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
  • This was set up as a move towards greater multi­polarity; hence the spread across three continents and both hemispheres.
  • In terms of GDP, China occupies the second position; India the fifth; Brazil the ninth; Russia the 11th; and South Africa the 35th.
  • In terms of growth rates, China grew at 6%; India at 4.5%, Russia 1.7%, Brazil 1.2% and South Africa 0.1%.

Achievements of BRICS

  • The main achievement of BRICS is the New Development Bank, with each country contributing equally to its equity
  • The bank has so far financed over 40 projects at a cost of $12 billion
  • The BRICS countries are also developing a joint payments mechanism to reduce foreign trade settlements in U.S. dollars
  • An offshoot of the group, dealing with climate change, is BASIC (BRICS without Russia), which met at the Spain conference in December 2019 and reiterated its support to the Paris Agreement

-Source: The Hindu

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