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In St. Petersburg were named the distinctive features of neocolonialism

Индия
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Many people believe that the colonial era is a thing of the past, under the pressure of the many national liberation revolutions that in the mid-20th century led to the emergence of a number of independent states in the vast expanses of Asia and Africa. In reality, however, most of them are still under foreign rule, changing only their form, but not their content.

On Monday, October 3, the Consul General of India in St. Petersburg, Mr. Kumar Gaurav, gave an assembly lecture for the students of the Mining University. As part of his speech, he dispelled myths about the contribution of the British to the socio-economic development of his country and said that during the years of colonialism it had turned from a global treasure house into one of the poorest regions on the planet.

Rector Vladimir Litvinenko took the opening remarks. He stressed that India has tremendous momentum and its subsoil is rich in minerals, allowing the Republic to prosper and all of its citizens to continue to improve their standards of living. At the same time, "it takes a lot of effort to turn natural capital into social, human and, even more so, natural capital."

Литвиненко
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"Any state that possesses a large-scale raw material base and seeks to monetize it should develop an effective mechanism to increase reserves and involve them in the long processing chain, as well as take on the function of industry regulator. India is certainly making certain steps in this direction. At the same time, multinational companies operate in India mainly under concession agreements. This form of contract implies that the main rent from the exploitation of deposits is received not by New Delhi and not by residents of the country, but by Western investors. Russia went through all that in the 1990s, so our history can serve as a perfect example of perniciousness of such agreements that lead to impoverishment of population and decentralization of power", Vladimir Litvinenko noted.

In his opinion, the states that allow Western corporations to use subsoil resources under concession agreements receive only 5-10% of the real profit. The rest goes to the U.S., Britain and the EU, which thus gain control over the global raw material base and global capital. In addition, they get all the geological information extracted during the exploration for minerals. This is the essence of neocolonialism, which has significantly changed its form, but not its purpose. It is, as before, the desire to siphon resources from underdeveloped or developing countries, leaving in return conditional "glass beads."

"The process of developing each field requires a huge capital investment. We are talking about billions of dollars. At the same time, the payback period of such projects is 10-15 years on average. Therefore, the leader of any state after coming to power faces a very difficult question: where to get funds to turn natural capital into real capital and let it be used for socio-economic development? The answer would seem to be simple: take credits from Western investors and let the transnational companies, which have vast experience in exploiting subsoil resources, into the country. But this is a trap. Initially unfair distribution of income and the need to constantly pay interest on loans leads to debt bondage, which is very problematic to get out of," said the rector.

актовый зал
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As a result, the development of states, whose inhabitants, thanks to the presence of a large resource base, could live 5-6 times richer than the average American, is artificially constrained. In such conditions there are 99% of underdeveloped countries and about 60% of developing countries. The only way out of the vicious circle is the transition from concessions to licenses for subsoil use, as it happened in Russia at the beginning of the century, after the election of President Vladimir Putin. This is the only way to channel natural wealth for the benefit of one's own people.

"Unfortunately, the productivity of resource extraction and use in Russia is not as high as we would like it to be. This is hampered by a lack of state regulation and an obvious shortage of value-added chains associated with the deep processing of raw materials. But for both our country and India, mineral resources are the basis of GDP, the only way to preserve their sovereignty. I am confident that the development of mutually beneficial partnerships between our countries, including in the field of improving the efficiency of work with mineral resources, will allow us to adequately respond to all challenges of our time and will contribute to our common progress", - summarized Vladimir Litvinenko.

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Consul General of India in St. Petersburg Mr. Kumar Gaurav told the audience that this year India celebrates two dates at once - the 75th anniversary of independence and the 75th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, the successor of which, as you know, is Russia.

"This is not a coincidence. The USSR was one of the first countries to recognize India's independence. This was very important to us. That is why we so value our friendship and cherish our partnership," stressed the consul.

He also dispelled the myth that under British rule, India had an opportunity to intensify its socio-economic development and integrate into the global community. In other words, India was transformed from a backward, fractured country to a prosperous and technologically advanced power.

Кумар
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"In the eighteenth century, India's GDP was 28% of the world's. Our state was without exaggeration the richest on the planet. But English colonization changed all that, as the British began actively siphoning off resources from us, from jewelry to food, leaving nothing in return. So by the time we gained our independence, which cost our people countless sacrifices, we had become one of the poorest countries in the world. Moreover, in 1943, including the colonial administration, there was a famine, which, according to various estimates, killed between half a million and three million people," Mr. Gaurav recounted the story.

Today India is one of the fastest growing economies. It exports steel, grain, and medicine, develops nuclear power and space programs, and manufactures electronics, whose output has increased by 76% in the last two years.

"The volume of bilateral investment between Russia and India reached $30 billion in 2018, and we expect this figure to increase to $50 billion by 2025. Our common interests include oil and gas projects, rail transport, rolled steel, pharmaceuticals, and much more. The Soviet Union and Russia have always helped us solve the most difficult problems. So our partnership has a solid foundation, which allows us to hope for even more fruitful cooperation in the future", - said the Consul.

At the end of the act lecture everyone had the opportunity to ask the guest any questions they were interested in. The students of St. Petersburg Mining University, in particular, asked Mr. Gaurav if there are prerequisites for the intensification of academic exchanges between students from Russia and India. He expressed confidence that the development of bilateral cooperation will affect various areas, including science and education.

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