Saturday, Sep 23rd

Last update:10:48:02 PM GMT

Headlines:
You are here: International India and the World

India and the World

India and the World

North Korean h-bomb : Transforming regional spat in global tension

E-mail Print PDF

North Korea or DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea) has once again pushed the button on its fourth underground nuclear test. This time North Korea used more sophisticated technology than its previous attempts. The test, which came just two days before North Korean leader Kim JongUn’s birthday, was initially detected as a 5.1-magnitude tremor at the main Punggyeri nuclear test site. The weapons yield was initially estimated at between 6 and 9 kilotonnes, similar to the North’s last nu- clear test in 2013.

India and USA: Coming on positive track

E-mail Print PDF

India and US copy copy.TIF In a major diplomatic boost to Indo-American ties, US President Barack Obama has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invite to be the chief guest at India’s 66th Republic Day Parade on January 26, 2015. With this, Obama would become the first US president to visit India twice, completing a remarkable warming in the relationship between the leaders of the world's two largest democracies.

Central African Republic: Samba-Panza elected interim President

E-mail Print PDF

Central African Republic's transitional parliament has elected the mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza, as its interim president, tasked with ending months of sectarian killings and guiding the country to elections. Samba-Panza, who defeated seven other candidates, succeeds Michel Djotodia, the leader of the Seleka rebels who seized power in March,2 map centraol.eps 2013.

Redefining: India’s Look East Policy

E-mail Print PDF


Nothing can transcend reality; not even the highest forms of diplomacy and statesmanship. And today, the inescapable truth is that both India and Japan are natural partners much beyond the pale of even the so-called strategic partnership. Both countries could ensure peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region by ushering in a renewed balance of power. The undisputed fact is that despite India’s great efforts, Chinese influence has increased in India’s neighbouring areas. Most neighbours have realised that they can immensely benefit from the relentless Chinese policy of ‘string of pearls’ and have consequently started to exploit the situation.

India and USA: Destined partners

E-mail Print PDF

India and the US are destined to be partners on the world stage because of shared values and outlooks. Five years after India and the US signed a landmark civil nuclear deal, both the sides have inked the first commercial agreement on civilian nuclear power cooperation that was stalled over India’s nuclear liability law. The landmark India-US civil nuclear stalled over India’s 2010 nuclear liability law is finally moving forward with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd and the Westinghouse Electric Company signing a preliminary commercial contract. In a significant move, India’s nuclear operator NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited) and US firm Westinghouse have signed an agreement that will pave the way for setting up an atomic plant in India. This agreement will facilitate progress towards licensing the AP-1000 nuclear reactor technology in India. It should here be noted that India plans to buy six of the Westinghouse-manufactured AP 1000 nuclear reactors in a deal worth about $14 billion for its nuclear power project at Chayya - Mithivirdi in Gujarat, one of the two sites set aside for American firms under the nuclear deal.


The Indo-US nuclear deal has been at the fulcrum of the changed India-US relationship, though the process was politically painful. Despite the non-proliferation caveats it contained and the sharp controversy they provoked at that time, the criticism has subsided. Now the attention is on realising actual commercial benefits from the nuclear agreement. India and the United States have now come close to form an alliance as any two nations can do without actually inking a pact. The success of the alliance revolves in large measure around a deal for Westinghouse to sell nuclear reactors and technology to India while India worries about Pakistan’s edge in numbers of nuclear weapons. So separate are nuclear warheads and nuclear power that a nuclear war appears no closer to happening while Westinghouse gears to provide at least ten AP-1000 pressurized water reactors for Indian power plants. The Westinghouse Electric Company’s deal with India’s nuclear operator NPCIL has enormous implications for U.S. ties with Pakistan, in which the U.S. has poured more than $20 billion in aid since 9/11/2001. Obviously Pakistan, which also gets massive military aid from China, is not going to be happy about U.S. moving ever closer to India. The U.S., at the same time, worries about Pakistan continuing to harbour elements of the Taliban in western regions neighbouring Afghanistan.

Positive aspects

  1. US has proposed to collaborate in jointly developing a next-generation version of the Javelin anti-tank missile. US had proposed US companies join hands with Indian partners in setting up manufacturing facilities for five major systems in India. These include the MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopter, built by Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin; a delivery system for scatterable mines; and the M-45 127-mm rapid-fire naval gun. US has also proposed co-producing the Javelin missile, built by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. The FGM-148 Javelin, jointly built by US companies Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, is the world’s premier man-portable, anti-tank missile. It gives infantrymen, highly vulnerable to enemy tanks on the battlefield, a weapon with which to destroy heavy armoured vehicles from a distance of 2.5 km.
  2. Opening up the prospects of export of shale gas to energy starved India, the US has granted conditional authorisation to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) to nations that do not have free trade agreement (FTA) with it. The decision paves the way for India, which does not have a FTA with the US, to get its companies seek similar licences for the import of much needed gas from the United States in large quantities from other terminals. The existing federal law generally requires the approval of natural gas exports to countries that have an FTA with the United States.
  3. The India-US Higher Education dialogue has been very instrumental in strengthening educational collaborations between the two countries.  President Obama and Prime Minister Dr. Singh have termed the collaboration between India and US as “defining partnership of the century” and have outlined that knowledge sharing is an important component of it. The major initiatives include enhanced two-way student mobility, research collaborations, faculty development, collaborations for establishment of Community colleges, collaborations for Cyber Systems, and Technology Enabled Learning including Massive Open On-Line Courses (MOOCs). The major announcements made during the India-US Higher Education Dialogue-2013 include 8 Joint Research partnerships under Singh-Obama 21st century Knowledge Initiative; announcing the final list of 126 Raman Fellows, supported by the University Grants Commission (UGC), who are ready to travel to US Institutions for Post-Doctoral research and “Connect India” Programme aimed at inviting students from US institutions for short term courses in India. India has a vision to transform the country’s educational institutions into hubs of knowledge creation and promoters of innovation as also provide opportunities to its youth for their skill development and employment. The overall goal during the XII Five Year Plan 2012-2017 in India intend to achieve an additional enrolment capacity of 10 million students in higher education including 1 million in open and distance learning so as to raise the country’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education from 18.1 per cent at present to 25.2 per cent by 2017 and reach the target of 30 per cent GER by 2020.
  4. The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that the US industry is neither materially injured nor threatened with material injury by reason of imports of frozen warm water shrimp from India, China, Ecuador, Malaysia, and Vietnam. USITC voted 4-2 against imposition of countervailing duty (CVD) against India and other six countries. As a result of the USITC’s negative determinations, US Commerce will not issue countervailing duty orders on imports of these products from India, China, Ecuador, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The final decision of USITC brings great relief to Indian shrimp industry and its exports.
  5. India and Unites States have agreed to immediately convene the India-US Task Force on hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) to discuss ways to use the Montreal protocol to phase out HFCs — gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners that contribute to global warming but are not ozone depleting. The decision in this regard was taken during the recent meeting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama in Washington. The two nations have agreed to immediately convene the India-US Task Force on to discuss, inter alia, multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of HFCs, based on economically viable and technically feasible alternatives, and include HFCs within the scope of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions. India and United States have welcomed the efforts of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to mobilize political will through 2014 toward the successful adoption of a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties by 2015, during COP-21 that France stands ready to host. They also supported complementary initiatives, through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and the consumption of HFCs, based on the examination of economically viable and technically feasible alternatives. They will continue to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.
  6. The US Government has rejected out of hand Nawaz Sharif call for Washington to get involved to resolve the Kashmir issue. The US has said there has not been an “iota of change” in its policy on Kashmir, which remains a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. While it encouraged a dialogue between the two countries the pace, scope, and character of India and Pakistan’s dialogue on Kashmir is for those two countries to determine with each other.
  7. The IAF has placed orders with the US for ten C-17 aircraft under the deal signed in 2011 and three of them have already been delivered. The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft has been procured from the US under a deal expected to be over Rs 20,000 crore. A symbolic key of the plane was presented by the Minister to the unit’s commanding officer to mark its induction.

Distressing trends:

  1. Indian IT firms which operate in the United States are angered by restrictions on travel visas for skilled workers.
    India has continued to oppose the US Immigration Bill that could lead to imposition of heavy penalties on Indian IT companies operating in the country. The provisions of the Immigration Bill could lead to Indian companies such as Infosys, Wipro, TCS and others that employ a majority of non-Americans in their US operations, paying steep visa fees as penalty that could render them uncompetitive. The Immigration Bill proposes restricting a company with over 15 per cent of its workforce on H-1B visas (work visas) from placing H-1B workers at the offices of their clients. Further, companies hiring more than half its workers on H-1B would be barred from applying for more visas from 2016 or pay a steep fee of $10,000 per visa. Indian IT companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro that are likely to get immediately affected if the Bill becomes law, although the legislation does not directly impact Indian companies.
  2. India has serious differences with USA over the Syrian issue. India has been opposed to unilateral military strike in any third country without the approval of the UN Security Council, while the US insists that as Russia has used its veto power to block any move by the Security Council, it is an obligation on the part of countries like US to hold the Bashar al-Assad regime responsible.
  3. A US Federal agency has launched an investigation into Indian trade policies which allegedly discriminate against the American trade and investment. The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) will report on the recent policies and measures in India that affect US exports and investment and evaluate the effects of such barriers on US firms and the economy.
  4. Instead of taking a note of US criticism for lax intellectual property rules in India, India has asked USA to tighten its own laws to discourage increasing practices of ‘ever greening’ and ‘trolling’ by US drug companies which lead to wrongful profiteering and patent extension. India has continued to maintain that it would not make any changes in its intellectual property regime to make it more favourable for patent users as urged by the US because it was in compliance with the global agreement on patents also known as the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). India is already TRIPS compliant and has no intention of going TRIPS plus. It is also important to note that the US Trade Representative, in its special report on countries with low patent protection, has been consistently placing India in the Priority Watch List.
  5. The Indian industry is not happy over the delay in renewal of the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) scheme which allows import of select commodities from developing countries duty free. The scheme was lapsed in July 2013. Now, the Indian goods that were enjoying duty free entry would now be subjected to regular import duties. India was the top developing country GSP-beneficiary in 2011 with $ 3.7 billion in imports entering the US duty free. Basically, the GSP program not only helps developing countries to expand their economies by increasing exports to the US, the program also aids American businesses by lowering the cost of imported goods that are used as inputs in value-added US production.
  6. India has expressed reservations over control of critical internet resources like allocation of domain names by a US contracted entity, saying this cannot really be reflective of the international character or community of internet users.
    Under the existing institutional architecture for internet governance, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) performs two functions – the Internet Assigned Names Authority (IANA) whereby it controls entries to the authoritative Root Zone File of the Internet and secondly the management of the Domain Name System (DNS) including allocation of Top Level Domain (TLD) names. The technical standards are set by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and the central elements of the internet’s logical infrastructure like the “Critical Internet Resource is managed by a private entity under contractual arrangements with the US Government”. The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) set up in 2003 by the UN Secretary-General had recommended establishment of a “multilateral, transparent and democratic” organisational mechanism that functions with the full involvement of Governments, private sector, civil society and international organisations within their respective roles, ‘without according a pre-eminent role to any single Government’.

Potential:

  1. The decision of the Obama Administration to offer India membership to ‘Global Entry’ Trusted Traveller Network Programme will revolutionise the travel and commerce between the two largest democracies of the world. With more than 3 million Americans of Indian origin, and with two-way trade now surpassing 100 billion, it makes perfect sense for the US and India to make it easier for our businessmen, families, artists, sportspersons, journalists, and students and academics to travel back and forth with ease to one another’s countries. Global Entry membership allows approved travellers to breeze across the globe, using a ‘quick pass kiosk’ at airports to avoid long lines at Customs and Immigration.
  2. Eyeing to increase two-way commerce by five times from the current level of $100 billion, India and the US have agreed to remove obstacles and improve business environment in both countries. Both expressed their commitment to concluding a high-standard Bilateral Investment Treaty that will foster openness to investment, transparency and predictability, thereby supporting economic growth and job creation in both countries. It has to be noted that two-way trade has increased five-fold since 2001 to nearly $100 billion. In this respect, both sides have recognised in particular the role and contribution of the Indian and US Information Technology industry and the IT enabled service industry in strengthening India-US trade and investment relations.
  3. US Deputy Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter, has pushed US-India defence ties through the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTI), to smoothen the flow of high technology by unlocking US regulatory hurdles to the export of sensitive technologies to India. Ashton Carter has proposed that US and Indian industry join hands in co-manufacturing a range of defence systems, including the Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopter; the Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin missile; a scatterable mine system; and the Mk-45 127 millimetre rapid-fire naval gun.

Page 1 of 3

  • «
  •  Start 
  •  Prev 
  •  1 
  •  2 
  •  3 
  •  Next 
  •  End 
  • »