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  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 598,966 515,000  481,400 12
GNI per capita
 US $ 530 480 470 160
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Abdul Kalam

Update No: 017 - (01/07/05)


INDIA and the US: 
The United States support to India for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat seems to be unclear. Despite the ambiguous nature of the support, US Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns commented, "while no decision has been taken, India is a perfect candidate for the UNSC seat." Moreover, "the Americans are keen on extending support to a large country with a significant population and democracy. Commitment to giving resources to UN and countering terrorism are also part of the US criteria." This statement also comes at a time when the Pakistanis seem to be opposed to any initiative towards a permanent seat for India at the UN Security Council. It will be interesting to see what future steps the US plans to take in this regard and its implications for India-Pakistan relations. 

In a separate development, the US House of Representatives passed the 'State Department Authorisation Bill', which includes key provisions on India on issues, like terrorism, visa clearance and HIV/AIDS funding in the country. The US House International Relations Committee (HIRC) passed the Bill which also contains provisions to address the issue of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, allocation of 2 million US dollars for HIV/AIDS Research and Mitigation Strategies in India and providing a new Consular office for the US Embassy in India to clear visa backlogs. This vote was a major recognition of the initiatives of the Indian-American community in the United States. 
An important provision added by Congressman Tom Lantos (Democrat) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican) is that military sales to Pakistan will be cleared only "after Islamabad's full compliance on terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." However Pakistan will continue to receive assistance in the form of funds for furthering political and economic reform. The Bill also included a provision requiring the President of the United States to report to Congress on the extent to which the Government of Pakistan has restored a fully functional democracy in which free, fair and transparent elections are held. This provision is particularly important for peace and stability in the region. 

Pakistan signed an agreement on counter-terrorism cooperation with Australia. Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the memorandum of understanding (MOU) will play an important role in "fostering cooperation between our intelligence, security, law enforcement and defense agencies and help protect Australians and Australia's interests at home and abroad." Prime Minister Howard also added that Pakistan is a key ally for Australia in the war on terror and has played a pivotal role in efforts to dismantle global terrorist networks such as al-Qaida. This agreement is being taken as a serious sign of Pakistan's efforts to improve its relations with India. 

The latest development on the Kashmir front is that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has openly defended the government's handling of the Hurriyat visit to Pakistan. Manmohan Singh's remarks come in the wake of criticism of the Hurriyat Conference leaders' visit to Pakistan. Singh stated, "passports were issued to those Hurriyat leaders who did not possess Indian passports and made a request for the issue of such documents. It would not, therefore, be correct to state that the authorities on our side had mishandled the visit of the Hurriyat." In Kashmir, the leaders of the Hurriyat tried to downplay the controversy over the passports by saying that their visit had given the peace process a renewed impetus. Separately, Kashmiri groups have expressed the need for their direct involvement in the peace process. The chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Yasin Malik, who asked for the people of Kashmir to be included in the dialogue process, originally expressed such sentiments. Even in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) there appears to be a consensus that peace in Kashmir can only be achieved by including all political groups and religions from the valley in the peace talks. Not just political groups but non-Muslims must have a voice in the peace negotiations according to senior leaders in PoK. 

This month has witnessed a souring of relations between India's UPA government at the Center and the Left opposition. The Left parties wrote to Congress President Sonia Gandhi stating their refusal to attend any further coordination meeting with the UPA. The General Secretary of the Communist Party Marxist Prakash Karat expressed the concern shared concerns of the members of the CPM who believe that Central government has done little to address their concerns at these meetings. Karat was particularly critical of the government's decision to disinvest in Bharat Electronics (BHEL) and hailed it as the "first instance of serious breach of trust a and violation of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP)." Another leftist organization, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), however, has remained silent on the question of withdrawing support to the Congress led coalition. 
The Congress government believes that the concerns of the Left parties can be amicably resolved. The media spokesman of the All India Congress Committee, Ambika Soni stated "nothing is beyond resolution. It can be resolved and it will be resolved." Soni also dismissed allegations that the Left's decision to withdraw support might be detrimental to the stability of the Congress led coalition. Soni held strongly to the position that the Congress and other allies including the Left had come together on the "common goal of upholding secularism and stopping communal forces from occupying power." 
Soni further said that the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have been routinely interacting with UPA allies as also supporting parties including the Left. (PTI).

FDI: Korean steel giant Posco and the Orissa government have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a 12 million ton steel project. This is being hailed as the biggest Foreign Direct Investment initiative in India and will offer 13,000 jobs directly and 35,000 jobs indirectly. The state of Orissa is expected to make 800 Crores in revenue. 

Corporate News: Reliance Chairman, Anil Ambani has unveiled a new group called the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Enterprises (ADAE). His plans seek to create global powerhouses in the energy, capital and infotech sectors. Anil Ambani also announced massive expansions in gas-based, coal based and hydro and nuclear power generation in the next ten years. Reliance Energy and Reliance Capital are the two major Reliance Corporations that the Ambanis have invested in. Anil Ambani also said that his enterprise was guided by 6Cs: customer, customer care, corporate governance, corporate values, creativity and competitiveness. 

Outsourcing: Call centers in India have been thriving since the end of the 1990s and are helping in reducing costs and improving operational efficiencies. Even bigger companies like Wipro, IBM, TCS and Accenture have heir eyes on the domestic outsourcing market.
In a major outsourcing deal, Bharti Group, which offers telecom services under its brand AirTel has signed a contract with Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. The deal, worth $250 million dollar (about Rs 1,075 crore) is for setting up and maintaining GSM cellular network in 3,000 towns across India. "Ericsson's technology and managed service solutions will enable Bharti to expand into around 3,000 towns and villages in 15 regions," Hans Vestberg, Executive Vice President, Ericsson, said while announcing the contract. However, there is an ongoing scandal story in the UK where it is alleged a British journalist was able to buy the personal details of many British bank clients, being held illegally by an employee of a call centre processing the British banks' 'back office'.

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Russia, India deepen global, high-tech partnership

Russia and India will boost cooperation in high-technology fields while mounting a united front against common dangers, Presidents Vladimir Putin and APJ Abdul Kalam said recently after historic talks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
"We agree on the need to combine forces against global and regional threats," Putin said at the meeting which marked the first visit by an Indian head of state since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union.
"Russian-Indian ties are developing steadily, becoming richer in content and more dynamic," the Russian leader commented after they examined joint prospects in power generation, metallurgy, railroad and water transport and information technologies.
Space cooperation under agreements signed last December was also a topic. "Several satellites will be launched in India, several others in Russia, and we will have a very good network," said Kalam, who arrived in Moscow on May 22nd.
The presidents discussed Indian proposals to boost bilateral trade turnover from US$3bn in 2004 to US$25bn over 10 years.
Energy is a lynchpin of cooperations, with emphasis on oil and gas. Key projects include the US$12bn Sakhalin-1 development off Russia's Far Eastern Sakhalin Island, where the Roseneft and ONGC state oil companies of Russia and India both hold a 20% stake.
Agreements had been reached on large Indian investments in the work, while ONGC is also likely to be a major player in the future Sakhalin-3 explorations in the area, according to Kalam.
Meanwhile, work proceeded as planed in Russia's construction of two nuclear reactors at Kudankulam in southern India. The Russian-made reactor blocks are due to come online on schedule in 2007 and 2008. "There are excellent prospects for cooperation in nuclear energy," Kalam said.
There was no information about plans to expand military technical cooperation. India is Russia's second largest customer for military hardware after China.

Ukraine, India vow to boost space research cooperation

Ukraine and India will boost bilateral ties and cooperate in space research, President Viktor Yushchenko and his Indian counterpart, Abdul Kalam, said at a joint press conference in Kiev on June 2nd, New Europe reported.
To improve the trade relations between the two countries the talks were held from international politics to science and technology. India as it is candidature to Untied Nations Security Council also seeks support from Ukraine which is an influential CIS country. Ukraine said it supports the idea of making India a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Yushchenko said.
The two leaders also discussed UN reform. "To my mind, the UN is one of the most authoritative organisations in the world. Its role is growing year to year, and a reform is quite natural," Yushchenko said.
UN reform may include increasing the number of UN Security Council permanent members. India, Brazil, Germany and Japan are candidates for permanent membership on the council. During his four-day stay, the Indian president was also expected to visit a missile factory.


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