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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
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 033 - (30/10/06)

The largest pro-India political party in Kashmir has recently said that it suspended talks with the federal government because of human rights abuses by security forces in the Indian-controlled portion of Jammu and Kashmir. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said his party would not continue peace talks until the government addressed allegations of human rights abuses. The government is "making no effort to conduct transparent probes" into alleged human rights violations, said Abdullah. The problem of security forces violating human rights is not new and dates back to the 1990s; the start of insurgency. Kashmiris have routinely accused Indian forces of killing innocent civilians along with insurgents. According to an International Human Rights Watch report published last month, Kashmiri civilians have been allegedly targeted both by Indian security forces and militants. The Indian armed forces have a different point of view on this issue. They insist that they don't intentionally target civilians. While they routinely investigate such allegations, they rarely prosecute those involved in the deaths. While the question of human right abuses by security forces remains to be resolved, violence continues to plague Kashmir. Separatist rebels often target civilians whom they suspect to be helping police. Nearly a dozen rebel groups have been fighting since 1989, seeking independence for the two-thirds of Kashmir held by India or for its merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the conflict. The National Conference, which used to be the area's governing party, backs India's rule of the region. 

Britain's Prince Andrew is visiting India for a week to boost bilateral trade and economic relations. Prince Andrew is Britain's special representative for international trade and as part of this role, he is looking forward to learning first hand about the new business opportunities in the region. Andrew will visit Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to promote bilateral trade and investment and showcase Britain as a destination for Indian investment. He is scheduled to meet several business and political leaders including India's Minister of State for Trade and Commerce Ashwini Kumar. The prince is also presenting the first UK Trade and Investment business awards in Mumbai. The awards will be presented to Indian companies who have established businesses in Britain, along with British companies that have entered the Indian market. Britain is the third-largest investor in India ahead of Germany, Japan and France, according to the British High Commission. It is also India's fourth-largest trading partner. Trade of goods between India and Britain stood at 10.6 billion dollars in 2005. According to a recent report of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, India has become one of the largest investors in Britain. More than 20 Indian companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange with a combined market capitalization of 3.56 billion dollars

In an effort to boost bilateral ties, India and China are expected to sign 12 pacts, including a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement (BIPA), during President Hu Jintao's visit next month. They also plan to sign an agreement on arranging regional trade during the four-day visit from November. Other agreements to be signed include one on student- exchanges and another on holding festivals on a reciprocal basis. The visit holds tremendous significance as it is expected to boost the economic relations of two of the world's largest growing economies. There is speculation that during the trip, the two sides are also expected to review progress in their boundary talks to reach an amicable solution to the issue. Hu's visit comes more than a year after the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, which marked a considerable improvement in ties between the two large neighbours. During Wen's visit, the two sides signed a declaration on strategic partnership for peace and prosperity and the crucial "Political Parameters and Guiding Principles" aimed at resolving the boundary question through talks. 

Interestingly, Sri Lanka seems to be turning to India's Panchayati Raj System to resolve its own domestic conflicts. The Panchayati Raj System, in India has empowered people at the grassroots level through involvement in the decision making process for a long time but now this has become the new goal for policy makers in Sri Lanka as a means to eradicate regional dissatisfactions. An all party Sri Lankan delegation on Friday got tips from Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Iyer on the devolution of power before embarking on a trip to Karnataka and Kerala for an on-the-spot study of the system in these States. Senior officials of the Ministry also shared their experience with the visiting delegation. Emerging from over two hour long session, leader of the delegation and Minister of Science and Technology Tissa Vitarana said Sri Lanka viewed devolution of power as part of the process to resolve its "national problem". He owed the prevailing tension in various regions of his country to non-involvement of people at different levels in the decision making process. Adopting this system might be one of the major means to resolving the problem posed by the LTTE. However, the country's political parties have to arrive at a consensus before any such policy can be implemented. A comprehensive report based on their Indian experience will be submitted to their Government by the delegation. 

An ongoing project of the Centre for International Studies at MIT has published an essay on how special interest groups and lobbies are playing a major role in the India - U.S Nuclear Deal. The real action in Washington D.C has been taking place behind the scenes. In Washington, the Indian government mounted a multi-faceted lobbying campaign, expending large sums of money -- e.g., US$1.3 million on two lobbying firms -- with the aim of pushing the deal through Congress. One of the firms it hired is Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers, which is headed by Robert Blackwill, a former U.S. ambassador to India.

There were other significant players there too including business lobbies like the Confederation of Indian Industries and the U.S.-India Business Council, and ethnic-based lobbies such as the U.S. India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) and the U.S.-India Friendship Council. The powerful Israeli lobby worked less conspicuously, but made its substantial network available to the relative neophytes in the embassy and the Indian lobbies. The American Jewish Committee expressed its strong support for the deal by sending a letter to influential lawmakers. Collectively, they have all launched a gigantic lobbying effort though frequent receptions, meetings and briefings at Capitol Hill. The lobbyists worked energetically to highlight the commercial potential for the U.S. nuclear industry to participate in the projected build-up of nuclear power in India. They have also sponsored numerous trips to India by the American lawmakers and their staff. This goes to prove how powerful interest groups can shape critical policy making. 

As per a news report in The Independent, Indian and British companies have been striking some major deals. The £4.3bn offer from India's Tata Steel accepted earlier this month by the British steelmaker Corus is just one of many deals taking place. According to research by Accenture, the consulting group, on behalf of The Independent on Sunday, Indian companies will make more than 180 acquisitions in Europe and the US this year - up from 130 last year. Accenture estimates that Indian companies could be buying nearly 370 companies a year in the West by the end of the decade. Mark Spelman, the strategy leader at Accenture, said: "As India and China become more powerful they will flex their economic muscles internationally. They will look outward rather than inward." One result will be more Indian entrants sitting beside the Microsofts and BPs in the Fortune Global 500 index of the largest companies in the world. To the West, this appears to be quite a transformation for a country that until a couple of decades ago exported only tea and cotton. Indian exports, several years ago were still important, but the boost in economy and technological advancement globally has compelled India to address the need to forge partnerships with MNCs. The primary challenge lies in the government's acceptance of these mergers while preventing the problems of red-tapism and tardiness; reasons that have deterred many companies in the past from accepting mergers with India in the past. 

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Indian oil company to expand its infrastructure in Sri Lanka 

The giant Indian Oil Company (IOC) is set to expand its infrastructure in Sri Lanka and is building a lube oil blending plant in the restive eastern port city of Trincomalee at an investment of US$5 million, Tehran Times reported.
Visiting Chairman and head of the Lanka IOC Sarthak Behuria said the IOC was looking forward to providing value-added fuels and lubricants that would expand the company's product range in the competitive fuel market in the neighbouring island nation, UNI reported here.
"The ongoing construction of a lube oil blending plant at Trincomalee with an annual capacity of 18 million litres at an investment of US$5 million is scheduled to be commissioned by June 2007," Behuria told reporters here, adding that the IOC wanted to be more competitive rather than depend on its traditional diesel and petrol sales alone.
He said Lanka IOC has agreed to settle with 5.16 billion rupees in cash and bonds from the Sri Lankan government as settlement for having sold fuel below costs without the import subsidy, compromising nearly 25 per cent of the dues.
An agreement was scheduled to be signed today but was held up due to legal issues which, Behuria said, would hopefully be settled in a couple of weeks.

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Indian parliamentary delegation to visit 

An Indian parliamentary delegation, headed by Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), Somnath Chatterjee, visited Greece recently, the Indian Embassy in Athens said, New Europe reported. 
The delegation arrived in Athens on September 24th for a five day visit, which aims to strengthen relations between the parliaments of India and Greece and mutual understanding on issues of common interest, an Indian Embassy press release said. "Democracy originated in Greece, while India is the largest democracy today. Both countries share common perspectives on important international issues," the press release said.
The Indian delegation, led by Chatterjee, includes six members of Parliament - four from the Lok Sabha (House of People), and two from the Rajya Sabha (Council of States), representing different parties - and senior officials of the Indian Parliament.
The delegation is scheduled to meet with the President of the Hellenic Parliament, the President of the Republic, and the leaders of the political parties represented in parliament, and also hold talks with the 13 member Indo-Hellenic Friendship Group of the Hellenic Parliament.
Indo-Greek exchanges have grown in trade, investment, information technology, tourism, and culture. Indian exports to Greece have risen considerably from US$113.5 million in 2000-01 to US$306.3 million in 2004-05 and are likely to reach US$480 million in 2005-06.
In January-May 2006, Indian exports increased to US$350 million, registering a growth of 80 per cent over the same period in 2005. 
Indian IT companies have secured IT service contracts with Greek banks. Investment flows are also picking up. There is good potential for increasing tourism flows in both directions. 
Some 12,000 Indian migrants mostly from Punjab, are in Greece, working in the agricultural sector, according to the press release.

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Indian drugs group feeling ready to take on the world

Ranbaxy, India's largest pharmaceuticals company, is poised to increase market share in an industry dominated by blockbuster drugs whose patents will expire in the next few years, according to the chief executive, the Financial Times reported on October 10th.
It is also seeking to bolster its position with more acquisitions in Europe, the US and India.
"We are aggressive and hungry for growth," the chief executive of Ranbaxy, Malvinder Mohan Singh, told the Financial Times. "The Indian market won't fulfil our aspirations."
Ranbaxy generates 80 per cent of its sales outside India, and aims to be one of the world's top five generic drugmaker's by 2012 by making cheaper versions of best-selling drugs such as Pfizer's anti-cholesterol medicine Lipitor.
The drug generated global annual sales of more than US$8bn last year, and Pfizer expects Lipitor sales to exceed US$13bn in 2006.
Ranbaxy has filed 169 applications for generic drug maker, Teva of Israel. Approval is pending for 56 of Ranbaxy's applications.
Ranbaxy is challenging patents on seven best-selling drugs, whose patents will expire in the next few years, and has at least 12 more major medicines in its sights. These 19 drugs have combined annual sales worth US$22.6bn, according to the company.
To help reach ambitious goals of boosting total annual sales fivefold to US$5bn by 2012, Ranbaxy is keen to make more acquisitions and to also eventually create original medicines.
"Our portfolio is driven by big patent expires," said Mr Singh. But looking ahead, Ranbaxy would rely on a "balance of strong generics and the potential to create a proprietary business."
Ranbaxy has made several European purchases this year, including Terapia, Romania's largest independent generic drugmaker, for US$324m; GlazoSmithKline's generic drug businesses in Spain and Italy for undisclosed sums; as well as Belgian drugmaker Ethimed.
Included in Ranbaxy's pipeline are generic versions of Actos, a diabetes medication from Takeda co-marketed with Eli Lilly, with annual sales of US$2bn; herpes drug Valtrex from GlaxoSmithKline, with sales of nearly US$1bn; and enlarged prostate treatment Flomax from Boehringer Ingelheim, with sales of US$738m.
Sales of generic drugs are expected to increase as healthcare providers in the US and Europe look to cut spiralling costs. The US market for generics is expected to grow to US$45bn by 2007.

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