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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
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: 041 - (27/06/07)

PAKISTAN'S NUCLEAR SHADOW OVER INDIA
According to latest American intelligence reports, satellite imagery shows that Pakistan is building a nuclear reactor that can produce weapons-grade plutonium at the Khushab nuclear site, 100 miles southwest of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. According to the Institute of Science for International Security, the progress made on developing nuclear reactors displays Pakistan's resolve to continue developing nuclear weapons irrespective of the implications of such an action for the South Asian subcontinent. Such theories have been validated by senior officials at Pakistan's Atomic Energy Authority who believe that the country is intent on extending its infrastructure in this area, underlining their claim that nuclear technology has always been developed for peaceful energy use. It appears that along with peaceful uses of nuclear energy, what also remains at stake is, Pakistan's national security interests. How these two things are related, is yet to be explained. From various public statements made to the press in the past, the Pakistani government has always signalled its intention to develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent to India. The American intelligence reports further observe that "Pakistan may have decided to produce more plutonium for lighter warheads for cruise missiles, or to upgrade weapons aimed at Indian cities and the country is moving towards a new generation of plutonium based weapons." The most significant conclusion generated by the report focuses on the renewed fear of an arms race in the South Asian subcontinent. Given such conclusions drawn by American intelligence, the primary issue now is whether or not the United States is going to exert any pressure on Pakistan to forgo its nuclear weapons program. As United States is using Pakistan's support in its fight against terror, this option might be next to impossible while engaging both India and Pakistan in a nuclear deal might look a more promising alternative. Of course, one could also argue that the very reason for Pakistan's expansion in nuclear capabilities has been a direct produce of India-US cooperation in nuclear technology over the last year. 

INDIA DEFIANT AT WTO TALKS
In a recent round of talks at the WTO summit in Germany, Brazilian farmers have blamed India for being the main cause for the collapse of World Trade Organization talks in Germany. Spokesman, Antonio Donizeti of the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock stated that "India was the major complicating element in these negotiations through its resistance, its service demands and its totally inflexible position." Both Brazil and India walked out of the talks with United States and European Union during WTO negotiations in Germany that aimed for multilateral agreement on farm subsidies and open markets. In Washington, US President George W Bush accused Brazil and India of fighting for their interests at the expense of poorer countries. However, Donizeti also claimed that India was not the only party to blame for the deadlock in talks. While Brazilians were quick to critique India's position, they did take responsibility for their own aggressive stance on agricultural policies. Moreover, the United States and European Union were also guilty for not providing easier access to market and internal support to various member countries. Therefore, Donizeti said that in the overall scheme of things, there were no real winners or losers. However, the stakes for the Brazilian farmers is the highest in these trade talks only because they would be the worst off and could almost lose approximately 10 billion US dollars worth of potential exports if a trade accord fails. India maintained a strong stance in defending its agricultural sector from foreign competition and adopted a tougher stance on the farm products it believes should be spared from foreign competition under an accord. India insists that 20 per cent of its farm tariffs face no or only minimal cuts. The WTO intends to complete a new global trade pact by the end of the year. 

INDIA SUPPORTS SRI LANKA IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
In a new turn to India's relations with Sri Lanka, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Anthony, while addressing India's top military brass, stated that the India is willing and ready to provide Sri Lanka with arms and ammunition to help fight against terrorism. Anthony also said that terrorism and non-state actors were the most virulent threats to the national security of both countries. A new 'security paradigm' will be implemented which will include different components such as security cooperation, strategic partnerships and deterrence in accordance with India's security and strategic interests. India's bid to support Sri Lanka against the growth of terrorism is a response to the rise and increase in power of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), a militant group. Simultaneously, Anthony also expressed a desire for diplomatic and political solutions to the problem. In accordance with extending its support to the Sri Lankans, the Indian government has agreed to begin coordinated patrols of the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Straits. 

ECONOMY/BUSINESS
According to a major new study, India is the most easy, comfortable or safe market to do business with. The major new international study by BT, one of the world's leading providers of communications solutions and services, commissioned Datamonitor to undertake the study of 800 senior executives in the US, UK, France and Germany for its study, "Building Business with BRICS." This study has revealed that while more than six out of 10 (64 per cent) directors of large American, British, French and German corporations accept that emerging economies will "reshape" the global business landscape, many seem to have only an elementary knowledge of their business environments, demonstrating ignorance at the realities of these countries. For instance, nine out of ten directors (88 per cent) could not name the currency of Brazil and 14 per cent believe that vodka is the main product of Russia, for example. While India was considered to be the most comfortable BRICS economy in which to do business, Russia was perceived as the least comfortable BRICS economy to do business. 
Francois Barrault, the CEO of BT Global Services said that the findings of this survey are rather worrisome. The study also found that directors perceived data security to be the main barrier to effective collaboration with international businesses, followed by different legislation and regulations and political interference. 

ANALYSIS BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 
According to a recent analysis by the Wall Street Journal, ICICI Bank, India's biggest private bank by assets has raised more than US$4 billion in the country's largest-ever fund-raising exercise by an Indian company, attracting worldwide attention from domestic and overseas investors. The bank priced the shares at the upper end of expectations at 940 rupees (US$23.17) each, and its American depositary shares at US$49.25 per unit. ICICI Bank had set an indicative price band of 885 rupees to 950 rupees for its public offering. The combined amount of US$4.29 billion that was raised, excluding over allotment options, tops the India state-run Oil & Natural Gas Corp.'s US$2.58 billion offering in 2004. The 87.5 billion-rupee domestic part of the offering is by itself India's second-largest after Oil & Natural Gas. ICICI is planning to use the funds from the sale to expand its consumer-credit and corporate businesses and a rural banking project. The bank's local offering has an over allotment option valued at 13.13 billion rupees, while the US$2.14 billion overseas offer has an over allotment option valued at US$320 million. The company didn't specify whether the options will be exercised.

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