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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: 039 - (26/04/07)

INDIA-US Nuclear Deal May Hit a Roadblock in the Wake of Missile Test 
As India continues to develop nuclear weapons, the primary question from the perspective of the non-proliferation regime is whether India should be treated as a recognized nuclear weapons state which retains its right to test weapons and produce weapons grade plutonium; although India, has been recognized for a very long time as a nuclear weapon state which refused to sign the NPT. Two issues, namely, testing and fuel processing are proving to be the stickiest as the two countries are negotiating the details of the accord, known as a "123 agreement." The Indian side has resisted those provisions in the agreement which potentially restrict its ability from conducting further nuclear weapons tests and placing certain boundaries on whether it can reprocess spent nuclear fuel. The United States fears that the reprocessed fuel could be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium for a new generation of nuclear weapons, undermining the Bush administration argument that the unusual deal with India would aid non-proliferation. However, most people in the non-proliferation community tend to forget that there is a difference between developing nuclear weapons for strategic purposes as with the SC% and the development of nuclear technology for the purpose of aiding terrorist groups. America really should not be looking at India to begin the next nuclear war. However, the presence of a nuclear armed Pakistan on the Indian border exacerbates concerns which are probably not without merit. Second, nuclear weapons can be seen as vital for the protection of India's territorial sovereignty from external threats. And hence, remains a legitimate reason for developing nuclear weapons. U.S. Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns expressed his frustration with the time taken to hammer out a mutually beneficial agreement but he remains hopeful. Burns said the Indian foreign secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon, had been invited to Washington for talks early next month, and Burns then plans to travel to India. 
Interestingly these issues are perhaps also being brought up in the aftermath of the successful testing of a missile by India that could theoretically hit China, extending its nuclear reach. On April 12, India launched its intermediate-range Agni-III missile, a device capable of striking targets 2,170 miles inside China. The government's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) simultaneously declared that India now has the capacity to build intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that would extend India's reach beyond Asia. DRDO Chief, M. Natarajan said, "we have achieved the capability to make missiles with a range of 5,500 kilometres but the decision to develop an ICBM has to be taken by the political leadership." This statement is also a clear indication of strict civilian control over the management of nuclear weapons in India. But Natarajan claims that India is well on its way to building an ICBM as "DRDO scientists are working on miniaturizing systems of Agni-III so that a third stage can be squeezed into the 16-meter-long missile to enable it to go up to 5,500 kilometres with the same 1.5-ton payload." A second test of Agni-III is likely to be undertaken in August or October of this year. 

India- New Zealand Trade Agreement 
India and New Zealand have arrived at an agreement enabling free trade between the two countries. New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff and his Indian counterpart Kamal Nath are meeting in Wellington to discuss the modalities. 
"While achieving a free trade agreement with India would require us to overcome significant obstacles, agreement in principle to conduct a study into what such an agreement would mean for both of our countries would be a good start," Goff was quoted as saying by the media here. Trade between the two countries is small, but growing fast. "New Zealand-India two-way trade is at less than $650 million compares with nearly $7 billion in our two-way trade with China," Goff said. In his discussions with Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, Goff raised concerns about tariff and non-tariff barriers. Tariffs on key New Zealand food and beverage items are high, and food safety controls, which exceed international standards, can prevent trade in areas such as dairy and meat," he said. Goff said education and tourism interests in New Zealand were expanding in India and there was potential for a direct air service between Auckland and Mumbai within a few years to assist trade. "New Zealand has much in common with India, including language, political and legal institutions and a long-standing and warm relationship, which should make trade easier," he said. The study is to be developed further at a meeting expected to be held in September.

India-Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline 
There has been some speculation that India does not have serious intentions in going ahead with the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project. However, according to a recent statement by an Indian official, India remains committed to take part in the $7-billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project. "We have been assured by the Indian government that it has no plan to abandon the IPI gas pipeline project under American pressure", said Pakistan petroleum and natural resources secretary, Mr Ahmad Waqar. He also added that during the recent SAARC summit in New Delhi, Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr Shaukat Aziz, was assured by his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, that his country was extremely serious about the project. Mr Waqar, however, said that Pakistan was pursing both bilateral and tri-lateral approaches to ensure that the project was not abandoned for any reason. But in the event of India backing out from the project, Islamabad and Teheran are all set to go ahead with the project. Mounting energy requirements in India and Pakistan have forced both the countries to "have a certain feasible gas pipeline project", said Mr Waqar and that the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) here had recently approved the gas sharing arrangement with India under the IPI project. Under the Phase-1 of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) project, Iran would deliver about 2.1 billion cubic feet of gas per day (BCFD) at the Pakistani border that would be equally shared by both India and Pakistan. Under the Phase II of the project, 3.2 BCFD of gas would be transported by Iran, bringing the total gas supplies to 5.3 BCFD from Teheran. Of these supplies, Pakistan and India would get 2.1 BCFD and 3.2 BCFD respectively. 

NY Times Report on MNCs in India 
A New York Times Report investigates how a new wave of foreign competitive pressure is showing its signs in the United States economy, especially from companies in emerging markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China. These companies are in quest of becoming giant cartels or multi national corporations. For instance, Samsung Electronics emerged from South Korea and Toyota sprang from Japan during the earlier phases of globalisation. India also has witnessed a tremendous growth in its technology sector through companies like Wipro, Infosys Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services. Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian living in Europe now owns the largest steel company in the world. The emergence of MNCs is part of increasing globalisation and industrialization. The primary question the report raises is how so many companies that once would have been content to operate in their home markets have so rapidly gained the expertise to manage complex multinational operations? The report says that this can be explained by the ease in global communications and air travel.

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