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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: 050 - (28/03/08)

INDIA TAKES AN AMBIVALENT POSITION ON TIBET 
Given the enormous crisis Tibet currently faces, India's response to Chinese crackdown on Tibetans has rekindled debates about India's China policy. Currently, India has assured China that its position on the Tibet issue is "clear and consistent" and it would not change in the future. New Delhi has further clarified that Vice President Hamid Ansari had no plans to meet the Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamshala, following a "rumour" about such a meeting. New Delhi maintains that Tibet is an internal issue of China and has assured Beijing that this position is unlikely to change in the near future. Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama for masterminding the recent riots which has provoked strong condemnation of Beijing's actions, as the Dalai Lama is highly revered as not just the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetans, but has earned the accolade of being also a spiritual leader of the world. The meetings of Western leaders with the Dalai Lama have further angered the Chinese government. When US House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi met the Dalai Lama and spoke out against China's "oppression" in Tibet, Beijing was definitely sour and urged external countries against intervening in its internal affairs. Armed with international support for their cause, the Tibetans have demanded a UN probe into the recent deaths and the Dalai Lama is contemplating resignation as political leader of the government-in-exile. 

What is perhaps extremely disheartening is India's position on the plight of the Tibetans. It appears that New Delhi is trying very hard to please Beijing when instead many believe that it should be fighting for the cause of the Tibetans. In a recent article in the American Chronicle, Edsey Daniel raises a very important question. Daniel examines whether India has a moral responsibility towards Tibet. Daniel notes that India has always ignored China's policies towards India, whether in Arunachal Pradesh or in other disputed territories. According to Daniel, China's imperialistic vision may be guiding India's security concerns. India may be concerned that in the event of its support to Tibet, the Chinese will close in at the Indian borders spelling disaster for the Indian military. However, despite the strategic problem that that the Tibetan issue poses for India, the latter must develop a better policy in support of countries like Tibet that have faced Chinese oppression for decades. In a lucid article in the recent edition of Newsweek, Sumit Ganguly also makes a strong case for why India must stand up to China. Ganguly argues that if India wants the world to recognize it as a great power, then it must work independently of the Chinese threat. At the very minimum, New Delhi must grant the Tibetans the power to protest. India is pursuing a rather cautious line by placating Chinese interests instead of denouncing their methods. This, in itself goes very much against the democratic principles of freedom that India espouses. 


PROGRESS ON NUCLEAR TALKS
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to begin a three-day visit to the US on March 23 and is expected to brief US officials about the ongoing political negotiations on the Indo-US nuclear deal. However, Non Resident Indians (NRIs) are not waiting for any official briefing. A powerful NRI lobby, United States India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), has already started the process of briefing US policymakers about the political process in India. This definitely demonstrates the power and clout wielded by the Non-Resident Indians living in America. For example, Washington-based businessman Robinder Sachdev is still meeting people in India to hard-sell the Indo-US nuclear deal. As a member of USINPAC, Sachdev has been a strong lobbyist and exercised major influence on American senators and Congressmen to push for the deal. The rise of Indian-American special interest groups and lobbies in America that have a major voice in India-US Nuclear issues, may be a very powerful force that leads to a successful culmination of this project. 

INDIA-AFRICA 
India has recently begun making overtures into oil and mineral rich Africa to re-vitalize its energy driven economy and expand its global reach. At a business meeting in New Delhi last week, Indian businessmen met with delegates from 33 African nations to discuss potential deals worth 10 billion dollars. New Delhi is also going to host a India-Africa political forum in New Delhi in April that will be attended by key African nations including Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa, besides eight regional economic groupings. A government official states that "Africa is the largest bloc (of countries) in the United Nations and support from this bloc is important if India wants a seat on the United Nations Security Council." This statement, of course, underlines India's intention of not just forging an economic partnership with African nations but going much further in securing the support of African countries; a very strategically devised plan. India's success in starting a new phase in its relations with Africa will bear fruit given India's long history of supporting the African struggle for independence from its colonial rulers. India once enjoyed close ties with many African countries and wielded considerable influence across the continent. This is a relationship that India wants to rebuild and maintain. India realizes that it may have ignored African interests because of a greater focus on the United States and Europe. India's bilateral trade with the continent stood at 25 billion dollars in 2006-2007, according to industry figures, a figure that does not speak very well for India's relations with African nations. However, India's renewed desire to improve its ties with Africa became evident when New Delhi announced a 60 percent aid increase to the continent (800 million rupees) for the next financial year in February. 

India's junior foreign minister, Anand Sharma has noted that the April meeting would "deepen and diversify India's engagement with Africa" and that the "forum will define the roadmap for future engagement." However, in establishing a more permanent economic relationship with African nations, New Delhi will have to weigh Chinese interests in the region particularly since China has recorded a very high investment in Africa. 

INDIA'S PROJECTED ECONOMIC CAPABILITY 
According to the UK based Chartered Management Institute, India, along with emerging market peers China, Brazil and Russia, is expected to transform the global business landscape and will have a greater influence on the markets across the world by 2018. 

The study also revealed that the business markets would be noticeably influenced by new players from India, Brazil, Russia, China, Eastern Europe and other developing countries, as well as global businesses. 

As new business models are introduced to respond to these changes, there would arise the need for greater emphasis on new skills such as understanding diversity and foreign cultures. 

To succeed in this environment, organizations would need technology that is capable of capturing implicit and tacit knowledge and allow the sharing of knowledge with customers and partners. However, the report also alerted readers to the fact that if the economy of China or India collapses due to social unrest among minorities, the business market could shrink suddenly and dramatically as business in these countries would become unstable.

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