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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: 051 - (01/05/08)

INDIA-AFRICA SUMMIT
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was recently in India this month to strengthen India-Africa relations. Museveni spoke on April 8 at the India-Africa Partnership Summit. In his speech, the Ugandan President requested the Indian Government to encourage Indian companies to invest in Africa by taking advantage of the zero-tariff, quota-free market access to the USA, EU and Chinese markets which had already been secured by African countries. Urging the merits of investing in Africa, Musevini talked about an increase in employment opportunities for African people and improving their purchasing power. India already plays a very important role in African markets being among the top five sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Uganda. In 2003, the volume of trade between India and Uganda rose from US$ 5.6 million to US$ 105.5 million. Uganda's primary imports from India are: salt, pharmaceuticals, agricultural machinery, chemical products, spare parts for automobiles and steel, all of which account for US$ 93 million. Uganda's exports to India are agricultural products like coffee, tea, hides and skins, wood, scrap metal. In 2005, these exports were valued at US$ 2,848,000 because of Uganda's low levels of industrialization. Museveni's major initiative is to improve trade relations with India and transform Uganda's predominantly agrarian society into a more industrialized one. The major fallout of the India- Africa summit is the possibility of opening up market access for African goods in India. 

INDIA-SRI LANKA TRADE ISSUES 
Tamil Nadu Chief minister M. Karunanidhi called the attention of New Delhi to the ongoing war between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government that has been continuing since 1983. By moving a resolution in the state assembly, Karunanidhi has urged the Central government to play a more visible role in ending the country's ethnic civil war. He also urged various Tamil parties in Sri Lanka to unite instead of continuing to remain at war with each other. According to Karunanidhi, "had the groups fought together, they would have succeeded by now, like in the case of Nepal." Moreover, "the inter-group fighting has left many dead, which has actually weakened the cause of the Tamils." Even though the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has expressed genuine concerns about extending Indian help to end insurgency in Sri Lanka, India has already played an important role in negotiating with rebels and other groups, when in 1987, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was sent to Sri Lanka to fight the Liberation of Tamil Tigers for Eelam (LTTE). The presence of Indian forces in Sri Lanka created a lot of problems for the Indian government and also expended the national treasury. This is why, perhaps, the Ministry of External Affairs has refrained from commenting on Karunanidhi's proposal. Also, former IPKF commander Gen. Ashok Mehta has pointed out that in the event that the LTTE received a blow from the Sri Lankan army, the possibility of thousands of Tamil refugees streaming across the Palk Straits from Jaffna into Tamil Nadu could become a very real scenario. In 2006-07, officials estimate that as many as 25,000 refugees came into Tamil Nadu. Such influx of Tamil refugees into Indian borders could actually disrupt the maintenance of law and order in the state of Tamil Nadu and create huge financial pressures on the state and central government. Therefore any policy towards Sri Lanka should be crafted in the light of various problems that could afflict India if it took on the task of intervening in the war again. 


INDIA-NEPAL
A two-day seminar sponsored by the ministry of external affairs and Bihar government called "Emerging trends in India-Nepal relations" was recently conducted during which India clarified that it would stay "positively disposed" in assisting the political and economic transformation of Nepal. Inaugurating the seminar, Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar emphasized the importance of Nepal for Bihar and vice-versa, especially since the people of Bihar and Nepal had shared "age-old cultural, economic and social relations." Kumar also said that India would try to assist Nepal in building hydroelectric power projects. It was the first time that representatives of the Indian ruling establishment got an opportunity to interact with their counterparts from Nepal's proposed establishment. Former Ambassador to Nepal and currently, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's special envoy, Shyam Saran, said that, "India is proud to have been a modest part of this historic transformation in a friendly neighboring country and stands ready to assist in whatever manner it is called upon, to be a part of the transformation in Nepal." Saran also pointed out that India believes that the people of Nepal should exercise the right to decide whom to elect and in what manner. Prachanda, the head of the Nepal Maoists, further called for a redefinition of the Indo-Nepal Friendship Pact of1950. The newly elected Maoist Politburo member and wife of the Maoist ideologue, Baburam Bhattarai, Yami said that "India was the first country to welcome the changed mandate in Nepal and the Nepalese were willing to learn from India's democratic traditions and efficient plans for economic development. Yami placed faith in India's multi-party political and economic model, saying that this would help the Nepalese in their "endeavor for liberation."

INDIAN AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY 
According to recent reports in the Economic Times, India's passenger car sales industry is likely to grow 12 percent to 13 percent this year. Carmakers including General Motors and Nissan have announced a combined $6 billion package of investments in India as demands for these companies have begun to decline in the U.S. and Japan. India's growing economy has seemed to benefit the automobile industry the most as India's economy has expanded an average 8.7 percent a year since 2003. India is likely to grow further in the fiscal year that started April 1 at little more than 8 percent. Because of high growth rates, many automobiles are becoming affordable to more people. But the rising costs of steel and other inputs that go into a successful automobile industry might impede car sales. India is the world's fastest growing automobile producer after China. Maruti, which makes half the cars sold in India, boosted sales by 13 percent last year while Hyundai, the second-largest, increased sales by 11 percent. However, Tata Motors, the third-biggest, posted a 7 percent decline in sales, according to the data.

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