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Key Economic Data 
  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)

Books on India

Update No: 082 - (29/11/10)

Evaluating President Obama’s Visit
President Obama’s visit to India in the first week November continues to be one of the big stories of this month. The Obama visit appeared to elicit a number of different reactions from India’s media and public, ranging from sheer euphoria to skepticism. One of the major issues that repeatedly emerged in media debates was the relevance of Obama’s visit for India-Pakistan relations. Surprisingly a large measure of Obama’s success was evaluated on the basis of whether or not he would place Pakistan in the spotlight on issues of terrorism. President Obama’s speech to the Indian Parliament during the last leg of his India trip did provide some comfort to the Indian community as the American President called on Pakistan to eradicate any terrorist safe-havens from within its borders. Yet, it appeared ironic to see a country that has always discouraged any kind of international mediation on Kashmir to place so much emphasis on the importance of Pakistan for India-US relations. In the economic realm, the Obama administration signed a large number of business deals which will create 50,000 jobs in the United States. More importantly, the Obama administration encouraged India’s bid to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council; a step that was warmly welcomed by one and all but one that still could take years to execute. In the aftermath of the Obama visit, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna recently said Obama’s recent visit will “elevate” the India-US strategic partnership to a new level in the long term. The visit has been considered successful in strengthening mutual support on regional and global issues. Indian expert, Ashley Tellis, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has outlined two major strengths of the Obama visit. First, the relationship will be more secure in integrating both countries in the primary areas of agriculture, energy, and health. Second, both countries are committed to working together for the betterment of Afghanistan and Africa. Both areas symbolize a stronger recognition on part of the United States of India’s future capabilities while sending a signal to neighboring China and Pakistan that America places tremendous value on a sound relationship with India as part of a greater inter-connected global world.

India Tests Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile
In a step that moves towards maintaining and sustaining its nuclear deterrent capability, India has tested the 700-km range AGNI-I ballistic missile off the Orissa coast. The launch occurred at 10.20 am. But most people are anticipating the first test of India's most ambitious ballistic missile, the 5,000-km range Agni-V, in early-2011. The Agni-V, potentially capable of hitting targets in extreme northern regions of China, will be a canister-launch missile system and will be tested to see if it can transported and fired from anywhere in a short amount of time.

As the Agni-I can be fired from both rail-based and road-mobile launchers, it gives the armed forces greater operational flexibility in its use. Apart from Agni-I and Agni-II, defense scientists say the 3,500-km Agni-III is also "mature for induction" in the armed forces.

Indian President Pratibha Patil is currently undertaking an official trip to the United Arab Emirates where President, HH Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is looking towards promoting bilateral cooperation with India over issues of common concern. One of the major concerns for Human Rights Watch group is that India should raise its reactions towards human rights abuses of its overseas workers and push for stronger labor reform laws. 1.2 million Indians live in the Emirates and half of these people are migrant workers. Many of these workers are paid very low-wages and have to work under hazardous conditions and often endure physical abuse. But trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are inevitably likely to dominate the talks. Addressing the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the last day of her six-day state visit to the UAE, Patil said both India and the UAE had successfully triumphed over the global financial crisis by introducing and applying prudent economic policies and stimulus measures which were now contributing to the stability of the global economy. She said the large presence of Indian business companies in the UAE could now act as a springboard to elevate the bilateral economic partnership to new levels. "While trade has been the bedrock of our economic partnership, strengthening of the flow of foreign direct investment between the two countries, can be another significant pillar of our relationship," Patil said. The visit by Pratibha Patil comes within the framework of mutual official visits by senior officials in both countries aimed to strengthen cooperation for the benefit of both countries. In March this year, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited India and most of the talks were focused on expanding economic cooperation between the two countries, especially since both countries share a long history in working together on maritime trade.

France and Russia Show Interest in Nuclear Collaboration with India
France and Russia are among several countries looking towards India for greater collaboration on nuclear power. As a result of the Indo-US nuclear agreement, nuclear supplier guidelines have undergone few changes, following which many countries, including France and Russia, are talking about partnering with India, he said delivering a talk on 'Energy Technology, Energy Security and Climate Change' at the College of Defence Management (CDM) in Hyderabad. Principal Scientific Advisor to Indian Government, R. Chidambaram said that France and Russia are not just looking at India as a temporary market but they are all looking for joining (partnership) with India and looking for global markets not only in nuclear power but other sectors. The aim, according to Chidambaram, should be to open up to global markets. Quoting a report issued by the Deloitte Global Manufacturing Industry group and the US Council on Competitiveness, Chidambaram said they have put India on the second rank after China in the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index for 2010.

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