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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: 071 - (21/12/09)

India’s Fight against Terrorism and Its Implications
India is currently investigating the role of David Coleman Headley, a Chicago man who has been accused as one of the masterminds behind the 11/26 Mumbai carnage. Indian authorities suspect that the man is a double agent who was working for the United States as well as a Pakistani based militant group. Headley, 49, is a Pakistani-American, who was arrested in October and has been charged in a Chicago court with conspiring to bomb public places in India and aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India. Indian authorities are currently skeptical of US efforts as America is yet to share valuable information about Headley’s movements before his arrest. India’s leading daily, The Times of India recently quoted an unidentified official who is believed to have stated how strange it was that the United States had failed to inform India about Headley’s visit to India in March 2009 even though he had been under surveillance since September 2008. Apparently, the Indian consulate in Chicago had issued visas to Rana and Headley to travel to India. And both individuals had made several trips to various cities in India between 2006 and 2008. Moreover, The Daily Mail quoted an unidentified official as saying that the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had not shared information with New Delhi “apparently to ensure that Headley did not get exposed as a US secret agent.” According to the Times of India, Headley was part of the Drug Enforcement Agency which allowed him to make frequent trips to Pakistan and gain direct access to the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). Headley was arrested for heroin smuggling in 1998 in New York, according to reports, which was when he is alleged to have been recruited by the DEA. As of now, India has conclusive evidence of the Lashkar’s role in the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008. Through interviews with Kasab, one of the captured terrorists, there is clear evidence of the LeT’s role behind the brutal attacks on Indian civilians. Currently, the Indian government is seeking Headley’s extradition to aid the investigation. If convicted of the 12 charges instituted against him, Headley could face the death penalty.

The larger question that emerges from this episode is the need for India and the US to work together in the war on terror. As this case demonstrates, neither the United States nor India are internally safe from the threat of future terrorist strikes. Dealing with the problem would require planned and concerted engagement on part of both countries to bring the perpetrators to justice. Moreover, America needs to place further pressure on Pakistan to break the linkages between various terrorist groups within the country. The war on terror will require a greater dialog not just between the United States and India but also other nations who are willing to invest their country’s resources in breaking terrorist networks worldwide. However, in the current context, there could not be a stronger American ally on the war on terror than India itself. 2010 will be an extremely significant year for India to convince the United States of the urgent need to cooperate on further eliminating the sources of terror not just within Pakistan and Afghanistan but also within their own borders.

The Future for Climate Change Talks
India and China are both facing pressure from the United States to curb emissions. In a recent op-ed piece in International Herald Tribune, former American President Bill Clinton outlined the following American objectives. He said that, “a successful agreement depends upon a number of core elements, but two are shaping up to be essential: first, that all major economies set forth strong national actions and resolve to implement them; and second, that they agree to a system that enables full transparency and creates confidence that national actions are in fact being implemented.” The Americans are making a stronger case for new industries, green jobs, and the sharing of technology. Interestingly, major differences emerged between India and Australia over the direction of talks at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. India has called for extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 while Australia is looking for obligations on emerging economies. Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh reportedly walked out of a meeting with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong accusing Australia of following a “single track” which requires all parties, including developing economies like India to produce a legally binding treaty before the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. Though India has voluntarily pledged to cut its emission intensity by 20-25 per cent by 2020 on a baseline of 2005 it has refused to sign any legally binding commitment.

India Critical of Grim Report on Its Non-Proliferation Record
An international commission on disarmament and non-proliferation led by Japan has criticized the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and clubbed India and Pakistan in the same category. A report of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament has proposed cutting down the world’s nuclear weapons from 23,000 to 2,000 by 2025 and suggested that all nuclear states should have a ‘no first use’ stance. India has been irked by the criticisms leveled against its civilian nuclear program and its nuclear deal with the United States. According to the report, there are fears that civilian nuclear expansion would only exacerbate nuclear proliferation in the world. But perhaps what is most alarming for India is being placed in the same category with Pakistan despite its more than luminous record on non-proliferation. The report talks about both India and Pakistan as part of the same context. India was represented at the commission by former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, who was one of the 15 commissioners. Though India found many ideas in the report acceptable, it has been wary of attempts at invoking the NPT. India has been classified as one of the ‘three elephants’ outside the nuclear club. According to the report, “recognizing the reality that the three nuclear-armed states now outside the NPT — India, Pakistan and Israel are not likely to become members any time soon, every effort should be made to achieve their participation in parallel instruments and arrangements which apply equivalent non-proliferation and disarmament obligations.” The report further advocates applying equal non-proliferation and disarmament obligations on the countries. The report has pushed forward the NPT regime in view of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. “The problem has now been accentuated by the India-US deal, endorsed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008, to give India access, effectively, to the nuclear cooperation benefits of the NPT while making no significant commitments in return,” the report said. The report has also suggested that the eight nuclear states adopt a no-first-use policy and that a nuclear weapons convention should be considered the preferred instrument for disarmament.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games in India
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) treasurer Austin Sealy said India had made "noticeable" progress towards the October 3-14 Games, but a lot remained to be done. "There has been noticeable progress over the last two months, but with effectively only nine months remaining, the intensity must continue, and in fact, works must be further accelerated," Sealy said in a statement. Sealy added the commission was concerned that the timetable for the completion of venues had been extended by at least three months, with some venues unlikely to be finished by June. "We urge the construction agencies to ensure that no further delays are encountered as this will place the organising committee in a difficult position and compromise final preparations and Games readiness," Sealy said. The co-ordination commission, which includes sports officials from Australia, Wales, South Africa, Canada and Kenya, spent the last three days in New Delhi evaluating the preparations. The commission will submit its findings to CGF president Michael Fennell, who is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Friday to meet the organizing committee. Sealy said the organisers, headed by Indian Olympic Association chief Suresh Kalmadi, were committed to holding a successful Games. "We received detailed reports from the organising committee across key areas where we had previously identified delivery risks," he said. "These reports show an increased awareness of the work that must be undertaken. There was a sense of energy and urgency from the entire Delhi team about getting on with the job. "That is a positive, and it is clear that everyone is committed to making these Games a success." The CGF general assembly had in October warned India it faced "an enormous challenge" to be ready for the Games, which involve 6,000 international athletes competing in 17 sports. The federation highlighted problems ranging from ticketing, accommodation and transport to accreditation and logistics, besides the construction of venues. The Commonwealth Games, the biggest multi-sport event to be staged in India since the Asian Games in 1982, will feature 71 nations and territories, mainly from the former British Empire.

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