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INDIA


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

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)

Books on India

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
3,287,590

Population

1,049,700,118

Capital
New Delhi

Currency
Irdian Rupee (INR)

President
Abdul Kalam

 

Update No: 015 - (29/04/05)

India's Relations with Pakistan and China
This month marked a historic moment in India's relations with both her neighbours. Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf visited New Delhi in the middle of April and agreed to discuss the Kashmir issue on a step by step basis. Musharraf proposed an "out of box" solution without any "rigid timeframe" indicating that a military option for settling the issue was least favourable. The two countries also issued a joint statement declaring the peace process between the two as irreversible and that terrorism would not be allowed to impede the process. The leaders of both countries have agreed to continue discussions on Jammu and Kashmir in a "sincere and purposeful manner" towards reaching a final settlement of the issue. President Musharraf, however seems to have placed a larger onus on India for maintaining the peace process by stating that "every nation guards its sovereign equality but magnanimity should be shown by all". A number of confidence building measures have been proposed which include the following items: 
· A meeting with Oil ministers in May to discuss the setting up of a pipeline.
· In June, Defence Secretaries will come up with a plan to demilitarise the Siachen Glacier. 
· The consulates in Mumbai and Karachi will open before the end of the year. 
· The rail link between Kokhrapar and Munnabao will be ready by January 2006. 
· The joint Indo Pak business council will meet with immediate effect. 
· More meeting points and bus links will be opened along the Line of Control for divided families. 
· The frequency of the Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad bus will increase. 
· Trucks will be allowed on this route to enhance trade.

India and Pakistan have also signed an agreement to expedite the release of prisoners in each other's jails. Border security officials of the two countries who signed the agreement in Karachi after four days of talks also agreed for joint patrolling of the borders and a coordinated crackdown on cross border smugglers (PTI Report). Pakistan recently released around 41 prisoners held in its jails for visa violations after completion of their terms. The remaining 70 or more prisoners in its custody are scheduled to be released soon. 
With regard to relations with its northern neighbour, relations between India and China took a giant leap forward when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed an agreement outlining a new strategy to deal with border disputes. The shift in strategy was evident as India was presented with a new map of China without the state of Sikkim. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India is symbolic of the end to old rivalries and the start of a fresh chapter in strategic partnership. A concrete manifestation of this proposal is Chinese support for India's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council. This is justified in its own right, but it can also be seen to be a part of Chinese diplomatic moves to exclude Japan which similarly has an excellent claim. It remains to be seen whether the price of China's support will be for India to similarly oppose Japan's entry, but the claim of India stands apart from any other nation. We may assume that Indian diplomats will be glad of China's support but will not be prepared to be used as pawns in any East Asian quarrel. 
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao agreed that differences on the boundary question; a by-product of the 1962 war - should not be allowed to affect the relationship between both countries. As in the case with Pakistan, India and China have also agreed on specific guiding principles that give special representatives the political mandate to settle the 3,500-km boundary issue once and for all. Other confidence building measure include efforts made by each state's special envoy to assess how they can reach a deal without disturbing settled populations, make adjustments which reflect new geographical and technical realties and the fifteen year old Joint Working groups are looking at maps and Line of Actual control to avoid large-scale military exercises, air intrusions and maintain peace at the border. However, some of the issues that were not brought to the table and still remain unresolved are India's claim on Aksai Chin and Chinese pressure on India to illegally occupy the state of Arunachal Pradesh. India also did not discuss an important issue which has been a source of much controversy amongst the political establishment in New Delhi, namely, China's continuing military supplies to Pakistan. China's concerns on the growing strategic partnership between India and the United States also did not figure on the agenda. One of the most successful steps taken in strengthening Sino-Indian relations is the Joint Statement issued by both countries and the report of the India-China Joint Study Group on Trade and Economic Cooperatio

Economy and Business 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh believes that India will aim at a 7.5 per cent growth rate by taking steps to open up further. Addressing an Indian community in Jakarta, Indonesia, Singh stated that the Congress party was committed to building a more open economy, more open society and more open polity. He further added that "winds of change are creating a situation for the growth of India. We want to see the growth rate go up to 7.5 per cent in the future." The Prime Minister noted that in the next five to ten years, India's working population was going to increase substantially, resulting in the rise in the savings rate of the economy. (PTI) 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also stressed the need to create more wealth to tackle mass poverty. He said that the focus in the next decade would be on projects which emphasize health, education and agriculture. Human resource management is important as are education, health and information technology in the growth of a country. "We still have a knowledge gap, we have to ensure elementary school education to all," the Prime Minister said (PTI Report). Referring to the direction and focus of the country, Singh felt that since 1991, Indian policies had been excessively oriented towards Europe and the US. Singh declared that "India is currently purposely and actively engaged with South-East Asia. Our horizons are expanding to cover more countries of East Asia." He also stated that "our partners in South-East Asia and East Asia have accepted the reality of India's role in the world economy." India will be a part of the East Asia summit to take place in Malaysia later this year. 
As part of building stronger ties with the paper tiger, India has set up a financial dialogue mechanism with China to boost cooperation in major international financial issues. The bilateral mechanism is meant to promote the global economy in a balanced and orderly manner. The dialogue will cover the economic situation of the two countries, their financial policies, financial reform and exchanges on matters related to international economic forums and institutions, according to the statement (PTI Report). The Chinese ministry said the dialogue between the two countries will be held once every 12 to 18 months at a deputy ministerial level or other levels the two sides agreed upon. China has set up similar financial dialogue mechanism with the United States, the European Union, Britain and France on a regular basis at ministerial levels.

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STOCK MARKET

Indian stocks may rally soon on positive earnings forecasts


Strong profit-growth forecasts could spark a rally on the Indian stock market, many local and international analysts and investment managers say, the Wall Street Journal Europe reported.
In the near future, Indian companies will be announcing results for the quarter ended March 31st. Analysts expect many bluechip concerns to report earnings growth of more than 20% from a year earlier.
Because the January-March quarter marked the end of the fiscal year for most Indian companies, many of them also are expected to make profit projections for the year that began April 1st. Robust economic growth at home and growing demand for India's products and services abroad are likely to mean upbeat forecasts from many companies.
"Most sectors should report positive earnings (growth) including the metals, petrochemicals, software, capital goods and oil-refining companies," Dhiraj Sachdev, portfolio manager at ASK-Raymond James Securities in Bombay, said.
After surging more than 50% in 10 months to a high of 6900 in early March, the Bombay Stock Exchange's 30-share Sensitive Index, or Sensex, has slipped 7% during April to 6467.92. 
Fund managers have been hoping that a bright outlook for earnings in the new fiscal year could be enough to re-ignite the rally. If earnings are on track the Sensex could climb as much as 20% during the next 12 months, predicts Pathik Gandotra, head of research at SSKI Securities in Bombay.
"As long as good earnings come, funds will find their way here," he says. "There are a lot of new local funds and foreign funds that are just starting to get a taste of India."
India's economy is among the world's fastest-growing as companies expend production facilities, The government spends billions on new roads and power plants, and an expending middle class of 300m Indians spends more. In the year that ended March 31st, India's inflation-adjusted gross domestic product grew almost 7%. Many economists project growth of more than 6% this fiscal year.
Analysts expect some of India's largest concerns to announce year-to-year profit growth of at least 40% for the quarter ending March 3rd. Among the companies for which such a performance is generally expected are software and outsourcing companies Wipro and Satyam Computer Services, aluminium refiner Hindalco Industries, oil refiner Oil and Natural Gas and energy companies Tata Power and Reliance Energy.

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Samsung India aims to sell 2mn handsets in '05 

Samsung India Electronics (SIEL) has targeted sales of two million mobile handsets across all model ranges this year, and expects to maintain a Growth rate of 60%, Business Standard website reported.
"The target sales for 2005 for our handsets of all models in India is two million," SIEL director, sales and marketing, Ravinder Zutshi said.
"The industry is growing at about 60%. Last year, we managed to grow at the same pace and this year also we are looking at a similar growth," Ravinder said when asked about the expected growth in its mobile handset sales.
SIEL has added another top-end model, D500, priced at Rs 22,500, with 96 mb of user memory, 1.3 mega pixel camera and 1.9 inch lcd screen. The model supports messaging in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and Kannada. 
Cricketers Virender Sehwag, Mohammed Kaif and Irfan Pathan are launching it at the ongoing Lakme India fashion week, 2005.
"This model has been positioned as a lifestyle statement at the top end of our handset portfolio," Zutshi said. 

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