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INDIA


 

 

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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: 057 - (29/09/08)

INDIA-US NUCLEAR DEAL ACCEPTED 
The Indian-US nuclear deal has finally received the much awaited nod-of-approval from the Bush administration which has left many in India and Indian Americans in the United States, jubilant at the prospect of a defining relationship between the two countries. The Indian American community in the United States is absolutely ecstatic over the final approval being issued by the US House of Representatives. The Indian community had lobbied the Congress for many months to help get the deal through and hence, their triumphant attitude is not something unexpected. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the House vote outcome during his address to nearly 400 prominent India Americans in New York a few days ago. Manmohan Singh recently visited the United States to be part of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly. Hemant Patel, president of the Indian American Committee has said that “the US gets a reliable partner in India, the most stable country in the region, which has 5,000 years history of non-aggression, and now of non-proliferation.” He also said that big and influential Indian American organizations like AAPI and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), which lobbied with key Congressmen in support of the agreement as well as with main political parties in India, had played a key role in pushing the deal forward. Sanjay Ramabhadran, president of the Indo-American Political Action Committee in the Greater Houston are a also expressed a similar sentiment when he said that the agreement is most likely to strengthen the “economic, political and strategic ties” between the two countries. But although the House of Representatives has displayed an optimistic attitude towards the deal, it still has to receive and approval from the U.S. Senate. Moreover, within India, the opposition party still remains critical of the pact. But the Indian leadership is hopeful that the U.S. Senate will approve it without too many changes, after which the agreement can be signed, making it official. 

TERRORISTS STRIKE DELHI
On September 13, at least 20 people were killed and 80 injured when a number of blasts ripped through three busy markets in separate areas of New Delhi. According to the Indian Police, the five blasts took place in the city’s crowded Ghaffar Market, Connaught Place and Greater Kailash areas beginning at 6:15 pm. The majority of casualties, however, were reported from Ghaffar Market and Connaught Place. Fe deral Home Minister Shivraj Patil urged the people of India to maintain calm and vow to fight the tragedy. The homegrown Muslim militant group, Indian Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks. This is the same group which claimed responsibility for the serial bombings in May and July in the cities of Jaipur and Ahmedabad, where 119 lives were lost. 

In the aftermath of the attacks, the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh undertook an emergency cabinet meeting and the entire country was placed on a heightened security alert. Some members of the Indian Home Ministry have admitted to grave intelligence failures as also being responsible for the blasts. A common and defining feature in India-Pakistan relations has been the accusations of terrorism leveled by Indian authorities against its Pakistani counterpart. Indian government and security agencies strongly believe that the Pakistan-based militant groups are usually behind most of the attacks and sometimes recruit local Muslim groups to conduct such barbaric operations, although European experience shows that such self-starting militant groups can spring up without outside organisation. Although Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani condemned the blasts, the climate of distrust between India and Pakistan continues to live. The Indians are unsure how much t he new President will do to crack down on terrorist activities across Indian borders. New Delhi is expecting the President of Pakistan to develop new anti-terror tactics but so far have not seen any concrete evidence of this. For the immediate situation, New Delhi should try to establish many more vigilant security institutions which are directly responsible for intelligence. While the threat of terrorism will not die anytime soon, the Indian government should do whatever is necessary domestically to protect the Indian citizens. The United States has also agreed to unite with India in fighting this common malaise that has inflicted both countries and many others. 

BUSINESS 
With India receiving an NSG waiver, several homegrown firms have lined up investments worth Rs 1,00,000 crore for foraying into nuclear power generation and are negotiating deals with companies from France. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) has already done exploratory meetings and technical discussions with three global reactor suppliers including Areva of France, FICCI Secretary General Amit Mitra told PTI here. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is fielding a 85-member delegation for the India-EU Business Summit here on September 30. The business summit, to coincide with the India-EU political summit, will be addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Business leaders from India and the European Union, the country's largest trading partner, would participate in the meeting. Mr Mitra said, while Tata Power Company has tied up with major nuclear equipment suppliers like Areva and established a relationship with Toshiba, several other Indian firms including Reliance Infra and Larsen and Toubro are working on their nuclear power generation plans. While generation of atomic energy is restricted to the public sector in India, the government is seriously considering opening it for the private sector once the Indo-US deal gets into implementation. Earlier this month, French Minister of State for External Trade, Anne Marie Idrac had said in New Delhi that the NSG waiver opened the way for France to sign a bilateral agreement with India. – PTI 

PepsiCo chief and Chairman of the US-India Business Council (USIBC), Indra Nooyi has advocated the need for agrarian reforms in the country in order to foster inclusive growth. “In a country, where 68% of the population lives in rural areas, there can be no inclusive growth without serious agrarian reform.” Ms Nooyi added that both US and Indian industry can actively promote agrarian reforms through partnerships and by disseminating information on global and domestic best practices through the country. Addressing a roundtable on ‘A Fresh Beginning: US-India Relations’ and ‘The Third Wave of Investment & Reforms’ in the capital on Wednesday, Ms Nooyi launched a bilateral investment trade treaty between the two countries. She said that this would lead to the creation of jobs and opportunities in both countries. On India’s infrastructure needs, Ms Nooyi said that massive FDI and private sector participation will be required. Ms Nooyi also emphasised that the India-US civil nuclear deal is in India’s interest and that India’s economic prosperity depends on access to reliable electricity supply (Source : The Economic Times). 

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