India’s Modi Assails Protectionism, Terrorism

At the 2018 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, called for International cooperation on climate change and stressed that the rise of protectionism is a threat facing the world, a threat that is as grave as terrorism.

In defense of globalization, Modi quoted the founding father of India, M.K Gandhi, who said, “I don’t want the walls and windows of my house to be closed from all directions. I want that the winds of cultures of all countries enter my house with aplomb and go out also. However, I will not accept my feet to be uprooted by these winds.”

In a reference to the popular Indian practices of yoga and meditation he declared, “We have always believed that victory over oneself is the greatest victory. To achieve this one needs to control one’s mind to gain victory over it. This is our soft power; in fact, our real power. Now, the whole world has started recognizing it.

Another concept that our sacred texts extol is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. This is a phrase in Sanskrit which means ‘the world is one family.’ That is why India has always seen the home nurtured and the global as mutually reinforcing and inseparable parts of the same organic arrangement. We rush to help people in need whether in the neighborhood or at far away locations. We have fought wars when no strategic interests of our own were involved.”

Fractures at the international level, according to Modi, are: direct and indirect control of territories; and control of transactions, including cross-border trade and movement of people; terrorism, and climate change.

“We all must unite in the fight against terrorism. India stands firmly with all such forces. I must also take the opportunity to appeal to all of you to see that such groups do not get money, arms, and ammunition. Without peace, progress and prosperity are not possible.”

He ended his speech by saying that India affords scope and opportunity for ideas and concepts to flourish and outlined opportunities for business and investment:

->  We need to build 50 million houses for the poor

->  We need to build metro rail systems in more than fifty cities

We must go horizontal as well as vertical.

->  From distribution of LED bulbs to laying down heavy transmission lines

->  From cooking gas in every kitchen to the National gas grid and LNG terminals

->  From roads in villages to the Bharatmala (meaning a necklace for India) road network garlanding the borders of the country

The needs of our fast track development process are lifetime opportunities for companies in various fields:

->  India’s steel consumption is 60 kg per person, against a global average of 218 kg per person

->  India’s per capita electricity consumption at 1100 kWh is the lowest among BRICS nations and is just 1/3rd of the world average

->  In India, there are 25 vehicles per 1,000 people, as against about 500 in European countries. (134th place in world and lowest in top 10 car making countries)

“Think of the revolutionary effect on your industry if the consumption needs of 1.25 billion people become at par with, or closer to, the world average in some of these sectors.”

The full text of the speech can be found here.

January 30, 2018   No Comments

At Davos, Modi Promotes India’s Development Agenda

In a keynote address to the World Economic Forum 2018 in  Davos, Switzerland, Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi projected India as a country with a vast market and strong and stable fundamentals, and exhorted world leaders to consider India as an attractive destination for doing business. He then went on to outline “the five pillars” of India’s development agenda:

  • Modi’s first pillar of support to improve the business climate in India is instituting much needed reforms. Recent reforms in India have touched many facets of India’s economy: direct tax, banking, creating a digital database of citizens, expanding the tax base, controlling inflation and corruption, and reducing fiscal deficit. Indeed, there has been a sharp rise in FDI in the past three years–from $36 billion in 2014 to $60 billion in 2017. Modi added that India “has resolved many regulatory and policy issues facing businesses, investors and companies,” and its states are now competing to attract business investment.
  • The second avenue of support for business is the increasing use of technology to transform governance and deliver public entitlements and services. Both the Federal and State governments are deploying technology to ensure that time-bound decisions are delivered to business entities.
  • The third pillar to improve the economy is the Indian government’s focus on upgrading physical infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports in tier I, II and III cities, as well as sea ports. “The scale and scope of this task is immense. Our Sagarmala [meaning, sea necklace] project seeks to connect our long coastline and ports to the hinterland,” he said.
  • The prime minister said he was aware that India needs to be aligned with the world in major policy areas such as “the entry and exit of businesses, IPRs, or arbitration and commercial adjudication. We have moved very decisively to brush up the framework to bring them in line with global best practices,” he added.
  • “The fifth pillar is inclusive economic development. As I said, the biggest reason for fracture within the countries is inequality and disparity leading to divide and distrust,” stated Modi.
PM Modi in Davos for World Economic Forum Meet

PM Modi in Davos at World Economic Forum

January 24, 2018   No Comments

Israel’s Netanyahu Hails “New Era” in Ties with India

Benjamin Netanyahu, the first Israeli prime minister to visit India in 15 years, accompanied by his wife Sara on a six-day visit to India, were given a warm welcome by Prime Minister Modi. Driving the growing ties is both leaders’ shared worldview for national-security and free-markets. Both see Israel’s technology-oriented economy as a natural fit for India’s, which needs innovation to improve everything from farming to healthcare.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi and the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu during Press Statement, at Metanyahu and Modi at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on January 15, 2018.

At a press conference in Hyderabad House, New Delhi on January 15, 2018

Netanyahu hailed a “new era” in ties with India as he signed a series of deals on cybersecurity, energy, biotechnology, agriculture, and defense during his first visit. Israel has given initial approval for Indian energy companies to explore oil and gas in the eastern Mediterranean. Bilateral trade has jumped from $200 million in 1992, when the two countries opened diplomatic relations, to $5 billion in 2017.

 

Sara and Netanyahu visited Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, where Netanyahu tried his hand at a spinning wheel, a pastime Gandhi made popular while he was jailed during British colonial rule. They also visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, and attended a ceremony to name a square in New Delhi ‘Teen Murti’ in honor of the Indian soldiers who died in the fight to liberate Haifa from the Turks in 1918.

Netanyahu addressed the India-Israel Business Summit organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in  New Delhi. On his last night in Mumbai, Prime Minister Netanyahu partied with Bollywood bigwigs such as actor Amitabh Bachchan and director Abhishek Kapoor, and pitched Israel as a film destination: Not just because you can see the snow, the beach, the desert, the salty sea and a sweet-water lake within an hour’s drive, he said, but also because Israel has “great technology for businesses and big ideas.”

 

January 19, 2018   No Comments

Juster: India Can Be ‘Alternative Investment Hub’ for U.S. Firms

At his first policy speech since taking over as Ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, Washington’s envoy to New Delhi said that a number of U.S. companies have reported increasing difficulties in conducting business in the largest market in the region, China. “Accordingly, some companies are downgrading their operations there, while others are looking with great interest at alternative markets. India can seize the strategic opportunity – through trade and investment – to become an alternative hub for U.S. business in the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

Flags of US and India

Observing that ‘America First‘ and ‘Make in India‘ are not incompatible, he added that investing in each other’s markets will be mutually beneficial. He noted that accelerating the economic and regulatory reform process already begun by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will help ensure that India is seen as an increasingly efficient, transparent and well-regulated market. “This will further promote growth and development. Continued reforms and trade liberalization will also enable Indian products to more readily become part of the global supply chain, thereby accelerating job creation,” Juster stated.

January 16, 2018   No Comments

India’s Rooftops to Boost Solar Power

India increased its rooftop solar power capacity in 2017 by more than the previous four years combined, adding 715 megawatts in rooftop photo-voltaic power and recording a compound annual growth rate of 117% since 2013. That makes solar the fastest-growing area of the country’s clean energy market, and solar rooftop panels are the fastest growing sub-sector of the renewables market in India.

The major boost can be attributed to the lowering cost of rooftop solar units in India, which has dropped by 50 percent in the last five years, making it cheaper than commercial and industrial power in the country. Now, setting up a rooftop solar system is cheaper in India than the global average by 39 to 50 percent.

Solar Panels

Solar Panels

Rural electrification is a key part of the Indian government’s plan to boost the economy, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to meet electrification goals by installing record amounts of renewable energy.

January 8, 2018   No Comments