Chinese Group Expects India to Overtake China in Innovation by 2025

According to China’s Science Technology Exchange Center, India’s innovation growth rate will rise significantly over the next 15 years, and come close to surpassing China. “It is predicted that the innovation competitiveness of India will see a significant rise with its growth rate probably surpassing China between 2025-2030,” the independent Chinese research body wrote in its BRICS Innovation Competitiveness Report 2017.

CNBC India reports: India has been taking notable steps forward in innovation, supported in part by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s reform agenda. Government initiatives such as Digital India, which expands the country’s online infrastructure, and Startup India, which promotes financial backing for entrepreneurs, have been unveiled to boost the country’s innovation and technology sectors. Meanwhile, the country’s growing information technology and scientific expertise have also helped turn it into an increasingly dominant outsourcing hub.

Innovation Poster

The International Monetary Fund recently forecast India’s GDP to grow 7.2 percent in 2017 versus China’s 6.5 percent. This new study highlights the growth that can be expected in intellectual advances, such as science and technology, which are often perceived as indicators of future growth.

September 15, 2017   No Comments

Nirmala Sitharaman Is India’s First Woman Full-Time Defense Minister

On September 3, Nirmala Sitharaman, who served as Minister for Commerce and Industry, was chosen for the biggest promotion in Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s cabinet reshuffle on the weekend, and was given independent charge of the Defense Ministry. Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the first woman to hold this portfolio, though as an additional charge.

Minister for Defense, Nirmala Sitharaman, after taking charge in New Delhi on September 07, 2017

Minister for Defense, Nirmala Sitharaman, after taking charge in New Delhi on September 07, 2017

“It will be a priority for me to ensure the smooth and speedy implementation of defense deals and projects,” Sitharaman told reporters, adding that her other priority was armed forces families and their welfare.

Sitharaman’s team consists of Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Minister of State for Defense, Dr. Sanjay Kumar Pandey, personal secretary,  and Sanjay Mitra defense secretary among many others.

Sitharaman now joins the five-member Cabinet Committee on Security which includes Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Bhaskar Kanungo, deputy director, Strategic Trade at industry body FICCI, expects Sitharaman’s appointment to give foreign defense equipment manufacturers “new assurance and confidence, leading to much-needed time-bound reforms that are essential for bringing FDI in defense and aerospace.” He added, “Her vision on ‘Make in India’ will help to bridge the gap between foreign original equipment manufacturers and the Indian defense and aerospace industry,” reports Bloomberg.

The biggest challenge for the new minister will be to take decisions that will pave the way for the private sector to access India’s defense industry along with the preferred state-owned undertakings.

Twitterati welcomed the NDA government’s move to appoint Sitharaman as the defense minister.

— GhoseSpot (@SandipGhose) September 3, 2017

September 9, 2017   No Comments

India, U.S. Shift Bilateral Ties to a Higher Strategic Plane

The existing India-U.S. Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, once described by the U.S. State Department as the “signature mechanism for advancing the United States’ and India’s shared priorities,” will be replaced by a dialogue in which the foreign and defense ministers will participate. The new dialogue format will involve the Indian foreign minister and the U.S. secretary of state as well as the Indian defense minister and the U.S. defense secretary.

The new ‘two plus two’ ministerial dialogue was announced in a White House readout of a telephone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the eve of India completing 70 years as an independent country on August 15.

Flags of US and India

Former Indian ambassador to the U.S. Lalit Mansingh said, “It [the new format] helps us because our strategic and defense interests reinforce each other. So a combined dialogue would be useful for India.” “Balancing commercial and strategic issues could be difficult now,” Mansingh added.

Live Mint reports that the two countries will have a separate dialogue on commercial issues, which will not include the foreign ministers.

 

August 18, 2017   No Comments

First American Crude Oil Shipped to India

The first shipment of two million barrels of American crude oil costing $100 million will reach India in the last week of September, opening a new chapter in trade between India and the U.S. This consignment is a fraction of India’s $70 billion oil import bill for 2016-17. Given the volume being contemplated by Indian companies, this new development is currently expected to boost the bilateral oil trade to $2 billion annually.

The Hindustan Times reports that while the 40-year-old ban on export of American oil was lifted by the then U.S. President Barack Obama in December 2015, the real move started during the maiden meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump on June 26 when the two leaders agreed to deepen the engagement in the energy sector.

President Trump and PM Modi

Saudi Aramco‘s decision to raise Arab Light crude price by 60 cents per barrel for Asian buyers narrowed the differential between West Asian crude oil and North Sea Brent, the benchmark for most of global oil trade. The narrowed differential turned U.S. oil attractive for India even after factoring the distance between the two countries.

India’s largest state-run refiner-marketer Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOC) and state-owned companies Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) have all opted for American crude oil.

BPCL bought a cargo containing 500,000 barrels each of Mars and Poseidon, and 1 million barrels of U.S. WTI Midland sweet crude; IOC sealed a deal to purchase 1.6 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. in July, and this month it placed an additional order of 2 million barrels. HPCL plans to buy low-sulfur oil from the United States in the next few months for its 166,000 barrel per day refinery in southern India.

Senator Ted Cruz said Texas will provide crucial oil exports to India and serve as a reliable long-term supplier of energy.

August 17, 2017   No Comments

India and Israel Sign Defense Agreements Worth $4.3 Billion

Ten agreements worth $4.3 billion were signed during a formal meeting of India-Israel CEOs forum in Tel Aviv soon after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. These include the manufacture of air defense systems, radars, anti-ship missiles, and medium altitude long endurance UAVs in India, under technology transfer.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Kalyani Strategic Systems Ltd., will expand their joint venture to establish a maintenance center for selected advanced air defense systems radars, anti-ship missiles and command & control systems for the Indian armed forces, for $1.54 billion.

Bangalore-based Dynamatic Technologies and Elcom signed a ‘Strategic Teaming Agreement’ to produce, assemble and support UAVs in India with IAI.

Elbit Security Systems Ltd signed a contract with India’s Alpha Design Technologies to increase the scope of their existing joint venture ‘Alpha-Elsec Defense & Aerospace Systems Pvt Ltd’, into areas such as new generation thermal imaging equipment, fire control systems, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), in addition to night vision devices, laser range finders, laser pointers, and reflex sights.

India’s Garware Wall Ropes Ltd., signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel’s Aero-T for manufacturing and supply of advanced aerostats for India’s Defense services, reports Defense World.

Israel-India flag

 

July 11, 2017   No Comments