Arms Trade Arrangement Admits India

In a significant development for India, export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) admitted the country as its 42nd member of the organization. Admission into the WA is an affirmation of India’s position as a responsible nation in the arena of dual-use goods and technology, besides transfer of conventional arms. This step will raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation and also help it to acquire critical technologies for its defense and space programs. With the exception of China, all the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are signatories of the WA, which is headquartered in Vienna.

Per the Wassenar website, the goal of the Arrangement is to “promote transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.” Participants are required to “ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine the goal.” The aim, according to WA, is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.

Flag of India

 

In June last year, India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), another key export control regime, as a full member.

Since its civil nuclear deal with the U.S., India has been trying to get into export control regimes such as the NSG, the MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemicals weapons and technologies, reports the Financial Express.

France‘s Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler congratulated India on ‘joining” the Wassenaar Arrangement. “One more recognition, after MTCR, of the growing role India plays in today’s world,” he said.

December 9, 2017   No Comments

Madame Tussauds Museum Launches in New Delhi

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum opened its doors on December 1, in New Delhi. It will be home to around 50 wax figures, including cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara; actors Richard Gere, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Marilyn Monroe; sports personalities Mary Kom, Milkha Singh and Lionel Messi; as well as political leaders Mahatma Gandhi, and current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

Sachin Tendulkar's wax figure at Madam Tussauds Delhi

Sachin Tendulkar’s wax figure at Madam Tussauds, New Delhi

Anshul Jain, general manager and director, Merlin Entertainment Group, India, which brought Madame Tussauds to India said, “60 percent of the wax models are Indian.” The ticket price in India is one-third the charge elsewhere in a bid to make it more accessible to the masses, reports the Indian Express.

December 6, 2017   No Comments

Barack Obama Revisits India

Former president Barack Obama completed a three nation tour to China, India and France recently. In his first visit to India after leaving office, Obama met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, addressed a Leadership Summit sponsored by the Hindustan Times newspaper, and held a town hall meeting with young leaders where he discussed what it means to be an active citizen and make an impact — and how the Obama Foundation can support emerging leaders in this effort. He also met with Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

Some key points Obama made in India reported by Financial Express:

“The world’s oldest democracy and world’s largest democracy should be a defining partnership of 21st century.”

“If India and the United States work together, there is no problem that we can’t solve.”

“We can’t unwind globalization, we can’t make sure that AI doesn’t exist, but we can invest in people.”

“Youth is India’s biggest power.”

“PM Modi and I met because if India plays a larger role not only in Asia but on the world stage, it will be good for everybody. ”

Obama and Modi

“For a country like India where there is a Muslim population that is successful, integrated and considers itself as Indian — which is not the case in some other countries — this should be nourished and cultivated.”

Obama followed in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and George Bush who also visited India after leaving office.  In our view the President Obama’s visit was not particularly significant and none of his points or speeches displayed his past dexterity in understanding India or offered any new insights. Perhaps he accomplished more in his private meetings.

 

 

December 2, 2017   No Comments

Belgian Beers Now Offered at India’s Pubs

Belgium‘s Chimay, one of only 11 “Trappist” beers in the world, brewed by monks within the walls of an abbey, with profits going to charity, will be available in India. Its launch in the Indian market coincides with the Belgian royal couple King Philippe and Queen Mathilde visit to India to mark 70 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Another Belgian brand, Delirium, with its famous pink elephant logo, is also entering the Indian market. Both Chimay and Delirium will be imported, distributed and marketed in India by New Delhi-based Hema Connoisseur Collections Pvt. Ltd., and will retail at $8.50 per a pint bottle. Initially, the two Belgian beers will be available across selected eight retail outlets in New Delhi, six top hotels, a few restaurants and 18 pubs, including 12 units of Beer Café. “Within a few weeks, we’ll have a similar presence in Mumbai and Pune. There is no immediate plan to expand further,” said Amit Agarwal, chief executive officer, Hema Connoisseur Collections.

Trappist Beers

Beer pubs are upbeat, reports LiveMint. “Chimay is one of the most prestigious Trappist beers in the world. At Beer Café, these are the most premium beers on the menu. We have already witnessed a sense of exuberance among beer aficionados,” said Rahul Singh, founder and chief executive of Beer Café.

 

November 8, 2017   No Comments

Indian Government to Bail Out State-Owned Banks

Over the next two years, New Delhi plans to pump about $32 billion into state-owned banks in a bid to increase money flow, significantly spur economic activity, loosen credit conditions, and boost investment and growth.

The Economist explains that according to the plan unveiled on October 24th, the ailing banks will lend the government $21 billion, about a third of their combined market value. The government will reinvest this money in bank shares, thus ensuring they no longer need a bail-out. Bankers are being encouraged to use a new bankruptcy code to deal with bust borrowers; raise 580 billion rupees themselves, perhaps by selling non-core assets, and receive a further 180 billion rupees from government coffers left over from a previous scheme.

Indian Rupee Symbol

The total funds for the initiative equal roughly 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP. Within one year of implementation, the drag on bank credit growth is expected to decrease by up to 10 percentage points, while GDP growth could rise by up to 5 percentage points, Goldman Sachs said.

CNBC reports that according to analysts at both Goldman Sachs and ING Bank, the Indian rupee is expected to gain in strength over the next year as a result of recapitalization.

This move is associated with risks:

Interest payment on the bond will come at a budgetary cost, which may increase government expenditure and the fiscal deficit, according to Radhika Rao, economist at Singapore headquartered DBS Bank.

The move could “sustain the risk of more public sector bank loans turning sour, swelling the country’s [bad loan] ratio,” according to a note by ING Bank.

October 28, 2017   No Comments