National Security Advisor McMaster meets PM Modi

On his first official visit to the region, United States National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster,  met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, this week. McMaster is the highest ranking Trump administration official to visit India so far.

“The two sides discussed a range of bilateral and regional issues, including their shared interest in increasing defense and counter-terrorism cooperation,” the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi said after the meetings. “NSA McMaster emphasized the importance of the U.S.-India strategic relationship and reaffirmed India’s designation as a major defense partner,” it said, noting that the meetings were ‘productive’.

McMaster-Modi Meeting

The Indian side said, “The Prime Minister recalled his positive telephonic conversations with President Trump that reaffirmed the importance attached by both sides to the strategic partnership and to stepping up India-U.S. engagement across the board.”

During the meeting, both McMaster and Modi exchanged views on “how both countries can work together to effectively address the challenge of terrorism and to advance regional peace, security and stability,” reports the Indian Express.

 

April 20, 2017   No Comments

India Could Outpace China with Shifts in U.S. Policy

In a long article, supported ably by charts, the South China Morning Post compares the differences between the economies of India and China, and puts forth reasons why “India could trump China as U.S. policy shifts“.

China's A50 vs India Nifty 50

Highlights of the publication’s views:

SCMP Views on India China
Debt India’s debt ratios are only half of those of China and have not been growing during the past decade The country is awash in debt. China’s total debt (public + private) portends slower growth
Trade Much less export dependent: Exports account for 13 % of GDP Export dependent: Exports total 21 % of GDP
Exports to US: 1.6% of GDP Exports to US: 4% of GDP
India’s lack of dominance in the traded-goods sector may help avoid the ire of a more insular U.S. Vulnerable to any change in the mood in Washington
Politics India doesn’t appear to be on President Trump’s radar and… President Trump has focused his trade concerns on two countries: China and Mexico
… This is good news for India and worrisome for China A trade war with the US could destabilize China’s economy and augment the probability of a debt crisis and a currency devaluation
Currency The Indian rupee is probably about fairly valued Currency is overvalued
India’s FX reserves rose from $326 billion in early 2016 to $337 billion in early 2017 Spent one quarter of its currency reserves defending the renminbi
Equity Markets India’s Nifty Fifty Index has vastly outperformed the China A50 in recent years; trades at 18.6x earnings China A50 trades 12.8x earnings for Chinese shares
Demographics and Agriculture India’s per capita consumption is 2500 calories per day Chinese per capita consumption is now over 3,000 calories per day
India’s population will probably expand by 30% over the next 25 years China’s will probably stay about the same adding about 0.1 per cent to China’s population per year
India represents an enormous opportunity for the world’s farmers, especially those who can provide lentils, peas, chickpeas, almonds and other dietary staples. Also, as India grows richer, consumption of dairy and vegetable oils will probably grow considerably China, by contrast, has a mature diet and its food consumption needs may not change a great deal going forward

April 13, 2017   No Comments

In a U.S.- China Trade War, Does India Benefit?

Analysts differ on their opinions on whether India stands to gain if there were to be a trade war between the U.S. and China, but the majority say India stands to benefit from the tensions.

The Economic Times reports that Seshadri Chari, a national executive member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, says,”China’s production strength requires a market, and the U.S. is no longer a Chinese market. At this stage, China cannot risk a meltdown in its economy. It’s too politically risky for Xi Jinping. They need a big market. And in Asia, we are the largest market. Today, India is dealing with China from a position of strength.
 Ship in a port

“A protectionist America hurts China more than it hurts India, though India is not without concerns,” states Ashok Malik, a distinguished fellow at the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.

“If the U.S. and China don’t get along, the U.S. will turn increasingly to India as a large Asian actor,” says Shashi Tharoor, a lawmaker with the opposition Congress Party and chair of India’s parliamentary standing committee of foreign affairs. He added, “And China, if its U.S. market contracts, will need to diversify its markets and investment outlets, including toward India.”

It would be “premature” to assume U.S.-China ties will nosedive given the scale of their interdependence, says Ashok Kantha, a former ambassador to China and director of the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi.

April 10, 2017   No Comments

India Buys Ocean Sensors from U.S., Missiles from Israel

The Defense Acquisition Council of India’s Defense Ministry approved the purchase of ‘Expendable Bathythermograph Systems‘, which are small torpedo-shaped devices fitted with temperature sensors and transducers to detect changes in water temperature. These devices, meant for India’s Navy, will be acquired from the U.S.

The government also approved the procurement of a fresh batch of Barak surface-to-air missiles for Naval warships to enhance India’s maritime capability. These missiles will be supplied byRafael Advance Defense Systems Limited of Israel at an approximate cost of about $80 million.

Barak Missile

According to sources in the defense ministry the Council also reviewed several old proposals and gave instructions for their speedy processing, reports the Livemint.

 

April 10, 2017   No Comments

India Launches 100 Satellites on Single Rocket

India‘s Space and Research Organization disclosed that it had successfully launched more than a hundred nano satellites that weighed less than 22 pounds each, in a single mission.

“All 104 satellites were successfully placed in orbit,” the space agency’s chairman, A.S. Kiran Kumar, said. These included an Indian Earth observation satellite and two small technology-demonstration satellites, as also 96 from the United States and one each from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Israel, Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates, reports the Los Angeles Times.

ISRO Rocket

Prime Minister Modi tweeted that the “remarkable feat by ISRO is yet another proud moment for our space scientific community and the nation.”

February 16, 2017   No Comments