CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#2, May 2018

From the Editor’s Desk 

India at the fulcrum of emerging geo-economics
In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, balance of power is inexorably shifting from West to East. So is “geo-economics replacing geopolitics” as described by India’s Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman. Thus, the goal and strategies of Indian foreign policy are also evolving as a sovereign nation pursuing its best interest. This is evident from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visits to - Russia and China for informal summits.
India has also been explicitly mentioned as a ‘Strategic and Defense partner’ in the U.S. National Security Strategy (NSS) 2017 document. However, the U.S. withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal and sanctions on Russian defence companies will have direct impact on India specifically on energy, connectivity, and defence procurement. On the contrary, the U.S. should value the needs of its credible partners and ensure the mix of common interests for long term sustainability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Conceivably, without becoming a part of the ‘hub and spoke’ of the United States but taking lessons from India-Japan-U.S. trilateral joint working group on infrastructure, three areas for further improvement in Indian foreign policy will likely be:
a) “the new Paris-Delhi-Canberra axis”;
b) linking defence procurement and investment with broader strategic goals; and
c) raising India’s clout in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
On a different note, trade wars, triggered by the Trump Administration, are tragically in full bloom and will upset the global economy.
                                                Pradeep S. Mehta
Message for our Readers
This is the second edition of the Monthly Brief from the Center, which carries select published news or comments on a relevant issue. There are equally important issues which may have been missed out to keep the Monthly Brief short and swiftly readable. Readers are encouraged to send their own views and suggestions at:


Protectionist measures will hit Indo-US trade: Advocacy groups
Indo-American business advocacy groups said tariffs on steel and aluminium imposed by the US will negatively impact bilateral trade and cautioned the protectionist measures by the two countries could be injurious to bilateral trade. [Full Story]
Dispute panel set up at WTO to decide on India’s export subsidies
The World Trade Organisation’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) has agreed to establish a panel to rule on a US complaint on certain programmes in India which Washington claims are prohibited export subsidies. [Full Story]
Fair trade will lead to faster growth: US to China
A high-level American trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin returned from China after having "frank discussions" with Chinese officials on rebalancing the bilateral economic relationship. [Full Story]
Why should China change its successful trade policies just to please the US, given America’s own history of violations?
When crafting a global trading environment, it’s important to realise that all nations have different political and social settings, and so will not play by the same ‘rules’. [Full Story]


Clean energy sector swings Republican with U.S. campaign donations
U.S. solar and wind energy companies have donated far more money to Republicans than Democrats in congressional races this election cycle, according to a Reuters analysis of campaign finance data, an unprecedented tilt to the right for an industry long associated with the environmental left. [Full Story]
$300 bn dollar energy investment coming to India in 10 yrs: Pradhan
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said about 300 billion dollars will be invested in the energy sector in next 10 years, while addressing over 250 Indian professionals, business leaders and community representatives working in the United Arab Emirates. [Full Story]
Donald Trump's call on Iran gives India energy, connectivity jitters
India will face challenges on multiple fronts, from energy supplies to connectivity projects, following US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Iran nuclear deal. [Full Story]
India energises diplomacy in neigbourhood
Pushing a regional integration strategy as part of its foreign policy in the neighbourhood, India is building energy infrastructure in several south Asian countries. [Full Story]


India Has Struggled to Link its Defence Needs to Strategic Goals
While the Centre has started some hard thinking on this front, it may have come a day too late in the tenure of the current government. [Full Story]
Foreign Defence companies may soon get to invest in equities
Foreign defence manufacturers may soon be allowed investments to help Indian companies set up manufacturing facilities. They may also be able invest in a SEBI-regulated fund that will promote startups to meet their offset obligations that run in billions of dollars. [Full Story]
New equations in Indo-Pacific
China’s two main Asian rivals, India and Japan, are seeking to mend their relations with it at a time of great unpredictability in US policy under President Donald Trump’s administration. [Full Story]
We are very interested in joining Exercise Malabar
Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop spoke on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and deepening the strategic and economic relationship with India [Full Story]


Indo-Pacific infrastructure forum launched to tap private sector in India, US, Japan
An Indo-Pacific trilateral infrastructure forum has been launched by USIBC to find new, creative and efficient ways of leveraging the power of the private sector in India, the US and Japan to fill the massive gap in infrastructure and connectivity in the region. [Full Story]
The epic mistake about manufacturing that’s cost Americans millions of jobs
Looking back, there were two kinds of people who lived in America in 2016: people who believed Donald Trump, and people who believed data. Trump claimed on the campaign trail that globalization had destroyed US manufacturing—and in the process, the American economy—by letting China and other countries steal American factory jobs. [Full Story]
China launches first India-dedicated investment fund
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a top state-run Chinese bank has launched China's first India-dedicated publicly offered investment fund, urging the Chinese to invest heavily stating that the Indian economy is entering the "golden age of economic take-off". [Full Story]
India, Netherlands call for early adoption of CCIT in UN
Calling for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the United Nations as an instrument for a global alliance of nations against terrorism, India and the Netherlands asked all countries to work towards rooting out terror networks, disrupting their financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. [Full Story]