CUTS International Washington DC Center
Monthly Brief #61, April 2023
G7 takes a united stand, calls out Russia and China in joint readout
Leaders of the seven industrialised nations (G7) categorically criticised Russia and China for their aggressive actions vis-a-vis Ukraine and Taiwan, respectively, in a communique issued after a meeting in Karuizawa, Japan on 18th April, 2023. The foreign ministers of Canada, United States, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Japan expressed solidarity against Russia’s assault on Ukraine, while calling on China to abstain from threats, coercion and intimidation on the South and East China seas.
The communique eased concerns about a lack of unity within G7 over important issues, including China. Interestingly, the statement came days after the French President’s statement which said that “Europe must not become just America’s followers”. President Emmanuel Macron, remarked that Europe should not become a vassal and must avoid being drawn into a conflict between the U.S. and China over Taiwan. President Macron made these remarks while returning from a three-day visit to China. Macron’s statement raised an alarm, amid concerns that France may deviate from the West’s position on China at a time of heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
The G7’s communique indicates that despite exhibiting an inclination of autonomy, France understands the value of its historical alliance with the West. Despite overtures to China and vice-versa in the recent past, Europe still has reservations about the consequences of rising Chinese influence. While the war in Ukraine does not seem to have an end in sight, the G7 is holding its ground on its deploration of Russian aggression, since it began more than a year ago. In a fractured world order marked by stark divisions, nations may have to forego their independent stance on certain issues by aligning themselves in favour of historical alliances.
The G7, initially the G6, was set up in 1975, in response to the economic problems faced by the world in the 1970s. Over the decades, it expanded to become as the G8, before it reverted to G7 following Russia’s ouster in the aftermath of its annexation of Crimea in 2014. It is widely seen as a U.S. led group of countries, which has significantly shaped the present global economic order.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S.: With the maiden India-ASEAN maritime exercise set to kick off on May 2, will it have a bearing on the belligerence of certain maritime powers in the South China sea?
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U.S. emerges as India's biggest trading partner in FY23 at US$128.55 billion; China at second position
The U.S. has emerged as India's biggest trading partner in 2022-23 on account of increasing economic ties between the two countries. According to the provisional data of the Commerce Ministry, the bilateral trade between India and the U.S. has increased by 7.65 percent to US$128.55 in 2022-23 as against US$119.5 billion in 2021-22. It was US$80.51 billion in 2020-21. On the other hand, during 2022-23, India's two-way commerce with China declined by about 1.5 percent to US$113.83 billion as against US$115.42 billion in 2021-22.

Strategic Trade Dialogue: India, U.S. discuss dual-use export controls issue
India and the U.S. on April 28, 2023 discussed export control issues related to items of dual use, ahead of the first meeting of the U.S.-India Strategic Trade Dialogue (USISTD) that is slated to be held in Washington DC in May, 2023. Thea Rozman Kendler, Assistant Secretary for Export Administration of U.S. Department of Commerce, met Indian officials. Dual-use goods can be used for both civilian military applications. Countries often impose export controls on dual-use items as well as military goods over national security concerns.

Indo-Pacific trade negotiations could deliver results by year-end, U.S. says
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on April 20, 2022 that Indo-Pacific Economic Framework trade negotiations could deliver results by the end of the year to set economic rules and standards in the fast-growing region. The U.S.-led initiative comprising 14 nations is widely viewed as a counterweight to China's growing clout in the Indo-Pacific region, which accounts for about 40 percent of the global economy.

India’s trade policy weaknesses will undercut its economic rise
Short of striking oil, history has presented countries with no better path to prosperity than trade. There is one very simple reason for this: scale. Countries that produce goods and services for the world not only can specialise, but also build up larger factories and sectors than they would otherwise since they are serving demand from multiple countries’ populations, not just their own. In most nations, the need for scale is obvious. Not so in India, which remains blinded by its huge domestic market.


India’s energy security - Key challenges and the way forward
India is on a glide path of high economic growth. With GDP growing 6-7 percent Year-on-Year for about a decade, India has demonstrated a robust growth potential, and is poised to grow at this rate for the coming decades. Making use of the technology advancements worldwide in Information Technology viz. Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence etc. as well as hardware sectors viz. advanced electronics, India's GDP can leapfrog. Most of the technology advancements require electrification and power as the core drivers.

U.S. Department of Energy announces US$13 million to support community geothermal heating and cooling solutions
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on April 25, 2023 announced 11 communities across 10 states had been selected to design community geothermal heating and cooling systems. Using clean geothermal energy for heating and cooling can help American cities across the country meet their energy needs, drive down costs, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Community-scale geothermal systems are relatively common outside the U.S. but have a comparably small presence domestically.
Japan, U.S. agree to cooperate on geothermal energy
Japan and the U.S. agreed April 15, 2023 to cooperate on developing geothermal energy, one of the most plentiful resources on this volcanic island chain. The memorandum of commitment was signed April 15, 2023 on the side-lines of a meeting of the Group of Seven energy and environment ministers in the northern city of Hokkaido. Japan's famed hot springs reflect its abundant geothermal activity, but the spas and resorts clustered around them have slowed efforts to use that resource to generate power.

To be truly sustainable in our energy transition, we need to think local
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 report, released in March, revealed solar energy is the most feasible option for reducing global emissions by 2030. The report stated every country must accelerate to keep warming limited to 1.5°C. This stark warning has in turn led to an acceleration in governments and companies’ decarbonisation plans. It is clear if we are to successfully transition toward a cleaner future, every industry and every Australian must contribute.


Failure is not an option
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 2014 visit to Australia triggered rapid growth in bilateral relations, driven by shared anxieties over Chinese President Xi Jinping’s unbridled ambitions, personal agenda, and assertions of hegemonic intent. Xi’s adversarial style, coupled with blatant disregard of international law, triggered unprecedented uncertainty and turbulence in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. India quickly realised that Xi rebuffed the hand of friendship unless it was on bended knees, signifying obsequious and unqualified acknowledgement of China’s supremacy and authority.

One year of the Indo-Pacific strategy
The U.S. wants free flow of goods, ideas and people in the Indo-Pacific, across land, sea and cyberspace. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Afreen Akhter stressed the importance of the QUAD in the Indo-Pacific and said the grouping was among the foremost avenues for building connectivity within the region and beyond. The U.S. is working on deepening engagement through the QUAD Infrastructure Coordination Group, which has provided more than US$48 billion in official finance.

Geopolitics of Indo-Pacific
The Indo-Pacific is a vast geographical area extending from the East Coast of Africa to the western shores of the Americas. While the Indo-Pacific as a concept is still evolving, it has come a long way since its inception. The geopolitics in this area is in a state of flux. China abhors the term ‘Indo-Pacific’, preferring ‘Asia-Pacific’ instead. China-ASEAN relations are another important aspect in the Indo-Pacific.

India and U.S. facing similar threats from China
Admiral John Aquilino, the Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has claimed that India and the U.S. are facing similar threats from China. Thus, Admiral Aquilino claimed that the U.S. is giving special importance to its partnership with India and is working round the clock to develop this partnership further. While his claims were being published, a White House spokesman for the U.S. President said his country is committed to economic development with India and broadening bilateral cooperation. Moreover, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said her country expects excellent relations with China.


India must embrace techno-globalism
2023 will likely mark an inflection point in humankind’s quest for Artificial Intelligence (AI). The year saw public attention focussed on ChatGPT and the unveiling of other major AI products, such as Google’s Bard. These generative AI initiatives, underpinned by Large Language Models (LLMs), are significant because they may pave the way for a more general AI indistinguishable from human intelligence. These developments demonstrate the enduring merits of promoting cross-border and cross-sectoral flows of science and technology, making a case for why India should embrace techno-globalism.

Chips for America outlines vision for the National Semiconductor Technology Center
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a paper outlining its vision and strategy for a National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), a key component of the research and development program established by President Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act. Congress appropriated funds for the creation of a national center to support and extend U.S. leadership in semiconductor research, design, engineering, and advanced manufacturing and strengthen U.S. competitiveness.

India to be among the top-10 nations in Global Innovation Index soon
With India aiming to become a leading knowledge-based economy, this is an opportune moment to deliberate on strengthening the IP eco system and reinforce our global positioning. India has been on a rising trajectory in the global innovation index and has risen from the rank of 81 in 2015 to 40 in 2022. This consistent improvement is due to immense knowledge capital, vibrant start-up ecosystem and the work of private and public researchers. We are now poised to be among the Top-10 nations in the global innovation index and with the collective efforts of the government, academia, industry, legal fraternity and technology ecosystem, we will achieve this goal said Justice Amit Bansal, Delhi High Court at the Global IP Leadership Summit organised by ASSOCHAM.
India, UK sign agreement to collaborate on science and innovation
The United Kingdom (UK) and India on April 26, 2023 signed an agreement to collaborate on science and technology. The agreement between the two nations was signed after the meeting between the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology Jitendra Singh and UK Science Minister George Freeman. The memorandum of understanding signed between the two nations on research will enable quicker, deeper collaboration on science between the two-science powerhouse that will drive economic growth, create skilled jobs and improve lives in two nations and worldwide.


Stepping up AU’s engagement: The way forward
As the G20 summit approaches amidst a global turmoil, whether the African Union (AU) will be invited to just participate or also join as a member remains elusive. India is definitely committed to strengthen its relationship with Africa and its closer involvement in the G20 process. This is also supported by civil society and business in India and Africa. Therefore, it is important to see how the international community can signal Africa of its commitment toward them in these difficult times. India’s G20 Presidency offers an opportunity to make the forum truly representative by helping realise the AU’s desire of permanent membership.

The influence of U.S. as a global leader is waning
Amid China’s economic and military rise, and Russia’s strategic manoeuvring during its war against Ukraine, there is a growing belief in national capitals across the world that the soft and hard power of the U.S. are on the wane. Some have argued that Pax Americana, which strengthened in the late 1980s with the disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union, is about to end, if it has not already done so. Many are convinced that, as U.S. influence shrinks gradually, China is poised to take over some of the roles historically performed by Washington DC.

A crucial six months for India-U.S. ties
The next six months are going to be crucial for India-U.S. ties (Paywall). In March, the U.S. finally announced its next Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, after a gap of two years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to head to the U.S. in June, and U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to visit India for the G20 summit later this year. There will also be greater engagement between the two countries on forums such as the G20, QUAD, and I2U2.
India-U.S. ties aimed at promoting global good, says Indian Ambassador to U.S.
The Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu, recently connected with over 40 states as part of India's efforts to reach out to the U.S. During his address to the New Hampshire state assembly, he discussed the collaboration between India and the U.S. in various fields. India-U.S. ties, either in the field of defence, renewable energy, education, health, technology, innovation or start-ups, are gathering steam and strength because of the entrepreneurs of the U.S.