CUTS International Washington DC Center
Monthly Brief #53, August 2022
India at 75
The nation which came under the colonial wrath for over 200 years, celebrates 75 years of its independence with ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ this year. The journey has been a truly remarkable one!
Entering the ‘Amrit Kaal’ (Golden period), the 25-year-long leadup to India at 100, can it reclaim its lost tag of the golden bird?  The nation with various names – Bharat, Hindustan and India -- had long ago been a land of wisdom, innovation and diplomacy. It has been called a golden bird because of its huge economy, the rich culture and traditional influence. It is now on a path to reclaim its lost glory!
India has carved out a distinct stand in this world since the past 75 years and has emerged as a rising global power. With the Prime Minister Narendra Modi becoming the 1st Indian Prime Minister to preside over United Nations Security Council meeting reflects on India’s emerging global presence and importance.
From its non-alignment stance, India is moving towards an increasingly confident nation with a well equipped defence infrastructure and hard power capabilities in addition to conventional soft power. Furthermore, with expanding economic might, she is looking to play a significant role in international affairs.
India is rightfully claiming its position from Sea to Space. The Mission Shakti is India’s first human space mission which would make India a space-faring nation. In maritime security as well – India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant successfully completes five-day maiden sea voyage this year thus joining an exclusive group of countries.
The journey embarked on strengthening its comprehensive National Power which includes its influence on the international stage. India is seen by the world as a country of high technology and skilled professionals with yoga and ayurveda as the new age moral values of the emerging India.
The future embarks on the self-reliant India to focus on make for world, the journey begins now towards a ‘atmanirbhar bharat’ (Self-reliant India).
Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S. India has set a target to become a developed nation by 2047 with a renewed pitch for making India a manufacturing hub. Does this mean that next 25 years would entail a major shift in governance and economic policies?

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Reaffirming India-US Trade Policies
US President Joe Biden believes that a soothing relationship between the US and India is essential for global peace, stability, and economic resilience as their combined effort can hammer out tough situations. The US's ninth largest trade partner, India, holds firm ground in the trade relationship between both nations. Hence, several miracles are expected to take place in the upcoming years. The Biden administration is collaborating with New Delhi to bring a new dimension to the India-US Commercial Dialogue while also aligning it with current bilateral policies.

New foreign trade policy likely next month; focus on e-commerce exports, hubs
The government is likely to release in the month of September, 2022 the new foreign trade policy with a focus on boosting e-commerce exports and developing districts as export hubs. The commerce department is working on the policy that may detail ways to reduce the compliance burden on small exporters and fund MSMEs to increase exports. It may also seek to make proper categorisation of products which are at present clubbed as others, as this system leads to misclassification and tax evasion, thereby adding to the growing trade deficit.

India needs to rethink its trade strategy
The global trade and investment landscape will not be the same after the full impact of the COVID-19 crisis plays out. Hence, India’s post COVID-19 policy responses cannot be business as usual. Indian policymakers have to move out of their comfort zones and bring greater focus on key priorities. Three clear urgent priorities stand out are reducing overdependence on certain countries (especially China) for key imports, integrated trade promotion and investment policy that leverages the post COVID-19 strategic shift away from China-based manufacturing supply chains and proactive trade policy that allows Indian manufacturing to expand into new markets and products.
US companies geared up to be part of India's vision to become US$30 trillion economy: USIBC president
Atul Keshap, the president of the US India Business Council (USIBC) said “I think it is clear that India is going to grow in every decade of the 21st century. It is going to rise to be one of the biggest economies in the world, if not the biggest economy in the world”. The head of an India-Centric American Business Group underlining that US companies are geared up to be part of the country's ambitious vision to become a US$30 trillion economy. India is embarked upon a journey to restore itself to the top of the global leadership tables in terms of economy and prosperity.


India banks on Green Hydrogen for economic development
Green Hydrogen has become an integral part of India’s economic development and net-zero plans. Hydrogen will act as a critical enabler to achieving the global targets to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius, adapt to adverse impacts of climate change and foster low greenhouse gas emissions development. A NITI Aayog report suggests, it can help abate 3.6 gigatons of cumulative CO2 emissions by 2050, which may prove to be a boon for the country if it succeeds in its endeavours.

For India, clean energy transition is an opportunity, not a burden
Clean energy (Paywall) favours India’s own resources, such as an abundance of sunlight, versus fossil fuel imports. Clean energy boosts domestic manufacturing. It can move the country from the high price volatility of oil and natural gas to the zero-price volatility of renewable sources. Instead of riding on unreliable commodities, India will benefit from the downward cost curve of advancing technologies. Transitioning to clean energy isn’t just the right thing to do for the planet, it’s also a road to broad prosperity for nations such as India.
To achieve net-zero emissions target by 2070, India needs US$10-trillion investment from now
According to a report released by Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and others in New Delhi on August 26, 2022, India will require an economy-wide investment of US$10.1 trillion from now if it is to achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2070. The report said India could peak in emissions as soon as 2030. Further policies, especially to boost renewables and electrification, could make net zero possible by mid-century. Ending new coal by 2023 and transitioning from unabated coal power by 2040 would be particularly impactful for reaching net zero emissions closer to mid-century.

Norway announces major support for renewable energy initiative in India
The New Norwegian Climate Investment Fund, managed by Norfund, and KLP, Norway’s largest pension company, have entered into an agreement to take a 49 percent stake in a 420 MW solar power plant in Rajasthan developed by Italian Enel. According to Norway’s Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim this summer with extreme heat and drought in many parts of the world has shown, more clearly than ever, that there is no time to waste in the fight against climate change. That is why it is such good news that in record time the Climate Investment Fund’s money is already working for these crucial investments in renewable energy.


Tension intensifies in the Taiwan Strait
Post X’s warning of ‘playing with fire’, the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the highest-ranking US elected official to visit Taipei since 1997 brewed up tensions in the Indo-Pacific. The standoff between the US and China over Taiwan has thrown a spotlight on growing risks to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Taiwan fears its security and sovereignty, Pelosi’s visit which focussed on three issues human rights, trade and security seen by China as a challenge to its ‘One China Policy’. In this edition of CUTS ONW, an article of significant importance about the crisis in Taiwan is highlighted.

What is to be done with India’s defence offset policy!
Recently, the Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt’s reply to John Brittas in Rajya Sabha, on the lapse in Offset Obligation, signals the need for a new outlook on India’s defence offset policy. As per the statement, vendors have lapsed on offset obligation in 21 contracts in the last five years. The lapse amounts to a whopping US$2.24 billion as of 31st December 2021. Can we use this amount productively? Yes, we can, but it needs a whole of government approach. Many other countries have done it easily.

Navy cooperation a dynamic, significant component for India-US defence ties
Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu said the cooperation between the navies of India and the US is one of the most dynamic and significant components of the bilateral defence ties. Reflective of the growing defence ties between India and the United States, this is for the first time that an Indian Naval Warship docked itself on the US West Coast and maybe two decades after that an Indian ship came to the United States. Navy-to-Navy cooperation is one of the most dynamic and significant components of the defence partnership. This is strengthening further, in the context of the Indo-Pacific.

India must reassess its maritime strategy
Indians who fretted over the recent images of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ships in Indian Ocean ports such as Hambantota and Djibouti would have been delighted to learn that on August 15, 2022 there were nine Indian Navy (IN) warship in seven ports worldwide one in each continent to hoist the Tricolour on the 75th anniversary of our independence. Both navies were sending out the same, subtle, message. Maritime power, (Paywall) unlike land and air power, has many roles to play, equal in importance to those it accomplishes in war.


Technology key to future Indo-US ties: Sandhu
Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that technology is the key to the future of India-US relations, and perhaps even the future of the planet. Both India and the US are societies that value innovation and ingenuity. Every sector today is affected by technology. No one is immune. The pandemic has only fast-tracked some of these changes which would have otherwise probably taken decades. The important development in the tech field is under Quad: There is a huge amount of work going on in Open Radio Access Network (ORAN), semiconductors, standards, biotechnology, and quantum technologies etc. under Quad framework.

India’s cybersecurity and its impact on the economy
India is rapidly progressing in its digital goals with missions like Make in India and Digital India having a positive effect across the economy. India is already one of the most attacked countries in cyberspace. Missions like Make in India and Digital India are creating a positive ripple effect across the economy. India has taken several legislative and organisational measures to bolster its cyber defence. India has taken several legislative and organisational measures to bolster its cyber defence and effectively respond to cybercrime.

For India-US partnership on new tech, China is one of many challenges
Recently, two of the world’s established technological powers, the United States (US) and India, decided to further bolster their positions by enhancing cooperation in the technology domain. US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting resulted in the announcement of the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to expand the existing partnership between the two states in specific strategic technology sectors. In the information age, technology cooperation between states has become increasingly popular as part of their diplomatic outreach.
India could play the catalyst for tech innovation across the world
Over the past few decades, India has played a decisive role in serving as an innovation powerhouse of the world. The Indian technology industry today has a presence in over 100 countries and draws on employees of over 150 nationalities. As per the Global Innovation Index 2021 ranking, India is the top innovative country in Central and South Asia and holds the record for over-performing on innovation relative to its level of development for the 11th year in a row.


Journey of a Nation: 75 years of the Indian Economy
Journey of a Nation: 75 years of Indian Economy, by Sanjaya Baru is aimed at introducing the post millennials a generation that is reaching adulthood as India celebrates its 75th anniversary of Independence to the history of the Indian economy from the time India won freedom. Sanjaya Baru starts his story from the medieval times when India was at the centre of global trade and commerce, when its share of GDP, along with China, was close to 50 percent and how the country became impoverished during the colonial period elucidated first by Dadabhai Naoroji’s drain theory.

India@75: Sare Jahan se Accha
Over the last 75 years, India has achieved a unique standing in the world, emerging as a global power not aligned to any block but maintaining her strategic autonomy zealously. India’s Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar said with India making its own decisions regarding its national interests, its decisions are not circumscribed by whether interest falls into a political or non-political category, while asserting India’s strategic autonomy. India look at 75 - we would reiterate the phrase by Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut in space in 1984, “Sare Jahan Se Acha, Hindustan Hamara” – the best in the whole world.

Restructuring the Indian Military in the 21st century
Defence modernisation has a major chunk of share in the rhetoric “Atmanirbharta”. With offence becoming the best form of defence and traditional soft power diplomacy giving way to the hard power capabilities, India is pushing forward its hard power by modernising its state-craft, inking defence deals and discussing the need for National defence policies. Recently, civil-military relations have caught some attention with a focus on the suggestions by the Kargil Review Committee and the Naresh Chandra Committee on strategic restructuring.
First-ever I2U2 Leaders' Virtual Summit
I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States (US). The Countries’ Foreign Ministers formed the bloc in October 2021 and were called the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’ at that time. Referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’ by Ahmed Albanna, Ambassador of the UAE to India is a formal bloc formed to deepen technological and private transnational challenges in six focus areas: Water, Energy, Transportation, Space, Health and Food Security. This edition of CUTS ONW highlights the important takeaways from the first I2U2 virtual head of the States meeting in the month of July 2022.