CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#33, December 2020
Indo-Tibetan Border, Not Indo-Chinese
Pressure is mounting on India to raise the cause of Tibet on international platforms, as the United States has set a new direction by passing the Tibetan Policy and Support Act (TPSA) in December, 2020. In the same light, India should inter alia go ahead and redefine the Sino-Indian border as the Indo-Tibetan border and de jure recognise Tibet as an illegally occupied friendly neighbour.

In order to support Tibet, India has been hosting the Tibetan government in exile, since China over ran the table top geography in 1950s. Albeit, India’s stand on Tibet and its proximity to the Central Tibetan Administration and Dalai Lama was in accordance with New Delhi-Beijing relations, beginning from 1954 when India signed a trade agreement with China. This stand was maintained through various joint statements till 2010 in order to promote peace.

The United States has set an international momentum by passing the TPSA and inviting the President of the Tibetan Government in exile, Lobsang Sangay to the US. India should reinforce the movement by raising the cause of Tibet in various international platforms and by attracting the attention of the international community. If it was the 1954 India-China agreement and the U.S. support in the 1970s which gave recognition to One China policy and bolstered China’s power and legitimacy over Tibet, both countries should now jointly work together with their democratic allies against the Chinese expansionist desires.

The Chinese destruction of the Tibetan culture and religion has to be countered by Indian diplomacy. India has to seek a larger role for the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration in the international arena. It should confidently take the issue of Tibetan freedom, not autonomy, in the forefront of its fight against Chinese imperialism, rather than appeasing a constantly bullying neighbour. India should learn from history that China will continue with its fake claims, ‘grab and deny’ attitude and ‘Wolf-warrior diplomacy’. One should remember that a bully will remain powerful only until it’s challenged by others. After all, it was the young David who defeated the giant Goliath, despite his disadvantages on strength, weight, weapons, armoury, etc.
Pradeep S. Mehta

PS: Will the joint efforts of multilateral institutions and countries like India and the U.S. be able to vaccinate the entire world in 2021? Wishing a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our readers and a Sad New Year to the Wuhan Virus.

Message for our Readers
This is the thirty third 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.

This newsletter contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owners. Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) is making these articles available in our efforts to advance understanding of bilateral trade and economic issues. We believe that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of the copyrighted material as provided for in Article 10 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Paris Text 1971) and in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If anybody wishes to use materials from this publication for purposes that go beyond ‘fair use’, s/he must obtain permission from the copyright owner. CUTS will not draw any profit from this publication, since it is solely for informative and educational purposes.

Readers are encouraged to send their own views and suggestions at: 


Jaishankar hopes India-US trade parleys continue under Biden
India and the US had a "fairly serious" negotiation to clinch a trade deal with the Trump administration, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar said, adding that he hoped to have talks with the Biden administration on the matter as well.
First Steps for Biden Administration on Global Trade Regime
As the incoming Biden administration considers the state of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it will find an organisation in disrepair. Trouble was already brewing before Trump’s term of office, with the failure of the Doha Round negotiations, mounting frustrations with the Appellate Body, and setbacks to the plurilateral trade negotiating agenda.
Indian Firms still Grapple with High H-1B Visa Denials
Denial rates of H-1B nonimmigrant visas for Indian companies continued to remain high in the third quarter of fiscal 2020 as per a study of US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) data by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP). Denial rates for new visas for services companies were higher than the average denial rate of 21% for the first three quarters of the fiscal, except for Tata Consultancy Services (15%).
New farm bills will allow Indian farmers to reach out to Walmart, Amazon, says US trade body
The three contentious farm laws passed by the Narendra Modi government will enable farmers to reach out directly to American multinational firms such as Amazon and Walmart, said Mukesh Aghi, president and CEO of the Washington-headquartered trade advocacy body US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).


India-US energy ties to grow under Biden: Indian oil minister
India's energy ties with the US will be driven by mutual interests irrespective of a change of guard at the White House, Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said, promising continuity in oil and gas trade policy with the US under the new Administration in 2021.
Hydrogen: The Beginning of a New Era in Energy
2020 was a year of radical shifts in energy markets. The first, but not the most important one, was the deliberate failure of the OPEC+ deal in March. This was largely predetermined by the reallocation of standings of the major players in the oil market. In 2016, when the first OPEC+ deal was announced, the share of OPEC in global oil and liquid hydrocarbon production was 37.8%, but in 2019 it was only 34.4% according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Cabinet okays India-US MoU for Exchange of Info in Electricity Sector
The Union Cabinet approved Central Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (CERC) proposal for entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the US for exchange of information and experiences in the electricity sector. The MoU will help in improving regulatory and policy framework for developing efficient wholesale power market and enhancing grid reliability, an official release said.
India’s energy investments: A fresh approach
India’s investments in energy thus far have concentrated on buying stakes in oilfields in developing countries often at the risk of political unpredictability. With oil prices, and therefore oil company values, falling – India should revise this strategy and aim for better value and lower risk by making investments in companies in the developed world. This paper recommends investing in oil and gas assets in energy-rich developed countries like the U.S., Canada and Australia, to reduce India's vulnerability to future increases in energy prices.


India needs more than Quad to secure the Indo-Pacific
For India to be in a commanding position in the Indo Pacific region, it needs to do more. In a post-corona economic recovery, there are competing claims for reduced government revenues and there may be legit ground to avoid a bump up in defence spends. But in a post pandemic world order, the theatre of any hostilities has shifted squarely to the seas.
Biden’s ‘summit of democracies’ can rally allies against autocracies
Joe Biden is right to convene a summit of democracies at a time when autocracies are on the offensive against the free world. China is picking off democratic states with strategic investments and trying to mould the rules-based order in its image of state subsidies and authoritarian tech. Russia is sparking disorder around the free world with disinformation campaigns, election meddling and corrupt money flows.

US-India relations in 2021: Post-pandemic world order and a new American leadership
As President-Elect Biden seeks to restore “normalcy” in America’s relationships with its closest allies, the administration will face a tumultuous world in which a pandemic still continues to upend lives and economic activity, fractured relationships with global institutions, and a rising China taking advantage of the chaos to gain more power and influence. Amidst these challenges facing the President-elect, the US-India relationship will constitute a bright spot.
India, US need to be attentive to developments in Indo-Pacific: Nisha Biswal
India and the US will need to be attentive to the "dangerous currents" in the Indo-Pacific to ensure that the region continues to be a zone of peace, prosperity and pluralism, US India Business Council president Nisha Desai Biswal said. Delivering the Atal Bihari Vajpayee memorial lecture, Biswal also said India and the US will require to work together closely in the economic sphere to succeed and be competitive with the production capacity of China.


Donald Trump presents Legion of Merit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi
President Donald Trump has conferred the Legion of Merit, one of the highest military honours of the US, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership in elevating bilateral strategic partnership and accelerating emergence of India as a global power.
Need to integrate foreign and military policies to deal with national security challenges: S Jaishankar
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday called for greater integration between the foreign and military policies to effectively deal with national security challenges and safeguard India’s interests globally. Delivering the second Manohar Parrikar memorial lecture on the former defence minister’s birth anniversary, Jaishankar, in a veiled fashion, referred to security challenges linked to Pakistan and China as well as routine challenges linked to India’s long borders and large maritime spaces and said the country should give “primacy to hard security”.

US body announces USD 54 million investment in India to support infrastructure projects
India is one of the fastest growing countries in the previous three decades, but it suffers from a significant infrastructure deficit, holding back further growth for the country especially in the wake of COVID-19, US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) said. It said it will invest USD 54 million in equity for the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in India to support the development of critical infrastructure projects. The financing is part of NIIF’s final round of fund-raising for the fund.
Reintroducing America to the World
President-elect Joe Biden has put foreign leaders on notice, declaring, “America is back.” The world is now waiting, and listening, for what comes next. As the Biden-Harris administration reintroduces America to the world, the words it chooses can build domestic support for U.S. foreign policy, strengthen partnerships abroad, and more effectively compete with China.