CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#10, January 2019
Global Stature of India’s 70 years of Constitutionalism 
On 26th January, India celebrated its 70th Republic Day. Behind these successful years of vibrant constitutionalism comes a civilisation that endured unparalleled religious, linguistic, cultural and ethnic diversities for centuries. With its 29 states, 7 union territories, 22 different languages, several major and indigenous religious faiths, exclusive demographic dividend, India is the largest democracy and one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world. 
In fact, these virtues have enabled India emerge as a responsible and trusted player in managing domestic as well as global affairs. Leading world powers are vying to partner with India on several fronts. 
For example, the U.S. recognises India as a major defence trade and technology partner commensurate with its closest allies and partners. The U.S. puts special emphasis on strengthening diplomatic, economic and security ties with India for developing a long term vision and a policy for the Indo-Pacific, as outlined in its Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA).
Underpinning that India has increasingly occupied an important place in a complex geo-strategic space, the European Union has launched EU-India Strategy last year to boost its strategic partnership with India.
Australia’s manifestation of its deep faith and interest in India reflected through the launch of India Economic Strategy (IES) 2035. It means that by 2035, Australia strives to include India into its top three export markets, the third largest destination in Asia for Australian outward investment, and bring India into the inner circle of Australia’s strategic partnership, among others.  In a recent talk organised by CUTS, Harinder Sidhu, Australia’s High Commissioner to India asserted that India is very important for them as also revealed by the strategic ambition of IES 2035. 
These are not all but notable gestures to showcase the extent to which these 70 years of vibrant and dynamic constitutionalism have helped shape the world view about India and its 1.3 billion people.

                                                                                                                                     Pradeep S. Mehta
P.S. The shutdown in the U.S. has had many repercussions because the Congress will not approve huge funding to build a wall on the Mexican border. Fortunately, the shutdown has been lifted for a short period but we pray that it will not be repeated at all.

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This is the tenth 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.
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Trade deficit can’t be a determinant of Indo-US relations, says top think-tank 
Prime Minister Modi and President Trump have begun the year on a right note to take the Indo-US relations to a higher level but with a pinch of salt, according to leading Indian think-tank CUTS international working in the area of international trade including Indo-US trade. 
E-commerce norms should treat domestic, foreign players alike: CUTS International
Rules for the e-commerce sector should treat both domestic and overseas players equally to boost the fast-growing industry, research and advocacy firm CUTS International said Sunday.It said the government should frame a comprehensive national e-commerce policy to provide a level playing field to domestic and foreign e-retail companies.
A reformed China is a stronger China, and such is the US dilemma
The United States ratcheted up economic pressure on China throughout 2018, raising tariffs on Chinese imports — US$250 billion so far — to which China retaliated by raising tariffs on US imports. Following the Trump–Xi meeting at the G20 in November, the United States agreed to a 90-day pause on further tariff increases.
Corporate America distances itself from Trump trade policy
The largest business lobbying group in the US has hit out at the Trump administration, criticising some of the president’s flagship policies on trade and immigration. The annual “State of American Business” address from Tom Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce, illustrated the growing strains between business and the Republican party.


Changing global dynamics: Time for India to strengthen crude oil import policy, say experts
American sanctions on Venezuelan stated-owned oil firm PDVSA may not have a direct impact on India’s import mix, but it sure is a signal of changing geo-political dynamics and its implications on the oil market.
Corporations Are Investing in Wind and Solar Energy Now More Than Ever
Corporate investment in renewable energy is swelling as companies move to please knowledgeable consumers and take advantage of vanishing tax breaks. An array of corporations—including Budweiser, Gap Inc., and MGM Resort International—have invested in wind and solar energy recently, pushing spending above $16 billion last year, a 13% growth from the year prior, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Iran says despite U.S. sanctions, it has found new 'potential' oil buyers: SHANA
Iran's deputy oil minister said on Saturday that all countries that were granted a waiver from the United States to buy a certain amount of Iranian oil imports were complying with the U.S. sanctions. "They are not willing to buy even one barrel of oil more from Iran," Amir Hossein Zamaninia was quoted as saying by the Oil Ministry's news agency SHANA on Saturday.
Trump is going after OPEC, and Saudi Arabia could lose its oil monopoly. Here's why India stands to gain
The US president had already set his sights on a new frontier — oil prices. “You have a monopoly called OPEC, and I have the huge shale oil production in the US.” The US is pumping out shale oil like never before. This will reduce the oil cartel’s price-fixing powers and weaken its most influential member, Saudi Arabia. In the bargain, India can cut its oil-import bill.


Great scope for taking India-US relationship exponentially forward: Harsh V Shringla
There is a great scope for taking India-US relationship exponentially forward by engaging the diaspora and the states of the both nations, India's new Ambassador to the US, Harsh V Shringla has said.
Trump’s Foreign Policy Is No Longer Unpredictable
The unpredictability of Trump’s administration originated not in Trump’s views but in the struggle between the president and his political advisers on the one hand and the national security establishment on the other.
Why the Indian Ocean region might soon play a lead role in world affairs
The economies of many Indian Ocean countries are expanding rapidly as investors seek new opportunities. Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Tanzania witnessed economic growth in excess of 5% in 2017 – well above the global average of 3.2%.
Afghan Peace Process: India Backs Ghani Govt, Plays Waiting Game
India has decided to play a waiting game in Afghanistan even as it confers and consults with all relevant stakeholders, multiple sources dealing with and watching the situation told Strategic News International.The events are moving too fast to take any considered position right now, Indian authorities have concluded. At the same time, New Delhi believes that contrary to many doomsday predictions India is not out of the game in Afghanistan, simply because the current government in Kabul and the Afghan people in general have tremendous faith in India and the help it has extended to the war-ravaged country.


What's really wrong with the Chinese economy and why it matters
The downturn in Chinese economic growth is top news around the world. That's for good reason. China is the second largest economy in the world. It’s much higher than the average world growth rate has been a major factor propping up global growth over the past few decades although the US recovery has done its bit to help in recent years.
Why US-China conflict has taken a high-tech turn
The US-China trade war has a new frontier: the struggle to dominate the trade in high-technology items. The US appears to be succeeding in persuading several allies to ban Huawei from supplying next generation telecom equipment amid allegations that the Chinese tech giant is involved in spying in the West. 

Amid trade face-offs, US keenly tracking polls in India

Amid the ongoing trade tensions with India, businesses from the US are keeping a close watch on upcoming general elections with a hope of ‘reappearance of aggressive reform’ process. One of the largest business and trade facilitation bodies in the US — US-India Business Council (USIBC) — pointed towards concerns on both sides on tariffs and trade barriers causing tensions in the trade relationship between the two largest democracies of the world.
Skill gap puts $1.97 trillion growth at risk in India: Report 
India may have to forgo as much as $1.97 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP) growth promised by investment in intelligent technologies over the next decade if the country fails to bridge the skill gap, a new report from Accenture said on Monday. 
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