CUTS International Washington DC Center
Monthly Brief #39, June 2021
Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation through Mutual Respect for Minorities
India and the United States have immense respect for each other’s sovereignty, social system, economic and security concerns. Any action contrary to this will only lead to frictions in their mutual relations. Therefore, it is an imperative for India and the U.S. to set aside differences and reservations in building a strong network of democracies.
Upholding the rule of law in the international system, defending and dealing with the aggressive behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party in the Indo-Pacific and in other parts of the world, are some of the priorities to be addressed.
It was an astonishing news for Indians to hear that one in two Indian Americans faced discrimination in the past year in the U.S. This was brought out by a survey conducted in collaboration between the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins-School of Advanced International Studies and the University of Pennsylvania. While discrimination based on skin colour was the most common form of bias, discrimination based on religious beliefs was equally prevalent. Muslims (39%) were the religious group most discriminated, followed by Hindus (18%) and Christians (15%).
This shocking survey came at a time when some U.S. authorities have been expressing concern about the discrimination of religious minorities in India. There are other instances of grave discrimination based on race and class reported from the United States, with the death of George Floyd being the most recent. The Prison Industrial Complex system is another instance of continuing exploitation of the African-American communities and other minorities in the U.S. Instances such as these expose the dark underbellies both in the economic and social structures of the glorified American society.
Thus, any criticism by the U.S. on India’s treatment of its minorities is similar to a person with a plank in his own eye criticising someone for having a speck in the eyes.
As countries upholding the democratic and egalitarian ideals, India and the U.S. can suggest corrections for each other where and when necessary. This constructive criticism, though, needs to be carried out internally, taking into account the sensitive nature of discussions. Any unnecessary criticism and interference in the internal matter of India by the U.S. at this time holds the risk of adversely impacting the collective efforts of democracies against the imperialist behaviour of China and the growing authoritarianism in the world.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S.: Will a U.S. led investigation about the origin and spread of the COVID-19 virus open a new chapter of the bio-warfare ambitions of China?

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Trade war costs global value chains 5 years of growth, UN says
Trade shocks fuelled by unilateral tariffs between the U.S. and China have undone three to five years worth of growth among global value chains in affected countries, according to a United Nations (UN) policy brief. The report from the United Nations Development Programme looking at the post-pandemic future of global value chains found that trade within those supply lines shrank in absolute terms along with other types of trade.

EU-U.S. Aircraft Deal Heralds New Trade Cooperation in Biden Era
The first summit between the European Union (EU) and U.S. President Joe Biden concluded on Tuesday, June 15, with a deal on a five-year suspension of tariffs in the longstanding Airbus-Boeing dispute, paving the way for stronger cooperation against the challenges posed by China’s economic model. The deal, which will prolong the truce in place since March, will set a series of parameters to limit the financing that European governments and U.S. authorities can offer to their aircraft manufactures.
Digital tax tussles: On preventing a tariff war
One thing is clear: if the Biden administration did not subscribe to the notion that taxes on digital services by the titans of Silicon Valley, a significant portion of whose revenues are generated on foreign soil, were discriminatory, it could have distanced itself from the Trump-era investigation into this allegation without any serious political fallout.
Why American Investors Prefer India Against China In Asian Investment Strategy
The sudden reversal of U.S. investors, focusing India an important destination and showing volte-face to China, depicts a new perceived investment strategy of U.S. investors in Asia to cope with COVID 19 affected Asian region. Recent surveys by USA suggest that firms may be increasingly circumspect about China’s short and long term perceptions on foreign investment in the wake of trade tensions, hike in wages in China and protectionism.


India and U.S. launch a hydrogen task force in clean energy push
The United States Department of Energy (DOE), India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the U.S. India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) have jointly launched a U.S.-India Hydrogen Task Force. This is under the U.S.-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP).India and U.S. had decided to revamp their strategic partnership to focus on clean energy sectors such as biofuels and hydrogen after the Joe Biden administration took charge. In March this year, the two countries said they will intensify efforts to take advantage of advanced U.S. technologies and India's rapidly growing energy market.

'Very interested' in strong energy partnership with India, says U.S. energy secretary
The Biden administration is "very interested" in continuing to ensure that the U.S. has a strong energy partnership with India, Energy Secretary Jennifer M Granholm has said. "I'm very interested in continuing to ensure that India and the U.S. have a strong partnership and there are a lot of energy tools that can help India achieve its own goals which are very aggressive as well," she told lawmakers during the Congressional hearing.
White House Cautiously Embraces Nuclear Power to Meet Green Goals
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is cautiously embracing nuclear energy, despite lingering safety concerns, to help achieve its goal of a net-zero carbon economy for America by the year 2050.The 94 nuclear power reactors across the United States — the most of any country — will be “absolutely essential” for the country to meet Biden’s climate projections, according to his climate adviser, Gina McCarthy.

Can U.S.–Japan Climate Partnership Lead Decarbonisation In Asia?
The U.S.–Japan Climate Partnership was a result of the U.S.–Japan Leaders’ Summit, where the two countries renewed their alliance to stabilise the so-called Indo-Pacific region. The Partnership includes cooperation on accelerating decarbonised society transitions in Asia Pacific countries. The Japanese government also seems to be ending support for new overseas coal power projects in developing countries that have no plans for decarbonisation.


G7: Engagement Opportunities, Covid-19 and Beyond
Earlier this month, The United Kingdom was host to the top leaders representing the biggest and most powerful democracies, in discussing a list of global issues that need immediate addressing. For India, with its huge development needs, and global aspirations, the summit opened up avenues of opportunities in cooperation, climate change, and health diplomacy to name a few. This edition of CUTS ONW reflects upon developments in this front among other developments in the arena of cooperation at the helm of the G7 Summit, while underpinning the potential for the Indo-U.S. cooperation.

Indo-Pacific will remain hub for maritime, economic cooperation: Shashi Tharoor
It is fascinating for old hands of global diplomacy when new terms of art emerge and find widespread acceptance. This has happened to the “Indo-Pacific”, an expression that comes up often in my conversations with foreigners—sometimes self-consciously, sometimes automatically, and sometimes with the slight tone of deference that is used by those who are striving to be politically correct.

India values multipolar order premised on territorial integrity of all countries: Harsh Vardhan Shringla
India values a multipolar global order underpinned by international law and premised upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday, June 23. In a virtual address at a multilateral forum, he also called for making the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) more representatives of the developing countries in order to build trust and confidence in its ability to provide leadership to the entire world.
Modi and Xi are "responsible" leaders, can solve Sino-India issues: Vladimir Putin
Asserting that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are "responsible" leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that they both are capable of solving issues between the two countries, and that it was important that no "extra-regional power" should interfere in the process.


Quad can pool resources to prevent China from dominating global tech
With China seeking to control and dominate supply chains of critical minerals and technologies, the Quad—the U.S., India, Japan and Australia, have a major role in pushing back Beijing’s plans, say Lisa Curtis and Surjit Bhalla, co-chairs of the Mumbai-based Gateway House Economy and Technology Taskforce that is looking at how the Quad can scale up economic and tech collaboration.

India is one of the top global innovation hubs for us: Leila Pourhashemi, CIO, Blackhawk Network
The top initiatives of the Strategic Development Centre (SDC) are mobile payments, a global data lake, internationalization of incentives products, consolidation of multiple settlement systems, and global expansion of its retail and online commerce product offerings. The SDC in India will continue to be a testament to Indian engineering capabilities and develop next-gen products and solutions for the global market.

Frequent run-ins with India govt. cloud U.S. tech expansion plans
Another spat between India's government and U.S. big tech has exacerbated disillusion among firms which have spent billions to build hubs in their largest growth market, to the extent some are rethinking expansion plans, people close to the matter said. The government said Twitter Inc had not indicated compliance with new rules aimed at making social media firms more accountable to legal requests, and therefore risked losing liability exemptions for content posted on its platform.
India to become major production hub for ACC batteries: ICEA
The India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has welcomed the Rs 18,100 crore (US$181 billion) Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme that has been approved for Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) battery storage in the country. In a statement, ICEA that represents mobile and component manufacturers such as Apple, Motorola, Nokia, Foxconn, Wistron, Flextronics, Lava, Vivo and others, said that it would promote newer and niche cell technologies in the country.


Where did the coronavirus come from? What we already know is troubling.
There were curious characteristics about the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 1977-78, which emerged from north-eastern Asia and killed an estimated 700,000 people around the world. For one, it almost exclusively affected people in their mid-20s or younger. Scientists discovered another oddity that could explain the first: It was virtually identical to a strain that circulated in the 1950s. People born before that had immunity that protected them, and younger people didn’t.

Pakistan hit with US$38 billion loss due to FATF grey list
Pakistan has been hit with massive losses to its GDP worth US$38 billion because of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) decision to retain the country on its grey list since 2008, according to a research paper published by the Islamabad-based independent think-tank, Tabadlab. The paper titled, "Bearing the cost of global politics -- the impact of FATF grey-listing on Pakistan's economy", has been authored by Naafey Sardar.

China has ability to try to 'disturb' rules-based order which U.S., its allies strongly defend: Antony Blinken
China is the single nation that militarily, economically, diplomatically and politically has the ability to try to "disturb" the rules-based order that America, its friends and allies strongly defend, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken has said. He also told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing that China is both the most consequential and most complicated relationship the U.S. has.
Increase in Vaccine Production Capacity in India to be "Game Changer": U.S.
Increase in manufacturing capacity of COVID-19 vaccines in India has the potential to be a game changer well beyond its borders, U.S. President Joe Biden's administration said Thursday, June 3. "It's important to us because India has suffered immensely from the outbreak. Virtually, no element of Indian society has been left untouched by this horrible scourge. That is why we have spoken of the focus on increased manufacturing in India," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.