CUTS International Washington DC Center
Monthly Brief #51, June 2022
Deft Diplomacy: On India’s “Manylateral” Engagements
It has been a hectic month for Indian diplomacy, with summit-level meetings of the BRICS and G-7 (to which India was invited as a partner country), apart from bilateral engagements with various countries on their sidelines and a prime ministerial visit to the United Arab Emirates, one of our most important partners in the Gulf region. These were preceded by the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali. For India, all these platforms were yet another opportunity to remind the world of its global heft in conversations at the high-table and demonstrate its commitment to tackle global challenges.
At the BRICS summit, India has concentrated on practical initiatives based on the logic of economic engagement rather than political contestation. This enables India to keep bilateral differences on the side, while Russia and China continue to insist on politicising the summit. India called for improving the environment and initiatives for circular economy, in line with its Lifestyle for Environment (LIFE) campaign. India has also proposed cooperation in building technology solutions for startups and MSMEs.
At the G-7 meeting, India showcased its capacities and capabilities in the renewable energy sector and invited G-7 countries to invest in the renewable energy market. The flagship outcome of the G-7 summit was the US-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII), a global infrastructure development plan. India will receive funding for climate resilience and adaption related projects under this partnership. Strategically, PGII is being seen as another effort to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Earlier in the month, India hosted a Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to strengthen its vision for the broader Indo-Pacific region through ASEAN centrality. 2022 is being celebrated as ASEAN-India Friendship Year, commemorating the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India Partnership. All these meetings occurred in the backdrop of successful Quad and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meetings last month, with India playing leading roles in both.
Effective and constructive participation in multilateral summitry portrays India’s relevance in global dialogues. Its approach of engaging with multiple minilaterals and maintaining good relations with major powers shows pragmatism of foreign policy and reiterates its strategic autonomy. India’s participation in these summits becomes even more important given the prevalent geopolitical complexities and uncertainties, where India simultaneously needs to protect its national interests and preserve its valued partnerships.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S. At their Madrid Summit this week, NATO members have decided to officially invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO. As the Russia-Ukraine conflict drags on into the fifth month, what will be the pan-European implications of an expanding NATO membership?

Message for our Readers
This is the fifty-first 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: 


This has been a momentous year for India-US trade and economic relations: Ambassador Sandhu
India’s Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said, ‘last year we did hit a historic high of more than US$160 billion in India-US bilateral trade. Do keep in mind that we were able to achieve this during the pandemic without any formal trade agreement and despite supply chain disruptions.’ This has been a “momentous year” for India-US trade and economic relations, New Delhi’s top diplomat said on June 9, 2022 underlining the “enormous” potential of the economic partnership between the two countries.

India can’t afford to lose the world’s trust on trade
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi often speaks of trusted supply chains. At the G-20 last year, he said that global supply chains depend upon “trust, transparency, and timeframes”. He has made a similar pitch for Japan, the United States and Australia to trust India as a trade partner. The only chance that countries such as India have to entice value chains away from China is by focusing on resilience and reliability.

As Indian mangoes appear in US markets, officials working on more gains via India-US trade policy forum
With the re-appearance of Indian mangoes in the US market, after the November 2021 India-US Trade Policy Forum (TPF) helped overcome a pandemic-induced hiatus in mango trade, officials are looking at what can be achieved at this year’s TPF session, likely to be held in November. For the US, exporting ethanol and an associated animal feed ingredient, called DDGS (Distillers’ Dried Grains with Solubles) to India, is important, in the agricultural goods category.
US hopes to start trade talks under IPEF to fuel economic activity
The joint statement released in the month of May, 2022 talked about four pillars of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF): Trade; supply chains; clean energy, decarbonisation and infrastructure; and tax and anti-corruption. United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai hoped that the US and the IPEF partners that choose to join the trade pillar (Paywall) will seek to build high-standard, inclusive, free, and fair trade commitments and develop new and creative approaches in trade and technology policy.


Bill in US Congress to provide resources to support India's transition to clean energy
The bill seeks to promote India-US partnerships in research and innovation for clean energy technologies, provide technical assistance for grid improvement and energy efficiency in India, and provide incentives for the creation of new renewable energy sources in India. Among other things, it requires the US Agency for International Development to cooperate with the Indian government to integrate climate change risk reduction and resiliency strategies in India.

Record US$14.5 billion investment in Indian RE in last FY
A record US$14.5 billion was invested in renewable energy (RE) in India during the last financial year (FY2021-22) registering an increase of 125 percent compared to FY2020-21. However, that number still needs to be higher to meet the new demands of the renewable capacity target of 500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. 15.5GW of renewable energy capacity were added in FY2021-22, pushing the total installed renewable capacity (excluding large hydro) to 110GW till March 2022. It is 65GW short of the target of 175GW of renewable energy capacity by the end of this year.
G7 commits to boost India's clean energy transition in collaboration
Leaders from the G7 have finished their three-day meeting in a spa resort in the Bavarian Alps with a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, even as they agreed for close collaboration with developing countries to boost clean energy and resilience through new initiatives, comprising its commitment for Just Energy Transition Partnership with India. They have committed to achieving a fully or predominantly decarbonised electricity sector by 2035, recognising that emissions from coal power generation is the single biggest cause of global warming.

India’s green future, built on hydrogen
Hydrogen, nature’s lightest and most abundant element, can be used as energy after being taken out from coal (brown hydrogen), natural gas (grey hydrogen), renewable energy (green hydrogen) and water (blue hydrogen). Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the thing that is going to help India with a quantum leap in terms of climate is green hydrogen. We have to make India a global hub for green hydrogen production and export. At present India’s US$3.12 trillion economy needs 1,650 billion units of power, made from nearly 400GW of capacity. Of this, green electricity is only 17 percent.


India, US need to cooperate more closely in Indo-Pacific region: Wilson
Congressman Joe Wilson said to take US and India ties forward and to realise the full spirit of our strategic partnership, the UA and the Republic of India need to cooperate more closely in the Indo-Pacific. The strong and vibrant relationship between India, the world's largest democracy, and the United States, the world's oldest democracy, has demonstrated our shared values for Rule of Law.

The second Quad in-person summit in Tokyo, Japan
The Quad is a “force for good”, remarked the Indian Prime Minister at the fourth Quad summit held in Tokyo, Japan. The meeting was marked by action-oriented cooperation among the four Quad members to drive the region towards productivity and prosperity. The two-day Leaders’ summit focused on common efforts towards post-pandemic recovery, including by strengthening health security, shared frameworks on critical and emerging technologies, trusted supply chains, cyber security, connectivity and energy. The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to an open, free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. This edition of CUTS Occasional News Wrap reflects on this second in-person Quad summit.

India vs China: The advanced industry production race
A quarter century ago, it was an open question as to which nation - India or China - would vault ahead in advanced industry production. It was China that won. Between 1995 and 2018, China’s output of advanced industries grew six times faster than India’s. Notwithstanding, India has some key strengths it can build upon. To assess India’s performance, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) examined data from the OECD on seven key industries: pharmaceuticals, electrical equipment, machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, other transport equipment, computers, electronics, and IT and information services.

Australia Deputy PM calls India one of closest security partners in Indo-Pacific
With an eye on China, Australia on June 20, 2022 said India is one of the closest security partners and is keen to work closely with it for an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Australia Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, who is also Defence Minister, said "Australia and India are Comprehensive Strategic Partners.


Growing India-US ties in critical and emerging tech
India and the United States recently announced the launch of a new India-US Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET) to facilitate outcome-oriented cooperation. The iCET would focus on forging closer relationship between the government, industry and academia of the two countries in areas such as artificial intelligence, semiconductors, 5G/6G, quantum computing, biotech and space technologies.

Starting trouble: inside India’s long wait for a cybersecurity strategy
In this era of technology, our dependence on cyberspace is going to increase multifold. However, cyberspace offers its own risks and threats. In a short span of time, a draft of a new cyber security (Paywall) policy would be presented to the nation. In the coming times, we will have to integrate everything and then work within the framework of this cybersecurity (strategy). A cybersecurity strategy brings in structure, and creates a framework of responsibilities and accountability.

Embracing technology is the only way to become an export superpower
Exports have been a key driver for boosting the economy and generating employment. It is an important area of work for governments the world over and in India. There is a lot of momentum around exports, with India breaching the US$400 billion mark in annual merchandise exports for FY22. If India wants to become an export superpower, it has to embrace technology. Like other countries, India is also emerging from a challenging year because of the pandemic.
Golden time for India to emerge as innovator nation in biopharma sector
Karun Rishi, president of USA-India Chamber of Commerce said that this is a Golden Time for India to emerge as an innovator nation in the biopharma sector. Key fundamentals under play are: current geo-political situation, innovation driven mindset of India’s top leadership, and momentum in the western world for diversity, inclusiveness and equity in clinical trials. Rishi said developing and nurturing the next generation of innovative leaders in biopharma is fundamental to India becoming an innovation nation and source of innovation for accelerating discovery, development and manufacture novel therapeutics for India and for the rest of the world.


US state governors and LGs vouch for strong ties with India; pitches for FDI from India
A bipartisan group of American state governors and top officials have vouched for strong bilateral ties with India and pitched for investment from the Indian corporate sector who they said not only brings foreign direct investment but also skills and creates local jobs in the US. Top State level elected officials asserted that Indian businesses add value to their state economy, bring in new skill sets and most important of all create most sought-after jobs. According to a 2020 survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries, more than 155 Indian companies have invested US$22 billion.

19th Shangri-La Dialogue
The 19th Shangri-La Dialogue - Asia’s premier defence summit - was hosted from June 10 to June 12, 2022, in Singapore after a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This annual security dialogue is organised by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. The dialogue saw participation of diplomats, officials and defence experts from across Asia. Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida delivered the keynote address to open the summit, where the region’s most pressing strategic and economic challenges were discussed. This edition of CUTS Occasional News Wrap has hand-picked articles marking the highlights of this three-day meet.

India's path to prosperity is rooted in sustainability
The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2022 resonated with two themes one, the imperative of addressing the looming and real danger of climate change and the collective actions needed to move towards a sustainable path of development. Amid the ongoing global uncertainty around energy availability, the sustainability debate has snowballed into an even more urgent movement. Two, the growing consensus that India will play a central role in driving global growth. It was particularly noteworthy to see the forum reverberate with the India story, reinforcing Prime Minister Modi’s pronouncement of “when India grows, the world grows; when India reforms, the world transforms”.
Navigating a curious chapter in Indo-US ties
India’s relations with the US are going through a curious chapter (Paywall). On the one hand, there is a deep commitment to this unique relationship. This promise is more than noticeable in both letter and spirit. Quad’s expanding footprint, albeit in mainly non-military domains, is striking. The potential embedded in the newly unveiled Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), led by the US, to which India has lent its name, could be compelling.