CUTS International Washington DC Center
Monthly Brief #48, March 2022
A Quad Quandary from the Ukraine Crisis? - No
With India adopting a different stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine than the US, Australia, and Japan, there was speculation that the crisis would put the Quad in a quandary. Events over the past fortnight have established that the Quad remains on a solid footing, and India’s position on the Ukraine crisis has not led to any derailing of the Quad’s positive agenda or of minilaterals within the Quad group.
Picking up from the Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting last month there has been frenetic diplomatic activity between India and the other Quad nations recently. New Delhi recently hosted the 14th India-Japan Annual Summit, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The Agreement concerning reciprocal provision of supplies and services between the Japan Self-Defence Forces and the Indian Armed Forces is a welcome development, which will contribute to enhanced security in the Indo-Pacific region.
The two countries will also work towards convergence and cooperation between India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) and the Japanese Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) vision. This was followed by the 2nd India-Australia Virtual Summit, where both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the full range of bilateral relations. Significant announcements included the setting up of a new centre for bilateral relations and the establishment of the General Rawat India-Australia Young Defence Officers’ Exchange Programme.
India would also be participating in Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour exercise later in the year. Notably, there was a briefing on the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) pact, much to India’s appreciation.
Finally, last week’s India-US Foreign Office Consultations saw both sides reaffirming their commitment to implement the Quad’s “positive and constructive agenda to deliver for countries in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The Quad Leaders’ Summit is scheduled to be held in Japan in the coming months. This will mark another step towards security, regional stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, there is one common thread running through all the recent diplomatic engagements mentioned above i.e. reaffirmation of the importance of bilateral and plurilateral partnerships among like-minded countries of the region. As complements to the Quad grouping, it is these ties that will be instrumental for achieving the shared vision and common objectives in the Indo-Pacific region.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S. With the Ukraine crisis leading to an increase in arms military and defence budgets globally, are we moving towards a more militarised world of armed co-existence?

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Trading in US-India data flows: Prospects for cooperation in US-India data policy
Joe Biden administration and the Narendra Modi government re-convene the US India Trade Policy Forum (TPF) after a four-year hiatus, one digital issue set remains central to challenges and opportunities in US-India trade, cross-border data flows and data policy. These issues received some attention under the Donald Trump administration, but the combination of a new US administration, key developments in Indian cross-border data flow and data policies, and rising global calls for data privacy and data localisation rules make this a unique and important moment for the two powers.

Booming wheat exports from India to help ease global shortage
India is the top global producer of wheat after China and has the potential to ship 12 million tons to the world market in 2022-23. India’s warehouses are brimming over with grain and the country’s farmers are gearing up for yet another record harvest. Vijay Iyengar, chairman and managing director of Singapore-based Agrocorp International said that Indian wheat exports help the market in a tight world supply situation.
Shringla meets USIBC president Keshap, discusses enhancing India-US trade, investment opportunities
On March 10, 2022, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met the president of US India Business Council (USIBC) Atul Keshap and discusses enhancing India-US trade, investment opportunities.
India and US to collaborate on building resilient supply chains
Joe Biden administration plans to collaborate with India on building resilient supply chains and promote a transparent rules-based trading system for market economies and democracies. The US Trade Representative (USTR) said the United States and India share a dynamic and important trade and investment relationship.


India is leading the way for sustainable power in the world
From a green energy transition standpoint, India like any other country in the world, was a non-player in the renewable energy segment till about 2010. However, over the past decade, the country has emerged as one of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world. India has set a very high aspiration of reaching 500 gigawatts of renewable capacity by 2030, which experts feel is well in line with its ambitions as a nation.

India's oil imports from US to rise, amid criticism for Russian purchases
India's oil imports from the United States will rise by 11% this year officials said as the severely energy-deficient country looks to secure supplies from producers around the world, including heavily sanctioned Russia. The surge in oil prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month threatens to fan Indian inflation, stretch public finances and hurt growth just when it was emerging from a pandemic-induced slowdown.
India looking for mass EV tech to build in India
Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said India is looking for an electricity-based technology for mass rapid transportation that is cost effective and such as can be made in the country. The ministry plans to undertake the development of ropeways as an alternate transport solution in the hill and congested, urban areas.

US seeks new lithium sources as demand for batteries grows
The race is on to produce more lithium in the US. The US will need far more lithium to achieve its clean energy goals - and the industry that mines, extracts and processes the chemical element is poised to grow. But it also faces a host of challenges from environmentalists, Indigenous groups and government regulators.


The Russia-Ukraine Crisis
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis has shifted the world’s attention to Eastern Europe. It is clear that this conflict will have global repercussions. There are already discussions on the re-emergence of bipolarity with the world being split into different camps. India’s stance on the matter has been defined by its national interest and driven by its stated policy of strategic autonomy. While it remains to be seen how the situation in Ukraine shapes up in the next few weeks, it is clear that it will have wide-ranging humanitarian, geopolitical and geoeconomic implications in the years to come. This edition of CUTS Occasional News Wrap collates news reports and diverse opinions from various experts on the conflict.

Putting more Indo into the Indo-Pacific
The agreements between India and Japan and the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific are factors New Delhi must consider as it fashions its global engagement. As is India's critical role in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific. As a major developing country economy, India must recognise that it cannot do it alone. It will require engaging with the world - which means taking positions and considering trade-offs.

The US Indo-Pacific Strategy 2022: An analysis
In its 2019 “Indo-Pacific Strategy Report”, the US emphasised preparedness, partnerships, and the promotion of a networked region to realise a free and open, safe, secure, and prosperous region. Moving ahead, its 2022 Indo-Pacific Strategy document, released in February 2022, visualises the region as free and open, more connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient.

Australia–India scripting a ‘new chapter’ in bilateral relations
The Australia–India bilateral story is changing by the day. The engagement on both sides has amplified across multiple platforms and sectors, clearly focused on building tangible commitments and actions, to embrace a win-win partnership. If 2020 was the year of elevation of Australia–India bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), 2021 was about bringing pace, energy, and solidifying the bilateral economic engagement, 2022 is surely about a focused head start to script a new and committed engagement narrative, and the month of February had been a busy and promising month for bilateral ties.


QUAD officials meet in Sydney to discuss cyber security issues
This Quad Senior Cyber Group met in Sydney for two productive days of discussions on opportunities to extend our cyber security cooperation and uplift cyber resilience and critical infrastructure protection in our region, Emily Horne, spokesperson of the US National Security Council said.

PM Modi chairs CCS meeting, seeks integrating latest technology in security apparatus
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 13, 2022 chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to review India's security preparedness and the prevailing global scenario in the context of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It emphasised on integrating latest technology in the security apparatus and reiterated that every effort must be made to make India self-reliant in the defence sector so that it not only strengthens our security but also adds to the economy.

IIT Delhi's tech innovation hub ties up with US' National Science Foundation for cobotics, AI research
I-Hub Foundation for Cobotics (IHFC), the Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) of IIT Delhi has collaborated with the National Science Foundation (NSF), USA to expand frontiers in research and development work related to Cobotics and associated technologies especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).
Need to relook laws to de-risk Indian internet, make it difficult for Big Tech to be weaponised: Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, Big Tech firms and intermediaries announced either partial or total stoppage of services for Russia and its citizens. This, Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar believes, is a dangerous precedent, and brings back focus on the power that such platforms wield.


Biden proposes to increase developmental assistance to India in clean energy, digital economy
US President Joe Biden has proposed to increase the developmental assistance to India in clean energy, digital economy, and also in combating increasing authoritarianism. The proposed increase in India’s developmental assistance from US$25 million in 2021 to US$66 million for the fiscal 2023 is part of the state department’s developmental assistance for the fiscal 2023.

Conciliator par excellence
As the Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, along with her deputy Strobe Talbot, can take the credit for repairing and rebooting the strategic relationship that has survived ever since. The proverbial glass ceiling breaker passed away at 84 and was arguably amongst the best POTUSA's aides who couldn't become one, owing to her naturalised citizenship.

It cannot be business as usual for Russia in international institutions like G-20: US
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has said the US and its allies would consult whether Russia should remain within the G-20 grouping of major economies after its invasion of Ukraine. He also underlines that it "cannot be business as usual" for Moscow.
Biden to host Special ASEAN summit this spring
US President Joe Biden announced to host a special session of ASEAN leaders in Washington, DC this spring. Biden made the announcement during a joint news conference with the visiting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore at the White House. The exact dates of the summit have not been announced yet, but it is expected to be held soon.