CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#16, July 2019
Restrain Impulsiveness for Robust Indo-U.S. Relations

Over recent months, despite growing differences, Indo- U.S. relations have remained largely positive. Intensive and extensive engagements on contentious issues including market access barriers have broadened the horizon of mutual understanding and co-operation.
For the U.S., it is important to maintain this relationship for economic and strategic purposes in the bilateral and Indo-Pacific contexts. For India, it is vital for expanding its own economic growth and development.
Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Indian Ambassador to the United States, at the second annual USISPF leadership summit held on 11 July in Washington DC, expressed hope that continued dialogue will help both the countries find ‘’mutually satisfactory’’ solution to bilateral differences and ‘’minor speed bumps’’ will not be allowed to come in the way of what is a great relationship. 
Similarly, on the occasion of releasing a festschrift, ‘’World in a Nutshell: Essays in Honour of Sanjaya Baru’’, Board Member, CUTS Washington DC Center, at an event organised by CUTS and Nehru Memorial Museum & Library in New Delhi on 27 July, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, said that India cannot become a US$5tn economy by 2024 without substantial engagement with the U.S.
Frank Islam, a U.S. based Indian American entrepreneur and thought leader, also reckons with the fact that both sides need to approach bilateral ties cautiously and focus on addressing contentious issues.
In this scenario, it remains critical that the two countries understand and respect each other’s priorities and interests, without succumbing to impulsive sentiments. In essence, the recent phase of Indo-U.S. relations not only requires space for greater maturity but also extensive civic engagement on issues of mutual importance on both the sides.

Pradeep S. Mehta

P.S. Subir Vithal Gokarn (59), Former Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India and Executive Director, International Monetary Fund passed away on 30th July.  A central banker and leading economist, he also witnessed and spoke at the launch of CUTS Washington DC Center in Washington DC on 19th April 2018. From 2000 to 2009, he was Board Member of CUTS. This edition of Monthly Brief is our tribute to him.
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Trump The Trade Tyrant Targets The WTO
If China wasn’t enough, Europe is back taking some trade war fire. And now the World Trade Organization, long seen as a failure in the eyes of Donald Trump, is in the crosshairs.On Friday, Trump attacked the WTO’s special treatment of major emerging markets, namely China, and promised to reject tariff waivers for Apple components made in China. 
US farmers want an end to the trade war
The US last week unveiled $16 billion more in federal aid for agriculture. Farmers were, of course, happy for the funds, but mainly, they want an end to Donald Trump’s trade wars. “America’s farmers ultimately want trade more than aid,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the nation’s largest general farm organisation.

Green card overhaul
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill which could dramatically reduce the current wait time of Indian H-1B technical workers seeking green cards. The measure is expected to be approved by the Senate, and President Trump may sign it into law. The change would be phased in over three years.

China, U.S. hold 12th round of high-level trade consultations in Shanghai 
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held the 12th round of China-U.S. high-level economic and trade consultations in Shanghai from 30th July to 31st July. Liu is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chief of the Chinese side of the China-U.S. comprehensive economic dialogue. In line with the important consensus reached by the two heads of state in Osaka, the two sides conducted candid, efficient, constructive and in-depth exchanges on major issues of common concern in the economic and trade field. 


India's renewable energy cost lowest in Asia Pacific: report
India's renewable energy cost is the lowest in the Asia Pacific, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said recently. The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) using solar photovoltaic has fallen to $38 per megawatt hour (MWh) this year, 14 percent cheaper than coal-fired power that has traditionally been the cheapest source of power generation, WoodMac said.
The Global Energy Map Is Changing Faster Than You Think
A $20 billion investment aims to supply electricity to Singapore from what will be, for the time being, the world’s largest solar farm: Sun Cable. Located in Australia and linked by a 3,800-kilometer submarine cable, its magnificent 15,000 hectares of solar panels will provide about 10 gigawatts, enough to cover a fifth of the country’s energy needs and replace its combined-cycle power stations, with enough batteries to ensure uninterrupted supply.
IEA promises to use emergency stocks to cover supply disruptions
Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday said that the world’s premier energy monitor is closely monitoring the Strait of Hormuz situation and stands ready to act if needed. With a fifth of the global oil supplies passing through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the IEA’s stand holds importance given that its member countries maintain emergency oil reserves equivalent to at least 90 days of net imports.

The Great, Maddening Promise of Fusion Energy
Twenty-five years ago, as a young physicist, I worked on research linked to fusion energy. Nuclear fusion powers the sun and stars through reactions that turn hydrogen nuclei into helium nuclei, and if we could master the process on Earth, we'd have a safe and virtually limitless source of clean energy. 


US leans heavily on Pakistan to secure its Afghan interests
The Donald Trump administration, which had made India the centrepiece of its South Asia policy two years ago, has started showing an increasing tilt towards Pakistan. Washington is determined to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September with the US presidential elections coming up next year and is depending heavily on Islamabad to secure its interests in the war-ravaged nation.

US approves foreign miltary sales to enhance India’s defence capabilities
With an aim to enhance India’s defence capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region, Donald Trump-led US administration has approved foreign military sales worth USD 670 million to support India’s C-17 military transport aircraft. The decision comes a day after India requested the US to buy equipment for C-17 follow-on support to include spare and repair parts, support equipment, personnel training and other defence equipment.
India should use diplomatic tools at its disposal to help de-escalate US-Iran tensions
The US-Iran stand-off is wrapped in a “fog of uncertainty”. No one really knows what will happen but what we do know, based on our reading of Clausewitz and understanding of history, is that it could take no more than a false report, a miscalculation or simply an accident for the region to conflagrate into violent conflict.

India, Russia seek to skirt US threat to arms deals
India and Russia have agreed on a new payment method through their national currencies for multibillion-dollar defence deals, in a bid to avoid risks created by the US threat of sanctions and banking restrictions.


Unlocking a hundred $50 billion economies across the country
India aspires to be a $5 trillion economy in the next five years. To realize this vision, we need to decentralize our efforts by unlocking hundreds of $50 billion economies across the country—i.e., encouraging states to set targets and develop road maps to contribute to the national effort.

Lockheed Martin announces support to India Innovation Growth Programme Startup Conference
US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has announced its support to the India Innovation Growth Programme Startup Conference to be held in New Delhi next week as part of its effort to enhance the Indian innovation ecosystem, a top official of the company said.
Iran Threatens to Enrich Uranium to 20% Purity as Tensions Rise
Iran said it had already begun enriching uranium beyond the cap set in the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and threatened to boost enrichment to 20% purity, escalating tensions with European partners who are struggling to salvage the accord in the face of tightening U.S. sanctions.

China, Vietnam Ships in Standoff Over a Reef in Disputed South China Sea
Chinese and Vietnamese coastguard vessels have been involved in a week-long confrontation over a reef in the South China Sea, according to a media report which said the development could cause the biggest clash between the two neighbours in five years.