CUTS Washington Monthly Brief
#18, September 2019
Sagacity of India’s Multipolar and Multilateral Outreach

"I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the culture of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any" - Mahatma Gandhi
As we celebrate Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary this year, it would be worthwhile to recall his above quote as the principal guideline for India’s foreign policy. This month witnessed the depth and sweep of India’s external relations. From constructive engagements with Russia, we moved to a smooth conduct of business with the U.S. towards the end. In the beginning, India made sharp strides in the Indo-Pacific region. Not only it encouraged Russia to play a greater role in the region but also provided policy and connectivity dimensions to that. Act Far East Policy and a maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok are the cornerstone outcomes of India’s Free, Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific doctrine, which will complement our Act East Policy.

On the other hand, the U.S. leg of the visit by the Prime Ministerial delegation, during the week of 22nd September, included multiple bilateral and multilateral discussions in and around the United National General Assembly. Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar met more than 60 heads of State and other dignitaries.

On the Indo-U.S. front, the HowdyModi event in Houston was a grand show of the influential Indian American communities who on 22 September gathered in large numbers to cheer the presence of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the U.S. President Donald Trump. In addition, the proposed Indian investment of US$2.5bn in Texas for the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas over four decades from U.S. to India will not only strengthen the bilateral trade and economic partnership, but also enhance India’s energy security. 

On the trade front, there was significant progress towards resolving bilateral trade concerns sooner than later. A balanced trade deal is on the anvil.

Furthermore, in his address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly that this year gathered to ‘’Galvanise multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion’’, Prime Minister Modi spoke of New India’s commitments and the underlying role of multilateralism in realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. For this, he urged all countries to work in peace and harmony, and avoid dissension. 
In essence, such a magnificent outreach over a month is reflective of India’s thrust on multi-polarity and multilateralism in driving its external relations. Such a policy path only serves to commemorate Gandhi’s 150th anniversary most befittingly.  Now, it remains vital for partner countries to aptly recognise the sagacity of India’s engagement with Russia, and for that matter, others elsewhere and in the Indo-Pacific region.
Pradeep S. Mehta

P. S. A recent OpEd by us explains how it provides a strategic opportunity for partner countries, primarily the U.S., to build on India’s multi-polar commitments in the Indo-Pacific region, and achieve peace and harmony globally.

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Potential of India-US trade to double in five years: Ambassador Shringla
The bilateral trade between India and America has the potential to double and reach USD 280 billion in the next five years, India's top diplomat in the US has said, amidst intense negotiations between the two countries to resolve their trade differences.
Howdy Modi and Indo-US Relations
The recent visit by Prime Minister Modi to the U.S. experienced growing warmth in the bilateral relationship. It has in fact touched upon the major aspects of bilateral relations including defence, trade, energy, and diaspora.  In this context, our ONW attempts to provide coverage to trending outcomes from 22 September to 29 September.

How India fares against other emerging markets
Given India’s relatively high dependence on volatile portfolio flows to fund its chronic balance-of-payments deficit, this is also a big macro-economic concern. If foreign investors view other markets more favourably, this could trigger outflows from Asia’s third largest economy. If India is better placed compared to other emerging markets, this could attract more investments.

China government assigns officials to companies including Alibaba
The government of the Chinese tech hub of Hangzhou is assigning officials to 100 local companies including tech group Alibaba, in the latest example of a tightening of the ties between the state and private sector. The move, described as a local initiative, highlights one of the many flashpoints in China’s tense relationship with the US.


Petronet signs MoU with US firm Tellurian
US natural gas company Tellurian Inc. and Petronet LNG Limited (PLL) of India have signed an MoU, under which PLL and its affiliates intend to import up to five million tonnes per annum (5 mtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from America, the two companies announced on 21 September. Tellurian and Petronet will endeavour to finalise the transaction agreements by March 31, 2020, they added.
We are committed to meet India’s energy security needs: Saudi Arabia
Notwithstanding the biggest-ever attacks on its oil facilities, Saudi Arabia has said it is committed to meet India’s energy security needs and will work constructively with other oil producers to maintain market stability.
Diversification must for oil security
Given its high dependence on imports, India remains vulnerable to volatility in the global crude oil market. The country has tried to spread its risks by diversifying sources of crude oil, but falling domestic production and heavy dependence on imports remain a worry.
The Gulf in Crisis: Rising Geopolitical Events and Oil
The Middle East is becoming increasingly volatile especially after the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facility on 14th September. It has disrupted global oil supplies emanating from the region. With points of view of securing their oil supplies from the region, major powers have intensified militarisation of the region, which inter-alia, also threatens regional peace and security.  CUTS WDC ONW covers these developments for the 16-23 September 2019 timeframe for the ready references of our readers.


EU, Japan sign agreement to bypass China's 'new Silk Road'
The EU and Japan on Friday signed an infrastructure agreement to link Europe and Asia, as a counter to China's ambitious "Belt and Road" strategy. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker inked the accord to coordinate infrastructure, transport and digital projects connecting Europe and Asia.
India differs with US definition of Iran as PM Modi meets Hassan Rouhani
PM Narendra Modi in a significant move on Thursday met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York as India sought to engage Tehran with an eye on energy interests and connectivity corridor via Chabahar Port amid fast changing geo-politics.

Trump’s U-turn on the Taliban is good for India and the world
The 11-month-long US-Taliban negotiations had deeply disturbing implications right from the start. Trump’s goal was to end an 18-year-long war, the longest the US has ever fought, and get the 14,000 US troops still stationed there back home. India has spent over $3 billion on projects in Afghanistan, including building its parliament, a dam, highways and transmission lines.
Towards Multifaceted, Multipolar and Indo-Pacific Engagement: Indo-Russia Cooperation through the Far East
Keeping India’s thrust on engaging Russia in the Indo-Pacific region while deepening bilateral economic relations, this News Wrap by CUTS WDC provides the coverage of the recent developments. In particular, it provides coverage to the outcomes of 20th Indo-Russia Annual Summit and 5th Eastern Economic Forum that were held from 04–06 September 2019 in Vladivostok, Russia.


Changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir will benefit all of India
The Indian parliament passed legislation last month changing the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, modifying provisions that have been an obstacle to economic development and promoted a sense of separatism. Critics have highlighted these steps as a departure from recent history, and precautionary measures intended to facilitate the transition have also become a subject of debate.

Cheating, Inc.: How Writing Papers for American College Students Has Become a Lucrative Profession Overseas
Tuition was due. The rent was, too. So Mary Mbugua, a university student in Nyeri, Kenya, went out in search of a job. At first, she tried selling insurance policies, but that only paid on commission and she never sold one. Then she sat behind the reception desk at a hotel, but it ran into financial trouble.
No force can stop China's progress, says Xi in National Day speech
President Xi Jinping emphasized unity, development and strength as he addressed the world on the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China on Tuesday, saying: "There is no force that can shake the foundation of this great nation."

Potential for India’s USD 80 billion remittances economy
With the current economic situation of the Indian economy, the Indian diaspora can play a huge role in reviving the Indian economy. India is the world’s largest recipient of remittances at around $80 billion last year, with one of the largest diaspora populations in the world with over 15.6 million, according to the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs.