What Is India News Service
Saturday, March 04, 2006

India News Summary



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Business and Economy
  • US President George Bush called on India to abolish all caps on investment and sought its help to get the Doha round of World Trade Organization negotiations to complete by end of the year. Bush asked India for more transparency in corporate governance rules and insisted that India's leadership was required to open up world markets. He promised to help India achieve a second green revolution just as it did help India in the 1960s food assistance program. He revealed a USD 100 million knowledge initiative in agriculture.

  • Addressing a joint meeting of Indo-US CEOs, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram called for more investments, technology, process, and management experience from the US. He highlighted that India has been rated as the second best destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) after China but said that it has been rated as the best long-term investment ahead of China. He bemoaned that of the USD 37 billion investments flowing into India, only USD 5 billion is from the US. He said that both figures are insufficient if India is to continue to grow at 8-10% a year. US-India CEOs' Forum co-Chairman William Harrison said that the lack of excitement in investment in India is because of "poor energy supply, roads, airports, ports, the core infrastructure, and bureaucracy." He said, "it is hard to get approvals, permits, and in the legal system, the process is slow and cumbersome and it takes a long time for settlement of disputes." Announcing a plan to set up a USD 5billion infrastructure fund to make Mumbai a financial hub, he called on India to "reduce restrictions on foreign investment, especially banking, insurance, and retail." The forum identified 6 priority areas of co-operation including movement of people between the two countries; national coordination on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement in India; reforms in power sector including advanced education and technological cooperation; government-to-government co-operation on the civilian nuclear energy plan; faster clearance on pending legislation to liberalize oil and gas sector; and removal of FDI restriction in banking, insurance, and retail.

  • A consortium of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Reliance Industries, and Great Eastern Energy Corporation discovered 6 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves below the coal seams. The first commercial production of these blocks is expected to start from 2007.

Democracy, Politics and Judiciary

  • Talking to an invited audience, US President George Bush pitched democracy strongly and called India and the US "brothers in the cause of human liberty" and the countries have the "power to transform the world." Speaking at the historic Purana Qila, he attacked policies of Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Syria, Zimbabwe, and Cuba saying that their peoples "yearn for their liberty." He insisted that the US and India cannot "pretend that people of these countries prefer their own enslavement" and asked India to join the US to "stand with reformers and dissidents." He said that the world is "hungry for democracy" and India and asked it to "work directly" with countries with incipient democracies. Applauding the Indian success with democracy and its rule of law, he said, "If justice is the goal, democracy is the way." 

  • The Justice Banerjee Commission concluded that the fire on a train at Muslim town Godhra in 2002 that killed 59 Hindu volunteers and sparked reprisal attacks on Muslims elsewhere was an accident.  The Government of India appointed former Supreme Court Justice Banerjee in September 2004 to investigate into claims that the Godhra incident was a terrorist attack targeting Hindu volunteers returning from Ayodhya in February 2002. Dismissing this theory, Banerjee said that four exit doors were not locked and of the 250 people in the coach that burnt down only 59 died from toxicity and suffocation caused by rexin, foam, and other inflammable materials. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad dismissed the whole investigation as “eyewash” aimed to gain minority sympathies and brush aside justice.

Environment, Health and Education

  • NASA has said that the Antarctic has shrunk by about 152 cubic kilometers annually from April 2002 to August 2005 raising the sea water level by 1.2 millimeters. The research conducted at the University of Colorado at Boulder used data from the NASA/German Aerospace Centre Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) said that Antarctic was the largest reservoir of water and this loss is equivalent to the amount used by the US in 3 months.

  • Editorial : Regulate Ship Breaking Business
Terrorism, Defense, Security and Science & Technology
  • Visiting US President George Bush attacked terrorism in the name of religion saying that the al Qaeda had misjudged the Indian and American resolve to fight it. Speaking for both countries, he said, "we love our freedom and we will fight to keep it." He also thanked the Indian Navy for escorting high value US ships through the Straits of Malacca and applauded the intense bilateral defense co-operation. As partners in the war on terror, he vowed, "we will win this war together." Bush revealed that he would discuss terrorism with Pakistan and insist that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf do more on terror. Major US newspapers castigated Musharraf on his lack of action on terror and have asked Bush not to trust him.

Hot Topics
Featured Analyses
National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme : Making Panchayat Raj Institutions Effective
The Bill on National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme seeks to provide guaranteed employment to one member of every rural household for at least 100 days a year for a minimum wage of Rs.60 per day. <?xml:namespace prefix = u1 /> Out of 260 million poor people in the country, about 200 million poor people are in rural areas. People in 45% rural India do not get work for six months in a year. 
The Saga of the Jemaah Islamiah
Will Kashmir go the way of Aceh?
A Cry for Help
Watch the Dragon
Cage This "Tiger"
Dalits in India
Was Jinnah a Secularist?
Burying the Howitzer?
Smoking Out Smoking
Featured Edits
Jammu and Kashmir: politics of death
Bush, with Indian myth
Did Jessica die for nothing?
Missed chance
Karachi blast
Pakistan awaits George Bush

 Riding the anti-Bush wave

For a knowledge society
The black hole for U.S. aid
South Indian Inscriptions
Ancient Indian dynasties documented their administration, significant developments, grants, and milestones as inscriptions in temples. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has documented these inscriptions from 1886. These pages contain inscriptions from Pallava, Chola, Pandya, Western Chalukya, Eastern Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, Hoyasala, Vijayanagara, Vishnukundin, Kakatiya, Reddi, Vaidumba, Chinda, Eastern Ganga, Gajapathi, Kalchurya, Qutb-Shahi of Golkonda, and Moghul,  dynasties.
  • The last ditch European Union-3 (Britain, France, and Germany) and Iran negotiations before the crucial March 6 vote of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ended without an agreement. The EU-3 told Iran that it should suspend all nuclear fuel enrichment immediately to gain the world's trust. Iran unilaterally abrogated the Paris Agreement and resumed uranium enrichment in small quantities last October. Further, it failed to turn up for negotiations in Paris without giving any explanation. Later, Russia proposed a plan where the enrichment will happen in Russia as a joint venture with Iran. Even with this proposal, Iran placed three conditions-- continuation of research in enrichment in Iran, the most critical processes to be done in Iran, and inclusion of a third party. Russia was agreeable to the third condition but no country was willing to be the third party or accept the other two conditions. The Russian plan had unanimous backing from all countries but Iran failed to seize the initiative. The whole world is suspicious of Iran because it bought centrifuges from disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan who sold designs, equipment, and accessories to North Korea, Libya, and Iran. While Iran asserts that its intentions are peaceful, its actions of reticent procurement, threats against Israel, and provocative comments against the Jewish people have worried strategists and nations.

  • Angered by Taiwan's abolition of an autonomous National Unification Council (NUC), China started military exercises describing it as a "modern battle that is characterized by modern information technology." The NUC was meant to slowly integrate Taiwan with China and its abolition disregarding the "one country, two systems" formula has increased fears of war. China threatens Taiwan anytime that country makes an independent decision and in the past the US has sailed in its 7th fleet between China and Taiwan in defiance of Chinese aggression. The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's highest advisory body on integration said that China "will never tolerate 'Taiwan independence', secessionist forces, and activities."  

  • As the import of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal dawned on Pakistan, President Pervez Musharraf is already talking about his country's relationship with China. Stating that his relationship with the US will always be there because it is a uni-polar world, he said that Pakistan's relationship with China is strategic. He also said that he will seek US help to resolve the Kashmir issue. Meanwhile, religious parties in Pakistan called for a national strike on Friday to protest against the Danish cartoons that depicted Prophet Mohammed in bad taste. The strike was total as Friday was a half-day and this is an issue that brought most of the Islamic world together. However, it turned out to be a major embarrassment for Musharraf as it comes soon after the Karachi bombing and coincides with US President George Bush's arrival from India. The religious parties accuse Musharraf of being an American stooge and for abandoning the Taliban in Afghanistan. Paradoxically, the Western press and prominent members of Western Governments for not doing much on terror and mollycoddling the religious groups are criticizing Musharraf. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is often considered to be operating a parallel Government in Pakistan and is suspected to have infiltrated lower-ranking officers of several elite regiments. The world is anxious about the safety of the nuclear weapons in Pakistan should the Musharraf's Government collapse. India and the US have publicly stated that they want to see a democratic and economically viable Pakistan. However, Musharraf seems to have no intention of organizing elections and has instead exiled most of the prominent leaders accusing them of corruption, embezzlement, and mismanagement.

  • Editorial: The Nepal Stalemate

  • Editorial: Iran's Nuclear Program

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