27.6.17

Jab Modi met Trump





Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the US President Donald Trump for the first time at White House in Washington DC. Both the leaders discussed a plethora of issues and promised to work together to strengthen India-US ties. After a personal meeting at the Oval office, delegation-level talks took place among the two sides at the Cabinet Room. After this, a joint press statement was issued subsequently, and then the two global leaders had a working dinner. From talking about trade ties to addressing terrorism issues, both Modi and Trump made the right kind of noises at the press briefing.

President Trump affirmed that the United States continues to remove barriers to energy development and investment in the United States and to U.S. energy exports so that more natural gas, clean coal, and renewable resources and technologies are available to fuel India’s economic growth and inclusive development.  Both leaders welcomed upcoming visits between India and the United States that will expand energy and innovation linkages across the energy sector and deepen cooperation, including on more efficient fossil fuel technologies, smart grids, and energy storage. They supported financing of energy projects, including clean coal projects, by Multilateral Development Banks to promote universal access to affordable and reliable energy.

Recognising that we are in an increasingly digital world, the leaders agreed to intensify the mutually beneficial partnership to fully harness their innovation capabilities to solve global developmental challenges. As global partners, the United States and India resolved to further strengthen their collaboration in health, space, oceans, and other areas of science and technology. The leaders also agreed to strengthen their cooperation to address the growing threats and challenges from malicious cyber activity and committed to work together to promote an open, inter-operable, secure, and reliable cyberspace environment that supports innovation, economic growth, and commerce.

Applauding the entrepreneurship and innovation of Indians and Indian-Americans that have directly benefited both nations, President Trump welcomed India’s formal entry into the International Expedited Traveler Initiative (Global Entry program) in order to facilitate closer business and educational ties between the citizens of India and the United States.

President Trump gladly accepted Prime Minister Modi’s invitation to visit India. They look forward to working together in a spirit of friendship in the years to come.

India will Become like US in your Lifetime: NaMo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the Indian diaspora in the United States that India would come to resemble the US within their lifetime and referred to his government's resolve of providing corruption-free governance to make this possible. “Your heart always asks when our country would become like this (the US)... I assure you that this will happen in your lifetime,“ Modi told about 700 people of Indian origin at an interaction in Washington on Sunday, a day ahead of his meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Crediting the US for the success of the Indian diaspora in the US, he said, “You are the same people but your success story has a simple reason; it's because you have got supportive environment here.“

Jaitley urges Mehbooba to roll out GST

The Centre made a last-ditch effort to get Jammu-Kashmir on board to launch goods and services tax from July1, with finance minister Arun Jaitley suggesting that the state government had elbow room to convey its concurrence to join the new regime. At the same time, he cautioned that a failure to launch GST will impact consumers and businesses in the state.

In a letter to J-K CM Mehbooba Mufti, the FM suggested that Article 370 of the Constitution gave the state government power to give its concurrence without getting an explicit approval from the assembly .

Sources said that in the past, the state had given its concurrence around 40 times. But, elected governments have resorted to the use of the provision sparingly .

Besides, with the PDP-BJP government introducing a bill in the legislature, it was tough for the Mehbooba administration to implement GST based on a recommendation by the cabinet, especially when the situation in the state remains fragile.

Sources said the state government expected to break the deadlock over the next few days and hoped to join the GST regime in the first few days of July. After all, as chairman of the empowered committee of state finance ministers, Abdul Rahim Rather, who was finance minister in the National Conference-Congress regime, had actively worked on implementing GST across the country , although he was now flagging concerns related to autonomy of the state.

In his letter to the J-K CM, Jaitley cautioned about the “adverse impact“ if the state did not join GST. One, it will result in a general increase in prices in the state of all goods being purchased from other states. Two, the FM said, there will be a rise in the price of all goods being sold from J-K to other states, which will hit local players.

GST is a destination based tax and to ensure this, an integrated GST will be levied on all supplies during the course of inter-state trade.Under GST, any dealer purchasing these supplies from another state pays IGST to the seller but is able to take credit only in subsequent sales. The FM mentioned that if the state of J-K does not join GST on July 1, 2017, for all purchases made by the state from other states, the dealer will not be able to take credit for IGST payments, which will be added to the price, resulting in cascading of tax and increase in price in the state.

Similarly , for goods or services sold from J-K, the buyer in purchasing state will not be able to take credit for local taxes paid to dealer making the sale, which shall increase his cost of purchase.

Upbeat tech CEOs huddle with PM


Heaping lavish praise on PM Modi and the prospects of the Indian market, global technology chiefs like Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google's Sundar Pichai and Cisco's John Chambers stressed how much India had helped build their businesses, and the extent to which their companies had contributed to India. After meeting Modi in Washington on Sunday, several committed to increase their engagement with India.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Indian app developers had created almost 1,00,000 apps for the app store in 2016, up 57% over the previous year. The number of people involved in building apps on the iOS platform had touched 740,000 in India. These numbers are being disclosed for the first time. Cook said the company had started assembling iPhones in India, the first of which hit the Bengaluru market last week. “Great to see you again @narendramodi. We're inspired by your vision for India and excited about what we can achieve,“ Cook tweeted on Monday .

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who has already committed over $5 billion in investment in India, tweeted soon after the meeting that he would continue to invest in the country. “Terrific meeting with Narendra Modi. Always impressed, energised by optimism and invention in India. Excited to keep investing and growing,“ he tweeted. Amazon's investments have helped it become one of the biggest e-commerce companies here. It also has a large R-D presence in India, and made significant investments last year to launch two data centres that offer cloud computing services to enterprises and startups.

Cisco chairman John Chambers described Modi as one of the world's great leaders, and said he was creating innovative outcomes for win-win partnerships between the US and India. Chambers, who is also chairman of the US-India Business Council, a business advocacy organisation, tweeted: “As chairman of the @USIBC, I believe India will move from slow follower to fast innovative leader. Tremendous in 3 yrs through Digital India.“

A combination of governmental programmes, including Digital India, Smart Cities, Startup India, and Make in India, have generated excitement among global technology players.

Many of the big technology companies, including IBM, Cisco, Accenture, and VMware, have been describing India as one of their fastest growing markets in quarterly financial results announcements in recent times. The CEOs of many technology companies have also been visiting India at increasing frequencies. On a visit in May , Oracle CEO Safra Catz described the India market as potentially the largest in the world.

Some 21 top CEOs were present at the Sunday meeting, including Google's Sundar Pichai, Adobe's Shantanu Narayen and Walmart's Doug McMillon. According to an IANS report, Pichai said Google was excited about investing in India and that US firms were looking forward to the rollout of GST.

US brands Hizb chief global terrorist


Hours before PM Modi met US President Donald Trump, the US state department formally designated Syed Salahuddin, chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, a global terrorist.
In an order, the department said, the designation, of “a specially designated global terrorist ...imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security , foreign policy, or economy of the US.As a consequence of this designation, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Salahuddin and all of Salahuddin's property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked.“

The designation, which has already been welcomed by India, is a direct hit against Pakistan. While HM itself was designated a terror group in 2004, Salahuddin was kept out. India banned Hizbul as a terror group in 2002. Salahuddin's “Kashmir“ origin and cadres have been used by Pakistan to push terror into Kashmir. According to South Asia Terrorism Portal, “Of the terrorist outfits currently operating in J-K, HM is one of the largest, with a cadre base drawn from indigenous and foreign sources. It is one of the most important terrorist outfits in terms of its effectiveness in perpetrating violence across the State at regular intervals.“

The US is now ranged with India regarding the source of instability in Kashmir being sponsored from across the border. Monday's designation is unlikely to have much effect on Pakistan's support to terrorism against India or to Salahuddin himself. Salahuddin lives and operates from Pakistan just like Hafiz Saeed of Lashkar-e-Taiba or Masood Azhar of Jaish-eMohammed or Dawood Ibrahim, all designated global terrorists by the US. But it is a political statement.

The US has used recent statements by Salahuddin to bolster their case. “In September 2016, Salahuddin vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Valley “into a graveyard for Indian forces“. The US move comes days after the Trump administration disbanded the special representative's office for Afghanistan and Pakistan, responsible for developing long-range strategy in the region. The move was seen as putting Pakistan policy within the regional context.

26.6.17

13 satellites 'to keep eye on enemies'

With the successful launch of “eye in the sky“ Cartosat-2-E satellite with surveillance capabilities, the total number of satellites being used for military purpose has gone up to 13. These satellites, which can be used for surveillance and mapping border areas, are primarily used for keeping an eye on enemies both on land and sea.

The recently launched 712-kg Cartosat-2 series spacecraft is an advanced remote sensing satellite capable of providing scene-specific spot imagery . The Cartosat-2 can accurately spot objects within a square of 0.6 metre by 0.6 metres. The 13 satellites used by the military for surveillance include Cartosat 1and 2 series and Risat-1and Risat-2. The Navy also uses Gsat-7 for real-time communication among its warships, submarines, aircraft and land systems.

India also has the capability to launch anti-satellite weapon, which is meant to destroy enemy satellites. Only the US, Russia, and China are known to have developed these weapons. However, Isro has no intention of engaging in such an anti-satellite weapon project. 

25.6.17

Of Business Environment....


Here are the leading nations on Business Environment, compiled by the World Economic Forum 2017.