Monday 06th October 2014 05:51 EDT

Narendra Modi came, he saw, he conquered. New York hadn’t seen a public spectacle remotely similar from a foreign politician. Nothing like it had been recorded in the annals of the Big Apple. Madison Square Garden became ‘Modison’ Square Garden, if only for a couple of hours, as India’s Prime Minister held his 18,000-sized audience of Indian Americans in thrall. With US Congressional elections a little more than a month away, House representatives and Senators lined up to shake his hand and savour the experience. The Modi message (also transmitted through US and global TV networks) was compact and simple: India was on the march; India was a nation whose time had come; that, although the 21st century might well signal Asia’s rise, it would, above all, be India’s century. The speaker was at the right place, at the right time and right on cue. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission’s epic voyage through outer space had just reached its appointed destination, a glittering endorsement of Indian science, engineering, organization, planning, vision and resolve. The medium was the message, and it echoed from this great American metropolis to every corner of the world. Prime Minister Modi spoke with passion, wit and clarity, aware of his unique platform and perhaps remembering that Swami Vivekenanda some 122 years earlier had electrified his American audience in Chicago with a rousing peroration on India’s civilization, its age-old values, its oneness with humanity and with all living things. Addressing the great and good of the United States, Narendra Modi was on message with an affirmation that India was open for business, that together, India and America had much to offer each other, that American investments and business and management culture could play a catalytically critical role in India’s economic and social transformation. For his part, he, Narendra Modi, and the Indian government, would do everything in their power to make the American passage to India smooth, profitable and invigorating.

Beckoning NRIs

Premier Modi announced a raft of measures that would make it easier for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to visit and do business in India. Holders of Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards would get lifetime Indian visas; NRIs who stay in India over a long period of time would be exempted from reporting periodically to police stations, that PIO cards and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards would be merged into a single document covering both categories, thereby reducing the administrative hassle arising from the extra paperwork. The Indian diaspora, with its wealth of talent and achievement had the capability to help India transform herself;f into a global giant in every important sphere, said the premier. (Mint, Hindu, Times of India, September 29)

Meeting with US CEOs

Prime Minister Modi’s conference with the heads of America’s top companies went off exceedingly well. Speaking on camera, a senior US CEO told a TV reporter of his satisfaction at how satisfactorily things went. The prime minister, he said, was an excellent listener; he absorbed the grievances of doing business in India: the capricious tax regime, the absurdly exacting paperwork, dilatory bureaucracy and much else that impeded American companies in their Indian operations. The smiles and positive body language of American executives and their robust expressions of confidence, as they emerged from the meeting, bode well for the future of India-US business cooperation. (Times of India, Hindu, Business Line, Mint, September 29, 30).

Amazon set to surge

Coinciding with the above meeting in New York, Jeff Bezos, founder and Chief Executive of, the world’s largest online retailer, said the company would continue to invest heavily in India because of its market offered immense opportunities, which were poised to grow going forward. Bezos was in India recently, having two months earlier promised to pump in a further $2 billion into Amazon’s India business, which was set up in July 2013. “The reason we’re investing so much in India is because it’s already working so well. We must’ve launched just at the right time…..and the team had to keep setting expectations higher and higher,” he said. Bezos is “super excited” at the way things are shaping up in India. The country’s e-commerce market, excluding travel, is expected to surge sevenfold to $22 billion in five years, according to brokerage firm CLSA. By then India is likely to become the world’s third-largest e-commerce market after the US and China. (Mint, Business Line, Times of India September 29)

IT firms gear up for next level

Large and mid-sized Indian software services firms are increasing the pace of partnering with start-ups, choosing even to buy some, following the beaten of investment arms of global technology companies that monitor, collaborate with and pump money into such establishments. Well on cue, Wipro, India’s third-largest software services firm disclosed that it had made a minority investment in US-based software solutions start-up firm Axeda Corp. for $5 million and US-based analytics start-up Opera Solutions for $30 million. Meanwhile Nasdaq-listed US software services company Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. most of whose operations and workforce are India-based, has acquired US-headquartered digital video solutions start-up Itaas Inc, while India’s fifth-largest software services firm Tech Mahindra Ltd acquired a 75 per cent stake in US-based analytic s start-up Fixstream Networks for $10 million. (Mint September 30)

Madhya Pradesh tops growth chart

According to figures released by the Central Statistics Office, India’s smaller states and Union territories have led the economic growth chart for 2013-14, with Puducherry in the south and Meghalaya in the north east clocking an impressive 10 per cent plus in growth domestic product (GDP). Among the large states, Madhya Pradesh has come out top with 9.64 per cent growth, replacing Bihar, which occupied that had position for the past few years, but has slipped to fourth place with 8.97 per cent, which is still an admirable figure. Maharashtra, the country’s most industrialized state took fifth place with 8.36 per cent growth, following a dismal 4.47 per cent in 2012-13.

Improving States

Foremost, among the states climbing the charts, is West Bengal, which has posted 7.78 per cent from 5.36 per cent in 2012-13 and a dismal 2.71 per cent in 2011-12, when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress took power. Neighboring Jharkhand, once considered a backward state, grew at an encouraging 6.93 per cent, while Tamil Nadu, India’s second-largest industrialized state, bounced back to 6.83 per cent from the previous year’s poor 2.2 per cent growth. Figures for Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, as of now, were not available.

Worst performers

The worst performing states were Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, which hovered between 2-3.5 per cent growth, while Odisha, with a truly shocking 1.8 per cent GDP was bottom of the table. (Times of India, Hindu, October 1)

Modi-Netanyahu dynamic

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart, Benyamin Netanyahu, met in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly heads of government and states sessions, for talks on the Indo-Israel relationship going forward. “High-tech marriage made in heaven” is the title of a report by Israeli science journalist Arsen Ostrovsky. Indo-Israeli trade is burgeoning, $6 billion now, from the $200,000 when the two countries established diplomatic ties in January 1992. Their ties look rosier by the day and week.

Mutual interest

Ostrovsky writes: “ The India-Israel relationship is…..based especially in the field of technology, where Israeli high-tech and innovation meet India’s vast workforce of highly-educated, tech savvy, English-speaking labour is…..a high tech marriage made in heaven.” Agriculture and water management, where Israel leads the world, are areas of Israeli expertise that could be of exponential benefit to India. Joint measures on Cyber security, deepening anti-terror cooperation are among the many subjects on the expanding agendas of both countries. India is the biggest buyer of Israeli defence equipment. “The sky is the limit,” said Netanyahu on the relationship, whose platform avers, Ostrovsky, is the abiding admiration and friendship of the Indian street for the State of Israel. (Pioneer October 3)


There is nothing quite like the malignity of disappointed humanity. The Economist (September 29), long adept in the black arts of India-baiting, was apoplectically scornful of the rapturous reception accorded to Premier Modi’s by the Indian-American diaspora in New York, damning it as “the kind of obedient hysteria they were meant to have left behind generations ago in the badlands of Asia, along with hunger and snakes.” Indians loved killing, as proof this institutionalized media absurdity pointed to the number of Indian Victoria Crosses won in World War II. Their descendants thankfully have outgrown the coolie-designer apparel tailored for them by the Herrenvolk. The barbarous jihadi legions the US and UK triumphantly helped to spawn, to great media acclaim, was sowing the wind. Reaping the whirlwind is no longer the lot of Indians. Kicking India I the therapeutic consolation.

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