Venkaiah Naidu has been elected Vice President of India by a substantial majority of State legislators. Mr Naidu was the candidate of the ruling BJP coalition at the Centre. His opponent Gopal Krishna Gandhi, the Congress-led Opposition nominee, accepted the result with commendable grace and dignity, congratulated the victor and wished him the best. The electoral process was conducted in exemplary fashion (Hindu, Times of India, Telegraph August 6)
Reserve Bank interest rate cut
The eagerly awaited announcement on the interest rate was a 25 basis points cut; in other words, a cut of a quarter of 1 per cent. There was a noticeable groan of disappointment in business circles, buoyed by a good monsoon and a fall in inflation, hoped for a more generous reduction of half a percentage point.. The Sensex dipped 98 points, but the Rupee gained 38p to reach a two-high of 63.70 against the US dollar. India’s foreign exchange reserves rose on the back of increases in investment inflows from abroad.
The reaction of Deepak Parekh, the widely respected Chairman of the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) issued a calming statement. ‘I think it is not a surprise…However, the point is that there is a whole lot of liquidity already there in the system, almost Rs 300,00 crore in the system,’ with opportunities to use them. Loans hereon will be cheaper.
Cisco’s Chambers A rating for India
John Chambers, Chairman of Cisco was in India recently to9announce the formation of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, subsuming the US-India Business Council. The new body is ‘focused on the futue, on the next major technology business societal shift. ‘So, it is really thinking about where we want to be 10-20 years from today. Every major company knows that they are at an inflection.’ (Mint August 3)
India, Japan for NE development
Japan is to partner India in infrastructure development in the country’s North East. There is a strategic angle to this co-ordination with an eye to China. Hence the India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of (India’s) North East will take up road network development, power and disaster management as a priority..
Road map to future
The area covered in this ambitious project includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be visiting India in September, when he is expected to inaugurate India’s high-speed rail corridor. On the sidelines there will be talks on development of India’s North East as well as the Asia-Africa project partnered by India and Japan for African development, again with an eye to China’s big ticket investments across the continent (Mint August 3)
No stopping Maruti surge
First results of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) for the automobile industry are encouraging with profit margins for July now available. Sales have increased with Maruti leading the pack with a 22.4 per cent increase year-on-year rise in domestic sales, driven by strong demand for utility vehicles.
Honda Cars too posted a 22 per cent is sales in July. “The post-GST benefits, healthy monsoon, onset of the festive season in many regions from August will give another boost to our sales,’ said Yoichiro Ueno, President and CEO, Honda Cars India. The Japanese manufacturing presence is writ large across India.
Hard state success
Some countries are slow to saddle but they ride fast. Perhaps India is making the grade – and not too soon either. Jihadi challenges from Pakistan, the snarls of its ‘all-weather friend,’ China, have awoken India from its slumbers. The unfolding Indian response in Kashmir tells of an awareness that the country faces an undeclared, irregular war, which has to met with the resolution of a standard military conflict. Stone-throwing jihadis make newspaper headlines, but their monopoly of the printed page iis giving way to Indian successes.
This year alone, 116 terrorists have been killed in Kashmir, the prize catch being the Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba operations commander Abu Dujana, gunned down by Indian security forces in Pulwama along with his local associate Nabi Dar. They were offered honorable surrender but chose death.
Abu Dujana, a master of disguise – a jihadi Scarlet Pimpernel -. took one risk too many, when he made a clandestine trip to his wife – and perished. As with Abdul Wani’s followers, potential recruits must dwell less on their romantic icons and ponder their bloody end.
Meanwhile operatives of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) are unearthing the money laundering activities of the separatist Hurriyat leadership to fund terrorism. The money was sourced from Pakistan. The good times are over, the mailed Indian fist has now to be handled.(Times of India, Hindu August 3) See page 3 Comments.
Why on earth should the civilized Buddhist people of Ladakh be yoked to the fascist jihadi tyranny of Kashmir. For decades past, Ladakhi leaders have been urging New Delhi to decouple it from the Kashmir valley. As tourism – in particular, foreign tourism – has declined to a trickle in the valley, tourist numbers, domestic and foreign, to Ladakh have swelled. Its landscape is alluring, but more so is the allure of Ladakhi friendliness and the warmth of Ladakhi hospitality. Having tasted this once, visitors return for more of the same. Their once bleak capital, Leh, is today transformed with a spanking new airport and the conveniences of modern-day life.
Tsering Samphel explains
Tsering Samphel, a prominent local politician, who heads the district Congress party, lost his Lok Sabha seat to BJP’s Thuptsen Tsewang by a mere 36 votes in the 2014 general election,explains: ‘No Ladakhi has any part in the Kashmir movement. The cry for independence has no basis for us. We live in our own world. But when we hear of killings there in Kashmir, all the violence, we are disturbed, mentally disturbed, because we have no close connections with the Valley. And we are affected.’ Many development projects in Ladakh are stalled because of the tumult in Kashmir and its impact on communications, he says. ‘Ladakhis want no part in Kashmir’s secessionist movement but they want to secede from Jammu and Kashmir and turn their district and the adjoining Zanskar region into Union Territory. It is a longstanding demand by all local politicians.’ Enough said (Telegraph interview with Partha Banerjee, July 23)
Rafael-Kalyani missile deal
Israel’s Rafael Defense Systems and India’s Kalyani Group have agreed to a joint venture to manufacture anti-tank guided missiles for the Indian Army and made available for export to countries in South East Asia. Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd has been set up with an investment of Rs 60-70 crore, with the Kalyani Group holding a 51 per cent stake in the company and Rafael 49 per cent. These Spike missiles are exported to 20 countries, some of whom belong to Nato. Orders from the Indian armed services will be worth $1 billion and production is to start within weeks. (Mint, Business Line August 4)
Hyderabad to be defence hub
With a workforce 30,000 in defence-related industries, Hyderabad is already a secure platform for further expansion in the defence electronics sector.
‘Over the years, India’s lrgest defence related companies, and over 1,00 small and medium enterprises have been playing a vital role in defence manufacturing. It was time to promote Hyderabad as the next defence electronics hub, said Telangana IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao (Business Line August 4)
Greenfield airport for Arunachal Pradesh
With an eye to the strategic importance of Arunachal Pradesh amid deepening Sino-Indian tension, the State and Central governments have agreed to set up a Greenfield airport at Hollangi. ‘We had examined two sites….and Aviation Ministry officials have chosen Hollangi as the site for a new Greenfield airport. It will be enough to accommodate ATR-72 turbojet movement,’ said Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman of the Airports Authority India (Times of India August 1)
World’s highest aviation growth
Boeing is betting big on India, according to Dinesh Keskar, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific and India Sales at Commercial Airplanes. He said: ‘India is now the highest growth market in the world and not one of the highest.’ Boeing company will be selling 2100 aircraft in India over the 20 years, worth $290 billion (Mint August 1)
Fake news platforms
Whether by accident or design, the English language Indian broadsheets fill the foreign news pages with syndicated columns from the New York Times noted for its anti-Indian bias, and today discredited as a mouthpiece for America’s atrocious wars in the Greater Middle. The virulent Russophobia on show has not the slightest relevance for India. Fake news is a tubercular virus. Two Indian papers often carry verbatim the same New York Times report, a case surely of multiple kitchen rolls sold for the price of one.
Spotting geniusAn 11 year-old Indian boy, in the UK, Arnav Sharma by name, recently scored the top possible score of 162 on a Mensa IQ test, two higher than Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, making him the country’s brainiest kid. It doesn’t follow that he will be the brainiest adult (Hindu July 1)