Samachar Manthan: Weekly CA Enforcer + Writing Assessment Program for IAS 2018

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US exporting dirty fuel to already pollution choked India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
Prelims level: Petcoke
Mains level: Environmental Dumping example; Sources of Pollution; Balancing Environmental Conservation and Developmental Needs

News

  1. US oil refineries that are unable to sell a dirty fuel waste product at home are exporting vast quantities of it to India instead.
  2. The US is the biggest producer and exporter of petcoke in the world.
  3. India, last year got almost a fourth of the fuel grade “petcoke” the US ships.
  4. Last year, 65 percent of India’s petcoke came from the US
Petroleum Coke (Petcoke)
  1. Petroleum coke, the leftover from refining Canadian tar sands and other heavy crude, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal.
  2. It also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulfur – a key reason few American companies use it.
Rationale for use
  1. Industry officials say petcoke has been an important fuel for decades, and its use recycles a waste product.
Effect
  1. The petcoke burned in countless factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India.
  2. Environmental Pollution Control Authority: imported petcoke used near the capital has 17 times more sulfur than the limit for coal
  3. India’s own petcoke, produced domestically, adds to the pollution.
  4. Health and environmental advocates say the US is exporting an environmental problem.
  5. It’s impossible to gauge how much pollution is from petcoke versus other sources. But experts say it is contributing to the problem.
Measures Taken
  1. The Supreme Court banned petcoke use by some industries in states surrounding the capital and demanded pollution standards that could further limit use nationwide.

Indian firms created 1.13 lakh jobs in U.S., says CII

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the CII

Mains level: The study shows India’s contribution in America’s Economy


News

Study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

  1.  Study: “Indian Roots, American Soil”
  2. It has found that 100 Indian companies have created 1,13,423 jobs in the U.S with an investment of $17.9 billion, across all States
  3. It can be seen as an occasion to shore up political support for continuing economic engagement between the two countries in a political climate of protectionism

Significance of the study

  1. The fifth edition of the biennial study has political significance this year given the Donald Trump administration’s strong views on economic ties that displace American workers
  2. The Indian companies are spending significant amounts in America as part of their CSR initiatives is testimony to the fact they are deeply invested in this country and society
  3. The study found 87% of firms plan to hire more locally in the next five years

Back2basics

Confederation of Indian Industry(CII)

  1. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a premier business association in India which works to create an environment conducive to the growth of industry in the country.
  2. CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India’s development process
  3. Founded in 1895, India’s premier business association has over 8,300 members, from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 200,000 enterprises from around 250 national and regional sectoral industry bodies
  4. CII works closely with the Government on policy issues, interfacing with thought leaders, and enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and business opportunities for industry through a range of specialized services and strategic global linkages

[op-ed snap] US policies toward India and Asia need strategic coherence

Danang : U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit in Danang, Vietnam, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. AP/PTI(AP11_10_2017_000071A)

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: How India’s interests can benefit the US, in the Asian region


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the US president’s Asian visit.
  2. And what should be done to counter the assertive Chinese behavior in the region

US President’s official trip to Asia

  1. With stops in Japan, South Korea, China, and now Vietnam, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) summit
  2. In his address to the APEC CEO Summit, he outlined a vision of upholding a “free and open Indo-Pacific”

Is it possible to achieve the target of ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ without India?

  1. The United States cannot achieve that goal without strong Asian partnerships—including with India
  2. Though India is not on the president’s Asia itinerary, the nomenclature alone—Indo-Pacific rather than Asia-Pacific—suggests that India stands rightly to play a central part in the Trump administration’s larger Asia strategy
  3. With long-standing allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia, India offers democratic and economic ballast to deal with the rise of China’s power

How can India counter a more assertive China in the region?

  1. The Indo-Pacific idea recognizes that a rising China has become more assertive as well as authoritarian, and it elevates Washington’s ties with India as an alternative model to all that Beijing represents
  2. By expanding Asia’s geographic net to include the world’s largest democracy, this larger region encompasses a greater balance favoring rule of law, freedom of navigation, open trade, and democracy

 What the US President can do to advance India’s interests(and its asian allies) in the region

  1.  The “Quad” grouping that adds Australia to the robust trilateral of India, Japan, and the United States appears on the verge of revival, a positive step
  2. In addition to strengthening ties to our traditional Asian allies, the president could start by clearly stating support for cooperative economic institutions like the APEC forum
  3. He should call explicitly for APEC to offer membership to India
  4. Asia’s third largest economy deserves to have a seat at the table, and it will help India to be more embedded in the premier regime focused on free and open trade in Asia
  5. To address the urgent need for infrastructure funding in the Asian region, the president should also support a capital base expansion for the World Bank

Trade issues between India and the US

  1. India recognize its famously difficult stances on trade and market access questions
  2. But a narrow focus on the $24 billion trade deficit with India (compared to more than $300 billion with China), should not distract from this larger goal
  3. India need to sort out market access problems and our difficulties with Indian intellectual property rights polices, but these questions are not strategic in nature

The way forward

  1. To meaningfully support a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” the Trump administration will have to be creative in building broad Asian partnerships, especially with its India policy
  2. We need all the allies we can muster
  3. A strong, stable, democratic India committed to a rules-based order will indeed be a “bookend” for the region. Washington will have to alter its economic focus to get there

[op-ed snap] Look beyond Af-Pak

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Malabar exercise, Act East policy, Indian Ocean Conference

Mains level: India US relations and way forward


Context

  1. The sentiment in the Donald Trump administration about US-India relations has been generally positive and upbeat
  2. President Trump in his South Asia policy speech came down heavily on Pakistan, warning that it has “much to gain” from partnering with the US in Afghanistan, but “much to lose by continuing to harbour criminals and terrorists”

The US wants India to play a significant role in the Indo-Pacific region

  1. This year’s Malabar exercise was most complex till date
  2. The largest vessels from American, Indian and Japanese navies demonstrated their power together in the Indian Ocean for the first time
  3. It set a clear example of the combined strength of the three Indo-Pacific democracies

Change in stance

  1. Until now the phrase in vogue has been “Asia-Pacific”
  2. For India, the repeated use of the phrase “Indo-Pacific” marks a shift in the US position
  3. It implies that the US acknowledges the centrality of the Indian Ocean to global peace and security

Indian Ocean region and India’s ambitions

  1. India has great ambitions in the Indian Ocean region
  2. It realises the potential that the Indian Ocean offers to it, economically and strategically
  3. India’s Act East policy involves strengthening its engagement in the Indian Ocean region
  4. India enjoys certain advantages in the region because of its centuries-old civilisational and cultural linkages with a number of countries
  5. The Indian Ocean Conference that is co-hosted by countries in the region like Sri Lanka, Singapore and India is steadily emerging as a forum for engagement of stakeholder countries

US expectation and India’s role

  1. The US seems to be looking at India’s role in the Indian Ocean region as a counter-balance to China
  2. For India, its regional role involves managing relations with all the countries, including China, while at the same time adhering to basic principles like rule of law and freedom of navigation etc
  3. Its regional ambitions are propelled by its security concerns on one hand and its trade and commerce imperatives on the other

Need of the hour: One South Asia policy

  1. The South Asia policy for the US leadership is actually only Af-Pak policy
  2. The South Asia policy needs to anchor around not just Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also India
  3. US military divides Af-Pak and India into Centcom and Pacom respectively
  4. The State Department has to bring both under one South Asia policy
  5. India’s views and sentiments also need to amply reflect in this policy

[op-ed snap] For the sake of the Indo-Pacific

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Effect of policies & politics of developed & developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Rohingya crisis, Doklam issue, Paradip port, India’s position in Indo-pacific

Mains level: India-US relationship and way forward


Context

  1. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to New Delhi this week
  2. Visit comes at an important moment for both countries and governments

Relationship between India and USA

  1. The US-India relationship occupied high priority and visibility during the Obama administration
  2. The Donald Trump administration, too, has shown its commitment to the relationship, hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington DC, earlier this year

Political and security challenges across the Indo-Pacific region

  1. These range from mounting tensions with North Korea, the Rohingya crisis, and India’s own standoff with China over Doklam to the lingering challenges in Afghanistan
  2. The US and India will increasingly need to work together on these
  3. The geo-economics of the Indo-Pacific are as important as the region’s geopolitics
  4. There is a need to put options on the table in order to encourage private capital and cutting-edge technology to invest in the region

US-India commercial ties 

  1. These have seen an uptick in recent years with PM Modi’s market-oriented reforms
  2. India is currently the US’ ninth largest goods trading partner
  3. India is also one of the fastest growing sources of foreign direct investment in the US, at nearly $11 billion
  4. In a groundbreaking development illustrating growing economic convergence, the US delivered its first shipment of crude oil to the Paradip port a few weeks ago
  5. While two-way trade, and investment, between the two countries has increased significantly in the past five years, there is much room to expand the economic partnership

Challenges that American businesses encounter as they compete in the Indian market

  1. Market access barriers for medical devices,
  2. Tariff and non-tariff barriers on ICT products and agricultural goods,
  3. Lack of a strong intellectual property framework that benefits innovation and entrepreneurship

What India desires?

  1. On the US side, movement — even incremental — on a totalization agreement would be a welcome relief for temporary Indian workers and Indian companies from paying an annual social security payment

Shifts in the global economic order by 2050

  1. A recent report predicts dramatic shifts in the global economic order by 2050
  2. Six of the seven largest economies will be emerging economies led by China and India

Importance of economic linkage with the US

  1. India’s position in a part of the world that contains the most important trade corridors necessitates deeper economic linkage with the US
  2. It is crucial for India to be able to develop its infrastructure, attract capital and cutting-edge technology, grow its economy and advance opportunities for its people
  3. India will only benefit by working with American businesses in order to attract private investment in a way that follows global standards for international development
  4. A fully realized US-India economic partnership is necessary to accomplish this

India, U.S. to take up ‘high tariff’, visa curbs in Washington meet

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: USIBC and USISPF

Mains Level: Trade between India and the US has significant effects on the economies of both countries. The upcoming talks will expedite the process of achieving ‘trade targets’ of India and the US.


News

Talks between India and the US

  1. India and the U.S. are slated to hold high-level talks this week to boost bilateral trade and investment
  2. On the agenda of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF), scheduled to be held in Washington DC on October 26

Issues to be discussed

  1. Important issues are to be discussed like ‘visa curbs’ of the U.S. 
  2. And India’s ‘high tariffs’ on manufactured products and ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce
  3. Also, both the countries will try to expedite the conclusion of negotiations on a bilateral social security pact (or totalisation agreement)

Concerns of India and the US

  1. The TPF is also likely to take up the ‘challenges’ that American innovative industries face due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime
  2. It would also discuss the ‘non-tariff barriers’ of the U.S. that are adversely impacting India’s agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports

Why is USIBC and US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) important?

  1. Industry bodies including USIBC and USISPF are working with the governments of both the countries on mechanisms to ensure greater engagement at the State-level, instead of focusing entirely on the Central/Federal-level discussions

US resumes premium processing of all H1B visa categories

Note4students:

Mains Paper 2| Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: H1B visa basics

Mains level: Indo-US Relations


News

Context

The article tells us that the premium processing of the H1B visas for the US has resumed.

 What is H1B Visa-

  1. It is a visa which allows US employers to employ foreign workers in specialised areas of work that require theoretical and technical expertise.
  2. As mandated by the US Congress (part of Parliament of the US) every year USCIS (United States Citizen & Immigration Service) can issue a maximum of 65,000 H1B visas and 20,000 to those who have earned higher education in STEM subjects (Science, Tech, Engg. and Maths) from a US higher educational institution.
  3. H1B visas for academic and research institutes are exempted from the Congressional mandated limit.

 

Main issue-

  1. The premium processing or expedited processing (processed within 15 days) of H1B visas was suspended in April to handle huge rush in applications.
  2. The Trump administration believes that the H1B visas have been misused by companies to replace American workers.

 

 

 

India gets first-ever U.S. crude shipment

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Import of crude oil from the Us is important because of the risks arising out of geo-political disruptions.(for example, happened in case of Iran)


News

U.S. crude oil 

  1. India has received the first ever shipment of U.S. crude oil of 1.6 million barrels, purchased by state-run Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)

Particulars of the deals

  1. The shipment is a part of recent commitments to purchase U.S. oil by IOC, Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL)
  2. IOC has placed a cumulative order for 3.9 million barrels from the U.S.
  3. While BPCL and Hindustan Petroleum have placed orders for about 2.95 million barrels and one million barrels, respectively

Why is this important?

  1. The inclusion of the U.S. as a source for crude oil imports by India’s largest refiner will go a long way in mitigating the risks arising out of geo-political disruptions
  2. According to a. U.S. Embassy, U.S. crude oil shipments to India have the potential to boost bilateral trade by up to $2 billion

[op-ed snap] Expanding the common ground

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: Role of India in Afghanistan and rising strategic relationship between the two coutries.


News

Context

  1. The article talks about the rising Indo-US strategic relationship in the Indian Sub-continent

Wider role of India in Afghanistan

  1. India has decided to take up 116 “high-impact community developmental projects” in 31 provinces of Afghanistan
  2. India and Afghanistan have also agreed to “strengthen security cooperation”
  3. India has agreed “to extend further assistance for the Afghan national defence and security forces in fighting (1) the scourge of terrorism, (2) organised crime, (3) trafficking of narcotics and (4) money laundering”
  4. India will train Afghan police officers along with Afghan soldiers
  5. This is aimed at sending out a message to Pakistan, which continues to assert that India has “zero political and military role” in Afghanistan

Increased military role of India in Afghanistan

  1. India has given four attack helicopters to Afghanistan as part of its assistance package
  2. India is keen to expand the scope of its security cooperation with Afghanistan
  3. It had remained limited in the past not only due to geographical constraints, but also due to USA’s desire to limit India’s security engagement in the country

Stronger ties of India with U.S.

  1. The recent visit of Gen. Mattis shows the importance of defence ties in shaping the trajectory of Indo-U.S. relations
  2. The USA is no longer reluctant about selling sensitive military technologies to India
  3. The U.S. is looking forward to share some of their most advanced defence technologies with India
  4. For example, he sale of 22 Sea Guardian Unmanned Aerial Systems is high on the agenda
  5. With this deal, the Indian Navy will not only acquire the world’s most advanced maritime reconnaissance drone, it will also lead to greater defence technology sharing

Changing role of India in International affairs

  1. As India and the U.S. expand military cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, new alignments are emerging
  2. In the past, India had been reluctant to play an active role in East and Southeast Asia
  3. Now as part of its ‘Act East’ policy, India’s engagement with the region has become more robust
  4. And the USA has been encouraging India to shape the regional strategic realities more potently

India, US to explore trilateral navy exercise expansion

Image result for malabar exercise 2017

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Trilateral Malabar naval exercise

Mains level: Not much


News

  1. India and the US will explore the possibility of expanding the annual trilateral Malabar naval exercise
  2. The matter will be discussed when US Defence Secretary James Mattis meets Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.
  3. The new US administration is keen to induct new members as part of the exercise
  4.  Two sides will discuss the possibility of inducting new members in the exercise, and Australia and Singapore are likely contenders.

Malabar naval exercises

  1. The Malabar naval exercises have evolved from a Indo-US naval exercise into a strong display of geopolitical force joining the Indo-Pacific’s three most powerful democracies.
  2. After Japan joined as a permanent participant in 2015, the exercise has received attention — in the face of an assertive Chinese military deployment in Indo-Pacific region.
  3. Earlier this year, Australian defence minister reaffirmed that Canberra was “very interested” in a quadrilateral engagement with India, the US and Japan.
  4. Despite Canberra’s keenness, India has declined Australia’s request to join Malabar 2017.

US Senate passes $700 Billion defense spending Bill

Note4Students:

Mains Paper 2: India and its neighborhood relations

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims: Not much

Mains level: This article talks about the new bill related National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2018 which gives impetus to Indo-US strategic ties and also adopts tough stand against Pakistan, when it comes to the fight against terrorism.


News

Context

  • The US Senate has overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion defence spending bill for 2018 which seeks to develop a strategy for Indo-US defence cooperation and adopts a tough approach on Pakistan’s action against terror outfits like the Haqqani network and the LeT.
  • As part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) 2018, the legislation also approved several India-centric amendments aimed at increasing the defence relationship between the two countries and thus enhancing the strategic paertnership between the two countries.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                India centric amendments are-
  • An amendment that calls on the Department of Defense to reassess its approach to partnering with India and to appoint an individual to oversee this process.
  • Another amendment which asks the Pentagon to develop a strategy of defence cooperation between the US and India.

Provisions relating to Pakistan

  1. The bill approves $700 million in coalition support fund to Pakistan as a reimbursement to the services rendered by Islamabad towards America’s fight against terrorism.
  2. However, $350 million of this amount cannot be released unless the Defense Secretary certifies to the Congress that Pakistan has taken satisfactory steps against terrorist organizations like the Haqqani network and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)
  3. Pakistan is required not provide military, financial or logistical support to specially designated global terrorists operating in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
  4. Along with this Pakistan must show that is not using its military or any funds or equipment provided by the US to persecute minority groups seeking political or religious freedom, including the Balochi, Sindhi and Hazara ethnic groups and minority religious groups, including Christian, Hindu and Ahmadiyya Muslims, it said.

 

 

 

HT

India, U.S. eye states to boost trade ties

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the USIBC

Mains level: Both the US and India can increase their bilateral trade. It will be beneficial for both the countries, in rapidly changing strategic relationships in the world.


News

Efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment ties

  1. India and the U.S. are working on establishing a state-level engagement mechanism to widen and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties
  2. The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), will unveil a ‘State Engagement Task force’ (SET)
  3. Why: to ensure American and Indian companies align their interests with the priorities of the State governments of both the countries

Priorities of the Bilateral Trade and Investment

  1.  Priority sectors will be defence and energy
  2.  While the focus in defence would include Lockheed Martin’s proposal to make F-16 fighter jets in India
  3. The proposed sale of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. or GA-ASI’s ‘Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft’ to India
  4. Energy ties would cover exports of U.S. natural gas, transfer of U.S. technology on oil and gas refining
  5. Also, the conclusion of pacts between Nuclear Power Corp. and Westinghouse Electric for six nuclear reactors in India and related project financing
  6. Other priority areas would be
    (1) smart cities (including Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam)
    (2) regional airport development in India through public private partnership
    (3) e-commerce?
    (4) digital payments
    (5) medical devices

Current status of India, as a state(of US) trade partner

  1. According to the American Enterprise Institute, China was the ‘top import country’ for 23 U.S. States in 2016, followed by Canada (14)
  2. India was neither a ‘top import country’ nor a ‘top export country’ for any U.S. State

What about other issues?

  1. Issues like the U.S. concern over its trade deficit and India’s worries on U.S. visa ‘curbs’ would be solved after the more important issue related to bilateral trade
  2. Once the two countries explore ways to solve the ‘larger issue’ of increasing bilateral goods and services trade to $500 billion, from $115 billion in 2016, both countries will talk about the other issues

India to raise visa issue in trade policy meet

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: TFP

Mains level: Article shows trade policy concerns between India and the US


News

Concerns from Indian Side

  1. The Centre will raise Indian industry’s concerns over the U.S. visa ‘curbs’, during the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting likely in October
  2. TFP is the premier forum to resolve bilateral trade and investment issues between India and the US

Possible topics of discussion during TFP

  1. From the US side: the U.S. is expected raise its worries over India’s ‘restrictions’ on e-commerce
  2. And the ‘challenges’ faced by American innovative industries due to India’s ‘weak’ Intellectual Property Rights regime
  3. From Indian Side: Indian government is likely to raise the issue of the ‘non-tariff barriers’ by the U.S. that are hurting Indian agriculture, pharmaceuticals and other industrial exports

Indian government cuts down on US lobbying to lowest in 7 years

Image result for lobbying

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Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governnance | Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

 Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Lobbying


News

  • The Indian government has slashed its expenses towards lobbying in the US with a total payment of USD 120,000 to its registered lobbyist firm in the second quarter of 2017 — the first cut in nearly seven years.
  • The disclosure has been made by BGR Government Affairs, which lobbied on behalf of Republic of India on issues relating to “bilateral US-India relations.

Back2basics

Lobbying

  1. Lobbying is a communication process used by members of a pressure group for persuasion.
  2. Lobbying is used to influence governmental policy process.
  3. It also acts as an instrument that links citizens and decision-makers.
  4. Lobbying takes place when a few members of pressure groups loiter in the corridors of power with a view to securing an opportunity to interact with legislators and to influence the decisions of the policy makers.

Pros

  1. They use a democratic process.
  2. Check the power of majorities.
  3. They have the ability to motivate legislators.
  4. Allow for better representation of interests.
  5. Provide positive solutions.
  6. They serve as an avenue for political involvement.
  7. Ensure an outspread dispersal of expenses

Cons

  1. They would often seek for the minority of people.
  2. They only have one track in mind.
  3. They are only effective for themselves.
  4. They would commit serious crimes
  5. They lead to “hyperpluralism.”

Future of India-U.S. military agreements under Trump

  1. Source: Heidi Grant, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force, International Affairs
  2. What: Enthusiasm for the India-U.S. defence logistics agreements is not waning from the U.S. side despite the transition in the White House
  3. Context: The feeling in New Delhi has been that the enthusiasm for the deals has dampened with the imminent Trump presidency
  4. India and the United States signed LEMOA in August, a custom made version of the Logistics Sharing Agreement (LSA)
  5. However, the agreement is yet to be operationalised
  6. There are 2 other logistics and information sharing agreements, the Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
  7. And the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)
  8. These together with LSA form the 3 foundational agreements that define American defence ties with partner countries.
  9. These other two agreements are yet to be signed

Back2basics:

What are LSA, CISMOA and BECA agreements?

Welcome to the world of 3 foundational agreements that the US has been insisting on India to sign to further enhance the bilateral defence and strategic relationship.

The Logistics Support Agreement (LSA)

  1. LSA would set a framework for the two countries to share military logistics
  2. To assist each other’s armed forces with simple military logistics. For the U.S. Navy, for example, logistics support from India would be a valuable asset, helping it better project power in the Indian Ocean.

LSA would allow each other to access their military bases without any conflict for e.g in 1991 Gulf war India denied the US from refuelling its aircraft from Indian territory.

The Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)

  1. CISMOA would allow the United States to supply India with its propriety encrypted communications equipment and systems
  2. Thus allowing secure peacetime and wartime communication between high-level military leaders on both sides
  3. CISMOA would extend this capability to Indian and U.S. military assets, including aircraft and ships

The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA)

  1. BECA would set a framework through which the United States could share sensitive data to aid targeting and navigation with India

Note4students:

This news is mainly important because of the many agreements listed. Questions based on it could come in prelims and mains. You could be asked for short notes, or to give their features, importance etc.

India-U.S. meet to focus on market access issues II

  1. India also wanted the U.S. to look into the delay in reaching an agreement on totalisation (or a social security pact)
  2. The absence of a totalisation pact is imposing a burden on the Indian software sector (who send professionals to the U.S. on projects)
  3. These companies have to shell out over $1 billion per year to the U.S. Government towards social security, with no benefit or prospect of refund
  4. U.S. Issues: U.S. companies said they continued to fear the retrospective aspects of India’s taxation regime despite the government’s assurances
  5. They had also raised concerns on protection of IPR in India as well as concerns over inefficiencies in infrastructure and commerce in India
  6. The U.S. government had red-flagged investor concerns about India’s “high” tariff walls, localisation requirements as well as other “trade barriers” created by standards on testing, certification, and registration

India-U.S. meet to focus on market access issues I

  1. Event: India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meetings
  2. Market access issues on goods and services as well as Intellectual Property Rights policy-related matters are expected to be discussed
  3. Strong bilateral commercial ties between the U.S. and India are reflected by the increased bilateral trade in goods and services of $109 billion and the highest-ever FDI inflows in 2015-16
  4. Both countries had set a goal to take two-way trade to $500 billion in the years ahead
  5. Indian issues: In August, the U.S. had agreed to look into India’s concerns the move to hike fees for H1-B and L1 visas

US stands in solidarity with India on cross-LoC strikes

  1. Source: Interview of U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma
  2. On strikes: The U.S. supports cross-LoC strikes by India
  3. Funds to Pakistan: Washington has drastically cut assistance to Pakistan in the past five years over concerns on terror
  4. Since 2011, U.S. military aid to Pakistan had dwindled 73 per cent over differences with the Pakistan government’s action on terror
  5. U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan since 2011 is down 54 per cent

Learn about Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement

  1. Background: The US has been pressing New Delhi to sign the agreement for the last 10 years
  2. Provisions: It will provide access to supplies, spare parts and services from each other’s land facilities, air bases and ports, which can then be reimbursed
  3. It also provides a framework that governs the exchange of logistics support, supplies and services
  4. It does not provide automatic access to the use of military bases
  5. Impact: This would move India closer to the US as a strategic partner

A background to Yudh Abhyas

  1. LEMOA impact: Accounting and book-keeping for the exercise will be done under the arrangement which does away with the need for settling bills and payments every time
  2. They will be recorded and cleared every three months
  3. The exercise comes against the backdrop of Pakistani media reports that Pakistan and Russia will hold their first joint military exercise later this year
  4. Possible sale of Russian military hardware to Islamabad is also on the cards
  5. Separately, China and Russia began naval war games in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where India had joined the chorus for enforcing freedom of navigation and open sea lanes of communication

After LEMOA, it’s war games now

  1. Yudh Abhyas: The 12th edition of the annual bilateral military training exercise between India-US
  2. Will take place at Chaubattia in Uttarakhand, close to the China border
  3. It is one of the longest running joint military training exercises
  4. Both countries host the exercise alternately
  5. Officials would soon discuss ways to enhance the scope and scale of exercises in tune with the deepening military cooperation

Act against terror, Kerry tells Pakistan

  1. Context: The Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) between India and US
  2. US: Echoed India’s concerns for an end to distinction between good terrorism and bad terrorism
  3. Sought action from Pakistan on 26/11 attacks and the attack on the Pathankot airbase
  4. Will hold trilateral talks with Afghanistan and India during next month’s U.N. session to fine-tune counter-terror measures

India, U.S. to sign logistics agreement

  1. News: The LEMOA which was agreed upon ‘in principle’ earlier in 2016 will be signed now on Defence Minister’s visit to the US
  2. Background: LEMOA was finalised during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June
  3. LEMOA: The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement allows both sides access to each other’s military facilities for refuelling and replenishment
  4. Discussions have already begun on the other two foundational agreements:
  • Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA)

Join agreement against parental abduction: U.S.

  1. Context: Almost a hundred children born to Indian-American couples are facing an uncertain future due to the trauma of separation of their parents and the complex legal issues involved
  2. News: Thus, US has urged India to join the ‘Hague Abduction Convention’ to create a more effective response to deal with such cases
  3. IPCA: International Parental Child Abduction is a situation that is attained when one parent takes a child to a foreign country to prevent the other parent from seeking custody of the child
  4. Stats: India’s case-load (regarding IPCA) is second largest in the United States which is followed by Mexico
  5. As more and more Indians are studying and working in the U.S, such cases are growing in number and we need to get a better mechanism to deal with this

What is the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)?

  1. The DTTI is not a treaty or a law. 
  2. It is a flexible mechanism to ensure that senior leaders from US and India, are persistently focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with growing defense partnership.
  3. It aims to strengthen India-US cooperative research, co-production, and co-development of capabilities needed for the sustainment and modernization of our military forces.

India-US deal to procure four Poseidon-8i aircraft

  1. These planes will be used for long-range maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare
  2. The acquisition is seen as a boost to our naval surveillance capabilities
  3. Make a note this development alongside the Chinese forays in Indian Ocean including docking of their nuclear submarines in Sri Lanka
  4. Currently, the US figures among India’s top military hardware suppliers along with France and Israel
  5. Good time to revisit Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)

US seeks trade sanctions in India poultry dispute

  1. News: According to WTO, US is seeking trade sanctions against India after winning a dispute at the WTO)regarding Indian restrictions on imports of US poultry meat, eggs and live pigs
  2. The United States has requested a WTO meeting on July 19 to launch the claim for compensation
  3. USTR: US annual exports of poultry meat to India could exceed $300 million once the restrictions are removed, and are likely to grow substantially in the future as Indian diets and pockets grow richer
  4. Background: The United States won the dispute in June last year, when the WTO’s Appellate Body ruled that India’s restrictions were discriminatory and based on unsubstantiated fears over bird flu
  5. US argued that it had not had an outbreak of high pathogenic avian flu since 2004, while India had 90 such outbreaks between 2004 and 2014

U.S. wants progress in investment pact talks with India

  1. Context: Ongoing India-US BIT negotiations
  2. Issue: The new model text of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) is making it difficult for America to hold bilateral talks on the proposed India-U.S. BIT
  3. Why? India’s model BIT text substantially narrows the scope of investments that can be covered by the proposed India-U.S. BIT
  4. It also requires that disputes be exhausted in local Indian jurisdictions before alternative investor-state dispute mechanisms can be initiated
  5. Delays: Investors from developed countries including the U.S. have been citing ‘judicial delays’ in India to demand that they be granted the flexibility in the BITs
  6. Flexibility: To take disputes to international arbitration tribunals without waiting to exhaust remedies available in India

India to get access to 99% of US defence technologies

  1. News: India will be the only country outside Washington formal treaty allies that will gain access to almost 99% of latest US defence technologies
  2. Only 1% exports denied to India, due to global US licensing policies
  3. The category of ‘Major Defence Partner’ was created specifically for India
  4. This was to recognise that although India will not be an alliance partner of the US, India will be treated as such for giving it access to advanced technologies
  5. India would receive licence-free access to a wide range of dual-use technologies together with steps taken by India to advance its export control objectives
  6. Earlier: The US recognised India as a Major Defence Partner in a joint statement

India, U.S. to ratify Paris deal by 2017

  1. India and the U.S agreed to initiate domestic processes to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change and complete the process within this year
  2. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCL) and nuclear reactor builders, Westinghouse, will immediately start the engineering and site design work on six reactors to be set up in Gujarat under an early work agreement
  3. All commercial agreements will be completed by June 2017
  4. This is a step ahead in civil nuclear cooperation

India, US and Japan to hold major naval drill in Western Pacific- II

  1. Conflict: A group of uninhabited isles, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, which are controlled by Japan and claimed by China
  2. The islands are located around 220 km (137 miles) west of Taiwan
  3. China claims most of the neighbouring South China Sea
  4. But the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims
  5. Concern to US: China’s extending influence into the Western Pacific, with a growing fleet of submarines and surface vessels to ply distant oceans

India, US and Japan to hold major naval drill in Western Pacific- I

  1. Context: Malabar, a large scale joint naval exercise between India, U.S., Japan will start for eight days
  2. Exercise will take place in the Western Pacific, close to a Japanese island chain, part of which China claims
  3. Malabar: An annual event between the U.S. and India, and Japan is joining it this year for the first time since 2007

Modi, Obama welcome work on nuclear reactors in India

  1. Context: India-U.S. will start work together on six nuclear reactors in India very soon
  2. India and the U.S. Export-Import Bank intend to work together toward a competitive financing package for the project
  3. US: Fulfilling the promise of Civil nuclear agreement and demonstrating the commitment to meet India’s growing energy needs while reducing reliance on fossil fuels

Climate change to be a priority in talks in Indo-US talks

  1. Context: Modi will have a bilateral meeting with President Barack Obama and address a joint session of Congress
  2. Agenda: Advancing the ambitious climate change and clean energy agenda and enhancing our security and diplomatic cooperation across the Indo-Pacific
  3. Mr. Modi is visiting the U.S – the fourth time since he took over as PM in 2014

India, U.S. to share data on terrorists

  1. Context: India has joined the global terror database maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) of the U.S.
  2. TSC? Has details of 11,000 suspects on its database including nationality, date of birth, photos, finger prints and passport number
  3. Both the countries will give each other access to terrorism screening information through designated contact points, subject to domestic laws and regulations
  4. History: The proposal was initially made by the U.S. in 2012 but had made no progress due to objection of Indian security agencies

U.S. Senate to vote on pro-India defence law

  1. Context: U.S. senate may pass National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) that will make defence trade with India easy
  2. After the President’s sign, the amendments will enable defence trade between the U.S. and India on automatic route for a range of equipment
  3. Aim: It will provide the authorisation of any proposed sale or export of defence services or technical data to India
  4. Also it will help to trade with U.S. in a similar manner like U.S.’s closest partner

India is an untapped economy: Nikki Haley

  1. Context: Nikki Haley is betting big on India as she is aggressively wooing companies and talent from the South Asian nation to set up businesses in the United States of America
  2. South Carolina has attracted six Indian-based companies to set up their business
  3. These include engineering services firm, business process outsourcing services organisation and warehousing and storage company
  4. Nikki Haley: The first female governor of South Carolina and currently the youngest governor in the United States

Why not to use ‘Oriental’ or ‘n’ words?

  1. The word ‘Oriental’ has derogatory connotations
  2. It has acquired the abusive tone that the ‘n’ word has
  3. The word evokes unpleasant memories for the people of Asian origin, particularly those from East Asia, in America
  4. Why? Due to its Eurocentric nature and its association with the period of colonialism and racial segregation

Asian-Americans in US not to be called ‘oriental’

  1. Context: The word ‘Oriental’ to describe the people of Asian origin will no longer be used in U.S statute books
  2. President Barack Obama signed a law that removed the word from two places it existed in the country’s laws
  3. The amendments signed by the President also discontinue the use of the ‘n’ word
  4. Laws: The words existed in the law that established the Department of Energy, and in the Local Public Works Capital Development and Investment Act, both made in the 1970s

India rejects findings of U.S. religious panel

  1. Context: India on U.S. religion panel report
  2. Report: India is on a negative trajectory in terms of religious freedom
  3. India: Report does not have proper understanding of Indian society
  4. Also, cannot accept the interference of a foreign entity like the USCIRF
  5. USCIRF: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

Modi invited to address joint session of U.S. Congress

  1. Context: PM will address the US congress
  2. When? At a joint meeting of congress when he visits to US in June
  3. US Speaker: Friendship between both the countries is a pillar of stability in important regions of world
  4. Legacy: Modi will be 5th PM of India who address a joint meeting of US congress

India, U.S. to conclude pact on aircraft carrier cooperation


 

  1. India & US are close to finalising- (i) Information Exchange Agreement (IEA) on aircraft carrier technologies & (ii) Cooperation on air wing operations for carrier Vikrant under construction at Kochi
  2. IEA: Will formalise the exact technology that the U.S. will share and at what classification level, design side, operations
  3. Terms of Reference have already been signed during meeting of India-U.S. Joint Working Group (JWG) on carrier technology cooperation

No military alliance with U.S.

  1. Govt: There is no dilution of India’s position and no military alliance with the proposed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the U.S.
  2. Why? The comments came after the government was accused of joining the U.S. ‘military bloc’ by agreeing to the use of each other’s military bases
  3. Criticism: LSA, first proposed by the U.S. in 2004, was considered ‘intrusive, and akin to an alliance’ and hence had been rejected by the UPA government
  4. Govt argument: Projection of LEMOA as a sovereignty issue was a misrepresentation
  5. How? Indian and U.S. military troops would access each other’s facilities more for technical than political reasons
  6. In particular, the need for the LSA was felt during humanitarian rescue efforts such as Operation Raahat

Militaries of U.S., India to share their facilities

  1. News: India and the U.S. have agreed “in principle” on a logistics support agreement
  2. Objective: It would make easier for militaries of both countries to share each other’s facilities
  3. Agreement: The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement
  4. Impact: It could have far-reaching implications for India’s military postur

U.S. keen on building fighter jets in India, says official

  1. News: The ambitious Defence Technology and Trade Initiative between India and the US has made significant progress in the last 2 years
  2. The two countries are in the process of identifying joint development project and at least 17 projects are shortlisted
  3. US is also keen to build fighter jets in India

India in talks with U.S. to buy Predator drones

  1. Context: India is in talks with the United States to purchase 40 Predator surveillance drones
  2. It is a possible first step towards acquiring the armed version of the aircraft
  3. Why? Equipping the military with more unmanned technologies to gather intelligence
  4. Also to boost firepower along the vast land borders with Pakistan and China
  5. Also to have a closer eye on the Indian Ocean

Learn about HSPD-6

  1. Basics: It is an agreement for exchange of terrorist screening information between the Terrorist Screening Centre (TSC) of the US and foreign country’s security agency
  2. The TSC has the database of 11,000 terror suspects
  3. Objective: To protect the people, property, and territory of the US against acts of terrorism
  4. Impact: Recently, few people were arrested in Canada and Australia with the help of HSPD-6, as both countries are signatories to it

India opts not to join global terror database

  1. Context: The Homeland Security Presidential Directive was to be discussed at a bilateral homeland security meet to be held in June 2016
  2. News: The govt has decided not to join a US maintained global terror database
  3. Reason: The Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau were concerned over sharing information as it is maintained by the US
  4. Purpose: Americans would have unhindered access to the database of terror suspects in India, which includes their biometric details

US hikes ADD on Indian shrimps

  1. Context: The US government has raised the anti-dumping duty on import of frozen shrimps from India
  2. It may have an impact on the exports from country as USA is the largest market for Indian shrimps
  3. Also, lot of Indian exporters will switch to other markets which are erratic

What is Anti-Dumping Duty (ADD)?

  1. What? It is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value
  2. When? Comes into play when a foreign company is selling an item significantly below the price at which it is being produced
  3. Why? The logic behind anti-dumping duties is to save domestic jobs
  4. Criticism: This leads to higher prices for domestic consumers and reduces the competitiveness of domestic companies producing similar goods

Talking to India on religious freedom, says U.S

  1. Context: India denied visas to members of the US Commission of International Religious Freedom(USCIRF) for the 7th year in a row
  2. News: United States has expressed its disappointment over India’s move
  3. Reason: India sees no locus standi of USCIRF on the issue, as religious freedom is enshrined in the Indian Constitution
  4. India has also questioned the role of foreign entities to comment on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights

US delegation denied Visa for India

  1. Context: India has denied visas for a delegation from the US government agency
  2. Delegation: From the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
  3. Task: Monitoring international religious freedom
  4. US: Disappointed; India should have confidence to allow US delegation
  5. US law allows for imposition of sanctions on countries the commission terms “of particular concern”
  6. But the USCIRF’s recommendations are not binding and these are not automatically imposed

U.S. push for joint patrols in Indo-Pacific region

  1. Context: Countries are coming together to maintain freedom of the seas for all nations, especially after South China Sea dispute
  2. News: US is pushing India towards joint naval patrols and multilateral groupings in the Indo-Pacific region
  3. US want to convert the increasingly complex naval exercises between the two countries into coordinated patrols
  4. Future: The American and Indian Navy vessels can steam together throughout Indo-Asia-Pacific waters ensuring freedom of the seas for all nations

Sale of F-16 jets to Pakistan should not be of concern to India: Pentagon

  1. Context: The Obama Administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be a cause of concern for India, Pentagon said
  2. Relevance: As the regional security situation was taken into account at the time of sale
  3. Background: This is a capability that will help Pakistan in its counterterrorism effort and that’s in the national security interests of the United States
  4. India’s concern: India disagreed with the US’ rationale that such arms transfers help Pakistan in combating terrorism
  5. India Believes: US military aid to Pakistan goes into anti-India activities
  6. Features of F—16 aircraft: Facilitate operations in all—weather, non—daylight environments
  7. Provide a self— defence/area suppression capability, and enhance Pakistan’s ability to conduct counter—insurgency and counter terrorism operations

India disappointed over US decision to sell F16s to Pak

  1. Context: The Obama administration notified the U.S. Congress of its decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan
  2. The News: India expressed disappointment over decision to sell eight F16 fighter jets to Pakistan, saying it disagrees that such arms’ transfers will help combat terrorism
  3. Objective: This proposed sale contributes to US foreign policy objectives and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in South Asia
  4. Estimated cost: $ 699.4 million, according to the Defence Security Cooperation Agency — a wing of the Pentagon

Learn about WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement(GPA)?

  1. This is a plurilateral agreement within the framework of the WTO, meaning that not all WTO members are parties to the Agreement
  2. The fundamental aim of the GPA is to mutually open government procurement markets among its parties
  3. GPA consists of 17 parties covering 45 WTO members (counting the European Union and its 28 member states, all of which are covered by the Agreement, as one party)

India flags API issue to U.S. govt.

The U.S. decision has major implications on generic drugs, affordability of medicines and on efficient sourcing

  1. India has sought clarity from the U.S. government which gave rise to apprehensions that medicines procured by America
  2. That should be only from companies making even the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) either locally or in certain designated nations such as EU members
  3. India and China account for about 80 per cent of the U.S.’s requirement of API (drug raw materials)
  4. The U.S. TAA applies America’s international trade agreements and the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement (GPA)
  5. Medicines need to be made in the U.S., or in certain ‘designated countries,’ as per U.S. trade rules
  6. India and China are not in this list of ‘designated countries’. India is not a signatory to the GPA and does not have a free trade pact with the U.S.

Indian engineers, scientists in U.S. nearing one million

  1. Indian-origin scientists and engineers in the U.S. grew 85% between 2003 and 2013.
  2. There are 950,000 scientists and engineers of Indian origin in 2013, which suggest that India’s rise far outstrips that of the Philippines and China.
  3. This rapid rise in the number of expatriate Indian technologists comes in the decade when India has launched a plethora of schemes to attract highly-qualified scientists back to India.
  4. According to UN, Indians make up the largest diaspora in the world, with 16 million of them scattered across the world.

What is Logistic Support Agreement (LSA)?

  1. The genesis of the LSA can be found in Strategic Partnership document signed by US and India in March 2006 during the visit of the US President George W. Bush to New Delhi.
  2. The document stated that the US and India will soon sign an agreement to facilitate mutual logistic support during combined training, exercises and disaster relief operations.
  3. The agreement includes maritime, counter-terrorism, defence trade and efforts for the speedy conclusion of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty.
  4. The LSA would require both countries to provide their bases, fuel and other kinds of logistics support to each others’ fighter jets and naval warships.

The LSA would be particularly beneficial at the time of disaster relief operations like the one India undertook in the wake of the Asian Tsunami in 2004.

India and U.S. inch closer to deal on logistics support

On the other two agreements the CISMOA and BECA, however, India has deeper concerns as it involves giving the U.S. access to India’s encrypted systems.

  1. Three major military pacts which could elevate Indo-U.S. relations to a new strategic level are being pursued afresh under the PM Modi regime.
  2. Both sides are one step short of reaching an understanding on the Logistic Support Agreement (LSA), which gives U.S. forces access to Indian bases for logistics support and vice versa.
  3. Government embarking on joint development and production projects for high technology weapons under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  4. The three “foundational agreements” guide U.S. high technology sales to other countries.

In addition to the LSA, includes –

  • Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA)
  • Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).

India, US to raise defence tech ties

India and the U.S. have identified 17 new areas for potential cooperation under Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

  1. DTTI, a flagship scheme launched in 2012, aims to enhance bilateral strategic partnership, particularly in high technology.
  2. Some private companies expressed interest in manufacturing fighter aircraft in India.
  3. The progress made by two joint working groups – one on aircraft carrier technology cooperation and other on jet engine technology.
  4. The change in policy is expected to allow U.S. companies working with their Indian counterparts to submit transfer requests for technology.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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