Sensex gains 100 pts after Obama reelection; USTR looks for BIT

The Economic Times reports on 07NOV12 the SENSEX surging nearly 100 points after media analysts projected President Barak Obama’s re-election. According to a TNN report, “A win for Obama is a positive for the capital market as that would ensure flow of FII money into India,” so says Arun Kejriwal, director of KRIS, an investment advisory firm.

However more sobering, A K Prabhakar, senior vice president at Anand Rathi Securities was quoted by the WSJ as saying, “The stocks are up but we don’t see a runaway rally as the reality is going to set in soon, and problems in Europe and Greece are going to take centre stage.”

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Man arrested for ‘offensive’ tweets against Chidambaram’s son Karti

Chidambaram during the 2G scandal

On 31OCT12, PTI/IBN reported on the recent arrest of a Puducherry man after he made “offensive” messages on social media regarding the finances of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti. He was later released on bail.

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S M Krishna resigns ahead of Union Cabinet reshuffle

The US educated Fulbright Scholar S M Krishna who was appointed to the Foreign Minister post shortly after the 2009 elections has sent in his resignation on 26OCT12 to PM Singh ahead of a Union Cabinet reshuffle. According to reporting by the Times of India, Krishna the former chief minister may be given a party assignment in Karnataka. NDTV also reports the Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik, and Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay will also follow suit. (Mr Sahay was recently embroiled in the coal-gate controversy after it emerged that he lobbied the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene on behalf of a firm in which his brother was a director to land coal fields.)

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World Bank Loan Agreement for RMSA

An agreement between the Government of India and the World Bank for a loan of USD 500 million was signed on 05OCT12 for the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

According to the press release and India’s Department of School Education, the focus of the RMSA program is “to help India achieve increased and more equitable access to good quality secondary education through support of the Government’s ongoing RMSA Framework.” The program was originally launched in March 2009 and has targeted an enrollment rate of 75% (from 52.26% in 2005-06) at the secondary level (US equivalent of grades 11&12th) within 5 years of implementation.

“Other objectives include improving quality of education imparted at secondary level through making all secondary schools conform to prescribed norms, removing gender, socio-economic and disability barriers, providing universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i.e., by the end of 12th Five Year Plan.”

A link to the 65 page guiding document can be found here.

India’s Military Modernization: Plans and Strategy

If you’ve been following Indian news for the last couple of years, then the points made by Gurmeet Kanwal, in the National Bureau of Asian Affairs latest Q&A series are not new for you. However, if you’ve recently started to follow India, Gurmeet’s article does a great job of going over what you’ve missed out on in regards to India’s  Military Modernization. In looking at all three branches, Gurmeet discusses various upgrades and acquisitions in progress and outlines India’s strategic doctrine. In doing so, he attempts to suggest that increased military capability will lead to India taking greater responsibility on the world stage and possibly, referring to a recent Shiv Shankar Menon speech, some risk-taking. However, he rightfully describes India’s cautious approach with foreign powers as it seeks to maintain greater autonomy–although with India’s slow moving modernization efforts–possibly at its own peril.

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India Hangs On To Iranian Crude

While western powers continue to tighten the screws on Iran’s oil exports, India, the world’s fourth largest oil importer, continues to remain one of Iran’s largest customers after China.

Accordingly, Iran has continued to occupy a major space in India’s energy import basket although at a lower level as a supplier of crude. While the US has been pushing Saudi Arabia to help fill the gap left by Iranian exports, India doesn’t want to depend too heavily on ersatz Saudi supplies as it could weaken New Delhi’s position in future price negotiations. In addition, it has become apparent that India’s foreign policy position on America and Iran is to try to back away from taking either side.

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