#FEATURE REGION, #October 2017

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought about a paradigm shift in India’s quest for oil, gas, uranium by forging close relations with the five ‘Stans’ – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The controversial and much delayed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline is finally getting a move on – a full 22 years after it was conceived.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony last December, India will host the next meeting of the Steering Committee which has been formed for the $7.6-billion, 1,814-km-long pipeline that will transport gas from the Central Asian republic of Turkmenistan to India to feed its power plants and meet its energy security needs.

#August 2017, #Last Word

The Indian PM has spelt out his vision for a New India ahead of the next General Election in the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has, in past Independence Day addresses to the nation, announced grand flagship schemes that promise to transform India. So, one was expecting more of the same this year. Instead, the Prime Minister announced a vision – of a New India, that he urged all Indians to work towards, by 2022.

#August 2017, #The Americas

Donald Trump’s ambivalence on economic and strategic issues concerning India is coming in the way of taking bilateral ties to the next level.

If India and the US were Facebook friends, then many in the Indian establishment would be justified in describing the relationship as “It’s complicated.”



India is a “major defence ally” of the US, the economic relationship is vibrant, at least on the face of it, Washington has reiterated its support for India to be admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) as a full member and public statements by senior government officials on both sides continue to exude warmth.

#August 2017, #The Americas

A new publication and web resource on India-US relations delves into a new era of multi-dimensional bilateral ties.

“The relationship between India and America has overcome the ‘hesitations of history’.” This was a statement made by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, at his joint address to the US Congress in 2016.

The “hesitation” refers to the phase where in a bipolar Cold War era India decided to adopt a foreign policy of non-alignment and India’s weak economy pre-1991 wasn’t helping the American cause either. Nevertheless, the relationship has now moved far away from that “hesitation” and in the last two decades has become reflective of what Undersecretary Nicholas Burns of the Bush administration had predicted: “Within a generation many Americans may view India as one of the most important strategic partners”.

#June 2017, #Last Word

The Indian PM’s visit to Washington will be crucial to determine how much the US President is in a mood to listen.

The Indian political leadership has, since Independence, rooted for a multi-polar world. Now, with Donald Trump’s US voluntarily pulling back from its role as world’s peace keeper of last resort, India is close to being granted its 70-year-old wish.

#June 2017, #Hot Spot

The Indian Prime Minister was on a packed tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France in May/June and has returned with a slew of agreements and promising pacts for the future.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Berlin at the start of his European tour, the term used to describe the visit was the opening of a “new chapter” in the bilateral relations between India and Germany.

The PM set off for his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at her country retreat of Schloss Meseberg soon after landing. Both leaders discussed issues of mutual interest in an informal setting over dinner at the 18th century palace, 50 miles north-west of Berlin.

#Cover Story, #June 2017

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Israel in July, not only will he be bringing the otherwise warm relationship between the two countries out of the closet, he will also be marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of formal and full-fledged diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Modi’s visit, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel, also marks the decisive de-hyphening of the relationship with India’s traditional support for the Palestine cause. Modi will not be visiting Palestine to “balance” India’s perceived tilt towards the Jewish state. This is causing angst among India’s chic left-wing ivory tower intellectuals who had, till recently, dictated India’s Middle East policy and aligned it firmly with Palestine’s interests.

#Cover Story, #June 2017

The Indian Ambassador based in Tel Aviv, Pavan Kapoor, is well-placed to provide some context to Narendra Modi’s historic visit to Israel in July – the first by an Indian Prime Minister.

Please give us an overview of where Indo-Israel ties stand.

I think India-Israel relations are on a very good wicket, at the political and economic level and also the cultural and people to people level. We have not had this scale of high level contact between the two countries for many years. In the last couple of years, we have had Heads of State visiting from India and Israel and we have had several ministerial delegations on either side.

#June 2017, #Emerging Markets

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of renewing and redefining India’s millennia-old civilisational bonds with the Middle East are bearing concrete fruit in the form of strategic alliances and investments in India’s infrastructure sector.

Mention the Middle East to an Indian and he will immediately associate it with oil, deserts, Dubai and, very possibly, a non-resident relative stationed there. None of the above provides a misleading picture of the region; equally, none of them paints the complete picture either.

#Putting it in context, #June 2017

Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to Israel has set the course for core areas of collaboration between the two countries, writes India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa.

Historic, as we said last week, is a much misused word these days, but to describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s just concluded visit to Israel in any other way will be to miss the woods for the trees.

That’s because the two countries signed several agreements that can substantially change the lives of long-suffering class of Indians – farmers. It is not without reason that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a marriage made in heaven; it is being celebrated on earth.”

Take the look at the range of the seven agreements signed:

  • Setting up an India-Israel Industrial R&D fund
  • Water conservation
  • Water utility reform in India
  • India-Israel Development Cooperation on Agriculture
  • Cooperation on atomic clocks
  • Setting up a Geo-Leo optical link
  • Cooperation on electric propulsion and small satellites

Notice: three of the seven agreements deal with water and agriculture development signaling that Modi is spending his hard-earned global goodwill on the uplift of Indian farmers.

Many of you may be unaware that significant parts of India are facing a water scarcity. In such a situation, Indian farmers must learn to grow greater amounts of crops using lesser amounts of water.

Israeli agricultural scientists have developed and mastered the science of drip irrigation, which has turned their once arid country – among the driest in the world – into a haven for farmers.

It is this technology that a government-to-government programme is transferring to Indian farmers to enable them to produce “more crop per drop”. The two countries have so far set up 15 Centres of Excellence in Agriculture as part of the India-Israel Agricultural Project, which is a three-way collaboration between the Government of India, the Government of Israel and an Indian state.

It is this collaboration that has enabled Indian farmers develop blooming mango orchards in semi-arid Haryana and thriving vegetable nurseries in the not-so-fertile regions of Gujarat.

These centres are also helping farmers in Bihar grow and improve yields of fruits such as lychee and mango, in Karnataka of pomegranates, mangoes and vegetables and in West Bengal of vegetables by providing seeds developed with the help of the latest agricultural technologies and by imparting knowledge on the best farming techniques, thereby, enabling Indian farmers to increase their incomes and improve their lives.

If the Modi-Netanyahu duo can facilitate this potentially dramatic change for half of India’s population, they will have changed the face of Indian society. Eleven more such centres will be built in future.

Then, an Israeli company will help clean a particularly dirty stretch of the River Yamuna where 8 km of sewage flows into the river and help restore the life of the now dying river.

Prime Minister Modi has promised to double farmer incomes by 2022. A much wider use of these latest Israeli farm technologies and procedures will almost certainly play a big role in helping the government meet that ambitious goal.

The visit also focussed on other core areas of concern to the two countries – such as security from terror and the deep defence relationship.

Here, to my mind are the five key takeaways from Modi’s visit to Israel:

  1. India and Israel agreed to elevate bilateral ties to the level of a strategic partnership, with a special focus on agricultural cooperation.
  2. The two sides agreed to protect each other’s strategic interests.
  3. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of ensuring global peace. “Our talks focused on not just areas of bilateral opportunities but also how our cooperation can help cause of global peace and stability,” Modi said.
  4. Both nations will collaborate on cyber security and exchange knowledge and best practices to tackle terrorism in cyberspace.
  5. The personal chemistry that was evident between Modi and Netanyahu over the three days.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa