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Showing posts for "U.S.-India Relations"

Thanks, John Oliver! Why India Isn’t a Big Focus for U.S. Television

by Alyssa Ayres
Voters line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the seventh phase of India's general election in Rangareddy district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on April 30, 2014 (Danish Siddiqui/Courtesy: Reuters). Voters line up to cast their votes outside a polling station during the seventh phase of India's general election in Rangareddy district in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on April 30, 2014 (Danish Siddiqui/Courtesy: Reuters).

This post is part of a series on the Indian elections.

In the grand tradition of Jon Stewart, the British comedian John Oliver has skewered American television’s priorities in his new show, Last Week Tonight. His acerbic eight minute bit on the Indian elections—elections historic in scale, with an electorate of 815 million voters and big issues at stake—gets many things right, most importantly, U.S. television’s focus everywhere else. (And even, hilariously, the sad fact of a Fox News segment last week covering not, say, the April 17 fifth phase of India’s elections in which 195 million people went to vote, but instead a ludicrous feature about a leopard on the loose causing panic in India). Read more »

The Indian Elections—What the Congress Party Has to Say About Foreign Policy

by Alyssa Ayres
Chief of India's ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi holds her party's manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi March 26, 2014 (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters). Chief of India's ruling Congress party Sonia Gandhi holds her party's manifesto for the April/May general election in New Delhi on March 26, 2014 (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters).

This post is part of a series on the Indian elections.

With India’s national elections about to kick off on April 7, politics dominates the media and private conversations alike. Most of the conversation focuses on the poll horse race, at this point heavily favoring the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to win more than 200 of the 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament and form a coalition government. (Click here to learn three things to know about the upcoming elections). Read more »

A Closer Look at FDI Flip-flopping in India

by Alyssa Ayres
protest against FDI in retail sector A trader with mock chains around his wrists and a gag tied around his mouth attends a protest against the Indian government's decision to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in the retail sector in New Delhi September 27, 2012 (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters).

Last month, the new Delhi government—led by the upstart Aam Aadmi Party—sent a letter to the federal government mere days after taking office notifying it of their decision to rescind a relatively new policy allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail sector (department or big-box stores selling more than one brand). I wrote about this at the time, noting that a sudden flip-flop on allowing FDI would send a “confusing, conflicted signal” to potential investors. Read more »

Friday Asia Update: Top Five Stories for the Week of December 20, 2013

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York on June 19, 2013. (Mohammed Jaffer/Courtesy Reuters) India's Deputy Consul General in New York, Devyani Khobragade, attends a Rutgers University event at India's Consulate General in New York on June 19, 2013. (Mohammed Jaffer/Courtesy Reuters)

Darcie Draudt, Will Piekos, and Sharone Tobias look at the top five stories in Asia this week.

1. Fury erupts over Indian diplomat’s arrest in New York. Anti-American protests have erupted across India after Devyani Khobragade, India’s deputy consul general in New York, was arrested for allegedly underpaying a domestic worker and lying about her wages to obtain a U.S. visa for the woman. Khobragade claimed that she paid the women $4,500 per month, but the worker in fact received less than $600 per month, or approximately $3.13 per hour in wages. Khobragade said that she was handcuffed and faced a cavity search despite her diplomatic immunity; U.S. officials countered that she received preferential treatment, was allowed to keep her mobile phone, and did not face a cavity search. India lodged a formal complaint with U.S. ambassador to India Nancy Powell, and Indian politicians have refused to meet with a congressional delegation. A senior Indian diplomat also said that the government could retaliate against gay partners of U.S. diplomats. Read more »

Some Background for the Khobragade Case

by Alyssa Ayres
Supporters of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest near the U.S. embassy in New Delhi December 18, 2013 Supporters of Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena, a Hindu hardline group, shout anti-U.S. slogans during a protest near the U.S. embassy in New Delhi December 18, 2013 (Ahmad Masood/Courtesy Reuters).

Since the arrest last Thursday of India’s acting consul general in New York, Devyani Khobragade, U.S.-India relations have hit turbulent waters. Dr. Khobragade has been charged in the Southern District of New York with visa fraud, specifically with falsifying a statement about wages in the contract for her domestic worker in order to successfully receive a visa to bring her to New York. This is considered a criminal matter, and U.S. attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement along with the unsealed complaint in which the allegations are detailed. Late Tuesday, press reports stated that the U.S. Marshals confirmed they had arrested her, taken her to a holding cell, and strip-searched her. She was released on bail later that day. The Government of India immediately expressed outrage, and took several steps on Tuesday to express extreme displeasure with the way Dr. Khobragade’s arrest was handled. Read more »

Introductory Post

by Alyssa Ayres
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (L) speaks with Gujarat's chief minister and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the inauguration ceremony of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel national museum in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad October 29, 2013 (Amit Dave/Courtesy Reuters). Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh (L) speaks with Gujarat's chief minister and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) October 29, 2013 (Amit Dave/Courtesy Reuters).

Hello Asia Unbound readers! As CFR’s newest senior fellow, and the newest contributor to the blog, I look forward to adding a little more content on South Asia to the group effort. At CFR, I am covering the broader South Asian region, with a strong focus on India. I’ve spent my entire professional life working on South Asia, and there is never any shortage of new and interesting issues to explore. Read more »

Can the U.S. Work with India in Cyberspace?

by Adam Segal
Workers are seen at their workstations on the floor of an outsourcing centre in Bangalore, February 29, 2012. (Vivek Prakash / Courtesy Reuters) Workers are seen at their workstations on the floor of an outsourcing centre in Bangalore, February 29, 2012. (Vivek Prakash / Courtesy Reuters)

Eric Heginbotham and George Gilboy have a new book, Chinese and Indian Strategic Behavior, looking at the rise of China and India. One of their main points is a warning directed at U.S. policymakers who think that India is going to be a counterweight to China. Delhi has many of its own interests and in many instances—Iran, trade, and proliferation—those interests are closer to Beijing’s than Washington’s. China and India “both pursue a common agenda at the U.N. and other security bodies: a strict interpretation of state sovereignty and a protection of the principle of non-interference in the affairs of other states.” Read more »

More on “Going It Alone”: India and Internet Governance

by Adam Segal

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma poses for photos with Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of the fifth India-Brazil-South Africa summit (IBSA) in Pretoria October 18, 2011. (Courtesy Reuters)

I’ll go ahead and jump in late to the discussion Liz and Evan were having about India’s foreign policy. Despite their different focus, they do seem to converge around the point that India now frequently charts its own course, in some instances moving closer to the United States, in others China, and in some cases remaining distant from both and finding other partners.

A recent declaration about the need for a new organization, within the United Nations framework, to oversee global Internet governance highlights how India is trying to walk that tightrope. At first glance, the declaration, which was made at the end of the fifth IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) summit in Pretoria, seems harmless enough. The Internet is clearly a global issue lacking an effective governance mechanism. Moreover, as emerging economies, India, Brazil, and South Africa tend to see the current structure as dominated by the United States and American companies. The Hindu quoted the head of an Indian NGO: “Internet-related policies today are made either by mega global digital corporations or directly by pluri-lateral bodies of the rich nations, like the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.”

Read more »

India’s Message to China and the United States: We’ll Go It Alone

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on November 11, 2009

A signboard is seen from the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh on November 11, 2009. (Adnan Abidi/Courtesy Reuters)

Last week, I joined my colleagues Paul Stares, Dan Markey, and Micah Zenko in Delhi for a few days of discussions with senior Indian officials, experts, and journalists. We covered a fair amount of the U.S.-India political waterfront, including bilateral relations, China, Pakistan, and broader Asia. The discussions were quite lively: a great thing about foreign policy experts in India is that there are as many opinions expressed as there are people—a breath of fresh air after more constrained or sometimes just strained discussions with Chinese counterparts. While the variety of views we heard makes it hard to generalize, some common themes emerged. Put in rather stark terms, they boil down to:

Beijing is not trustworthy

An overarching theme was China’s growing “confidence, hubris, and economic ascension.” Some Indians argued that China is challenging the existing power equation and trying to limit the extent of any other power in the region, particularly the United States and India. Not surprisingly, worry over China’s intentions in South and Southeast Asia was paramount—and continued Chinese territorial claims to Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India were a central source of concern. (India has reportedly just sited missiles in the region.)

At the same time, the Indians with whom we met generally admired China’s ability to get things done, particularly in terms of modernizing the country and developing the infrastructure. Read more »

Can India and America Up Their Investment Game?

by Evan A. Feigenbaum
Commuters on a suburban train during the morning rush hour in Mumbai.

Commuters on a suburban train during the morning rush hour in Mumbai.Danish Siddiqui/Courtesy Reuters.

My latest column is out in India’s financial daily, the Business Standard. I used this month’s column to talk a bit about structural impediments hindering U.S. investment in India. These challenges will grow if, as many economists suspect, India’s growth continues to slow from its restored post-crisis clip of 8 to 9 percent a year to something more on the order of 7 to 7.5 percent. And in that context, it’s worth noting that Indian stocks have just completed their worst quarter since 2008. And of course food price inflation remains as stubborn as ever.

Here’s my argument, which reflects in part a perspective from my new perch in Chicago rather than Washington, DC:

Read more »