The Great Debate UK
Last week, on his first Prime Ministerial visit to the United States, David Cameron conceded that Britain was the “junior partner” in the special relationship. Next week, I fear that at the end of the much anticipated visit to India, he may yet again, have to concede that Britain is the junior partner in this ever increasing important relationship.
I attended an event some years ago in which the then Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) — Digby Jones — evangelised the need for UK Plc to embrace India, not for nostalgic or historic reasons, but to secure their survival. He explained “in the fullness of time, the past 250 years will be seen as a mere blip, an anomaly, in which India was subjugated. The future belongs to a resurgent India”.
It’s difficult to argue otherwise, just take a look at some of the statistics that stand out:
In its May economic outlook, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development projected upward growth outlooks for BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India and China — the world’s four largest emerging economies.
Strong growth in those economies is helping to pull other countries out of recession, the OECD said. The Paris-based organisation projects that China’s GDP growth will exceed 11 percent for 2010, and anticipates that India’s real GDP growth will be 8.3 percent. Russia‘s GDP growth is expected to be 5.5 percent, and Brazil‘s is projected at 6.5 percent. By comparison, the OECD projects that the Euro area will see 1.5 percent real GDP growth, while the UK will see a 2.2 percent growth.
from Afghan Journal:
Walking into a giant tent at the foothills of Kabul, you are conscious of the importance of jirgas throughout Afghanistan's troubled history. These assemblies of tribal elders have been called at key moments in the country's history from whether it should participate in the two World Wars to a call for a national uprising against an Iranian invasion in the 18th century.
Next week's jirga is aimed at building a national consensus behind Afghan President Hamid Karzai's effort to seek a negotiated settlement of the nine year conflict now that the Taliban have fought U.S. and NATO forces to a virtual stalemate and the clock on a U.S. military withdrawal has begun.
- Ash Verma is Chairman, Gateway Business Consultants Limited and Founder of Gateway Asia. The opinions expressed are his own. -
London has long had a reputation as a city where entrepreneurs from Asia have come to seek their fortune. From its early 19th century roots when Sake Dean Mahomed opened up Britain’s first Indian restaurant and introduced the city to shampoo, London’s Indian diaspora has now grown into one of the largest communities outside the country. The Chinese community in London, too, is Europe’s oldest and largest.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
It was so long in the making, so utterly predictable, that the news that Pakistan and India are now arguing over water carries with it the dull ache of inevitability.
When I was living in Delhi, which I left in 2004, a few analysts were already warning that the next war between Pakistan and India would be over water, rather than over Kashmir. The mountain glaciers which fed the rivers which are the lifeline of both countries were melting, they said, and sooner or later India and Pakistan would blame each other for climate change. I did not take it that seriously at the time. Not even after seeing first hand how far the Siachen glacier - the world's longest glacier - had receded.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Iran has been hosting regional leaders, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, to celebrate the Persian New Year, or Nowruz (a spring festival whose equivalent in Pakistan, incidentally, is frowned upon by its own religious conservatives).
The Nowruz celebrations, which also included the presidents of Iraq, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, are part of Iran's efforts to build regional ties and followed renewed debate over the kind of role Iran wants to play in Afghanistan. As discussed here, it has also been improving ties with Pakistan, and both countries may have worked together on the arrest last month of Abdolmalik Rigi, leader of the Jundollah rebel group.
One of India’s most recognised faces, Kiran Bedi is India’s first woman police officer and has a larger-than-life image in a country where police are mostly perceived as inefficient or corrupt or both.
She was an Asian and national tennis champion before she made it to the Indian
Police Service in 1972. Bedi has worked in traffic and narcotics control, prison management and has also been an adviser for United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Setting up Biocon, Asia’s largest biotechnology firm, was not a straightforward task for the woman who is now India’s wealthiest businesswoman.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw chose the biotechnology sector as a fallback position after she realised at the age of 25 that India was not ready to accept a woman master brewer.
Amid jitters about uncertainty in the financial markets over the past 16 months, many investors have continued to look toward the BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, India and China, which by 2050 are expected to be wealthier than most current major economic powers.
In all four countries, GDP has more than doubled since 1998, and in China and India it has trebled.
from Afghan Journal:
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is heading to India, and one of the things Washington is looking at is how can regional players such as India do more in Afghanistan. "As we are doing more, of course we are looking at others to do more," a U.S. official said, ahead of the trip referring to the troop surge.
But this is easier said than done, and in the case of India, a bit of a minefield. While America may expect more from India, Pakistan has had enough of its bitter rival's already expanded role in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Indeed, Afghanistan is the new battleground on par with Kashmir, with many in Pakistan saying Indian involvement in Afghanistan was more than altruistic and aimed at destabilising Pakistan from the rear. Many in India, on the other hand, point the finger at Pakistan for two deadly bomb attacks on its embassy in Kabul.