India Insight

Suu Kyi underlines India’s strategic approach to Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmarese pro-democracy leader who was released from seven years of continuous house detention on Nov 13, used her first interview with an Indian media organisation to criticise the world’s largest democracy for its foreign policy towards the military junta-ruled nation.Aung San Suu Kyi addresses supporters outside her National League for Democracy party headquarters in Yangon November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

“I am saddened with India. I would like to have thought that India would be standing behind [the pro-democracy movement]. That it would have followed in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru,” Suu Kyi told the Indian Express on Wednesday.

“I do not oppose relations with the Generals but I hope that the Indian government would talk to us as well. I would like to see talks begin immediately. I would like to see close and friendly relations, like those that have not been seen recently.”

India has developed close ties with Myanmar over the past two decades, largely in reaction to China’s strong presence in the country and New Delhi’s fears that large Chinese investments in the wider region are part of a plan to encircle India in a “string of pearls”.

Suu Kyi’s comments follow similar remarks from U.S. President Barack Obama, who chastened India for shying away from “violations of human rights” during his landmark speech to parliament in New Delhi last month.

Can India’s love for cricket move stock markets?

India's Pragyan Ojha (R), Vangipurappu Laxman (rear, obscured) and Laxman's runner Suresh Raina celebrate India's victory over Australia on the fifth day of their first test cricket match in Mohali October 5, 2010.  REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
It’s widely acknowledged that cricket is something of a religion in India but could it be a market-mover too?

According to research by two Australian economists, India’s performance in one-day cricket matches can have a significant impact on the fortunes of the country’s stock market, the Indian Express reports.

Moreover, the researchers concluded that a win — expected by the millions of die-hard fans — has no impact on market returns but a loss “generates a significant downward movement in the stock market.”

from MacroScope:

Victory for emerging BRICs?

Emerging market ministers, particularly those from the BRIC economies -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- are painting this weekend's G20 meeting as a victory in dragging them out of the shadows of global policy-making.

The finance ministers' statement included the promise of more money for the International Monetary Fund and regional development banks, on whom struggling emerging economies rely for support.

It accelerated a review of IMF quotas by two years to 2011, which should give emerging economies more say in the running of the multilateral lender. It also suggested that the headship of IFIs -- international financial institutions -- would no longer be guaranteed to Americans or Europeans. 

from Davos Notebook:

Of confidence and coconut trees

"Confidence grows at the rate that a coconut tree grows, but confidence falls at the rate that the coconut falls," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India's Planning Commission, told a panel in Davos.

He also indicated that India's decision not to float its currency and to build up massive reserves was correct, noting that this gave it a cushion during the downturn.

"Floating (currencies) would be fine, if that was what was meant, but what they mean by floating is crashing upwards and crashing downwards."

India’s dream of ‘world-class’ airports and why I can’t afford it

After a two-hour flight sitting a few feet away from four boisterous children who made enough noise to put a marching band to shame, emerging at Hyderabad’s swanky new airport for my first visit to the city proved very soothing for my frayed nerves.

The spacious terminal building, high glass walls, and the view, as you step outside, of palm trees and people leisurely posing for photographs in front of water fountains made me recall chaotic scenes back at Delhi’s airport, as I allowed myself a wry grin.

planeq.jpgMy admiration for what the aviation minister has described as India’s first truly “world-class” airport vaporized when on my return trip, a smiling attendant approached me at the terminal and directed me to a counter that collected 375 rupees from every passenger flying out of the city — courtesy a recently introduced toll called UDF or User Development Fee (International travellers were asked to shell out a thousand rupees).

Has India got it right on fuel prices?

So it’s official. India has finally raised fuel prices, by more than most people expected. A hike in diesel prices in particular is sure to feed through into overall inflation. At the same the government removed the import duty on crude oil.

A petrol station attendant counts currency notes in Jammu.We’d be keen on your opinion. Has the government got it right?

Despite the price rises, oil companies are still going to be losing huge amounts of money and gas-guzzling cars are still going to be heavily subsidized by ordinary taxpayers. The oil ministry had even argued for steeper price hikes.

Are subsidies really the right way to go in the modern world? Is the government sacrificing good economics on the altar of political populism?

India’s Advani needs help on “money matters”

India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L. K. Advani speaks during a news conference in the northern city of Chandigarh December 30, 2007. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA)India’s 80-year-old opposition leader says he needs help on “money matters”.

Not only does his wife pay all the bills at home, but he asked business leaders on Tuesday for help in drawing up a new economic model which does not ape the West.

He also had some strong words for the Congress-led government, accusing it of failing to control inflation and failing to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.

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