US Tilts to India

US Tilts to IndiaThe growing convergence on military and defense matters between Washington, DC and New Delhi has been one of the highlights of bilateral ties under President Barack Obama and nationalist PM Narendra Modi.  Ever since Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, there has been an unwavering focus on bolstering defense ties with…

Asia in 2016: India

Asia in 2016: IndiaLandmark economic reforms introduced in India last year contrasted sharply with rising extremism, suggesting that the rapidly growing country is still battling old demons of religious divisiveness, rigidity and orthodoxy even as the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi adopts a more streamlined financial outlook. Growing intolerance of dissent was highlighted in February 2016 during…

Bitter Battle Starts Over India’s Tata Group

Bitter Battle Starts Over India’s Tata GroupThe Tata group, India’s largest conglomerate, faces an unpredictable new year with a battle developing for control of what has always been regarded as India’s most stable and respected business group. The end game is far from clear at this stage, but what is clear is that serious damage has been done to the Tata…

Modinomics Bites Christies Sale

Modinomics Bites Christies SaleChristie’s high-profile annual art auctions in Mumbai just managed pm Dec. 19 to overcome growing concern about the direction of the Indian economy. They yielded a respectable but unexciting sales total of US$10.79 million that acted as more of a warning than encouragement about future prospects. In an evening auction of South Asian modern and contemporary art,…

India Gets its Guns – 30 years late

India Gets its Guns – 30 years lateThe 30-year gap between India’s last purchase of artillery and its buy last week of 145 M777 ultralight howitzers from the United States has its roots in the trauma of the infamous Bofors scandal of 1986, which rocked the Indian political establishment and resulted in the fall of the government of then Prime Minister Rajiv…

India Eases Defense Blacklist Ban

India Eases Defense Blacklist BanIn a dramatic departure from past defense policy, Indian authorities say they will no longer impose blanket bans on armament companies suspected of corruption or bribery. This easing of blacklisting norms will mark the end of a 10-year blanket ban imposed earlier on erring firms.  The easing of the blacklist policy appears to be a…

Currency Chaos in India Aimed at Corruption

Currency Chaos in India Aimed at CorruptionWhen Indians elected Narendra Modi as their ultra-nationalist prime minister two and a half years ago, they were voting for change in the way that the country is run, just as American voters did last week when Donald Trump was elected president, albeit by a minority popular vote. But they didn’t vote for the countrywide…

UK’s May runs into EU-style blockages in New Delhi

UK’s May runs into EU-style blockages in New DelhiTheresa May has discovered in India during her first bilateral visit outside Europe that she runs into the same blockages over free trade and movement of labor internationally as she does in her post-Brexit discussions with the European Union. The lesson, which is highly significant for Britain as it prepares to leave the EU, is…

Patriarch of India’s Tata Takes Back his Empire

Patriarch of India’s Tata Takes Back his EmpireThe fallout from the Oct. 24 sacking by Tata patriarch Ratan Tata of his chosen successor Cyrus Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons, the group’s holding company, continues: In an email to the company, leaked in the media, Mistry has warned that the conglomerate may face $18 billion in write-downs because of five unprofitable businesses he…

South Asian Art Prices Recover in London

South Asian Art Prices Recover in LondonSotheby’s earlier this week dispelled some of the gloom and uncertainty emanating from a poor Christie’s US$3.8 million auction of South Asian art in New York last month when its annual London auction yielded sales totaling £4.02 milliion – US$4.90 million at the depleted pound’s current post-Brexit level. The top lot was a memorable depiction…