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India, Britain trade may double by 2030

Through primary research, the report identifies 618 UK companies in India and how they are growing and contributing to the economy and job creation…reports Asian Lite News

Bilateral trade between India and the United Kingdom (UK) is likely to double by 2030 from the current level helped by greater economic engagements between the two countries, diversification of global supply chains, and overall ease of doing business, as per an industry report released on Thursday.

As India and the UK collaborate for economic growth against a backdrop of global disruptions, Grant Thornton Bharat launched the second edition of the Britain Meets India (BMI) Report 2022, in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), supported by the UK’s Department of International Trade (DIT).

Through primary research, the report identifies 618 UK companies in India and how they are growing and contributing to the economy and job creation.

According to the report, 618 UK companies have been identified in India that together employ approximately 4.66 lakh people and have a combined turnover of ₹ 3,634.9 billion. 58 of these 618 companies featured in the report’s Growth Tracker (companies with turnover greater than ₹ 500 million and 10 per cent year-on-year growth) – these fast-growing UK companies achieved an average growth of 36.3 per cent, which is a 10 per cent jump from 2021 where fast-growing UK companies clocked an average growth rate of 26 per cent.

The report was launched by Alex Ellis CMG, High Commissioner of UK to India, Chandrajit Banerjee, DG – CII, Vishesh C Chandiok, CEO, Grant Thornton Bharat and Pallavi Joshi Bakhru, Partner and India-UK Corridor Leader, Grant Thornton Bharat in New Delhi in the presence of over 50 dignitaries, industry and government representatives from the UK and India.

Speaking at the event, Alexander Ellis CMG said “India has been one of the UK’s most important partners in the journey of 75 years. The ‘living bridge’ between our countries is set to transform into a stronger bond as we continue to fight the pandemic together and address the challenges to our security in both the physical and digital worlds. Our shared focus will be on strengthening the economic relationship between the two nations for a more secure and prosperous decade ahead.”

“The report has highlighted several new emerging sectors and I hope we will derive qualitative outcomes that nurture opportunities for companies in India and the UK. We continue to work closely with the governments and businesses on both sides and leverage the strengths of UK companies to deepen our trade relationship,” said CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee.

“Trade between India and the UK is expected to double by 2030 from current levels – based on dynamic connections between people of both countries, investment in technology, diversification of global supply chains and overall ease of doing business,” said Vishesh C Chandiok, CEO, Grant Thornton Bharat.

“Grant Thornton firms in India and the UK have been helping companies in the corridor grow and expand for over three decades – we are now at a juncture where we have an opportunity for real change in the narrative. India can not only provide a growth platform for UK companies but can also help them become more competitive globally,” Chandiok said.

Push to finalise free trade pact by Diwali

India and the UK are intent on sticking to a Diwali deadline for finalising a comprehensive free trade agreement (FTA) amid the ongoing political developments in Britain, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Despite some questions raised by the leadership race in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, the people made it clear both sides aim to have a deal stitched up and ready for signing by the leadership of the two countries by the last week of October. The UK is expected to have a new prime minister next month, giving enough time for the deal to be cleared on the British side.

“The two partners are targeting to conclude negotiations by the end of August or early September. After approvals of the respective governments, the agreement on most of tariff lines will be ready to be signed,” an Indian official said, declining to be named.

“Both the UK and India have been clear that we are working towards a comprehensive free trade agreement – neither nation is considering an interim agreement,” a person familiar with the negotiations said on condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for the British high commission said: “We are making good progress toward our shared target to conclude the majority of talks on a comprehensive deal by Diwali. We remain clear that we won’t sacrifice quality for speed and will only sign a deal which delivers for the UK.”

An FTA with India “offers the opportunity to deepen our already strong relationship, which was worth £24.3 billion in 2021”, the spokesperson said.

The Indian official cited above said: “The political developments in the UK are unlikely to derail the talks.” On July 21, commerce secretary BVR Subrahmanyam said that irrespective of the party in power in the UK, the “logic of an FTA with India is irreversible”.

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‘US firms in Bengaluru bolstering US-India economic ties’

Lacina acknowledged the immense contributions of over 650 US companies in Bengaluru that employ tens of thousands of Indian citizens…reports Asian Lite News

On her first visit to Bengaluru after assuming charge in September 2021, US Mission India Charge d’Affaires, Patricia Lacina met with business leaders and entrepreneurs to underscore the strong US-India economic and commercial ties.

Lacina acknowledged the immense contributions of over 650 US companies in Bengaluru that employ tens of thousands of Indian citizens in high-standard work environments in the formal sector.

She applauded their immense contribution to the US-India bilateral relationship — not only through their economic ties and investments, but also through corporate social responsibility initiatives and a commitment to the development of employee skills.

“This year, as our two countries commemorate 75 years of diplomatic relations and trusted partnership, we celebrate a US-India partnership defined by US President Joe Biden recently as deep connection between our people – ties of family, of friendship, and of shared values. It is because of these shared values that US and Indian firms work so well together, forging a path for innovation and prosperity.”

Joining her in Bengaluru were US Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin and Director of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan.

The NSF Director visited Bengaluru to expand upon the strong partnership within the fields of science and technology. A Chennai native and graduate of the Indian Institute of Science, Panchanathan is in India to announce NSF funding for 35 collaborative research projects between US and Indian university laboratories.

NSF, under the direction of Panchanathan, is tasked with keeping the US at the leading edge of discovery in a wide range of scientific areas.

NSF has recently been the subject of major legislation which, in addition to supporting funding in all areas of basic research, establishes a new directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnership to greatly accelerate the translation of research to application.

Panchanathan also gave the Dr. M.A. Govind Rau Founder Memorial Lecture at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Lacina used the occasion to mark the arrival of the new Counsellor for Commercial Affairs Carey Arun.

Based in Chennai, Arun will oversee the US Commercial Service’s efforts in south India, supporting opportunities for US-India trade and business. The US Commercial Service has offices in Chennai and Bengaluru.

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India News

‘India to be among fastest growing economies’

The key change in India’s structural story lies in the clear shift in the policy focus towards lifting the productive capacity of the economy…reports Asian Lite News

Over 2022-23, Indias growth will average 7 per cent, the strongest among the largest economies, contributing 28 per cent and 22 per cent to Asian and global growth, respectively, Morgan Stanley said in a report.

India is best positioned within Asia to deliver domestic demand alpha. Its cyclical recovery will be sustained by structural factors.

“The recent strong run of data increases our confidence that India is well positioned to deliver domestic demand alpha, which will be particularly important as developed markets’ growth weakness percolates into Asia’s external demand,” Morgan Stanley said.

The key change in India’s structural story lies in the clear shift in the policy focus towards lifting the productive capacity of the economy. Policymakers have taken up a series of reforms which will catalyse an upswing in the private capex cycle, helping to unleash a powerful productivity dynamic, leading to the onset of a virtuous cycle.

Cyclically, the economy is lifting off after a prolonged period of adjustment. The corporate sector has delevered and the balance sheets of the financial sector have also been cleaned up. This backdrop of healthy balance sheets and rising corporate confidence bodes well for the outlook for business investment, the report said.

The biggest challenge that was emerging to India’s macro outlook was the sharp spike in oil/commodity prices weighing on macro stability.

“However, with the 23-37 per cent decline in oil/commodity prices since the March-22 peak, we think that macro stability indicators will head back towards the comfort zone. Against this backdrop, we project that the RBI does not need to lift rates deeply into restrictive territory. In other words, the RBI will not need to slow domestic demand growth meaningfully to control the macro stability indicators,” the report said.

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Pakistan rescues 9 Indian crew members after ship capsize

The body was recovered and handed over to Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) authorities for further proceedings…reports Asian Lite News

The Pakistan Navy saved nine Indian crew members whose ship drowned in the Arabian Sea near Gwadar, the Director-General Public Relations (Navy) said in a statement on Thursday, as per media reports.

The incident took place on August 9 (Tuesday) when an Indian sailing vessel — ‘Jamna Sagar’ — sank with 10 crew members onboard, according to the statement, Geo News reported.

As the ship was sinking, the navy responded to a distress call and the Pakistan Maritime Information Centre requested a nearby merchant ship, MT Kruibeke, to provide necessary assistance to the stranded crew of the drowning sailing vessel.

“The merchant ship eventually recovered nine crew members and continued the voyage to its next port in Dubai and onward disembarked the crew,” the statement said.

At the same time, one Pakistan Navy ship, along with two helicopters, also reached the area and located the body of one crew member who was earlier missing at the time of the drowning of the sailing vessel, Geo News reported.

The body was recovered and handed over to Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) authorities for further proceedings.

India-Pak talks

Backchannel talks between Pakistan and India have met a dead end as both sides have struggled to agree on the moves that may pave the way for slow but gradual improvement in the relationship, a media report said citing an informed source.

“Talks have been going on but have reached a point where things aren’t moving anywhere,” The Express Tribune report quoted the source as saying.

There has been a desire from both sides to break the impasse but the issue is how to move forward from this point onwards, the source explained.

What has slowed down the process was the political uncertainty in Pakistan, The Express Tribune reported.

There was a glimmer of hope for a possible thaw in the relationship following the change of government in Pakistan in April.

What spurred the optimism was that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first leaders to congratulate his Pakistani counterpart Shehbaz Sharif when the latter assumed office in April.

The source said backchannel contacts that began during the PTI government’s tenure picked up pace in April after the change of government.

But despite “intense” backchannel diplomacy, the two sides were not willing to concede an inch on their respective issues.

Pakistan is keen that India must take steps with regards to Kashmir before any process of normalisation of ties begins. New Delhi, however, is more interested in Islamabad first exploring the option of resuming bilateral trade, The Express Tribune quoted the source as saying further.

The friction in the relationship prevented Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers from interacting with each other at the recent meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Tashkent.

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India, Bangladesh discuss boosting defence ties


Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman was in India as the head of a 15-member Bangladeshi armed forces to attend the 4th Annual Defence Dialogue and 2nd Tri-Services Staff Talks….reports Asian Lite News

As part of ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division of Bangladesh Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman, met with Indian

and Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The official Twitter account of the Additional Directorate General of Public Information, IHQ of the MoD (Army), tweeted about it, saying, “Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division, #Bangladesh called on General Manoj Pande #COAS and discussed ways to enhance the bilateral #DefenceCooperation between both Nations. #IndiaBangladeshFriendship”.

“Lt Gen Waker-Uz-Zaman, Principal Staff Officer, Armed Forces Division, #Bangladesh on an official visit to India called on Adm R Hari Kumar, #CNS. Reaffirmed commitment to strengthening multi-disciplinary bilateral engagements & shared responsibilities towards #maritimesecurity,” the Indian Navy tweeted.

Lieutenant General Waker-Uz-Zaman was in India as the head of a 15-member Bangladeshi armed forces to attend the 4th Annual Defence Dialogue and 2nd Tri-Services Staff Talks.

India and Bangladesh, meanwhile, reiterated their commitment to strengthening bilateral military ties at the 2nd India-Bangladesh Tri-services Staff Talks (TSST) held in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Brigadier General Husain Muhammad Rahaman, Director General Operation and Plan Directorate, Armed Force Division from Bangladesh, and Brigadier General Vivek Narang, Deputy Assistant Chief of Integrated Staff, IDC(A), HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), co-chaired the meeting.

“The discussions focused on the ongoing and new initiatives taken under the ambit of the existing bilateral defence cooperation mechanism of all three services and further strengthened the bilateral defence engagements,” said a press release issued by the Ministry of Defence.

Before arriving in New Delhi, the delegation visited various defence industries in Bangalore.

“They witnessed the capabilities of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Tata Advanced Systems Limited and Big Bang Boom Solutions before departing for Delhi,” the Indian High Commission in Bangladesh said on Twitter.

The TSST is a platform created to strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries via routine discussions at the strategic and operational levels between HQ IDS and Bangladesh Armed Forces Division.

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India News

6 killed in J&K suicide attack; injured soldier succumbs

With the death of the injured soldier, the toll in Thursday’s foiled ‘Fidayeen’ (Suicide) attack in Rajouri district has reached six….reports Asian Lite News

 An army soldier who was injured while fighting the terrorists on Thursday in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district succumbed to his critical injuries in the hospital.

A Defence statement said on Tuesday evening: “Rifleman Nishant Malik who was injured while bravely fighting and eliminating 2 terrorists in Pargal, Rajouri has succumbed to injuries.

“Indian Army condoles the loss of braveheart and stands in solidarity with his family,” it added.

Malik was a resident of Adarsh Nagar village in Haryana’s Hisar.

With the death of the injured soldier, the toll in Thursday’s foiled ‘Fidayeen’ (Suicide) attack in Rajouri district has reached six.

Three Indian Army personnel on Thursday succumbed to injuries received while neutralising two terrorists carrying out a suicide bomb attack in Rajouri.

Subedar Rajendra Prasad, Rifleman Manoj Kumar and Rifleman Lakshmanan D made the supreme sacrifice for the country during the operation on Thursday morning.

However, the Army managed to foil a suicide bomb attack on its base here and killed both the terrorists.

The martyred persons were shifted to medical facilities for further treatment, Army officials said here.

“In a terrorist attack 25 km from Rajouri, two terrorists carried out a suicide bomb attack on an Army company operating base. Both terrorists have been killed while three own troops have lost their lives. Operations in progress,” Indian Army officials told ANI.

“One Officer along with two other jawans is injured in the terrorist attack and has been rushed for medical treatment,” the sources said.

16 Corps Commander Lt Gen Manjinder Singh is constantly monitoring the situation on the ground. The area is being sanitised, they added.

The suicide bomb attack on the company operating base of a Rashtriya Rifles unit in Pargal located in the Darhal area of Rajouri looks like an attempt to carry out a Uri-like attack where terrorists had infiltrated the Army camp and killed 19 soldiers.

The attempt to infiltrate the Army camp took place days ahead of the 75th Independence Day celebration in the country.

Notably, the attack comes a day after three LeT terrorists were neutralised by security forces in Budgam. One of the killed terrorists was involved in the killing of civilians Rahul Bhat and Amreen Bhat.

“All the three hiding LeT terrorists neutralised. Bodies being retrieved from the site, identification is yet to be ascertained. Incriminating materials, arms & ammunition were recovered. A big success for us” said a tweet by Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Kashmir. (ANI)

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French Rafale jets make crucial stopover in India

The contingent which comprises three Rafale jets and support aircraft, landed at Air Force Station Sulur on Wednesday evening and flew out in the early hours of Thursday after refuelling…reports Asian Lite News

A French Air and Space Force contingent, including three Rafale jets, was hosted in India during Indo-Pacific deployment on Wednesday, a statement issued by the French Embassy in New Delhi said.

The contingent which was en route to New Caledonia was hosted for a technical stopover at Air Force Station in Sulur town of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district on August 10-11 during a long-distance deployment from metropolitan France to the Pacific Ocean.

“From 10th August to 18th September, the French Air and Space Force is carrying out a major long-range mission in the Indo-Pacific, code-named Pegase 22. The first stage of this mission aims to demonstrate France’s capacity for long-distance air power projection by deploying an Air Force contingent from metropolitan France to the French territory of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean in less than 72 hours (10th-12th August). To achieve this unprecedented 16,600-km deployment, the Air Force contingent made a technical stopover in India, at Air Force Station Sulur,” the statement read.

The contingent which comprises three Rafale jets and support aircraft, landed at Air Force Station Sulur on Wednesday evening and flew out in the early hours of Thursday after refuelling, as per the French Embassy.

“The operation demonstrated a high level of mutual trust and interoperability between the French and Indian Air Forces, which has been further boosted by the fact that both Air Forces now fly Rafale jets. It also illustrated the concrete implementation of the reciprocal logistics support agreement signed by France and India in 2018,” the statement read further.

Lauding the IAF’s role in this successful operation, the Ambassador of France to India, Emmanuel Lenain, said: “France is a resident power of the Indo-Pacific, and this ambitious long-distance air power projection demonstrates our commitment to the region and our partners. It is only natural that to carry out this mission, we rely on India, our foremost strategic partner in Asia. My heartfelt thanks to the Indian Air Force for welcoming the French contingent.”

In the following stages of Mission Pegase 22, the French Air Force contingent will take part in the “Pitch Black” air exercise taking place in Australia from 17th August to 10th September. The Indian Air Force will also participate in this multilateral drill, along with Australia, Japan, United States, Germany, Indonesia, Singapore, United Kingdom, and South Korea.

Mission Pegase 22 is a powerful demonstration of France’s capacity for quick deployment in the Indo-Pacific. The mission is also proof that the security situation in Europe has not diminished the French and European commitment in the Indo-Pacific. In this respect, it also aims to strengthen ties with key strategic partners, such as India, and underline France’s support for security and stability in the region.

India and France have traditionally close and friendly relations. In 1998, the two countries entered into a Strategic Partnership which is emblematic of their convergence of views on a range of international issues apart from a close and growing bilateral relationship. (ANI)

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Madras HC rejects PIL against masks, lawyer fined

The court dismissed the petition and imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the litigant….reports Asian Lite News

Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer against the state government over its insistence on wearing masks.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N. Mala passed the orders on the petition filed by Advocate S.V. Ramamurthy who claimed that wearing masks had adverse effects and that people were not able to inhale oxygen properly.

The petitioner, in his Public Interest Litigation, had challenged a Tamil Nadu government order issued by the state health department on January 12 and another order issued by the Greater Chennai Corporation on July 4 for imposing a fine of Rs 500 for those who did not wear masks.

The court dismissed the petition and imposed costs of Rs 10,000 on the litigant.

Meanwhile in Delhi, the government has made wearing of masks in public places mandatory and a fine of Rs 500 will be imposed on violators, in the wake of a sudden surge of new Covid-19 cases.

The decision was taken by the DDMA after noticing that people were not adhering to wearing of masks at public places.

The district administration has been directed to implement the decisions which were taken in the DDMA’s meeting held in April.

“The DDMA after examining all the relevant facts related to the issue of penal provisions for not adhering to the Covid protocol of wearing of masks at public places, decided that whereby not wearing of face mask/cover in all public places has been made an offence, a fine of Rs 500 for not wearing of face mask/cover in all public places in Delhi will be imposed,” said a Delhi government notification.

It further said that people travelling together in a private vehicles will be exempt from being fined.

In view of the decision, three Enforcement Teams in Revenue District South has been constituted to monitor the enforcement of the mandate.

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Rajiv assassination convict Nalini seeks premature release

S. Nalini, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, has moved the apex court challenging the Madras High Court order, which dismissed her plea saying that it cannot exercise powers under Article 142…reports Asian Lite News

A convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case has moved the Supreme Court seeking premature release.

S. Nalini, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, has moved the apex court challenging the Madras High Court order, which dismissed her plea saying that it cannot exercise powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to pass a similar order, which was passed by the apex court to release another accused, A.G. Perarivalan, in the case. “The directions sought by the petitioner cannot be given by the court, as it otherwise does not have power similar to what the apex court has under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. For the foregoing reasons, the writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable”, said the high court in an order passed on June 17.

On May 18, the Supreme Court invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution, as it ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan, sentenced to life in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao (retired now), B. R. Gavai, and A. S. Bopanna said: “in the exceptional facts and circumstances of this case, in exercise of our power under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that the Appellant is deemed to have served the sentence in connection with crimea.. The Appellant, who is on bail, is set at liberty forthwith”. Perarivalan is currently on bail. His death sentence was commuted to life sentence and terrorism charges were withdrawn.

The top court took into account Perarivalan’s prolonged period of incarceration, his satisfactory conduct in jail as well as during parole, chronic ailments from his medical records, his educational qualifications acquired during incarceration and the pendency of his petition under Article 161 for two and a half years after the recommendation of the state cabinet. The top court judgment came on Perarivalan’s remission plea.

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Modi-Shehbaz meeting likely during SCO summit: Report

Sharif will attend the conference during which he is likely to meet the presidents of China, Russia, Iran, as well as Modi…reports Asian Lite News

Narendra Modi and Shehbaz Sharif, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, are likely to have a meeting during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, diplomatic sources told a media outlet.

The SCO summit is scheduled for September 15-16 where leaders of the organisation will sit together to discuss regional challenges, Daily Jang reported.

Sharif will attend the conference during which he is likely to meet the presidents of China, Russia, Iran, as well as Modi, according to the sources.

The sources further confirmed that in its July 28 meeting, the SCO Foreign ministers HAD reiterated that the heads of SCO states will attend the summit.

However, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto, who had attended the meeting in Tashkent, said that a bilateral meeting between the Pakistani and Indian leaders is not scheduled.

“There are no plans of any meetings between Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers in September,” he had said, adding that both India and Pakistan are part of the SCO and the two countries are only engaged in the context of the broad-based activities of the organisation.

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