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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Veg Modi lands in white house as third Oil US war against terror gets momentum,nevertheless elegant Sus resolved Indo Sino standoff! Lawsuit makes for awkward start to Modi's big U.S. visit India regains 'stable' outlook from S&P on Modi reform agenda P

Veg Modi lands in white house as third Oil US war against terror gets momentum,nevertheless elegant Sus resolved Indo Sino standoff!

Lawsuit makes for awkward start to Modi's big U.S. visit

India regains 'stable' outlook from S&P on Modi reform agenda

Palash Biswas

Indian prime minister Narendra Bhai Modi lands in White house exactly on an appropriate time most suitable for the US NATO war against terrorism as US-led coalition continues targeting IS oil facilities.IS bases and checkpoints were also attacked by the international aviation coalition on the outskirts of al-Mayadin city, where training camps for foreign fighters are believed to be located.Obama has vowed to keep up military pressure against IS, which advanced through Kurdish areas of northern Iraq despite air strikes; Britain expected to join assault; France joins after execution of French citizen; FBI claims to have identified masked man in execution videos.

VISA problem solved.No further trouble ahead because of Gujarat genocide despite the untimely summon from a US court.As congress is immunised in Sikh genocide case,it would be managed in the same way.

Never forget,US interest have been protected thanks to so much so media hype as Modi`s attempt for a resurrection of Panchsheel have been aborted with surgical precision trapping the political leadership and the great Indian emerging free market continues to be US periphery.

However,the foreign minister Sushama Swaraj proved to be rather a different diplomatic personality who succeeded to get rid off the imaginary Mcmohan line Indo SINO  standoff resolving the border issue within hours just on first assignment on a foreign territory.

US-led aircraft have once again pounded oil production facilities under the control of the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group in northeastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported Friday.

According to SOHR, which monitors the military situation in Syria, the raids were carried out Thursday in Deir al-Zur province.

Targeted were the al-Tank oilfield in the eastern suburbs of Deir al-Zur city and other oilfields in the area of al-Quria, SOHR said.

IS bases and checkpoints were also attacked by the international aviation coalition on the outskirts of al-Mayadin city, controlled by the radical organisation and where training camps for foreign fighters are believed to be located.

The US began early this week launching airstrikes against IS-held positions in Syria in which warplanes from other nations joined in.

Oil sales are a major income source for the IS along with extortion and the sale of looted antiquities.

In June, the jihadis proclaimed an Islamic caliphate in the territories they control in Syria and Iraq.

For a decade, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was denied a visa to the United States because of the way he handled street fighting between Hindus and Muslims in the state he once led. Fast forward to today, and the same man is being welcomed with open arms by corporate executives, Indian Americans and, most importantly, President Barack Obama.

However,Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his maiden visit to the United States as India's leader on Friday, facing an unwelcome reminder of his once-strained relations with his host nation: a lawsuit alleging he failed to stop anti-Muslim rioting in 2002.

(Reuters) - India regained its "stable" rating from Standard and Poor's on Friday, more than two years after an embarrassing downgrade, in a validation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious agenda of economic and fiscal reforms.

S&P had cut India's "BBB-minus" rating to "negative" in April 2012, leaving it on the verge of a "junk" rating. That came to symbolize plummeting investor confidence because of corruption cases and a perception of the political paralysis of the then Congress-led government.

But foreign investor confidence has returned after Modi was elected in May, pledging to revive investments and boost growth. He will travel to the United States later on Friday on his first visit as prime minister, and has meetings lined up with 17 U.S. corporate chiefs.

Shares have surged to record highs this year and bonds have also rallied, in a remarkable comeback from last year, when India suffered its worst market turmoil since a 1991 balance of payment crisis - all based on the promise held by Modi's agenda.

The S&P upgrade is likely to buy Modi some more time to deliver on these sky-high expectations, as the credit agency urged the government to resolve growth impediments such as bottlenecks on energy supply.

"Our outlook revision indicates that we believe the current government's strong mandate will enable it to implement many of its administrative, fiscal and economic reforms," S&P said in its statement.

India is now rated at the lowest investment grade with a "stable" outlook by all three major global credit agencies, in line with fellow BRICS countries Brazil and South Africa.

The government welcomed S&P's upgrade, which had been much speculated upon in markets in recent weeks.

"The stable outlook reflects our view that the new government has both willingness and capacity to implement reforms necessary to restore some of India's lost growth potential," Arvind Mayaram, the country's economic affairs secretary, told reporters after the upgrade.

S&P cited India's external position and its improving current account balance as other positive factors.

India's progress in narrowing its current account deficit, with measures such as curbs on gold imports by the previous Congress government, along with Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan's commitment to curb inflation, were factors behind the recovery of foreign investor interest in India.

But key constraints include India's "low wealth level" as well as its "weak public finances," the credit agency noted. S&P also warned it could lower India's rating should the reform agenda stall over the next 24 months.


Modi's government still faces a key test in meeting its ambitious fiscal deficit target of 4.1 percent of gross domestic product for the year ending in March, which will need tax revenue to pick up and the successful partial privatisations of state-run companies, such as Coal India (COAL.NS).

The government has also pledged to revive investments and boost infrastructure projects to boost the economy after the last two years marked India's longest spell of growth of less than 5 percent in a quarter of a century.

But indicators remain mixed, while Modi disappointed investors in July with a budget that unveiled few of the major reforms they had expected.

Analysts said India remained far from an actual ratings upgrade, while market gains could reverse should reforms waver.

"While some quarters will make a case for a rating upgrade next, the latter is still some distance away, as some clarity is still required on the fiscal consolidation efforts, take-off pace of the reform agenda and sustained pick-up in growth in a controlled inflationary environment," said Radhika Rao, an economist for DBS in Singapore.

Still, S&P added it could raise India's rating should it return to an annual real per capita gross domestic product of 5.5 percent, and if fiscal, external and inflation metrics improve.

"The stable outlook for the next 24 months reflects our view that the new government has both the willingness and capacity to implement reforms necessary to restore some of India's lost growth potential, consolidate its fiscal accounts, and permit the Reserve Bank of India to carry out effective monetary policy," it said.

Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi (L) is greeted by dignitaries as he arrives at JFK airport in New York September 26, 2014, a day before his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly.  REUTERS/Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia

Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi (L) is greeted by dignitaries as he arrives at JFK airport in New York September 26, 2014, a day before his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his maiden visit to the United States as India's leader on Friday, facing an unwelcome reminder of his once-strained relations with his host nation: a lawsuit alleging he failed to stop anti-Muslim rioting in 2002.

Washington and New Delhi brushed off the suit brought in a U.S. court on the eve of Modi's arrival, saying it would not affect the visit, which includes an address at the U.N. General Assembly in New York and meetings with President Barack Obama.

However, it made for an awkward start to a trip aimed at revitalizing a business and security relationship that both countries consider important, but which has been beset by peripheral squabbles and long failed to live up to its billing.

Before his May election, Modi was not welcome in the United States because of the riots in his home state of Gujarat, in which more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, died in reprisals after a train carrying Hindu pilgrims was set on fire.

The Hindu nationalist Modi was denied a U.S. visa in 2005 under a U.S. law that bars entry to foreigners who have committed "particularly severe violations of religious freedom." However, Obama was quick to invite him after his election.

The Indian government called the lawsuit, filed on Thursday in a New York federal court by a little-known human rights group called American Justice Center, a "frivolous and malicious attempt to distract attention" from Modi's visit.

The case appears largely symbolic and unlikely to bring any serious legal consequences. White House spokesman Josh Earnest stressed that heads of government enjoyed immunity from U.S. lawsuits and said he did not think the issue would affect efforts to deepen a "highly valued" strategic partnership.

Analysts said the suit was a clear attempt to embarrass Modi, who has carefully nurtured an image in recent years as a modernizing reformist who can rescue India's ailing economy.

On Thursday, the U.S. business lobby questioned Modi's reformist credentials and called on Obama to press for a removal barriers to fair trade when the two leaders meet in Washington on Monday and Tuesday.

Analysts say Washington considers Modi's visit an important opportunity to deepen a relationship with a country its sees as a key counterbalance in Asia to an increasingly assertive China.


Before leaving Delhi on Thursday, Modi spoke of "shared values, convergent interests and complementary strengths" between India and the United States.

However, the relationship has shown itself vulnerable to unexpected hiccups.

Last year, it sank to its lowest ebb in decades over the treatment of a junior Indian diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, who was arrested and strip-searched in New York after being accused of visa fraud and underpaying a domestic worker.

Indian and U.S. government officials, as well as political analysts, said they did not expect Modi's visit to be shaken off course by the lawsuit.

"This is certainly an attempt by one activist group to embarrass Mr. Modi," said Dhruva Jaishankar, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund. "I do believe, however, that neither government will let this derail their official interactions."

The president of the American Justice Center, Joseph Whittington, acknowledged that the lawsuit - which seeks compensatory and punitive damages for crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings - did not have a good chance but said there was victory in "symbolism."

In June, a U.S. judge dismissed a similar suit filed last year against Sonia Gandhi, the leader of India's Congress Party, which claimed she helped organize anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

Whittington, a city council member in Harvey, Illinois, said some of his constituents were refugees from the violence in Gujarat, who now form part of the fast-growing Indian Diaspora in the United States.

Modi is expected to be warmly welcomed by much of this community. A weekend event at New York's Madison Square Garden is expected to draw the largest crowd ever by a foreign leader on U.S. soil.

However, some protests are expected. A group called the Alliance for Justice and Accountability is calling for people to picket the venue and wave black flags in protest. Another group, the Sikhs for Justice that filed the Gandhi suit, will convene a 'Citizen's Court' where they will indict Modi at a park in front of the White House when he meets Obama.

The lawyer representing the American Justice Center, a non-profit organization formed to sue on behalf of India's religious minorities said it was offering a $10,000 reward to anyone would serve court papers on Modi. Modi or his lawyer would have 21 days to respond.

Sep 27 2014 : The Economic Times (Kolkata)

Boom Time for E-commerce but Fraud Play on the Cards

Harsimran Julka

New Delhi:

CYBER SECURITY WOES As more Indians go online to make payments, unscrupulous merchants are seen misusing payment gateways

New Delhi: As more Indians step up to make online payments, there is a proliferation of payment gateways and mobile wallets, many of which are facing the risk of being misused by unscrupulous merchants. Payment service providers like Citrus Pay and PayU claim the low interest rates offered by payment gateways1% compared with upto 3%charged by credit card companies is being taken advantage of by several small traders who set up online stores and withdraw money citing fake transactions.

"We have suffered ` . 4.5 lakh of fraud out of which one ecommerce merchant sold a used `car' worth ` . 1 lakh to himself by his credit card," said Nitin Gupta, CEO of PayU India, one of India's leading payment gateways, which has over 30,000 ecommerce merchants registered with it.

Cash withdrawal at an ATM in India through a credit card is charged at about 2.7%-2.8% monthly, which on an annualized compounded basis comes to about 40%. But a swipe at your own e-store will land you `instant' cash at just 1%, the rate now being charged by most mobile wallets and payment gateways for e-commerce transactions.

It's this loophole, that small time traders have found to be a cash rotating machine by opening fake online retail companies. "In the particular case, the transaction went through but was caught as the buyer and seller account details were the same. No real sale happened," said Gupta.

About $5 billion worth of online transactions are expected to happen this year.India's e-commerce industry is projected to grow to over $12 billion by end of next year. As the industry grows, companies such as Mumbai-based Citrus Pay have seen a rise in frauds.

"In Timtara's case, the whole payments industry lost over Rs one crore as the merchant failed to deliver the goods," said Jeetendra Gupta, cofounder of CitrusPay, a payment gateway. E-commerce portal Timtara shutdown last year after arrests of management, as they failed to deliver products, when they ran out of cash accepted from buyers.

The illegal practice of swiping card for cash is quite prevalent amongst the trader hubs of India. "Legally, swiping card for cash is not allowed in India unlike in the UK or US. There have been rackets in the past that the police have busted," said Nidhi Gurnani, cofounder of Cardback, an app which advises buyers on their credit card usage.

The other reason behind swiping credit cards for fake sales is to earn rewards.

"In accelerated reward point schemes, one can earn up to `. 20,000 on a swipe of `.1 lakh," said Gurnani.

As merchants move to sell online, card for cash model is also moving to the online world. "Some ecommerce companies accept digital payments for products but instead used the cash to run operations. They don't deliver on time," Gupta of CitrusPay added.

Not only payment gateways but mobile wallets have also become extremely cautious. It's easier to swipe money from a credit card into a bank account. Users are able to withdraw cash from their credit cards at almost 0% in mobile wallets compared to up to 2% they are charged on e-commerce portals. "We allow only . 5,000 ` worth of money to be loaded via a credit card into our mobile wallet. We also take at least 3 days to transfer money to a bank account, to check fraudulent transactions," said Sunil Kulkarni, Deputy Managing Director at mobile wallet firm Oxigen Services (India) Pvt Ltd.

About ` . 1800 crore of transactions went through Oxigen last year, of which the company charges 1%, usually from the vendors.


To curb fake online sale frauds, payment gateways such as PayU and CitrusPay have launched detection mechanisms.

"The very first check we have is to fingerprint the IP address of the device which is making an abnormal payment," said Gupta of PayU India, a Naspers funded company. If it's the same device a merchant used to register with payment gateway, he or she can be caught redhanded. The second is to record the location of the access of the product and its price. Now, every product over ` . 10,000 which passes through PayU's gateways now pass through these checks.

Mumbai-based CitrusPay has also in troduced checks where they can de tect whether a certain card is do ing transactions repeatedly.

To get cash released from gateways some mer chants have started fak ing proof of delivery courier receipts. "If its a new merchant, we call customers to check whether they have received the product," Gupta of Citrus Pay added.

According to RBI, there are about 1.9 crore credit card users in the country.

According to latest data by RBI for 2014, about ` . 14,000 crore of transactions went through in the month of June.

About a fourth of the 17,867 complaints that India's banking om budsmen received in 2012-13 were relat ed to card transac tions.

While the latest card fraud data is not available, about ` . 13 crore worth of card fraud was net ted in 2011.

Sep 27 2014 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)

`For the Two Nations, Biggest Potential Is In Defence'

The US starts at a disadvantage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whom they haven't worked with for over a decade. Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia programme of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, talks to ET's Vikas Dhoot about the cautious optimism in the US about the Modi government and areas of concern where Obama and the US private sector would like more clarity during the PM's US visit.

Given the state of drift in Indo-US ties since 2010, do we need a reboot?

We don't need a reboot, but we are literally starting from scratch as the US had no relations with Narendra Modi for over a decade. So the US is starting from a disadvantage as it waited till the last minute to refresh and reorient its

Modi strategy and the president and the cabinet would have to go that extra mile to make a good start.

The hangover from the last few years of the UPA government has made people in the US government upset with the lack of momentum from India towards US and its economic performance. There is now some cautious optimism about the Indian economy getting back on track and Modi's active foreign policy engagements. Most people are encouraged by Modi's first few months, but are waiting to see more details.

Washington is in a mood to strike up new deals with India and is eager to seize the window of opportunity with a new government. The bureaucracy realises this is an important moment, but we need leadership at the highest level to champion this.

What is Washington's take on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal being a non-starter?

They feel that they have been left hanging and there is no return on investment on this front. But since the Modi government is business-friendly and focused on energy security, it may find a way to revisit the civil nuclear liability laws or find a loophole that allows investors to come in.

What are the areas where Modi and Obama could make a fresh start?

The biggest potential clearly is in defence, which is a key component of the `Make In India' pitch unveiled by the PM. The two countries could look at co-production and development of defence technologies. On energy, India is keen to get shale exports from the US, but the tricky part is the US would like a commitment on climate change in return. Thirdly, given the PM's focus on skilling the youth to realise India's demographic dividend, India must consider legislative changes to allow US universities to come in. The US could also help India's drive to build smart cities and improve sanitation, with its expertise.

Areas of concern for the US?

One open question is whether Modi is pro-business, where incumbents are favoured and there are no big changes in FDI or privatisation policies, or promarkets, which would raise FDI, expedite privatisation and weaken incumbents. It's too early, but one can sense that he is more pro-business from some of his initial decisions. US firms are also curious about why Modi isn't bringing a delegation of Indian businesses along.

What are the signals you would look for, from the PM's address to the United Nations General Assembly?

We would like to see his Pakistan policy after the cancellation of foreign secretary level talks. US understands India's position and Pakistan's internal problems, but would like to know what's next. There is also a lingering concern about secularism as people find the `love jihad' campaign troubling, though Modi is not associated with it. He has made progressive comments about Indian Muslims for the international audience, but he didn't condemn Yogi Adityanath's statements at home.

Sep 27 2014 : The Economic Times (Mumbai)


Vikas Dhoot

Fresh pacts on financial sector reforms and online education also likely along with commitments to revitalise multiple, strategic bilateral forums

Reviving negotiations on the US-India bilateral investment treaty will be on top of Barack Obama agenda when he meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington early next week.

Officials also expect India and the US to sign fresh pacts on financial sector reforms and online education which will be part of the joint statement to be issued by the two leaders after their bilateral talks.

"We are expecting a memorandum of understanding to be signed between India and the US treasury department on financial sector reforms and an agreement to boost online education," said an official aware of the priority areas that the US government would like to discuss with Modi. He didn't want to be named.

For US businesses, the bilateral investment treaty is critical as it can bolster investor confidence that has been rattled by a series of high-profile disputes between the Indian government and global investors such as Vodafone, Samsung and Nokia. While the Modi government has pledged to make it easier to do business in India, investors' concerns about ambiguous regulatory and taxation policies remain high.

Fresh commitments are also expected to revitalise multiple, strategic bilateral forums such as the trade policy forum, the US-India CEO Forum and dialogue on issues such as higher education, science and technology.

Activating a private sector advisory group set up last year to provide strategic advice to the US-India Trade Policy Forum could also figure in the talks, as would reconstituting a ministerial economic financial and economic partner ship forum that hasn't met since October 2012.

"The joint statement by the two leaders could signal that meetings would restart to negotiate the bilateral investment pact that would help US businesses look at greater investments in India," the official said, adding that such a pact would bolster Indian investments in the US that are rising.

White House officials said that the US government is looking to seize the opportunity to work with the Modi government and reinvigor ate the strategic partnership between the two countries and elevate the depth and breadth of ties. This includes re-energising 40 different working t groups between d the countries on various issues, while the US will strive to identify strive to identify areas of co-operation in the areas identified as priorities by the PM such as infrastructure, manufacturing and skills.

"We look forward to continue our emphasis on India's energy security, including providing access to energy for 400 million Indians that currently have insufficient access and clean energy technologies," said Nisha Desai Biswal, US assistant secretary of state for south and Central Asia.

She also said that the US will look to bridge the gaps on its areas of concern such as Intellectual Property Rights, various constraints on investments and the ongoing discussion on the trade facilitation agreement under the WTO, while looking at India's legitimate long term concerns on food security.

"We fundamentally respect India's history and approach to the WTO and also believe that as our bilateral relations strengthen, we will come closer on issues of multilateral importance. We are launching and re-animating a dialogue on international issues such as peacekeeping and working together ahead of such multilateral meetings," she said.

Asia & Pacific

India's Modi begins rock star-like U.S. tour

By Annie Gowen September 26 at 1:18 PM

NEW DELHI — Thousands of supporters are expected to throng midtown Manhattan on Sunday to greet India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, a reception more befitting a rock star or a pope than a visiting foreign dignitary.

Modi, the leader of India's Bharatiya Janata Party, will speak to a capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden on Sunday in a show replete with laser lights, holo­graphic images and former Miss America Nina Davuluri as co-host. The event will be broadcast in Times Square and 100 other venues around the country. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has added extra trains to accommodate the expected crowds. A red carpet will be unfurled.

The excitement over Modi's first visit to the United States is a measure of his popularity at home and the high expectations surrounding his five-day trip, where he will speak at the United Nations, meet business leaders and travel to Washington for a summit with President Obama on Monday and Tuesday.

In the days leading up to the visit, officials on both sides have played down the possibility of any headline-grabbing agreements between the two nations. Rather, the trip is an opportunity for Modi to meet one-on-one for the first time with Obama, congressional leaders and business leaders in his new role. And it is an opportunity to jump-start friendlier relations between the two large democracies, which have been tepid in recent years.

In his four-plus months in office, Modi, 64, has worked to consolidate his power base, reached out to Asian neighbors and tried to tackle some of India's most pernicious social ills, including substandard sanitation and violence against women.

But it is his vision of a new India — modern, efficient and free of the corruption that dogged previous administrations — that has attracted so many supporters in the United States. So many wanted to hear him speak at the Garden that 10,000 signed up for a lottery for the few seats remaining after most of the 18,000 free tickets were distributed to Indian American community groups.

"Whether you like him or not, he is 180 degrees different from the previous administration," said Anand Shah, a spokesman for the Indian American Community Foundation, one of the organizers of Sunday's event. "There's an opportunity for the rest of the world to engage in India in ways they haven't in the past, and there's an opportunity for the country to present a vision people can believe in."

Yet despite his popularity at home and abroad, the back story over Modi's controversial past lingers.

When Modi arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport on Friday, it was his first step on American soil since the United States denied him a visa in 2005 on the grounds that he violated religious freedoms while chief minister of the state of Gujarat by failing to do enough to stop Hindu-Muslim­ ­riots. He was formally invited to visit the United States by Obama only after his party's victory in May's elections.

Modi has said he harbors no ill will toward the United States, but many in India have not forgotten the controversy, including those who think Modi did nothing wrong. This week, Modi was issued a summons to appear before a New York court as part of a lawsuit by an American civil liberties group representing two of the victims of the Gujarat riots, and human rights protests are expected. Both American and Indian officials dismissed the lawsuit as an unnecessary distraction.

1 comment:

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