‘Hope Modi’s US visit will be an action-forcing mechanism … bilateral investment treaty would be a significant milestone’

With the White House having announced that US President Donald Trump will be hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this year in Washington, Ambassador William J Burns, President of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former US Deputy Secretary of State, spoke to Nalin Mehta on what New Delhi can expect from the first bilateral Modi-Trump meeting, Indo-US relations and the shifts in US diplomacy:

The White House said President Trump spoke with PM Modi to congratulate him on the outcome of Uttar Pradesh elections, to express support for Modi’s economic reform agenda, and to say that he was looking forward to hosting the PM in Washington. What are your expectations from the PM’s upcoming visit?

My strong hope is that when it comes to India, the Trump administration will look to sustain and deepen the efforts of its Democratic and Republican predecessors to further strengthen the bilateral partnership and put it to work to address shared global challenges.

I hope this visit will be used as an action-forcing mechanism to check off a number of important items from our shared to-do list.This includes the purchase of a US fighter for India’s armed forces and other defence cooperation items.

It includes continued progress in the economic sphere, where i believe we still have a long way to go to fully realise the promise of our strategic partnership.

Concluding the Bilateral Investment Treaty would be a significant milestone worthy of a significant effort by both governments.

President Trump is fundamentally changing long held pillars of US diplomacy. How will this impact India-US relations which have been recast in the last 15 years under both Democrat and Republican administrations?

You are right that beneath the surface, this Trump administration presents a fundamentally different approach to foreign affairs – a profound, and in my view troubling, deviation from the core elements on which American leadership and international order rest.

The United States, for all its imperfections, has stood for political and economic openness, respect for human dignity, and a sense of possibility. We have demonstrated a willingness to mobilise others to deal with shared problems. And we have invested in the institutions at home and abroad that can get ahead of crises and prevent conflict through wise, long-term investments.

To the extent that we walk away from these ideas, initiatives and institutions at the core of American leadership, i fear that we will see serious and long-term damage to America’s standing in the world, and in turn, to the potential for US-India relations.

What impact do you see of US policies on Asia and the balance of power in the region under President Trump?

Much of President Trump’s foreign policy seems to be reverting to the mainstream on first contact with reality, and that includes his approach to the Asia-Pacific.

But it’s clear that the Trump administration believes the United States is being held hostage in many respects by the very international order it created. It seems to see multilateral trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership as constraints rather than opportunities, and international and regional organisations as distracting, if not irrelevant.

That attitude could undermine our capacity and credibility to work together with India to shape a Pacific Century that reflects our shared interests and values.

Carnegie has been in India for a year. How different is working in India compared to other countries?

I have been deeply impressed by what my colleagues in Delhi have accomplished in such a short time. That is not a result of any imports from Washington or any of our global centres in Beijing, Beirut, Brussels or Moscow. It is a consequence of the fact that Carnegie India is led and staffed by extraordinary Indian experts who have a deep stake and commitment to India’s own domestic and international evolution.
Courtesy: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports

Source: http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/academic-interest/hope-modis-us-visit-will-be-an-action-forcing-mechanism-bilateral-investment-treaty-would-be-a-significant-milestone/?utm_source=Popup&utm_medium=Old&utm_campaign=TOIHP

Government in advanced talks with entities for investment in NIIF

Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das in New Delhi. (Source: PTI) Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das in New Delhi. (Source: PTI)

The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, is in an advanced stage of discussion with multilateral agencies and sovereign wealth funds for equity participation, economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das said on Sunday. “The NIIF is working to bring in other investors, who would become partners of government of India in setting up this fund,” Das said at an event organised by New Development Bank here.

Potential investors in the funds include Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Qatar Investment Authority and RUSNANO of Russia. Speaking on the fiscal policy, Das said the government has accepted most of the recommendations made by the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Committee, headed by former revenue secretary NK Singh. “Broadly, the committee’s report has been adopted by the finance minister in this year’s Budget and the fiscal target for 2017-18 has been fixed ..,” he said.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/business/economy/governmetn-in-advanced-talks-with-entities-for-investment-in-niif-4596941/

Working Paper: People’s History

Economic History of India AD 1206-1526 Economic History of India AD 1206-1526

Quietly, very quietly and very industriously, the Aligarh Historians Society and Tulika Books are filling out the contours of the People’s History of India, which is, perhaps, the most ambitious exploration of the past accessible to the lay public. The most interesting volumes step away from the traditional high points. They concern economy, technology and the environment, rather than accounts of who begat whom and who smote or blinded whom.

The volume devoted to the economic history of India under the Delhi Sultanate and the Vijayanagara Empire offers a vastly entertaining spectrum, from the macro effects of the global silver crunch of the 14th and 15th centuries, to the extremely micro issue of the annual production of ghee in Delhi under the Sultanate — less than 250 kg from buffaloes and a very meagre 150 kg from cows. There is a section on the geographically variable price control and taxation policies under Allauddin Khalji, which was triggered by the need to keep standing forces near Delhi to hold off the Mongols. This is history as it was lived, nothing like the dry genealogies we were force-fed in school.

For all the latest Lifestyle News, download Indian Express App now
Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/books/economic-history-of-india-ad-1206-1526-irfan-habib-peoples-history-4594459/

GDP check — What you need to know in markets on Thursday

The most anticipated economic data point of the week is due out Thursday morning, with the third estimate of fourth quarter GDP expected for release at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Overall, Wednesday was a quiet day in markets though the Dow did close in the red with the blue chip index being dragged down by losses of more than 1% from insurers UnitedHealth (UNH) and Travelers (TRV).

Since Monday morning’s sell-off and turnaround, markets have been pretty calm over the last couple days.

As good as it gets?

Here’s a great set of quotes from San Francisco Fed president John Williams, who spoke with Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer on Wednesday:

“[In terms of the} Goldilocks analogy, we don’t want it get too hot because that creates imbalances that lead to a recession but of course we don’t want to lose the hard won gains we’ve made since the end of the recession,” said Williams.

“I want to see an economy that’s basically running like it is now, with four, to four and a three quarters unemployment, that’s really low on a historical basis. Good steady income growth and inflation around 2% and I think that’s the track we’re on and as long as we stay on the path we’re on gradually removing monetary stimulus to the economy, I think we can navigate this.”

I asked Williams if he thought we’re in Goldilocks state right now.

“I think we’re getting closer to that. I feel like you’re setting me up for hubris here, right? In the sense that you never know what’s going to happen next. But I think we’re in a good place.”


“We have an economy close to where we want it to be,” Williams said. “Now let’s keep it growing.”

After Donald Trump’s election win, a commonly-cited reason why was “economic anxiety,” the vague idea that people left behind by globalization, or automation, or the recession were fueling the populist rhetoric we heard from Trump throughout the campaign.

Look at the decline in labor force participation over the last ten years and the flat-lining income growth over the last few decades, and we can see where this anxiety comes from.

But I think Williams’ comments on Wednesday illuminate part of how economists see the world and why this view is seemingly always in tension with how non-economists see the world.

With the unemployment rate below 5% and steady, with inflation rising just shy of the Fed’s 2% goal and not looking set to shoot higher, and with consumer confidence and stock prices on the rise, major economic indicators make the U.S. look downright idyllic right now. Or rather, idyllic in the context of a world in which some aspect of the economy is forever disappointing to someone.

When your neighbor loses a job, it’s a downturn. When you lose your job, it’s a recession. And while economists obviously can lose jobs like everyone else, this lens for viewing the world puts jobs into a more binary setting: you have one or you don’t.

And this more binary view of things either being good or bad goes down the whole run of economic indicators: is inflation rising or falling, confidence up or down, wages increasing or decreasing, and so on.

Run down the U.S. economy right now and a number (perhaps most) of these answers turn up positive. Walk down the street, ask 10 people how they are feeling about the economy, and the one person who is in dire straights, hasn’t had a job in years, and fears they’ll be evicted is the story that sticks with you. This is the one that matters.

Which gets back to the divide between economists and everyone else.

Economists see the data and a story that data tells about the economy. Most people just know how they feel — they know a story for themselves and others — and whether that is good or bad.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

Read more from Myles here:
Courtesy: https://news.yahoo.com/health/

Source: https://news.yahoo.com/news/gdp-check-what-you-need-to-know-in-markets-on-thursday-215819122.html