Showing posts from August, 2016

History of US-India Relations

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to skip the upcoming Non-Aligned Summit in Venezuela sends a powerful signal of his Hindu Nationalist government's growing commitment to India's partnership with the United States. The latest logistics deal allowing the US forces to use Indian military bases is an indication of how the Americans intend to play the India card against China after the Cold War,  just as they played the China card against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The US-India deal is part of the  US “pivot” to Asia designed to check rising China. The U.S. Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in Asia in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities, according to Forbes magazine . This deal will accelerate the unfolding  post Col-War realignment taking place in South Asia. Massive

Development Boom in Pakistan's Thar Desert

Thar, one of the least developed regions of Pakistan, is seeing unprecedented development activity in energy and infrastructure projects.  New roads, airports and buildings are being built along with coal mines and power plants. There are construction workers and machinery visible everywhere in the desert. Along with renewed hopes for the region and its people, development boom is also raising concerns about the environment and its impact on the residents. Thar Coal Development. Photo Credit: Amar Guriro  Thar Development Projects: The Tharparker District or simply the Thar Desert is located in the southeastern province of Sindh. It is  receiving a lot of attention because the desert sands hide an estimated 175 billion tons of coal underneath. In December 2015, China agreed to invest $1.2 billion to develop Thar coal and establish a 660 MW  coal-fired power plant . The coal deposits are divided into 12 blocks, each containing approximately 2 billion tons. In the first pha

Travel and Tourism Industry Growth in Pakistan

Pakistan's travel and tourism industry is booming with significant improvement in security situation. In 2015, it contributed  7% of Pakistan's GDP .  It includes foreign and domestic travel and tourism spending or employment in the equivalent economy-wide concept in the published national income accounts or labour market statistics. There are are multiple indicators showing this industry will contribute more this year. Growth in  air travel  and  hotel occupancy  are among the top indicators of travel and travel and tourism industry growth. Pakistan Hotel Occupancy Source: Express Tribune Hotel Occupancy: “The rate of hotel occupancy has surged to 80% across the country compared to 35% before the current calendar year started,” said Beach Luxury Hotel Director Business Development Rehan Wahid, according to report in the  Express Tribune  newspaper. “Hotels in Islamabad and Lahore are fully booked most of the days. However, this is yet to happen in Karachi,” he said.

Is Modi's "Make in India" Campaign All Hype?

Some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's supporters claim that his "Make in India" campaign has brought India to the verge of becoming a manufacturing behemoth 69 years after the nation's independence. Others claim India is already a manufacturing powerhouse. Let's examine these claims based on data. Manufacturing Ranking : While India now ranks 6th in the world in terms of total manufacturing output, it still sits at a very low 142nd position terms of manufacturing value added per capita, according to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization's  Industrial Development Report 2016 .  Pakistan's manufacturing value added is ranked 146th by the same report. Manufacturing Output: India's 3% share of the world's total manufacturing output puts it at a distant sixth position behind China's 24%, United States' 17%,  Japan's 16%, Germany's 7% and South Korea's 4%. The  UNIDO data  shows that India's manufactu

Pakistan's Rising Economy; US Democratic Party Convention; Modi's Crackdown on AAP

How's Pakistan's economy doing? What do broad economic indicators of rising consumption of energy, autos, cement and steel show ? Do these indicators confirm government's GDP growth figures? How are the investors responding to these indicators? What is the impact of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects on the economic activity in the country? How do the two major party conventions in 2016 compare? Did one party do a better job of appealing to the broad electorate better than the other? Who's more ready to be the next US president? Hillary or Trump ? Who's better for ethnic and religious minorities, particularly Pakistani-Americans and Muslim-Americans? How was the DNC speech by Pakistani-American Khizr Khan, the father of slain war hero US Army Captain Humayun Khan, received by the DNC delegates and the broader US public? Was it effective in fighting Trump's overt Islamophobia ? Why is the Modi government arresting nearly a dozen Aam Aadmi Pa