Angeredby a U.S. decision to sell eight more F-16 fighter
jets to Pakistan, India summoned U.S. Ambassador Richard Varma to the
External Affairs Ministry to express “displeasure” with the deal.
At the nearly 45-minute meeting, Foreign Secretary S.
Jaishankar told Mr. Varma that India was not only disappointed but also
upset that its protests over the past year on the issue had gone unheeded.
The Pentagon conveyed to the U.S. Congress the decision
to sell the planes in a $699.04-million deal, and the U.S. government
announced the sale.
Rejecting the State Department’s contention that the sale
was in the U.S.’s “vital national security interests” as it helped Pakistan
fight terror groups, the Ministry said, “We disagree with their rationale
that such arms transfers help combat terrorism. The record of the last many
years in this regard speaks for itself.”
India believes the sale will only strengthen Pakistan’s
ability to threaten India.
The U.S. move is a setback to India’s hopes that given
the mounting evidence of Pakistani agencies’ continuing support to
anti-India groups, the U.S. would rethink its arms sales to that country.
In the past week, many in the government had hoped the
details of the deposition in aMumbai court by the 26/11 planner David
Headley would remind the U.S. of the links of Pakistan’s ISI with these
The U.S. announcement has come at an inconvenient time,
when India is hoping to extract action from Pakistan on the Pathankot terror
Showcasing India as a land of immense opportunities,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi told representatives from 68 countries
participating in the Make in India Week that India was blessed with
Democracy, Demography, and Demand.
His government had added Deregulation making it a
four-dimensional India waiting for foreign investment and manufacturing
Spelling out the potential of the market before foreign
investors, Mr. Modi said, “50 of our cities are ready for setting up metro
We have to build 50 million houses. The requirement of
road, rail, waterways is enormous. There is no time for incremental changes.
We want a quantum jump.”
The Prime Minister said helaid great emphasis on zero
defect and zero effect manufacturing.
India place high emphasis on energy efficiency, water re-
cycling, waste to energy, clean India and river cleaning.
These initiatives are directed at improving quality of
life in cities and villages. These initiatives provide youadditional avenues
for investment in technologies, services and human resources.
Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan may have
raised a quiet toast with his colleagues on Friday evening after retail
inflation data showed the central bank had met its January 2016 target of
slowing the price gains to under 6 per cent.
The satisfaction would be understandable given that the
RBI had less than a year ago — at the end of February 2015 — entered into a
historic agreement with the government on an inflation targeting monetary
framework with clear and specified goals and timelines.
The first target of limiting retail inflation to 6 per
cent or below by January 2016 has now been met, with the government
reporting CPI data that showed the headline number at 5.59 per cent.
While the reading is a 17- month high, it has slowed
considerably from the 11.15per cent recorded in November 2013.
It’s the journey ahead to the next milestone of 5 per
cent by March 2017 which is likely to challenge monetary policy makers.
The target agreed by the government and the central bank
is for inflation of 4 per cent, with a band of plus or minus 2 per cent.
There are several factorsthat could contribute to roiling the RBI's
inflation targeting plans.