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    India Bags Nuclear Deal

     

    Sept. 8 – The deal is done. And it’s a big deal for India. It has gained the unique status of being the only nuclear weapons country to be included in global nuclear commerce without signing either the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty—until now a precondition for entering mainstream nuclear trade.

    The bitter sweet deal also signaled an ironical twist of fate in India's nuclear history. The Times of India reported that when the NSG “adjusted its guidelines’’ for India after 76 hours of high-voltage drama to waive the precondition and open the door for New Delhi to join the nuclear high table, a delicious piece of irony was enacted—the NSG was formed 34 years ago as a response to India’s 1974 Pokharan test and it was bending its rules to mainstream India’s nuclear ambition.

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    Indian Economy slows to 7.9 percent

     

    Sept. 1 – India's first-quarter economic growth slowed to 7.9 percent, the weakest in three-and-a-half years as interest rate hikes hit demand, but AFP quoted analysts said long-term prospects still looked solid.

    The figure for the three months to June was far below the previous quarter's growth of 8.8 percent and the 9.2 percent expansion logged by Asia's third-largest economy in the first quarter a year earlier.

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    General Motors to Invest US$200 Million in India

     

    Aug. 29 – Riding on India's automotive high, General Motors Corp said it would invest more than US$200 million in a plant for car engines in India.

    The facility, which will be located in Talegaon in western Maharashtra state, will be GM's second vehicle plant in India and will have an annual capacity of 160,000 units that can be expanded to 300,000 units, Reuters reported. The plant will make petrol and diesel engines and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2010.

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    India Inc’s Shopping Spree

    Aug. 26 – India Inc is on a shopping spree and energy and technology deals seem to be the best buys. Ironically, both these deals are not with American companies, long considered the safest buys by Indian companies investing abroad.

    Reuters reported that India's ONGC Videsh is finalizing a 1.4 billion pounds (US$2.6 billion) bid for Russia-focused oil explorer Imperial Energy Corp Plc while AFP reported that Indian outsourcing giant Infosys plans to buy British consultancy Axon Group for US$753.1 million (409 million pounds) in a bid to expand its business advisory footprint.

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    India Doesn’t Agree with New NSG Conditions

     

    Aug. 25 – Rising the heat on India's controversial nuclear deal further, Indian foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee, refused to accept any new conditions laid out by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, throwing the deal into limbo.

    Accepting any new multilateral agreements such as inspections of Indian civilian nuclear sites and cancellation of any waiver if India tests bombs again are not possible for the Indian government, Mukerjee told the 45-nation delegation in Vienna last week. "We have to see what kind of amendments come. Then only we can decide. But we cannot accept prescriptive conditionalities," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee as saying.

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    Venture Capital Investments Double 120 percent in the Second Quarter

     


    Aug. 22 – Venture-capital investment in India more than doubled by 120 percent in the second quarter of 2008, a Dow Jones report stated.

    Venture firms invested US$237.6 million across 17 deals in the three months ended June 30, compared with US$108 million and 12 deals a year earlier, according to data from VentureSource, a unit of Deal Journal publisher Dow Jones. Since the first quarter of 2007, when venture capitalists flooded India with US$436 million across 41 deals, investment had held steady at a quarterly average of roughly US$118 million through the first quarter of 2008.

    The biggest contributor to this year’s second-quarter jump is the US$70 million, second-round investment in Laqshya Media, a Mumbai provider of out-of-home media advertising services, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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    Two Medals and a Strike

     

    Aug. 21 – On the same day that India can boast of three Olmpic medals, 600,000 Indian public, rural and cooperative bank employees have gone on strike to protest the consolidation of state-run banks. The nationwide strike spearheaded by the banks unions is opposing the merger of the State Bank of Saurashtra with its parent SBI.

    "The government is hurriedly pursuing mergers without addressing our concerns. We will decide on what to do next," C.H. Venkatachalam, convenor of the United Forum of Bank Unions told Reuters.

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    India Hosts Asia’s Largest Solar Power Plant

     

    Aug. 20 – Asia's biggest solar thermal energy plant of 10 MW capacity would be set up at Nagpur, western India, by Acme a private company, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Vilas Muttemwar told the Economic Times. Nagpur would also be the site where the union government would set up a special economic zone to manufacture equipment and appliances related to wind, solar and biogas energy.

    The Indian central government has set a target of generating 14,000 MW additional power through renewable resources in the 11th Five-Year Plan, taking the total generation to more than 26,000 MW, the union minister added.

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