Tag Archives: India

India and US seal nuclear deal as Modi hosts Obama

25 January 2015 Last updated at 16:03 GMT

_80503578_025573539-1Narendra Modi broke with protocol to meet President Obama personally at the airport in Delhi

The US and India have announced a breakthrough on a pact that will allow American companies to supply India with civilian nuclear technology.

It came on the first day of President Barack Obama’s visit to India.

The nuclear deal had been held up for six years amid concerns over the liability for any nuclear accident.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the nations were embarking on a “new journey” of co-operation, with stronger defence and trade ties.

Mr Obama said that the nations had declared a new friendship.

Security is intense in Delhi, with Mr Obama to be the guest of honour at Monday’s Republic Day celebrations. Thousands of security personnel have been deployed in Delhi.

‘Renewed trust’

The nuclear pact had been agreed in 2008 but the US was worried about Indian laws on liability over any accidents.

Now, a large insurance pool will be set up, without the need for any further legislation.

US ambassador Richard Verma said: “It opens the door for US and other companies to come forward and actually help India towards developing nuclear power and support its non carbon-based energy production.”

_80505230_4ymom3z6Mr Obama stands for the anthems at Rashtrapati Bhavan

_80505232_ys9eajmjThe leaders take tea – or coffee – in the gardens of Hyderabad House

The BBC’s Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says the sides also agreed to increase their bilateral trade five times, from the current $100bn (£66.7bn) a year. The US will also sell more military hardware to India.

Earlier, Mr Modi stressed the importance of the visit by breaking with protocol to receive Mr Obama personally at Delhi airport.

After his arrival, the US president travelled to the presidential palace, Rashtrapati Bhavan, for an official welcoming ceremony.

Mr Obama laid a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial and planted a tree.

At a joint press conference, Mr Modi said the two countries were “starting a new journey” based on “renewed trust and sustained attention”.

He said of Mr Obama: “We have forged a friendship, there is openness when we talk.”

He said the two nations would increase cooperation on defence projects and on “eliminating terrorist safe havens and on bringing terrorists to justice”.

Mr Obama said the countries “had declared a new friendship to elevate our partnership”, which “commits to more meetings and consultations across governments”.

He added: “The new partnership will not happen overnight. It will need patience but will remain a top foreign policy priority for my administration.”

Out of bounds

The BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi says security around the Republic Day parade is generally tight, but this year the high-profile visit has taken preparations to a new level.

_80444894_cb709d49-2464-4b54-af1b-02391aaa1d26The parade venue India Gate and the Rajpath have been out of bounds for most people for the past few days

_80444789_pti1_21_2015_000263bA visit to the Taj Mahal is now off so the president can leave early for Saudi Arabia

India Gate and the Rajpath (the King’s Avenue), where Monday’s parade takes place, have been out of bounds for most people for the past few days, with thousands of policemen on duty.

Security has been upgraded at several upmarket hotels, where the US president and his team are staying.

Traffic restrictions have been put in place across the city, and extra checks have been taking place at metro stations.

Mr Obama’s visit to India has been shortened so he can visit Saudi Arabia and pay his respects following the death of King Abdullah.

It means he will not now visit the Taj Mahal.


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India calls for more spectrum; yet to rule on pricing

India’s Telecom Commission yesterday called for more airwaves to be made available in the country’s upcoming 2G spectrum auctions, but has yet to rule on whether to back the controversial high prices for licences suggested by the regulator.

The Commission said that at least 10MHz of spectrum should be made available in each service area, double the 5MHz recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The move is likely to be welcomed by local operators that have spoken out against the expected steep costs involved in acquiring the airwaves.

However, it is not clear if the additional spectrum will lead to lower reserve prices. TRAI has recommended a base price for a nationwide licence at INR36.22 billion (US$689.6 million) – over ten times higher than the prices set in a 2008 auction for the same airwaves. The Commission is to look at the pricing issue tomorrow (26 May), though ministers will have the final say on the auction rules.

The 10MHz of spectrum made available in each area will be made up of eight slots of 1.25MHz. Existing players will be able to buy two slots, while new players will be allowed to buy up to four slots. Additional spectrum could be made available if needed, the Commission said.

The licences awarded in the earlier 2008 auction were cancelled by India’s Supreme Court in February after the process was ruled “totally arbitrary and unconstitutional,” and deemed to have lost the Indian government as much as US$39 billion in potential income.

But the rules for the reallocation of the licences has been heavily criticised by the Indian operator community.

A report published earlier this week by PwC for the Cellular Operator Association of India (COAI) said that local operators could take on an extra US$50 billion in debt over the next five years if the auctions go ahead at the suggested prices.

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GSMA and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women Publish ‘Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity’ Report

(from Mobile World Media Congress 2010 Barcelona)

Barcelona: The GSMA, which represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry, and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a charity that supports women entrepreneurs today published ‘Women and Mobile: A Global Opportunity’.  The report, the first detailed global study of its kind, attempts to understand the nature of women mobile subscribers in low and middle-income countries such as Kenya and India, and highlights the barriers facing women’s adoption of mobile technologies. It also shows that, by extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.

The report reveals for the first time the extent of the gender gap in mobile usage in many low and middle-income countries.  It shows that a woman in a low or middle-income country is 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. Closing this gender gap would bring the benefits of mobile phones to an additional 300 million women, empowering and enabling them to stay better connected with family and friends, improving their safety, and helping them obtain paid work, in line with the third UN Millennium Development Goal on gender equality.  The mobile phone as documented in the report is an effective productivity and development tool which creates education, health, employment, banking and business opportunities.

“I am delighted that the GSMA is working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on this important initiative and hope that together we can develop solutions which will empower and enable women and address the barriers that have been highlighted,” said Rob Conway, CEO and Member of the Board, GSMA. “Mobile has proved to be a key element in today’s society as it is the most ubiquitous, connected and personalised communications tool that we have, and holds significant potential in bringing the benefits of connectivity to most of the developing world and reaching families at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”

Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women:
“Every woman, wherever she lives, needs a mobile phone.  That’s the simple but fundamental message at the heart of this report.  Women can use this vital tool to help unlock real prospects for themselves, their families and their communities.  By being better connected, women feel safer, find employment, start businesses, access banks, learn about market prices and altogether benefit socially and economically.  “Women and Mobile” is a seminal report that should be read by all who care about the life chances of women.”

Key findings show that:
• There are 300 million fewer female subscribers than male subscribers worldwide
• A woman is 21% less likely to own a phone than a man in low and middle-income countries – 23% in Africa, 24% in the Middle East, and 37% in South Asia
• Regionally, the incremental annual revenue opportunity for operators ranges from US$740M in Latin America to US$4B in East Asia
• Going forward, two thirds of potential new subscribers for mobile network operators will be women
• Women in rural areas and lower income brackets stand to benefit the most from closing the gender gap
• 93% of  women report feeling safer because of their mobile phone
• 85% of women report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone
• 41% of women report having increased income and professional opportunities once they own a phone

The report highlights that women account for 750 million of the 1.25 billion adults in low and middle-income countries who have mobile phone coverage, but don’t have a handset.  If operators bring mobile phone penetration among women on a par with penetration among men, this report shows they would collectively earn US$13 billion in additional revenues each year. Findings indicate that greater usage of mobile phones by women would stimulate social and economic growth, while generating subscriber and revenue growth for mobile operators. Previous research by Deloitte has shown that a 10% increase in mobile phone penetration rates is linked to an increase in developing country GDP by 1.2%.

The research calls for the mobile industry, development community and policy makers to undertake a number of steps together including, specifically addressing women in segmentation strategies and marketing tactics; creating innovative programmes to increase the uptake of mobile phones amongst women; promoting the mobile phone as a life enhancing, effective development tool which creates education, health, employment, banking and business opportunities; and designating high-profile champions of mobile phones for women. Developing a comprehensive plan for empowering women with mobile phones will require the involvement of all stakeholders from the private, non-profit and public sectors. Each stakeholder will need to take steps on their own, but also work together for maximum impact and to close this gap.

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