Last year India achieved a rare feet of hosting all P-5 nations (Permanent members of security council of UN) in a single year. These visits marked the growing economic power and the importance of this great nation. Being the second fastest growing economy of the world, it is no more a big surprise. For a long time, India has been seen as a strategic partner to challenge the unprecedented growth of autocratic China, now the economic growth added additional weightage to our country. When the developed countries still facing the slowdown of their economy, India is eying on double digit growth. India created history by the number of deals it signed with these countries. The total value of the deals signed exceeds $90 billion (Rs.3,60,000 crores) over a period of 15 years, creating thousands of jobs in P-5 countries.
The most powerful man in the world US President Barack Obama made his longest stay in a foreign country stayed for three days in India in November. He is the third US President to visit India in a decade after Bill Clinton and George.W.Bush. While addressing the joint session of Parliament, the US president strongly backed India's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. “I don't think India is emerging. It has emerged. India is a key actor on the world stage," Obama told a joint news conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Deals signed: Obama announced deals worth $10 billion in aviation, power and other sectors that will create 50,000 jobs in the US. In a landmark agreement, India signed a deal with Boeing to buy 10 C-17 transport aircraft for nearly $3.5 billion.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s two-day visit(December) to India, sent out a strong message to Pakistan. "Terrorists are criminals, they should be extradited to be punished. Those who hide terrorists conceal criminals," he said while addressing a joint press conference with Dr Singh. India is the oldest Soviet ally in the cold war. Indian defence forces are equipped with 80% of Russian hardwares, Russia always stands as a trusted partner for India right from 1950’s. The bilateral relationship faced some downhill because of growing partnership of India and US, but the two countries always respected each other. After Putin become the President in 1999, the relationship got a new enthusiasm and by the end of the decade, both countries are good friends inspite of some thorns.
Deals signed: A deal for the design of advanced fifth generation fighter aircraft at an estimated cost of $295 million ($35 billion over a period of 15 years) was among the 30 pacts inked by India and Russia in several key areas such as defence and civil nuclear sector. The key pacts include Preliminary Design Contract for FGFA envisaging joint design and development by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau and Rosoboronexport, Framework Agreement on Cooperation in hydrocarbon sector and MoU for joint research and development in reactor technology and related fields for peaceful uses of atomic energy.
The visit started by British Prime Minister David Cameron's 2 day visit during July. The Conservative leader undertook a three-day visit of India within three months of taking over as the PM. Cameron led a delegation including six ministers and more than 30 senior executives from top United Kingdom firms. He also sealed a major $1.1 billion aircraft deal, enabling the UK's premier defence manufacturer British Aerospace to supply 57 Hawk Jets to the Indian Air Force and Navy.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy made a strong pitch for India's inclusion in the UNSC on his 4-day visit in the month of December. France is the first country which supported India in its nuclear programme when there was lots of pressure from US and other key countries against it.
Deals signed: France became the first country to sign agreements to set up nuclear reactors in India. Five path-breaking agreements to establish the first two of the six reactors in Jaitapur in Maharashtra at a cost of approx $25 billion were inked. French company Areva would set up the nuclear plant at Jaitapur that would go on to produce 10,000 MW of 'non-polluting' energy.
The much-hyped visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December, in the wake of increasing unease in bilateral ties didn’t make much difference to India’s relationship with China. The issue of stapled visas or the Mumbai terror strike, which was carried out by terrorists from China's main ally Pakistan, did not figure in the joint conference. Also the Premier made a clear statement that India is a partner and Pakistan is a friend. This indicates the importance of Pakistan to China, but still India needs China and China needs India. China is the largest trading partner for India and the bilateral trade is expected to reach $100 billion by 2015.
Deals signed: The investment and trade promotion mission accompanying the Chinese PM signed economic and trade agreement worth more than $16 billion with Indian companies. Agreements signed during Wen's visit include those between China Development Bank and Reliance Power, China Aluminium International Trading Co and Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, Bank of China and IDBI, Dongfang Electric Corporation Ltd and Abhijeet Projects Ltd.
The US sought to scale bilateral trade from $37 billion to $75 billion by 2015; Britain from $11.5 billion to $24 billion by 2014; France from $8 billion to $16 billion by 2012; China from $43 billion to $100 billion by 2015; Russia from $9 billion to $20 billion by 2015
The year gone by also saw India raising its profile as an aid giver and exercising its soft power astutely as it offered an unprecedented $1 billion Line of Credit to Bangladesh and pledged $1.5 billion in soft loans to rehabilitate and help reconstruct war-ravaged northeas of Sri Lanka.
India is always “owners pride and neighbours envy”.
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