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US investments and technology partnerships with India set to grow


Washington: Ahead of Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s visit to the US, a key trade group has expressed confidence that as India continues reforms US investments and important technology partnerships with Indian industry will grow significantly.

Members of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) comprising 350 top-tier US and Indian companies hosted a Defence Policy Group (DPG) delegation from India ahead of Parrikar’s visit to the US in December. Senior Indian defence ministry officials are in the US for bilateral meetings with the US Department of Defence to discuss progress on joint initiatives such as the US-India Defense Policy Group (DPG) and Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Welcoming the delegation to Washington, USIBC President Dr Mukesh Aghi welcomed Government of India’s recent announcements allowing FDI up to 49 percent under the automatic route and beyond that with the Foreign Investment Promotion Board’s (FIPB) approval.

Former US Secretary of Defence, William S. Cohen, and board member of USIBC said he was encouraged by the unprecedented level of engagement between the two governments and the private sector in the area of defence.

“As the Government of India continues its reform effort and streamlines the defence procurement process, I am confident that US investments and important technology partnerships with Indian industry will grow significantly in support of India’s indigenization and national security goals,” he said.

Swami Iyer, Vice President, Honeywell Defense and Space, and Chair of USIBC’s Defence Executive Committee said: “With diligent collaboration, both government and industry can showcase Make in India and India’s improved ease of doing business in current and future defence procurements.”

“We believe continued success in US-India defence trade can be a great enabler for India’s economy and national security.”

The US-India bilateral defence relationship has grown in a robust manner from a mere $200 million in defence trade in 2000 to over $14 billion.

Boeing recently announced that it had won a $3 billion contract from the Indian Ministry of Defence for production, training and support of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.

The order includes options to further buy 11 Apache and 7 Chinook helicopters. These aircraft are being acquired by the Indian Government on Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) basis while their weapon systems like radars and missiles would be through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route from the US Government.

(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

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According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS