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US investments and technology partnerships with India set to grow

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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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World’s Anti-Corruption Day

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges "to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide."

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Anti-Corruption
Bulgarian anti-corruption protesters march during a demonstration in downtown Sofia, VOA

Corruption costs the world economy $2.6 trillion each year, according to the United Nations, which is marking International Anti-Corruption Day on Sunday.

“Corruption is a serious crime that can undermine social and economic development in all societies. No country, region or community is immune,” the United Nations said.

The cost of $2.6 trillion represents more than 5 percent of global GDP.

The world body said that $1 trillion of the money stolen annually through corruption is in the form of bribes.

Patricia Moreira, the managing director of Transparency International, told VOA that about a quarter of the world’s population has paid a bribe when trying to access a public service over the past year, according to data from the Global Corruption Barometer.

Moreira said it is important to have such a day as International Anti-Corruption Day because it provides “a really tremendous opportunity to focus attention precisely on the challenge that is posed by corruption around the world.”

Journalist, Anti-Corruption
An activist places candles and flowers on the Great Siege monument, after rebuilding a makeshift memorial to assassinated anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, in Valletta, Malta. VOA

Anti-corruption commitments

To mark the day, the United States called on all countries to implement their international anti-corruption commitments including through the U.N. Convention against Corruption.

In a statement Friday, the U.S. State Department said that corruption facilitates crime and terrorism, as well as undermines economic growth, the rule of law and democracy.

“Ultimately, it endangers our national security. That is why, as we look ahead to International Anticorruption Day on Dec. 9, we pledge to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide,” the statement said.

Moreira said that data about worldwide corruption can make the phenomena understandable but still not necessarily “close to our lives.” For that, we need to hear everyday stories about people impacted by corruption and understand that it “is about our daily lives,” she added.

She said those most impacted by corruption are “the most vulnerable people — so it’s usually women, it’s usually poor people, the most marginalized people in the world.”

Anti-Corruption
Anna Hazare raised his voice against corruption and went ahead with his hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The United Nations Development Program notes that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are estimated at 10 times the amount of official development assistance.

What can be done to fight corruption?

The United Nations designated Dec. 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day in 2003, coinciding with the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption by the U.N. General Assembly.

The purpose of the day is to raise awareness about corruption and put pressure on governments to take action against it.

Tackling the issue

Moreira said to fight corruption effectively it must be tackled from different angles. For example, she said that while it is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption, governments must also have mechanisms to enforce that legislation. She said those who engage in corruption must be held accountable.

“Fighting corruption is about providing people with a more sustainable world, with a world where social justice is something more of our reality than what it has been until today,” she said.

Anti-Corruption
It is important to have the right legislation in place to curb corruption

Moreira said change must come from a joint effort from governments, public institutions, the private sector and civil society.

The U.S. Statement Department said in its Friday statement that it pledges “to continue working with our partners to prevent and combat corruption worldwide.”

It noted that the United States, through the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development, helps partner nations “build transparent, accountable institutions and strengthen criminal justice systems that hold the corrupt accountable.”

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Moreira said that it is important for the world to see that there are results to the fight against corruption.

“Then we are showing the world with specific examples that we can fight against corruption, [that] yes there are results. And if we work together, then it is something not just that we would wish for, but actually something that can be translated into specific results and changes to the world,” she said. (VOA)