IndUS Business Journal

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar Visits US

Dec 11, 2015 0

WASHINGTON–Minister of Defense of India Manohar Parrikar made an official visit to the United States at the invitation of US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter from December 7-10, 2015 that included visits to multiple U.S. facilities including U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM), the Pentagon, and a visit with Secretary Carter to observe flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69).

Manohar Parrikar

Manohar Parrikar

First, Defense Minister Parrikar participated as a guest of honor in a Pearl Harbor commemorative ceremony at PACOM. He also met with Admiral Harry Harris, the PACOM Commander and visited various facilities in Honolulu, Hawaii.

At the Pentagon, Minister Parrikar and Secretary Carter held their third meeting. They discussed the India-US defense relationship and broader India-US strategic partnership, and focused on ways to maintain the strong momentum of security and defense engagement, including means to further move the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) forward. Secretary Carter and Minister Parrikar expressed satisfaction with DTTI progress to date. They committed to identifying additional projects for possible co-development and co-production of high technology items that meet the transformational intent of DTTI.

Minister Parrikar and Secretary Carter commended positive discussions at the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC), especially in the area of Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE), and look forward to continued progress to be achieved at the second meeting of the JWGACTC in February 2016 in India. They further expressed satisfaction that the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG), which met this week in Bengaluru, had concluded its Terms of Reference and had productive discussion on cooperation in this area.

Secretary Carter informed Minister Parrikar that in light of the strengthening relationship between the United States and India, the DoD has updated its policy on gas turbine engine technology transfer to India. As a result of this policy update, the Secretary is confident that the United States will be able to expand cooperation in production and design of jet engine components. Secretary Carter and Minister Parrikar look forward to U.S. companies working with their Indian counterparts to submit transfer requests that will benefit from this updated policy.

Minister Parrikar informed Secretary Carter about the Make-in-India initiative, under which several reforms have been taken in the Indian defense sector. Secretary Carter welcomed Indian initiatives in this regard and hoped that this would pave the way for even greater participation of US companies in the defense sector.

Secretary Carter welcomed India’s participation in the Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) multilateral naval exercise in 2016 as well as participation by the Indian Air Force in the multilateral Red Flag exercise in April-May 2016, and expressed support for greater Air-to-Air interaction in the future. Minister Parrikar welcomed announcement of US participation in the International Fleet Review of the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.

Secretary Carter and Minister Parrikar expressed satisfaction at the level of maritime cooperation between the two navies and resolved to further expand the same in coming years. They announced their intention to soon complete a memorandum of understanding between their navies on “white shipping” information sharing. They also welcomed the renewal of the Fuel Exchange Agreement.

Minister Parrikar and Secretary Carter commended the progress achieved last month at the Defense Policy Group (DPG), including the re-establishment of a working group on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) cooperation under the Military Cooperation Group and focused discussions on defense capability development.

They also discussed a wide range of regional security issues, including the threat posed by ISIL and entities such as Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, the Haqqani Network, and other regional terror groups. They discussed ways to implement the defense-related aspects of Prime Minister Modi and President Obama’s Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.

The official visit underlined the strategic importance of the defense relationship and the personal priority that the Minister and Secretary place on the bilateral partnership. During his visit, Minister Parrikar also met with senior National Security Council officials and members of Congress.

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Indo-US experts developing solar-powered oral cancer detector for remote areas

Dec 10, 2015 0

By Sahana Ghosh

KOLKATA– Researchers in India and the US are testing a handy solar-powered device for early detection of oral cancer which could be integrated with mobile technology, enabling faster and accurate diagnostics in rural areas.

Petra Wilder-Smith

Petra Wilder-Smith

Designed by the Beckman Laser Institute (BLI), University of California-Irvine (UCI) and the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre (MSCC) in Bengaluru, the compact screening and diagnosing system – slightly larger than a shoe box – has been specially adapted for India, which has one of the highest rates of head and neck cancers in the world and accounts for the highest rate among women.

Its light-weight and user-friendly features mean even minimally educated healthcare workers in the field can apply it. The solar energy-driven device will capture images of the patient’s oral cavity and transmit them via a mobile phone to experts at the centre.

“India is the first country in which we are using the device – it was specifically designed to meet conditions and needs there. The final device will have a solar option,” Petra Wilder-Smith of BLI told IANS in an email interaction.

Recognised as a pioneer in the application of optics and lasers in oral diagnosis, Wilder-Smith said the device is based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) – an imaging technology that is similar to ultrasound, except that it uses light (a laser). Screening will be in real-time and the patient will not be subjected to harmful radiation.

“The inexpensive, very small, robust portable diagnostic system for oral cancer based on OCT will be used to screen for oral cancer in the field by basic level healthcare workers in India, and a simple diagnostic algorithm will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual,” said Wilder-Smith, director of dentistry at BLI.

Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India, accounting for 40 percent of all cancers overall and for over 50 percent of all cancers in some areas of the country.

It is also disturbing to note the spike in oral cancer in young adults.

“In the US, the oral cancer rate is also high, especially in African-Americans, older persons, and tobacco and alcohol users. It is particularly troubling that recently a trend has been observed worldwide towards an increased incidence of oral cancer among young adults,” informed Wilder-Smith, stressing on early detection.

Why the emphasis on the light-based technology?

Wilder-Smith said oral cancer and pre-cancer are currently diagnosed using a visual exam, which has a poor accuracy rate, and by surgical biopsy, which cannot be performed in the field by basic-level healthcare workers.

And since existing and emerging imaging-based diagnostic tools are too expensive, too fragile and difficult to operate in remote locations, head and neck oncologist M.A Kuriakose from MSCC, who is leading the venture in India, said the probe will be of immense value in low-resource settings in rural India, where visits to dentists are rare.

“It is being tested in MSCC Bengaluru. The validation phase is 12 months. We are also planning to incorporate the transmission of the laser image from remote location via a mobile phone. Once developed, one needs to get regulatory approvals before it can be made available for wider clinical use,” Kuriakose said.

With the fabrication cost goal estimated at lower than $5,000 (Rs.335,000), researchers say the subsequent models of the probe will be wireless and 3D scan-enabled.

“The experimental model costs about Rs.1.5 lakh (lower than that of existing commercial devices). However, the commercial product cost will be significantly lower,” Kuriakose told IANS.

The project is funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, under the Indo-US collaborative programme. The Department of Biotechnology is also a funding partner, said Kuriakose.

The collaborators are also working in close consultation to thrash out a simple diagnostic algorithm which will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual.

“Screening will identify whether a person needs to travel to a centre with higher levels of expertise in oral cancer for further tests and potential cancer therapy,” Wilder-Smith added.

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India raises concern with US over cyber spying

Dec 10, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– India has raised its concerns with the US over reports on authorisation of American entities to spy on Indian government and its citizens in the cyber space, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said on Thursday.

V.K. Singh

V.K. Singh

The Indian government has taken steps to enhance the cyber security of the country and improve its ability to resist cyber attacks, Singh said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

“The government has raised its concerns with the US government regarding reported authorisation given to its entities to intrude upon the privacy of communications of the Indian government, its citizens and Indian entities,” he said in his reply.

“The devices on the Internet are prone to regular scanning from different parts of the world for a variety of purposes, including to penetrate cyber networks operating in the government. It has been observed that the attackers use masquerading techniques and hidden servers to hide the identity of actual system from which the attacks are being launched,” he said.

The Indian government had formulated a ‘Crisis Management Plan’ for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism for implementation by all ministries/departments of the central and state governments and other organisations and critical sectors.

“The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) issues alerts and advisories regarding latest cyber threats and countermeasures on regular basis. CERT-In has formulated guidelines for securing IT infrastructure. It also conducts regular training programmes for the system administrators,” Singh said.

The National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) has been operationalised and it “provides regularly to chief information security officers of critical information infrastructure organisations, tailored advisories on software/hardware vulnerabilities and alerts on cyber attacks”.

In addition, policy, audit and compliance reports from critical information infrastructure organisations were analysed.

“All ministries/departments have been advised to conduct security audit of entire information technology infrastructure,” Singh said.

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Indian economy to become 100 percent digitised by 2020

Dec 10, 2015 0

NEW DELHI– The Indian economy, which is currently 50 percent digitized, is expected to reach 100 percent by 2020, a top official said on Thursday,

The digital transformation is being fueled by rapid innovation in the technology space, said National Cyber Security Coordinator Gulshan Rai at the 3rd edition of the National CIO Summit organized by Confederation of Indian Industry.

On the flip side, this transformation makes any country vulnerable to cyber threats, he said. India ranks amongst the five top most countries for malware penetration and security breaches.

Mobility, social networking, customer centricity and optimization of supply chain are four key forces driving the digital transformation, said KPMG director Arnab Mitra.

Organisations need to build capabilities to walk through this transformation, he said, adding successful digital transformation depend on degree of simplicity from adoption perspective, the risks identified and a proper mitigation plan needs to be in place.

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Improved governance to make India world’s highest growth nation: IBM

Dec 10, 2015 0

NEW DELHI–India, with improved governance and strong social and physical infrastructure, can become the world’s highest growth nation in the 21st century, says a new IBM study.

“India is witnessing a transformation that promises to minimise constraints and support economic advancement. The build out of social and digital infrastructure, powered by local innovations, will help India become an integral part of the global ecosystem,” said IBM India managing director Vanitha Narayanan, while releasing the findings here on Thursday.

In the study titled “Indian Century: Defining India’s Place in a Rapidly Changing Global Economy”, the IBM Institute for Business Value predicted how India could become the world’s highest growth nation in the 21st century.

The study is based on interviews with 1,088 Indian executives across large enterprises (73 percent), start-ups (11 percent), academia (5 percent) and government (11 percent) to get their perspective on opportunities and roadblocks for the Indian economy.

Nearly 51 percent of the Indian executives highlighted improved governance as a key driver for sustainable growth, while social (46 percent) and physical (45 percent) infrastructure were ranked important growth drivers on second and third spots respectively.

Nearly 43 percent executives placed access to capital on fourth spot and said this key factor has been a hindrance in sustainable growth.

“About 40 percent executives backed availability of skilled resources as the fifth key driver to bring sustainable growth in India,” the findings showed.

According to the study, India benefits from entrepreneurialism and diversity and is currently ranking as the fourth-largest source of technology start-ups globally.

“A young population equipped with the right skills and growing middle class will reinforce economic activity through increased consumption and investment,” it highlighted, noting that by 2020, India will constitute 30 percent of the world’s workforce and by 2030, the nation is projected to have the largest middle-class population in the world.

“The study rightly points out that India has immense potential to leapfrog traditional growth paradigms. If we are able to capitalise on the opportunities present in front of us, the next decade can definitely mark the beginning of the Indian Century,” Narayanan emphasised.

Based on unique advantages that India has and the recognition that economic transformation is essential for India’s long-term well-being, the country is already on the path of economic advancement, said the study.

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NeoBiocon to sell anti-diabetic drug in UAE

Dec 10, 2015 0

BENGALURU–NeoBiocon, a joint venture of Biocon and the Gulf-based Neopharma, is partnering with Swiss-based drug major Novartis to market its oral anti-diabetic medicines in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“We have tied up Novartis Middle East in Jebel Ali free zone to expand our product offerings in the metabolic segment and benefit diabetics in UAE,” Neopharma chairman B.R. Shetty said in a statement here on Thursday.

The drugs – Jalra (Vildagliptin) and Jalra-M (Vildagliptin & Metformin) – deliver blood sugar control in patients with type-two diabetes.

Total market for oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHA) in the UAE is estimated to be $115 million and DPP-IV (dipeptidyl peptidase) inhibitors command about 50 percent market share.

Vildagliptin is available as monotherapy and in combination with metformin. Both the drugs commands over 30 percent of the DPP-IV market in the UAE.

The UAE’s health ministry has approved the company’s application to market the twin drugs from January in the region.

Novartis will make the drugs in Europe and ship them to NeoBiocon for distribution in the Gulf region.

“Biocon’s leadership in the diabetes segment will augur well for marketing these brands in the UAE,” said Shetty.

Set up in 2011, the JV also markets its brands in the region & other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) markets in various therapies such as metabolics, oncology, asthma and allergic rhinitis.

“As we are committed to offer advanced therapies for diabetics the world over, AJalra and Jalra-M will meet the needs of type 2 diabetes patients in the UAE,” Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw added.

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Public, private sectors need to jointly ensure healthcare: Sinha

Dec 10, 2015 0

NEW DELHI–Public and private sectors need to jointly ensure the 6 percent of GDP India spends on healthcare is spent effectively in delivering innovative healthcare solutions to the common man as the government has limited fiscal space, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha said on Thursday.

Jayant Sinha

Jayant Sinha

“As far as the public health is concerned, we need to do much much more. The challenge is government spending which is 1 per cent of GDP, well below our peer group. We need to fix that,” Sinha said at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)-organised Health Summit here.

“Fiscal space is limited and that is where they we need to be innovative. What we need to collectively do is to come up with a innovative framework that enables to do what can be done with limited resources,” he said

He said that public spending on health in India is 6 percent of GDP, which is close to the World Health Organisation recommended 7 percent.

The minister said the amount of money available in terms of fiscal space for social sector expenditure is far below what they need to be.

“You know that our fiscal space is limited, you know our state capacity is also limited because of vacancies and ability to do innovative things. So come to us with practical solutions, tell us what we can do, we are very open, we recognise our limitations, and we want to work in a collaborative fashion to solve this difficult problems,” he said.

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Norwegian bank to use Infosys software service

Dec 10, 2015 0

BENGALURU–IT major Infosys on Thursday announced its winning a five-year deal from DNB Bank of Norway to transform its end-to-end operations.

“We will transform the application landscape of the Norwegian bank by building its data cluster, including business intelligence, analytics, data warehousing services, regulatory reporting and ERP functions,” it said in a statement here.

As the bank’s sole partner for developing and maintaining 64 applications across 14 platforms, the city-based company will enhance its IT operations and data processing, set up offshore support services, including test management and service virtualization.

“We will also apply adesign thinkinga¿ to development initiatives in the bank’s data cluster for expanding and unlocking value from its new products and services,” Infosys global head for financial services Mohit Joshi said in the statement.

According to bank’s vice-president for IT and operations Liv Fiksdahl, the bank needed an IT partner with creative thinking to meet its demand for new technologies, which are innovative and problem-solving.

“Working with Infosys gives us access to cutting-edge services and technologies, which are innovative thinking and problem-solving. This will be a key to assisting us in meeting our objectives and keeping pace with the changing global financial services landscape, he said.

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Ghana: Indians can help Ghanaians become entrepreneurs

Dec 10, 2015 0

ACCRA– Indian assistance is required to help train younger Ghanaians to become entrepreneurs in the country’s quest to become industrialised, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Ghana’s minister of trade and industries, said here.

Addressing a meeting of the India-Ghana Business Forum organised by the Indian High Commission on Tuesday for a group of 20 visiting Indian businessmen, Spio-Garbrah said: “There is the need to fill the gap for the country’s next generation by helping to school them to become industrialist… and Indians could help in that direction.”

Ghana had high prospects that could be exploited for development through partnership with investors, he said.

“We must, however, be looking at how to make the country industrialise.”

Eugenia Okyere, a project officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), said Indian investment currently totalled about $637.34 million, which made India the second largest source of foreign direct investment, covering 602 projects. China was the largest investor on the books of the GIPC.

Indian High Commissioner in Accra K. Jeeva Sagar said Indians in Ghana had received the kind of “welcome that defines the people in the country”.

Ghana was not just a country with goodwill towards Indians, but its state institutions also had the strength and dynamism to make the country stable and peaceful, Jeeva Sagar said.

“Ghana’s democratic credentials with respect to the 2012 election petition exhibited the country’s political stability and understanding of democracy.”

Jeeva Sagar said Ghana’s peace and stability, in addition to its human resource, explained why the Indian business delegation chose to visit the country.

Telecommunications Consultants of India (TCIL) is currently implementing the e-Network project in Africa spanning more than 57 countries in Africa and Asia.

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Uttar Pradesh to seek investment from Japanese PM

Dec 10, 2015 0

LUCKNOW–Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will seek Japanese investment during his meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who will arrive in Varanasi on Saturday.

Akhilesh Yadav

Akhilesh Yadav

Sources said the chief minister was keen to have a one-on-one with 61-year-old Abe and seek investment in infra and other sectors in Uttar Pradesh.

The chief minister and wife Dimple Yadav would be receiving Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Varanasi’s Lal Bahadur Shastri airport.

This would be perhaps for the first time that Dimple Yadav, a Lok Sabha member from Kannauj, would be by her husband’s side in a place other than state capital Lucknow to receive a visiting dignitary.

Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan is overseeing all preparations regarding to the high-profile visit.

More than 7,000 security personnel have been deployed for the visit, an official told IANS.

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