India. The rapid economic development, which is about to
make India an economic superpower, continued. A risk of
overheating was considered to exist, but a series of
interest rate hikes meant that the inflation threat appeared
to be averted. In September, the annual inflation rate was
3.52 percent, clearly below the central bank's forecast.
was able to celebrate 60 years of independence in August
with great confidence.
However, the wealth is unevenly distributed and many
people in the countryside feel that they are victims of
rapid development. In October, some 25,000 landless rural
residents migrated to Delhi from various parts of India to
protest against injustice. The government promised to
investigate the distribution of land resources and speed up
the legal handling of land disputes.
CountryAAH, the development of special economic zones was temporarily
put on ice after 14 people were shot dead by police in West
Bengal in March, protesting that their land would be
forcibly redeemed. In June, the plans were resumed and the
government approved 24 new zones where investors will be
offered favorable tax terms and modern infrastructure. A
total of 111 such zones have been approved in the last two
Several major defense contracts were concluded or
planned. Together with Russia, India will develop a military
transport plan. For I, the project is financed by investing
its debt to Russia in the equivalent of over SEK 6 billion.
Swedish Saab, manufacturer of JAS Gripen, was among the
companies that were offered to place a bid on the sale of
combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The order will
apply to 126 plans at an estimated total cost of more than
SEK 60 billion.
Russia will build four nuclear reactors in India. Already in
2005, India signed an agreement with the United States on the
purchase of civil nuclear energy technology. The agreement
was ratified in 2006 by the United States Senate, but in
the settlement was blocked until late autumn by the
Communist parties that the government depends on in
Parliament. The argument was that the agreement with the US
jeopardizes the sovereignty of India. After the Communists gave
up their absolute resistance, I was able to start
negotiating with the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA
for inspections of the country's nuclear facilities, which
was a prerequisite for the agreement.
Politically, the ruling Congress party had a difficult
year with setbacks in several state elections. 37-year-old
Rahul Gandhi was appointed party secretary general (one of
several) responsible for youth and student affairs. The
appointment of this man whose father, grandmother and
grandmother were prime ministers was considered to be part
of forming him into a future leader.
Armed unrest occurred during the year in Assam in the
Northeast, where separatist guerrillas are propagating
against immigration from other parts of the country. In the
central states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, Maoist
guerrillas carried out several bloody attacks. In disputed
Kashmir, however, the level of violence was the lowest since
the separatist uprising broke out in 1989. The peace
dialogue with Pakistan continued with an agreement on
cooperation against terrorism and one aimed at reducing the
risk of a nuclear conflict. In February, however, 68 people
were killed in an attack in Punjab against a train on their
way to Pakistan. Most of the victims were Pakistanis.
In July, I got his first female president when an
electoral assembly elected the state of Rajasthan Governor
Pratibha Patil as new head of state.
2004 The Congress Party regains power
The May 2004 parliamentary elections were surprisingly
won by the Congress Party. Its leader, the Italian-born
Sonia Gandhi, was self-appointed as new prime minister, but
the defeated BJP launched a campaign against her person, and
it ended up with the Congress party appointing Manmohan
Singh as new prime minister. He had been Minister of Finance
in the early 1990s and was the architect of the economic
reforms that fueled the Indian economy. He took over the
post on May 19. However, the challenge is great. A major
part of the reason the BJP lost the election is that
economic growth in India has only benefited certain sectors
while the hundreds of millions of poor have become poorer.
The BJP was blamed but Singh was the architect of the
reforms in the 90s.
That same month, 33 soldiers were killed in Kashmir when
their bus hit a land mine.
In June, Parliament was shut down for 2 days after
massive protests organized by the opposition demanding more
ministers suspected of corruption be ousted. The protests
against the three ministers were organized by the party
Bharatiya Janata. The ministers belong to the Rashtriya
Janata Dal Party (RJDP) and among several other charges they
are charged with rape.
In September, India, together with Brazil, Germany and
Japan, formed an alliance pushing for UN membership as
permanent members of the UN Security Council.
In October, the Supreme Court again ordered Rajesh
Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav. Shortly before he was admitted to
the RJDP, he is charged with the 1998 murder of MP Ajit
Over 2000km of coastline in the states of Tamil Nadu,
Andhra Pradesh and Kerala was hit in December by the tsunami
that also hit Southeast Asia. After Indonesia, India was the
worst affected country by the flood. According to official
information, 7,000 people were killed and 130,000 made
homeless. In the southern part of the country mass burials
were conducted. A large proportion of the victims were
For more than two decades, India has only recognized
patents on processes - not products. It has allowed the
country's pharmaceutical industry to produce cheap copy
medicine for its own population and others in the Third
World. India refused to follow the international patent
agreements and this had allowed the Indian pharmaceutical
industry to develop into one of the world's largest.
Following strong pressure from the World Trade Organization
WTOhowever, the Congress party was forced to draft a new
patent law in accordance with the WTO's Intellectual
Property Regulation Requirements - TRIPS. The WTO guidelines
are intended to protect industry in the Western world. The
new law was passed in March 2005. The Janata coalition that
previously had the government had in 2003 drafted the
original bill, but now called for mass demonstrations
against the government, which was criticized for drug prices
now going to rise tremendously due to the royalties to be
paid in future to the Western companies. Also, the Communist
parties pressed the government with the requirement that the
law be added to paragraphs that prohibit pharmaceutical
companies from issuing new patents after minimal changes to