India. The reports on the economic situation gave rise to
both optimism and some concern. In August, the annual growth
rate was 8.8 per cent, just above the government's forecast,
but at the same time the price increase was 10 per cent and
the central bank raised the key rate six times during the
year to curb inflation. During the late summer, growth in
industrial production nearly halved compared to a year
earlier. In return, the inflation rate also fell during the
COUNTRYAAH, India's progress as one of the world's most important
emerging countries requires major investments in
infrastructure. The government announced an expansion of the
road network at a rate of SEK 700 per year and allocated the
equivalent of SEK 60 billion to modernize the railway
network. In addition, the equivalent of SEK 1.2 billion was
pumped into the debt-laden state airline Air India, while
one of the world's largest terminals was inaugurated at the
international airport in Delhi. Auctioning of licenses for
third-generation mobile telephone networks provided the
Treasury with a contribution of approximately SEK 100
In March, it was announced that the Russian Federation
will build 16 nuclear reactors in India over the next few
years, and in August Parliament passed a law permitting
private investment in nuclear energy. It paves the way for
foreign companies to invest in Indian nuclear reactors.
However, the law was only adopted after the government
sharply raised the ceiling for damages in the event of
In November, US President Barack Obama came to visit and
announced trade agreements between the countries worth more
than $ 65 billion, including sales to India of both military
transport aircraft and civilian aircraft.
During a visit by China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in
December, an agreement was reached to double trade between
the countries by 2015, at an estimated value of about SEK
In a report from the US think tank Global Financial
Integrity, it was claimed that since independence in 1947,
India lost at least SEK 3 trillion illegally brought out of
the country by large companies and private individuals.
According to the report, economic crime increased
significantly after the liberalization of the economy in
As a reminder of the topicality of the topic, a huge
scandal was revealed in November at the auction in 2008 of
the mobile phone's 2G licenses. The Minister of
Telecommunications Andimuthu Raja was forced to resign in
order to have sold the licenses to favored companies at a
fraction of their fair value, which should have evaded the
Treasury around a quarter of a billion SEK. The opposition's
demand for a thorough investigation paralyzed Parliament,
which during its slightly more than one month-long winter
session could not make a single legislative decision.
A revised definition of the term "poverty" gave another
nearly 100 million Indians the right to state aid and
subsidized basic goods. A total of 372 million Indians are
now classified as poor.
The mining company Vedanta refused on an application to
open a bauxite mine in a jungle area in the state of Orissa.
The project was feared to cause severe environmental damage
and threaten the living conditions of the local population
from ethnic minorities. The government also rejected
Vedanta's request for a major expansion of an aluminum
smelter in Orissa.
Large companies' expansion at the expense of the poor
rural population is one of the explanations for the
increased activity of Maoist guerrillas in a significant
part of India. During the year, a few hundred police and
soldiers were killed by the Maoists. The government created
a new central command to coordinate the counter-offensive of
the semi-military forces, which had limited success.
In the Muslim state of Kashmir, new unrest flared up
after the shooting death of a young protester in June. Up to
October, more than 100 people were killed. The protests then
deceived a government delegation to visit the area,
detainees were released and an expert commission was set up
to try to open a dialogue with the Kashmiris.
In a blast attack on a popular restaurant in the big city
of Pune in February, 16 people were killed. A previously
unknown Pakistani Islamist group said it was behind the act
in revenge for India's treatment of Kashmiris. However,
India and Pakistan took several steps during the year to
resume the dialogue, which has been down since the bombings
in Bombay 2008. The foreign ministers of the countries met
in July and agreed on further contacts. The only surviving
perpetrator from Bombay was sentenced to death in May.
India's diplomatic success was also noted in October when
the country was elected to the UN Security Council. The
government emphasized that a two-year mandate is not enough;
India is keen on a permanent seat in the Security Council.
In September, a court ruled that a disputed temple
district in the city of Ayodhya should be shared between
Hindus and Muslims. Over 2,000 people were killed in riots
in 1992 after Hindu extremists demolished the mosque that
stood on the site, where the god Rama was born according to
Hindu tradition. The matter went straight to the Supreme
In April, a new law came into effect that guarantees all
children between 6 and 14 years of age free tuition. Still,
8 million Indian children were estimated to be outside the
school system, though a sharp decline since 2003 when 25
million received no education.