Economic Security and Resilience Review

Economic Security and Resilience Review

Date: February 06, 2024

In this first issue of ESRR for the year, the author draws attention to the continuing challenge faced by international shipping due to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels, which is resulting in the delayed delivery of traded goods which are also getting more expensive in the process.  External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, who visited Tehran on January 15, is reported to have taken up this issue with the Iranian leadership and his counterpart FM Amir-Abdollahian, apart from also discussing other bilateral issues.

Two important summit-level visits to India took place during the month, that could have a bearing on enhancing India’s economic security. The visit by French President Macron, who was the chief guest for India’s Republic Day, resulted not only in decisions to further enhance defence cooperation, but also for the establishment of a final assembly line in India by Airbus Industrie to make H-125 civilian helicopters in collaboration with the TATA Group. Further, notwithstanding the prevailing strife in the Middle East, the two sides took forward discussions on the establishment of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, with France also appointing a Special Envoy for the purpose.

The visit by the UAE President Sheikh Mohamad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was the Chief Guest for the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, also witnessed signing of a number of MOUs. In particular, the MOU signed between the Government of Gujarat and the DP World of the UAE, along with the existing investments of the latter in the port sector in Gujarat,  could significantly boost the maritime capacity of the state.

This month’s ESRR also covers the visit by USTR Katherine Tai and the holding of the fourteenth Trade Policy Forum meeting. The meeting served to review progress on a variety of bilateral pending issues. India also appears to have satisfactorily explained the working of the import monitoring systems on laptops, computers etc., on which the US side had shown some concern.

The report highlights India’s acquisition of five lithium sites in Argentina for exploration. It also draws attention to the announcement by the Minister for Railways, Communications and Electronics, Ashwini Vaishnaw, that India’s first domestically manufactured semiconductor chip, made by US company Micron, may become available by end 2024.

This report further covers two trade restrictive measures imposed by China during the month, which were seen as retaliatory steps against the EU and the US. One was the initiation of anti-dumping investigations launched against EU exports of brandy to China, and the second sanctions it has introduced against five US defence manufacturing companies.

Finally, this report details the initiatives proposed by the EU Commission towards implementing the EU’s Economic Security Strategy. This is even as there are differences within the EU on this subject, as was brought out during the conference on European Competitiveness and Economic Security held in Brussels on January 10, 2024.

To read this ESRR, Vol. II, Issue 1, please see the PDF attached.