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Greetings from the Embassy of India in Washington DC!
Welcome to the June 2, 2020, edition of our newsletter, bringing you important policy and high-impact news about India.
I hope you find it useful.

-- Shambhu Hakki, First Secretary (Political & Press, Information and Culture)
Key Policy Decisions
On 12 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the stimulus package of $260 billion for businesses and workers to soften the blow from the coronavirus lockdown. The New Deal for Aatmanirbhar Bharat - a resilient India, comprises of around 10% of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and will focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws.
Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman elaborated the vision laid out by Hon’ble Prime Minister by announcing a series of reforms in five tranches to lay the foundations for an Aatma Nirbhar Bharat. The package focuses on the 4Ls- land, labour, liquidity and laws that are critical for realizing the vision. Bold reforms across sectors have been carried out to drive the country's push towards self-reliance.
India has started the process of acquiring 24 state-of-the-art anti-submarine warfare helicopters for the Navy from the US firm Lockheed Martin after signing a $905 million deal. The MH-60R helicopters will be used to detect and engage enemy submarines and warships in the Indian Ocean.
Liberalisation of Defence Sector
Key Highlights:

In mid May 2020, the Indian Govt announced some major steps to liberalise its Defence Industry, in terms of widening its doors to foreign funds in the defence sector. On 16th May, the Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, announced the raising of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit in the defence sector, under the automatic route, from 49% to 74%. India is an important market for the global defence industry. These decisions will encourage foreign investments in the defence industry and boost Make in India content of defence equipment. Sitharaman’s announcements were part of the ₹20 trillion stimulus package meant to restart the Indian economy. These decisions will encourage both private and public sector defence Industry in India. Sitharaman also announced the corporatisation of the ordnance factory boards that have good market potential.
High-Impact News
Dr. Harsh Vardhan takes charge as WHO Executive Board chairman
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, who is at the forefront of India's battle against Covid-19 pandemic, took charge as the chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi spoke with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair, Mr. Bill Gates via video conference. They discussed the global response to COVID-19, and the importance of global coordination on scientific innovation and research and development to combat the pandemic.

India called upon the G-20 nations to ensure access to essential medicines, treatments and vaccines at affordable prices. In his interactions during the second G20 Virtual Trade and Investment Ministers Meeting, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal asked the G20 members to first focus on immediate and concrete actions that can ease the distress faced by people all over the world due to Corona pandemic.
Top UN economic experts hailed India’s $260 billion stimulus package as “impressive”. The package, intended to revive India’s economy, is the largest so far among developing countries. Prime Minister Modi announced the package on April 12. The package includes previously announced measures to revive the economy and focuses on tax breaks for small businesses and incentives for domestic manufacturing.
India has moved up two positions to rank 74th on a global ‘Energy Transition Index’ with improvements on all key parameters of economic growth, energy security and environmental sustainability, the World Economic Forum (WEF) reported.
Sravya Annappareddy, a 10-year-old Indian-American girl, has been honored by President Donald Trump for donating cookies to nurses and firefighters and sending personalized greeting cards to healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 pandemic in the US, the worst affected country in the world.

India’s Jubilant Life Sciences, Hetero and Cipla have signed a licensing deal with US-based Gilead Sciences for manufacturing Remdesivir, a drug which has been identified as a potential therapy for Covid-19.

Vista Equity Partners invested $1.5 billion in the Reliance Jio Platform. Vista Equity Partners joins Silver Lake and Facebook Inc. in investing in the next-generation tech business. The investment will give the Texas-based software buyout company a 2.32% interest in the Mukesh Ambani led Jio Platform on a diluted basis. This makes it the largest investor in the telecom operator that is valued at $65 billion.
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