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Greetings from the Embassy of India in Washington DC!
Welcome to the October 26, 2021, edition of our newsletter, bringing you important policy and high-impact news about India.
We hope you find it useful.
High Impact News
India crosses the milestone of 1 billion COVID-19 vaccinations
India has administered 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine. About 75% of India's total eligible adult population have received at least one dose, while around 30% are fully immunized. Officials have bolstered the vaccination campaign in recent months, which experts say have helped control the outbreak since. India began its vaccination drive in January 2021. In recent months, life in India has swung back to normal. Markets are buzzing with activity and tourists can enter the country after a 19-month hiatus.
FM Nirmala Sitharaman visits US
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited US from 13 -18 October 2021. She held the U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. During her visit the Minister said "the reforms that we've undertaken, particularly the steps taken for the withdrawal of the retrospective tax have been mentioned by the United States administration as a very positive step”. During her visit the Minister also met with prominent business leaders in the US, attended and from G20 countries, attended Roundtables by US India Business Council (USIBC)and US India as Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) and participated in the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Series of high-level exchanges and meetings of bilateral mechanisms held after PM Modi President Biden Summit
In less than a fortnight after the PM Modi President Biden in-person bilateral meeting, there has been several high-level visits between India and US. Prominent among them include visits of Indian Finance Minister NIrmala Sitharaman to US, US Deputy Secretary of State Windy Sherman to India; US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) to India; and the visit of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat to US. On 8th October 16th Defence Policy Group meeting was held. The India - US Industrial Security Agreement (ISA) summit took place between September 27 to October 01, 2021 in New Delhi.
India-US Climate action and finance mobilization dialogue launched
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav and US Special Presidential Envoy on Climate Change John Kerry launched the climate action and finance mobilization dialogue during the visit of Kerry to India. Through the mechanism the two countries will work to chart pathways to decarbonize energy intensive sectors of the economy. Kerry expressed his excitement to have launched US-India hydrogen task force.
India's Biological E., U.S. DFC finalise $50 million COVID-19 shot financing deal under QUAD initiative
The United States and India's Biological E. Ltd had finalised a financing arrangement for $50 million to expand the vaccine maker's capacity to produce COVID-19 shots. The agreement was struck in March when leaders of the United States, Australia, Japan and India - the so-called "Quad" countries - met during a virtual summit. India, home to the world's largest vaccine maker Serum Institute, is expected to play a vital role in supplying COVID-19 shots to lower- to middle-income countries.
India embraces stock investing as local market surges
Indian stocks have risen more than any other major market in the world this year and that is enticing millions of local investors to put their savings into equities, further buoying the market. Underpinning the market run-up is rising confidence in India’s growth prospects, as the economy has reopened and recovered from impact of Covid-19 surge in April and May.

At least half of India’s 1.4 billion people have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and about 19% are now fully vaccinated. India’s economy is likely to grow 9.3% in the current financial year, which runs through next March, Moody’s Investors Service estimates.
Ambassador Sandhu delivers King-Gandhi lecture at Howard University
Delivering the prestigious King Gandhi Lecture at the Howard University , India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said the edifice of India-US relation is built on the values of democracy, liberty, freedom, non-violence, and rule of law. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. had delivered the ''Gandhi Memorial Lecture at Howard University in 1963 and 1966. Dr. William Stuart Nelson, Dean of the School of Religion and vice president for special projects at Howard University established Gandhi Memorial Lecture in 1958. He was an exponent of the philosophy of nonviolence, who had been a friend of both Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He had walked with both in protest marches.

In his address Ambassador Sandhu underlined how Gandhi's principles have shaped India's vision for development and prosperity.
India, Australia, Japan and U.S. launch MALABAR 21 Exercise
Maritime forces from Australia, India, Japan, and the United States began Phase II of Exercise MALABAR 2021 in the Bay of Bengal on October 11. The U.S. Navy hosted this year’s annual maritime exercise which includes a variety of high-end tactical training, including specific interactions that are designed to enhance interoperability between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Indian Navy (IN), Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and U.S. maritime forces. The first phase of MALABAR, which began in August, included maritime operations, anti-submarine warfare operations, air warfare operations, live-fire gunnery events, replenishments-at-sea, cross-deck flight operations, and maritime interdiction operations in the Philippine Sea.
India participates at Counter Ransomware Initiative
Participating in the Counter Ransomware Initiative, India steered the discussions on the need to show resilience against ransomware attacks. Representing India at the event, Lt. Gen (Retd) Rajesh Pant, National Cybersecurity Coordinator, stated that the rapid digitization and cryptocurrency have added to the vulnerabilities in the cyber domain. The conference concluded with a joint statement from 30 countries.
Exercise Yudh Abhyas - U.S. and Indian Militaries hone skills in Alaska
The 17th edition of the India-U.S. bilateral exercise, Yudh Abhyas 2021, got under way at the Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska, U.S., with the two sides honing their skills in counter-terror operations in mountainous terrain and cold climate conditions. The exercise scheduled from October 15 to 29 will witness 300 soldiers belonging to the First Squadron (Airborne) of the 40th Cavalry Regiment from the US side and 350 soldiers of the 7 Madras infantry battalion from the Indian side.
Key Policy Decisions
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched PM Gati Shakti
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched PM Gati Shakti - a national master plan for multi-modal connectivity that aims to develop infrastructure. The Prime Minister stressed that the people of India, Indian industry, Indian business, Indian manufacturers and Indian farmers are at the center of Gati Shakti.
India to allow tourists for first time in 18 months
India is to begin granting tourist visas for foreign visitors after an 18-month pause due to the Covid-19 pandemic.Tourists arriving by chartered flight are able to do so from October 15, according to a press release from India's Ministry of Home Affairs. Other arrivals would be permitted from November 15.
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