Ideas

Peace

In a world set to reach nearly 10 billion inter-connected people, power will come from creating peace, prosperity and freedom so that we can make breakthroughs in how we live together, and this requires a transformation in the very definition of power, and the purpose and principles by which it is exercised

GPC’s Macro Thought Leadership

GPC’s research focuses on the geostrategic changes in the world and the implications of for peace, prosperity and freedom. Our analysis seeks to find the patterns and identify the new forces that are the signs of our times and will determine the future of the world


The world is in a historic transition of great power hegemony, world order, population and resources which will change the very nature of civilisation. These transformations create discontinuities and a dynamic canvas on which the world’s future will be written

The 21st Century has been widely predicted to be the Asian Century, in which the continent, home to 60% of the world’s population, will become the world’s dominant economic, political and even cultural force. Within this continent of 49 countries, two will disproportionately impact the trajectory of the 21st Century on account of their scale and growth potential: China and India. The relationship between these two countries as well as the trialogue with the world’s current hegemon, the United States, will will be critical to shaping global economic and political trends for generations to come.

 

A modern India lifting a billion people out of poverty will need a large, modern and diversified economy to not only realize the aspirations of people but also to clothe, feed, employ and educate what will become the world’s largest population within the next five years and this will require an India that is open to the world and dedicated to unlocking the potential of its people and its assets

 

We bring our network of business leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers and thinkers who are at the frontline of change across to provide insights into the global issues that are rapidly changing the world and how they see an impact being made for good

 

We recognise the complex and rapidly changing nature of India’s markets and economy as it grows and expands internationally and have focused the firm’s thought leadership on detailed research to generate insights into the macro-environment, market strategy, investment opportunities and challenges to generate attractive risk adjusted returns

We live in revolutionary times. Increasingly political, economic and social volatility is driving change on a global level, creating both risks and opportunities for international investors. Greater Pacific Capital’s thought leadership and investing strategy placed it at the forefront of global change

Selected news that makes the difference

Sensex Scales Record High, Remains Best Performing Market Globally.

The Indian equity benchmarks scaled record highs continuing to remain the best performing global market this calendar year, with the BSE benchmark closing above the 60,000 mark for the first time, driven by decline in covid cases, rising vaccination and improvement in the economic environment of the country.

Private Equity (PE) Investments Grow by 52% to Record US$49bn During First 9 Months of 2021.

Private Equity firms invested a record US$49bn in Indian companies during the first 9 months of 2021, surpassing the full year investment total of US$39bn in 2020, and increasing by c.52% over the same period last year.

India and Australia to Sign Trade Agreement by 2022.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in-person meeting during the Quad summit, India and Australia announced that will finalize their free trade agreement that will cover goods, services, and investment by the end of 2022.

US$115bn India, UAE Trade Deal to be Signed by Early 2022.

India and UAE will sign a US$115bn free trade agreement over in five years to boost bilateral trade and investment in the early 2022.

Union Ministry and Microsoft Launches Initiative to Train c.10 million Jobseekers.

The union labour and employment ministry and Microsoft India launched an employability initiative that will offer free of cost training in digital and technical skills including advance computing to 10m individuals based in semi urban areas.

India, U.S. Extend Trade Facilities to Exporters.

India's Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) and the US Customs and Border Protection have agreed to extend greater facilities to exporters including greater trust in declarations, besides faster tax refunds and expedited adjudication of disputes.

Spotlight on the key monthly news events shaping media coverage in India

Media coverage in India this month covered Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to the United States, the government creating a ‘bad bank’ to clean-up the Indian banking system and the cabinet approving a relief package for the telecom sector

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Visits United States, Attends In-Person Quad Summit

 

During his three-day visit, Prime Minister Modi addressed the 76th session of the United Nations Security Council, attended the first in-person Quad summit and held bilateral and multilateral engagements, including with US President Joe Biden, US Vice President Kamala Harris and his counterparts from Australia Scott Morrison and from Japan Yoshihide Suga. Various media publications focused on the implications of this visit for India’s relations with the US and other members of the Quad.

 

An article in Indian Express outlined how following Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States, the stage has been set for transforming India’s partnership with America, advancing Delhi’s Quadrilateral partnership with Canberra, Tokyo, and Washington, and boosting India’s global impact. “The three levels of Indian engagement with the US —bilateral, regional, and multilateral — are no longer in separate compartments, reinforce each other. Having transcended some of their traditional differences on bilateral, regional, and global issues during the last two decades, Delhi and Washington are now free to frame their bilateral relations in more ambitious terms — as a partnership for regional stability and global good… This does not mean Modi and the US President Joe Biden are neglecting urgent bilateral agenda on conventional issues such as trade— in the end the sinews of any partnership. Although the politics of trade have become a lot more complex in both countries, the two leaders have agreed to resume their trade dialogue… Delhi and Washington have found a new comfort level in the shared understanding that the Quad will not be a military coalition. That has allowed them to focus on a very expansive and consequential non-military agenda of providing public goods across the Indo-Pacific. This allows the Quad to offer a credible alternative to China on a range of issues — from health to telecommunications and infrastructure development.”

 

An article in The Hindustan Times covered how the common threat of China has bound the strategic relationship between the US and India in more ways than one, from the world of intelligence-sharing and security cooperation to developing new forms of technology collaboration and supply-chain diversification and resilience. “India is an exception insofar as it is not, and will not become, a US ally — but it is now more than a friend. Partner is the chosen diplomatic term, which allows both countries room, but probably hides more than it reveals about the depths of cooperation. …. From a virtual to an in-person summit in six months, and from being cagey about pointing to the underlying threat that brought them together to specifically making a reference to how the group will remain undaunted by coercion, Quad has unveiled an ambitious agenda. The extent of how far the grouping will move in the military domain is unclear — but a constructive agenda on vaccines, climate, tech and supply-chains is a productive outcome… democracy brings India and the US together but is also a somewhat contested space. PM Modi claimed at UN that India is the “mother of democracy” and illustrated the democratic possibilities in India with the story of his own rise. India is right to own democracy and must internalize that this is a strategic asset.”

 

Finally, an op-ed in News18 by a former Indian Foreign Secretary detailed how US-India economic ties could be accelerated following PM Modi’s visit including the importance of resilient and secure supply chains between the two countries and the involvement of the private sector in both countries in building stronger linkages in critical sectors such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, semiconductors, and information technology. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit was important as it was the first face-to-face delegation-level talks between the two countries. Telephone conversations cannot replace across the table engagement which is backed by elaborate homework by the bureaucracies on the gamut of ties, the preparation of talking points, the priority issues to be raised by each side, the nuances and the body language to be read, and so on. It also provides an occasion to build a personal rapport, something which Prime Minister Modi cherishes…. The India-US joint statement on Prime Minister Modi’s visit sums up succinctly the principal pillars of the India-US relationship: building a strategic partnership and working together with regional groupings, including ASEAN and Quad members, to promote shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond; developing a trade and investment partnership… a good visit that takes the India-US relationship forward even if gaps and uncertainties in ties on some issues remain and will have to be dealt with pragmatically without affecting the forward dynamism of the relationship.”

 

Cabinet Approves US$4.1bn Government Guarantee for ‘Bad Bank’ to Acquire Stressed Assets

 

The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to provide INR 30,600 crore (US$4.1bn) government guarantee for security receipts issued by the National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL) as part of resolution of bad loans. The new institution will take over bad loans from commercial banks amounting to INR2bn (US$27.4bn), a quarter of the total stressed loans in the country, paving the way for a major clean-up of the banking system by helping the banks clear their balance sheet and focus on core business and lending activities. Another entity — India Debt Resolution Company Ltd (IDRCL), which has also been set up — will then try to sell the stressed assets in the market. Media publications focused on the challenges and benefits of having a bad bank and its impact on the Indian economy.

 

An article in India Today lauded the government’s decision to start a bad bank covering how it would will release capital for the banks and enable them to re-start lending and also stated that if implemented well, this move would reset the banking system making it more robust and lead to a fresh start for the Indian economy. “D.K. Srivastava, chief policy advisor at EY India says that while the initiative seems to be “very well thought out”, there will be a lot of technical assessment involved and lenders will have to agree to some amount of ‘haircut’…. The success of the bad bank will also depend on how much of a loss banks are willing to accept while handing over their NPAs. But even with a haircut, economists say that this is the best option to press the reset button on banks and enable them to start lending again. … With the setting up of a bad bank, a fresh start to reform the Indian banking system has been made. For success, this must go hand in hand with much-needed reforms in lending diligence, better governance, early detection of stress and so on.”

 

An article in Economic Times outlined how the formation of a bad bank will help attract more interest from global investors to India’s US$300bn distress assets industry. “Top global investors such as SSG Capital, Deutsche Bank, SC Lowy, Varde Partners and Fiera Capital are likely to raise their stakes in India’s $300-billion distressed assets industry amid prospects of quicker resolutions…. “The bad bank is definitely an interesting development for India’s distressed assets industry,” said Ankit Thaker, business head, SC Lowy India. “The move should attract more interest from global investors to India’s non-performing loan market. Decision-making is expected to be speedy” … “A big positive will be that global investors will have a single-window platform to deal with,” said Rahul Chawla, co-head of investment banking coverage, Deutsche Bank India. “The most important factor, however, would be the cost of bad loan acquisition from various banks. Price expectations have to be realistic if we want to generate interest among international distressed asset investors… These include disclosures on a quarterly basis to the regulator on the financial performance as well as corporate governance.”

 

Money Control covered some of the challenges of a bad bank including its ability to resolve these assets in a time-bound manner will be critical for future provision write back by banks and finding potential buyers for distressed assets. “Coming to the bad bank, most of these bad assets are already fully provided for, written down on the books of banks. The banks no longer nurture hopes of a meaningful recovery. From these assets, the most critical part will be how banks arrive at a valuation for the transfer of these assets to the bad bank... In the current situation, when economic conditions are deteriorating and the IBC suspended, finding potential buyers for distressed assets can be a significant challenge. Also, the public sector banks will be both shareholders and customers of the bad bank—and it leads to the danger of the bad bank being nothing more than a means to shift some bad debt from one book to another… We cannot miss the fact that a bad bank can’t prevent NPAs in the future. The government needs to find ways to reduce NPAs, the main reason for banks accumulating losses and pushing back the economy.”

 

Cabinet Approves Crucial Relief Package for Stressed Telecom Sector

 

India's federal cabinet approved a relief package for its cash-strapped telecom sector that include nine major and five process reforms. These include a four-year moratorium on airwaves payments due to the governments and 100% FDI in the sector via the automatic route. Media publications focused on how the package is expected to provide much-needed relief to the different companies across the telecom sector.

 

An article in The Indian Express outlined how the policy announcements over the past few weeks including the relief package for the telecom sector seems to suggest a concerted effort by the government to usher in a more investment-friendly policy environment in the country. “Beginning with the move to bury the much-reviled retrospective tax once and for all, to now announcing measures aimed at alleviating the distress in the telecom sector, the policies signal an attempt by the government to rectify administrative and judicial decisions that were seen as obstacles by the corporate sector… The Union cabinet, on Wednesday, approved a slew of measures aimed to provide relief to the beleaguered telecom sector, to prevent it from sliding into a duopoly. Foremost among them were measures to address the financial stress stemming from the contentious AGR (adjusted gross revenue) issue… The intent behind each of these policy measures is straightforward — clear the hurdles/obstacles for the corporate sector and provide greater policy clarity and certainty. When seen together, these seemingly disparate policy measures, also indicate a more determined push by the government to facilitate private sector investments in the country. With the pace of vaccination gathering steam, and as large parts of the economy open up, moves such as these could help lift corporate sentiments.”

 

An op-ed in News18 focused on the benefits on the relief package for the industry covering how the slew of financial relaxations as well as sectoral liberalization and procedural easing will protect and generate employment opportunities, promote healthy competition, protect interests of consumers, infuse liquidity, encourage investment and reduce regulatory burden on telecom companies. “The Cabinet nod to the relief package for the telecom sector will surely help the telecom companies, especially Vodafone Idea which was on the verge of closure. The package comprises a slew of measures of which the most important is a four-year moratorium on adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. Further, AGR has been rationalized, with non-telecom revenue to be excluded on prospective basis from the definition of AGR.… the moratorium comes as a breath of new life. The moratorium or deferment of annual payments of dues arising out of the AGR is for up to four years… Quite expectedly, Vodafone Idea Limited promoters welcomed the moratorium. “The path-breaking reforms announced by the government today will go a long way in unshackling the telecom sector. These reforms demonstrate the government’s firm commitment to ensuring healthy growth of the industry,” Birla said in a joint statement.”

 

Finally, the Chairman of one of the India’s largest telecom companies stated in an interview with Economic Times how the package will catalyze explosive growth in the sector and that the initiatives undertaken by the government are reminiscent of the decisions taken by the NDA Government in 1999 when the telecom sector was at a crossroads, which resulted in an era of affordable mobile services for all Indians. “Bharti Airtel said that the reform package approved by the Cabinet "heralds a new dawn" for the Indian telecom industry, which has been battered by unprecedented stress, high debt and low return on investments. The reforms, it said, will pave the way for a sustainable three private plus one state owned telecom operator structure to serve a large market like India… Airtel said that next generation telecom networks with technologies such as 5G will be the spine that will support India’s digital ecosystem and spur economic growth. A healthy telecom industry will also spur innovation and investments in allied industries like network equipment, smartphones, data centres, etc. and help create large number of jobs and contribute to India’s Atmanirbhar vision… these fresh reforms will further boost our efforts to invest in this exciting digital future and enable us to be one of the leading players in India’s digital economy. More needs to be done, however, towards a sustainable tariff regime to ensure the industry gets a fair return. This will in turn allow it continue investing in new technologies and innovation to bring world-class services to customers.”

Key insights and forecasts that show us what is to come

Is Climate Change Putting the SDGs Further Out of Reach?

The long-term challenges posed by climate change has taken precedence over meeting basic human needs, and placing developing countries on the path toward sustained and sustainable growth, which is likely to hinder progress toward each of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The War for Digital Talent: India can Emerge as a Global Hub for it.

For India to retain its lead in the digital era, it needs to disrupt the traditional approach to talent development including building alternate talent pools, incentivizing skilling, exploring innovative learning models and democratizing training.

After the Exit from Afghanistan: The Future of Anti-Terror Campaign.

The future of the anti-terror campaign in Afghanistan rests both on the Taliban’s own endeavours and the international community learning from the lessons from 20 years of a global campaign against terror.

Cryptocurrencies, Digital Dollars, and the Future of Money.

The dizzying rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has created new challenges for governments and central banks with several of them responding by introducing their own digital currencies.

Working toward a Just Transition for Coal Communities.

While the Biden administration rightly believes that climate policies can create well-paying clean energy jobs and help to ensure a successful transition for fossil fuel workers, it is important to apply the principles of just transitions in both legislation and future executive action.

The Future of U.S. Leadership in Multilateral Development Institutions: A Playbook for the Next 10 Years.

Strategically placing people who understand how to exercise power in positions of authority can catalyse greater change in these institutions and can advance good policy decisions that are in the interest of U.S. national security.

EU Turns Gaze Toward Indo-Pacific.

If EU’s strategy in the Indo-Pacific could be evaluated from the level of regional development rather than the narrow focus of security, it would be of positive significance for the EU to deepen the regional cooperation agenda and develop constructive regional partnerships.

Australia-India 2+2 Dialogue: Converging Interests.

New Delhi and Canberra have had to bear the brunt of increasingly belligerent Chinese behaviour in the Indo-Pacific, pushing their bilateral relationship to new heights.

India’s Military Outreach: Military Logistics Agreements.

China’s increasing activities in the Indo-Pacific have motivated India to embrace military logistics agreements with a wide variety of partners including Australia, Japan, the United States – the Quad countries – as well as with France, Singapore, and South Korea.

India’s Clean Energy Prospects Beyond the 100GW Milestone.

India’s policy focus on renewable energy should help the sector grow rapidly in the years to come and boost the country’s position as a global front-runner in clean energy development.

The Key Events Driving Global Instability & Opportunity

Big Picture TEST Metrics for the US, India and China, October 2021

Manufacturing activity in India continued to remain in expansion territory declining to 52.3 in August 2021 from 55.3 a month earlier, indicating a softer rate of growth that was subdued in the context of historical survey data. Both output and new orders growth eased, amid the coronavirus pandemic and rising input prices. Exports and imports grew by 46% and 52% respectively as compared to the same period last year. No further rate cut was announced by the RBI during this month.

 

China’s PMI fell to 50.1 in August 2021 from 50.4 a month earlier and below market expectations of 50.2. This was the weakest pace of increase in factory activity since a contraction in February 2020, amid the Delta variant of COVID-19 outbreaks, higher material cost, and a campaign to reduce carbon emissions. Exports and imports grew by 26% and 33% respectively as compared to the same period last year.