06.12.2019

Indian dailies have commented on Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy announcement holding on to the prevailing interest rates. Newspapers have opined that Indian Navy’s modernisation plans need to be fast tracked. The Swedish Royals have set an example on how VIPs should travel.

THE HINDU in an editorial A STRATEGIC PAUSE writes after a breathless run of five consecutive rate cuts, beginning February 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to pause and catch its breath in the December policy announced on Thursday. Monetary policy works with a lag and the 135 basis points cut since February needs to percolate down through the system and its impact analysed. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has taken care to point out that “there is monetary policy space for future action” and that the accommodative stance will continue. This should smoothen the ruffled feathers of the markets which were expecting a 25 basis point cut. In that sense, the RBI has surprised the market after a long time, but also clearly indicated that facilitating growth is still at the top of its agenda.

THE PIONEER in an editorial observes, India has a huge coastal border and needs to protect it. India also the needs to project itself as a power in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Indian interests in the IOR and that of its geographic neighbours are being challenged by the eastern neighbour China, which has been busy acquiring assets across the IOR. China’s “String of Pearls” is one that can potentially be used to strangulate India economically and militarily in case of a potential future conflict with assets like Gwadar in Pakistan. Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port is the most telling example of how China is developing a form of economic imperialism and the potential of deploying that against India. New Delhi needs to boost fund allocation to the Navy. The sea service is very significant from India’s maritime and security needs. New naval projects should be fast-tracked. There should be no inordinate gestation and commissioning process for the Project 15 and 15A guided missile destroyers. The time-line for the Project 15B ‘Vishakhapatnam-class’ ships induction to service should also come down.

THE ECONOMIC TIMES in an editorial A ROYAL DISPLAY OF COMMON SENSE opines the King and Queen of Sweden have set a great precedent. This should be followed by other VIPs. The Swedish Royal couple hopped on to the next available commercial flight to India —an Air India flight —because their official jet had some technical problems. They carried their own hand baggage. This has set a huge precedent; but it may well be cited as a precedent to compel other globetrotting notables to trim their travel budgets and carbon emissions. Just this August, British Royal Prince William and his family also jumped on to a £73-a-head budget flight to Scotland even though his brother Harry showed more appropriate royal éclat by taking a private jet for holidays — and to an island to deliver a lecture on climate change. If crowned heads start evincing such concerns as expenses and global warming, more heads of states and governments could also follow the Swedish Royal couple’s example. Some old conventions need to change.