Few subjects matter more than the future nature of Asia’s economic rise. But what of it’s history? A bumper month of Asian independence days culminates this weekend with the anniversary of Malaysia’s handover from Britain, on August 31 1957. And what better excuse for beyondbrics to run a rule over the dramatically different economic trajectories of a selection of Asian countries that emerged from European colonial rule in the decades following the second world war. 

Since the early days of its software industry in the 1980s, nearly all of India’s large IT companies have earned their crust selling software to companies in America, who have tended to be more open to outsourcing than competitors in Europe and Asia.

But for how much longer? Not that long in the case of Tata Consultancy Services at least, the country’s largest IT group by sales, which soon looks set to earn more than half of its revenues outside the US for the first time, according to chief executive Natarajan Chandrasekaran. 

Investors gave new Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka a show of confidence on Monday, as shares in the IT outsourcer closed up nearly 4 per cent. Rupee weakness was part of the reason — software exporters prosper as India’s currency drops — but a large chunk seems to stem from optimism about Mr Sikka himself.

Is that optimism justified?

beyondbrics took a trip to Bangalore to meet him last week, as reported here last Friday. Sikka then met with various Indian journalists the following day, prompting various stories over the weekend. The combination of these appears to have soothed investor worries. 

Concern about the worst bout of communal fighting to hit Sri Lanka’s since the end of its civil war in 2009 deepened on Tuesday, after a second evening of clashes between Muslims and Buddhist groups resulted in at least one further death, despite an overnight curfew.

But while daylight appeared to bring relative calm to the streets of two southern towns that endured the worst of this weekend’s disturbances, any further upsurge in ethnic tensions is likely to have broader implications for one of Asia’s most vibrant frontier markets. 

India ElectionsJust one day to go, and with the overall result seemingly a forgone conclusion after Monday’s exit polls, speculation turns to which regional party opposition leader Narendra Modi might pick as his main coalition partner, following tomorrow’s results.

Judging by those exit polls, of course, he will not need one: nearly all of those surveys suggested his hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party and its pre-election allies will stroll passed the 272 seat threshold needed to form a majority in the lower house of parliament. Modi himself is taking no chances, however, meeting with close advisers last night in Gujarat to discuss, among other things, possible alliances.

 

The rise of regional parties remains one of the great trends of modern Indian politics. This election was meant to be no different. Until relatively recently, most analysts thought opposition leader Narendra Modi would struggle to form a government without roping in a plethora of regional barons from smaller parties.

Monday’s exit polls now make such a scenario seem rather less likely, given most projections show that Modi may be able to form a government with only his pre-election allies for support. Yet the polls also reveal an oddly contradictory picture about the performance of India’s “others”, who appear to be winning and losing electoral ground at the same time. 

At last, it’s here. The final countdown. After 35 days, 9 stages and a massive voting exercise costing in the region of Rs35bn ($589m) to run, India’s national election is very nearly over. Today’s last stage of voting sees a mere 60m or so bringing up the rear. Yet while this evening’s exit polls will provide a hint of the final result, these have proved a touch unreliable in the past, suggesting further twists to come on Friday as well.

 

Narendra Modi gave a wide-ranging interview this morning to the Times of India. In between stirring the pot, by suggesting that a heavy defeat would see a challenge to the Gandhi family’s control on the Congress party, the opposition leader made forthright remarks about reviving manufacturing as the first economic priority of any future Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. Yet he made no mention of what many business leaders view as the most important step in that process: labour reforms. 

India ElectionsIt is a national holiday in India on Thursday, meaning there is less news than usual. The country’s more jingoistic television stations therefore seemed delighted to hear of remarks by Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif, who in a speech on Wednesday dubbed Kashmir the “jugular vein” of his nation.

What the general meant by this is not precisely clear, but the talking heads wheeled out over the border to condemn him seemed to have few doubts that India’s neighbour was somehow up to old tricks. 

It is what might be dubbed “super Thursday” in India, the biggest voting day in the country’s month-long election. 121 constituencies are up for grabs in a dozen states, including Uttar Pradesh, the largest electoral battleground.

But strategists for the ruling Congress party, facing an ignominious defeat, will be paying just as much attention to voters turning out today in Maharashtra — a stronghold the party hopes may just save it from a polling washout. 

The World Bank’s move doubling to $2bn its offshore-rupee bond programme today marks a significant moment in the international development of India’s currency. But it leaves one big question unanswered: what should these new Indian instruments be called?

Offshore debt naming is not difficult: just pick a food or animal commonly linked to the country in question, and add extra points for alliteration. 

This election could see the end of many seemingly permanent fixtures of Indian political life, not least the Congress party’s Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has ruled the country for most of its independent existence. But might the poll also see the death of a less celebrated political artefact: the traditional Indian campaign poster? 

Indian finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram had harsh words for election rival Narendra Modi yesterday, accusing him of backing crony capitalism. If the intention was to earn coverage, it worked: Chidambaram’s jibe ran on the front pages of most of India’s business newspapers this morning. But is the accusation fair? 

India ElectionsLet us again assume, for the sake of argument, that Narendra Modi will become India’s prime minister shortly after May 16. Who, then, is most likely to succeed Palaniappan Chidambaram as finance minister? Here are five of the most likely candidates. 

The insurgent Aam Aadmi, or Common Man, party continues to make headlines in India’s election, as it noisily attempts the transition from protest group to national political player. But which of the two mainstream parties — the Congress, or the BJP — is most likely to be hurt by their rise?