29/05/2015

India Detains Pigeon Over Spying Fears – India Real Time – WSJ

Indian authorities detained a pigeon on Thursday on suspicion that it was dispatched from Pakistan to infiltrate the border.

The bird was found in Pathankot, a border town in the north Indian state of Punjab, with an address written in Urdu on its body.

Authorities in the town have scanned the pigeon and are trying to decipher other markings underneath its feathers, said Rakesh Kumar Kaushal, special superintendent of police in the town.

India and Pakistan share a long and disputed border. Officials in India said they had reasons to be suspicious about the bird.

“We are being cautious because this is a border area with military presence,” Mr. Kaushal said. “We have heard that pigeons with cameras on them fly and get an aerial view and no can tell from the ground.”

The white-feathered, gray-flecked pigeon landed on the roof of Ramesh Chand’s house on Wednesday evening. Mr. Chand, a barber, wanted to keep the bird as a pet so he started clipping the feathers on its wings to ensure it wouldn’t fly away, according to Mr. Kaushal.

“That is when he noticed some inscriptions under the left wing and tail,” and brought it in, Mr. Kaushal said.

Mr. Chand could not immediately be reached for comment.

A one-lined stamp on the wing appeared to name an address in the Pakistani city of Shakar Garh, which lies 12 miles west of Mr. Chand’s house in India, where the bird was found.

A “series of numbers” are printed alongside the address but they are not phone numbers, according to Mr. Kaushal.

The markings ruffled feathers. “That is when we talked to different agencies and officers,” he said. “They have come and seen the bird.”

The alleged avian interloper was also sent to two veterinarians to have its cavities inspected. It was also scanned and x-rayed to see if it had been used to transport surveillance devices across the border.

“We found no camera, no chips, no SIM cards,” he said.

Amit Kumar Mittal, the deputy inspector general of police in Pathankot said he suspected the bird was just a racing pigeon.

“So far there is no such case that shows it was a spy,” he said. The bird was being fed and cared for at a local police station in the area, he added.

Still, the numerical code on the bird’s wing along with an Urdu inscription on the tail is under investigation to rule out possibilities of espionage.

“If found to be a spy we will take action,” Mr. Kaushal said without elaborating. “If not, then we will make sure it has a good life.”

via India Detains Pigeon Over Spying Fears – India Real Time – WSJ.

29/05/2015

A Sneak-Peek Inside Gap’s First India Store – India Real Time – WSJ

Gap Inc. is going retro for its debut in India, wagering that its branded sweatshirts will be best-sellers thanks to their association with Bollywood.

“These will be the first to fly out from our store,” said Stefan Laban, senior vice president at Gap International, standing next to a wall of Gap-branded hoodies, shoulder bags and caps in the New Delhi outlet, which opens Saturday. “We’re especially going heavy on logos in India.”

A wall of Gap-branded sweatshirts gives the store a retro feel. Preetika Rana/The Wall Street Journal

The reason? Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan may have something to do with it. Fans of the actor went Gap-hoodie crazy when he sported the garment in 90s blockbuster, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.” The fact it wasn’t available in India added to the sweater’s cachet.

Oliver Kaye, who heads Gap’s business in India, says that hoodie wasn’t sponsored by Gap and credits the Indian actor for drumming up interest in the retailer two decades before it actually arrived here.

“India associates Gap with movie stars,” Mr. Kaye said. “There’s some amount of novelty attached to wearing a Gap shirt here.”

Another popular Indian actor, Kangana Raunat, wore a round neck Gap-emblazoned shirt in “Tanu Weds Manu Returns,” a romantic-comedy released earlier this month, further positioning the brand as aspirational for Indians. Ms. Raunat is expected to be the chief guest at the store’s opening this weekend. Gap says they didn’t pay her to promote the brand either.

Mr. Khan playing a college student in “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.” Dharma Productions

Best known for its khaki pants and arsenal of denim jeans, the American retailer is playing up its colored pieces and bling for the Indian market. The company has been criticized elsewhere for a monochrome palette and is lagging behind fast-fashion players such as teen retailer Forever21 Inc. and Inditex Group Inc.’s Zara.

“Indians love color,” said Mr. Kaye,  pointing to a rack of shorts available in shades from fuchsia to aqua to florals. The designs were selected after hundreds of consumer interviews in India. Gap’s merchandise in India is priced between 799 rupees ($12) to 5,999 rupees ($94.)  That’s more or less in line with how it prices its garment in its home market in the U.S.

The company is focusing on color for the Indian market with saffron shirts…  Preetika Rana/The Wall Street Journal

…And fuchsia shorts. Preetika Rana/The Wall Street Journal

They’re also tuning up the bling with these sparkly tops.  Preetika Rana/The Wall Street Journal

The company has also identified a gap in the kids and babywear market in India. Nearly 40% of its store space is dedicated to its babyGap brand with everything from striped swimsuits for kids to hot pink sandals for toddlers.

“This space is extremely untapped,” Mr. Laban of Gap International said. “There’s really no competition in the Indian market when it comes to this segment.”

Gap is selling frocks and jumpsuits from its babyGap collection as it hopes to persuade parents to part with their cash. Preetika Rana/The Wall Street Journal

The company says it has spotted a gap in the children’s wear market in India.  Preetika Rana/The Wall Street Journal

Gap plans to open 40 stores in India in the next five years, with about five each in New Delhi and Mumbai. Arvind Lifestyle Brands, which brought Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein to the country and now holds Gap’s franchise rights, expects the business to generate revenues worth one billion rupees ($156 million) by 2020. But quality real estate could be a challenge.

“There are very few quality malls in India. That’s definitely something we’re looking into as we plough ahead,” Ismail Seyis, who heads Gap’s franchise division, said. Real-estate consultancy JLL estimates that 70% of India’s 308 malls are struggling with anemic sales and high vacancy rates.

Gap comes to India six years after Zara and a few months ahead of Hennes & Mauritz AB’s planned autumn debut.

via A Sneak-Peek Inside Gap’s First India Store – India Real Time – WSJ.

26/05/2015

Coal-fired plants in Beijing on way out with new ban|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

Beijing will ban new coal-fired thermal power plants after the four existing ones are expected to be replaced by gas-fired plants by 2017, according to the municipal economic planner.

The replacement is being made in an attempt to reduce coal consumption to achieve better air quality.

“The closure of the coal-fired power plants will greatly improve air quality, considering that 22 percent of air pollutants are from coal consumption,” said Zhang Wangcai, deputy director of the Beijing Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Bureau.

Two gas-fired thermal power plants have been operating since October and have reduced coal consumption by 3.95 metric tons annually, he said.

Beijing has also restricted coal consumption by companies and households for heating in the past two years by supplying them with gas or other cleaner fuels instead.

“By the end of this year, we will reduce coal consumption by 8 million tons,” Zhang said, adding that a reduction of 7.1 million tons has already been achieved.

Li Xiang, deputy head of atmospheric environment management at the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, said the reduction of coal consumption at the two power plants has been a major reason for the better air quality in the capital in the first four months of this year.

She said people in the capital have seen a distinct improvement in air quality in the first four months, during which there were 57 days when the quality was better than the national standard – eight days more than during the same period last year.

The concentration of PM2.5 – air particles of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter that can penetrate the lungs and harm health – has been lowered by 19 percent and the number of days with serious pollution reduced by 42 percent year-on-year.

On Thursday, authorities launched efforts to reduce air pollution in support of the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Zhang said the government will make further efforts to reduce emissions of air pollutants, including restricting coal consumption as planned, which will further improve air quality.

In addition to the two thermal power plants already operating, another will start working in July and a fourth will be ready to operate in November next year, he said.

By 2017, Beijing will have all its power generated by clean-energy gas, and coal consumption will be cut by 9.2 million tons annually – the equivalent amount used for the four coal-burning thermal power plants.

Gas consumption will increase to 24 billion cubic meters in 2017, of which 98 percent will be supplied through a variety of channels including foreign countries, Zhang said, adding that Beijing consumed 11.3 billion cubic meters of gas last year.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection released the list of air quality in April in the 74 major cities on Monday.

In April, seven of the 10 cities with the worst air pollution were in Hebei province, but the region of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province has witnessed a clear improvement in air quality, said Luo Yi, head of the ministry’s Environmental Supervision Bureau.

The PM2.5 concentration in the region has been reduced on average by 18.3 percent year-on-year and was 16.3 percent lower in April than in March, he said.

via Coal-fired plants in Beijing on way out with new ban|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

26/05/2015

The Top 10 Successes of Narendra Modi’s First Year – India Real Time – WSJ

Opinions differ on what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accomplished in his first year but most observers agree he has been busy since taking over last May.

Opinions differ on what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accomplished in his first year but most observers agree he has been busy since taking over last May.

He’s been relentless, offering constituents of world’s largest democracy a constant flow of policy speeches, international trips, colorful photo opportunities and ambitious new programs.

His charismatic style of governing has had mixed results.

While he has had some failures–including his party’s defeat in the Delhi elections and its inability to calm concerns within minority communities as outlined in this accompanying post about Mr. Modi’s misses—he has also had some impressive successes.

Here are 10 that stood out:

More Foreign Direct Investment: There was no big-bang busting India open to international competition and deregulation in Mr. Modi’s first year, but the prime minister has to get credit for allowing more FDI in the insurance, defense and other sectors.

Diesel Deregulation: This politically unpopular move was delayed for years but Mr. Modi just ripped the Band-Aid off and freed up diesel prices to move with the global market, potentially saving the government billions of dollars.

Global Diplomacy: Though he made little headway with India’s biggest rival–Pakistan–Mr. Modi’s globetrotting brought the country closer to most of its other neighbors and raised the nation’s profile around the world. Getting President Barack Obama to India for Republic Day was a brilliant public relations coup even if the U.S. President voiced concerns about how India treated its minorities while here.

GDP Growth: Some time during Mr. Modi’s reign, India overtook China as the fastest- growing large economy in the world. Although most of the jump in GDP came from a reworking of how the number is calculated, the revised figure produced a new point of pride for many.

Direct Subsidy Payments: Replacing leaky, expensive-to-administer and badly-targeted subsidies with direct payments to the poor is a more efficient way to help the country’s needy. Mr. Modi started direct payments for cooking gas in some places and is hoping to expand them to subsidize food and fertilizer purchases for the poorest.

Coal and Telecom Auctions: Coal mining rights and telecommunications bandwidth were at the center of the biggest scandals that helped to sink the Congress party in general elections in 2014. Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party did not shy away from putting them back on the block to help raise money for the government and kick-start growth in these crucial sectors.

Media Management: Prime Minister Modi starved the media of access at the same time as flooding the airwaves. Speeches broadcast on every news channel, a regular radio show, carefully curated photo opportunities in weird outfits and wonderful places and an unprecedented barrage ofsocial media messages through Facebook, Twitter and even Weibo in China have all been used to let the world know what Mr. Modi is doing and thinking.

Scandal Free: Of course it’s early in the game, but so far in his premiership, there has been no huge scandal to suggest that the latest people in power are more corrupt than the last batch.

This Outfit: When the prime minister greeted President Obama, wearing this dapper suit in January, he wrecked the Internet. Mr. Modi’s vanity pinstripes had the worldwide web buzzing for weeks after Mr. Obama left and then sold at auction for close to $700,000. The money went to charities that work to educate girls.

Mr. Modi hugs Barack Obama while wearing a pinstrip suit with his name in the stitching.

AFP/Getty

He’s been relentless, offering constituents of world’s largest democracy a constant flow of policy speeches, international trips, colorful photo opportunities and ambitious new programs.

His charismatic style of governing has had mixed results.

While he has had some failures–including his party’s defeat in the Delhi elections and its inability to calm concerns within minority communities as outlined in this accompanying post about Mr. Modi’s misses—he has also had some impressive successes.

Here are 10 that stood out:

More Foreign Direct Investment: There was no big-bang busting India open to international competition and deregulation in Mr. Modi’s first year, but the prime minister has to get credit for allowing more FDI in the insurance, defense and other sectors.

Diesel Deregulation: This politically unpopular move was delayed for years but Mr. Modi just ripped the Band-Aid off and freed up diesel prices to move with the global market, potentially saving the government billions of dollars.

Global Diplomacy: Though he made little headway with India’s biggest rival–Pakistan–Mr. Modi’s globetrotting brought the country closer to most of its other neighbors and raised the nation’s profile around the world. Getting President Barack Obama to India for Republic Day was a brilliant public relations coup even if the U.S. President voiced concerns about how India treated its minorities while here.

GDP Growth: Some time during Mr. Modi’s reign, India overtook China as the fastest- growing large economy in the world. Although most of the jump in GDP came from a reworking of how the number is calculated, the revised figure produced a new point of pride for many.

Direct Subsidy Payments: Replacing leaky, expensive-to-administer and badly-targeted subsidies with direct payments to the poor is a more efficient way to help the country’s needy. Mr. Modi started direct payments for cooking gas in some places and is hoping to expand them to subsidize food and fertilizer purchases for the poorest.

Coal and Telecom Auctions: Coal mining rights and telecommunications bandwidth were at the center of the biggest scandals that helped to sink the Congress party in general elections in 2014. Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party did not shy away from putting them back on the block to help raise money for the government and kick-start growth in these crucial sectors.

Media Management: Prime Minister Modi starved the media of access at the same time as flooding the airwaves. Speeches broadcast on every news channel, a regular radio show, carefully curated photo opportunities in weird outfits and wonderful places and an unprecedented barrage of social media messages through Facebook, Twitter and even Weibo in China have all been used to let the world know what Mr. Modi is doing and thinking.

Scandal Free: Of course it’s early in the game, but so far in his premiership, there has been no huge scandal to suggest that the latest people in power are more corrupt than the last batch.

This Outfit: When the prime minister greeted President Obama, wearing this dapper suit in January, he wrecked the Internet. Mr. Modi’s vanity pinstripes had the worldwide web buzzing for weeks after Mr. Obama left and then sold at auction for close to $700,000. The money went to charities that work to educate girls.

Mr. Modi hugs Barack Obama while wearing a pinstrip suit with his name in the stitching. AFP/Getty

This Solo: Mr. Modi needed only a few minutes watching a Taiko drum performance during his visit to Japan before he grabbed the sticks and proved he could bash it out with the best of them.

via The Top 10 Successes of Narendra Modi’s First Year – India Real Time – WSJ.

26/05/2015

The Top 10 Misses of Narendra Modi’s First Year – India Real Time – WSJ

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has had some major wins—including opening new sectors up to more foreign investment and raising India’s global profile as outlined in this accompanying post about Mr. Modi’s triumphs—he has also had some surprising losses.

Here are 10 that stood out:

Delhi Defeat: Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party made big bets on the Delhi elections in February and lost almost every seat to the upstart Aam Aadmi Party. The small but high-profile local poll proved that the BJP was not invincible. Sambit Patra, a spokesman for the party admitted that the BJP had misread Delhi voters and has learned from its mistakes.

The War on Tax Terrorism: Mr. Modi came to power promising to stop the tax harassment of corporations. The decisions not to appeal tax cases against Vodafone Group PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC were a step in the right direction. Some foreign investors though were then slapped with huge surprise back tax bills making everyone question whether anything has changed. India’s ruling party has said it is working hard to clarify tax laws but it cannot erase cases that had been brought before they came to power.

Minority Concerns: While there has not been anything close to nationwide backlash against minority groups that many had feared, critics say the prime minister has not yet gone far enough to calm the concerns of minority communities. Some worry that people within the BJP and others with Hindu-nationalist leanings seem emboldened by the rise of Mr. Modi’s party, making them more likely to speak out and act out against Muslims, Christians and other non-Hindu communities. Mr. Modi has strongly condemned intolerance and reprimanded BJP members for controversial comments. The party says it represents all Indians and it cannot be responsible for every fringe group that makes trouble. “No one should be scared of anybody, the government supports every community,” said the BJP’s Mr. Patra.

No Big Bang: Two budgets down and still no sign of the big bang economic reforms optimists had expected from Mr. Modi. The changes he has promoted have been more incremental while attempts at some unpopular changes have been blocked in Parliament. He’s unveiled many promising campaigns to do everything from building more toilets and “smart cities” to promoting manufacturing and yoga. However, it’s too early to decide whether his campaigns represent a revolution in thinking or just rhetoric. The BJP spokesman said the party will continue to push for reform.

Paltry Profits: GDP growth has accelerated and inflation has plunged under Mr. Modi, but the Modi magic is not trickling down to the bottom line. For the fiscal year ended Mar. 31, many of India’s largest companies are expected to announce their weakest profit growth in more than five years.

Visa Glitches: On his many trips abroad, Prime Minister Modi expanded the number of countries eligible for so-called visa-on-arrival privileges. Travelers said the new visas ended up causing a lot of confusion forcing the government to rename them, more accurately, e-visas. There was a similar muddle about new rules combining the PIO and OCI visas held by people of Indian origin around the world. The change, which was meant to make it easier for people with Indian heritage to stay in India, ended up causing some angst about whether their right to remain was about to run out.

WTO Battle: One of Mr. Modi’s government’s first global moves was to reject a World Trade Organization agreement set in Bali. India had agreed to abide by the agreement before the BJP came to power but changed its mind, saying it needed more protection for its farmers. With few other countries backing its position, India eventually backed down. The Bali deal, which will simplify customs procedures world-wide, is now moving ahead; both India and the countries that pressured it to accept the agreement claim not to have blinked.

Crackdown: While Mr. Modi has been in charge, India has restricted funding of non-government organizations, including Greenpeace. It blocked the broadcasting of a BBC documentary about the 2012 gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus. New Delhi also stopped Al-Jazeera from broadcasting in India for five days for mislabeling India’s disputed border with Pakistan.

Government officials said the government was not trying to silence critics. In the case of the non-government organization funding, officials said they were just enforcing foreign exchange laws. A court said the ban on the BBC documentary was to avoid law and order problems. Meanwhile the Al-Jazeera blackout was punishment for showing maps with “parts of Indian territory inside Pakistan,” an official of India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry said at the time.

This Outfit: When the prime minister greeted U.S. President Barack Obama wearing this dapper suit in January, many applauded his bold choice of subliminal advertising; others called it an embarrassing display of gauche narcissism.

Mr. Modi hugs President Barack Obama while wearing a pinstripe suit with his name in the stitching. AFP/Getty

This Solo: As with most of his international trips, Mr. Modi was not shy about putting on the local attire during a recent visit to Mongolia. He should have considered ending his tryst with Mongolian culture at that though as his attempt at playing an instrument called the Yoochin—for more than two minutes—was painful to watch.

via The Top 10 Misses of Narendra Modi’s First Year – India Real Time – WSJ.

26/05/2015

Taiwan offers South China Sea peace plan | Reuters

Taiwan proposed a peace initiative on Tuesday to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea that it says will reduce tensions that have put Beijing at odds with its neighbors and the United States.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou arrives at Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei, Taiwan, April 29, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

The South China Sea Peace Initiative announced by President Ma Ying-jeou called on claimants to temporarily shelve their disagreements to enable negotiations on sharing resources.

Ma’s plan is similar to a 2012 proposal for the East China Sea, which allowed Taiwan and Japan to jointly fish in the contested waters.

However it appeared unlikely the plan would be accepted by China, which claims most of the South China Sea and has rebuffed earlier attempts at multilateral negotiations.

“We believe Chinese people on both sides of the Strait have a duty to jointly protect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and safeguard the stability of the South China Sea region,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, when asked about the plan on Tuesday.

China views self-governed Taiwan as a renegade province.

Taiwan has so far played a marginal role in disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew over parts of the disputed sea.

Ma’s remarks in a keynote speech at an international law conference in Taipei were the most public comments by Taiwan since the United States, its biggest ally, raised concerns over the speed and breadth of China’s land reclamation in the area.

“We demand that freedom of navigation and overflight be respected in the South China Sea,” said Ma, who urged a peaceful resolution “before a major conflict breaks out”.

Taiwan normally maintains a low-key approach to such issues but has coast guard and military facilities in the area, including an airstrip and soon-to-be-completed port on Taiping Island, also known as Itu Abu, the largest natural land mass in the disputed Spratlys archipelago.

“I believe the mainland side understands the spirit and principle of our South China Sea peace initiative,” Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin told reporters after Ma’s speech.

The rival claims by Taiwan and China go back to before they split in a civil war in 1949 after the defeated Nationalists fled to the island from the Communists.

via Taiwan offers South China Sea peace plan | Reuters.

21/05/2015

Patent applications lead the world|Focus|chinadaily.com.cn

China recorded 928,000 invention patent applications in 2014, more than that of any other country, for the fourth consecutive year, according to data released by the State Intellectual Property Office on Monday.

Patent applications lead the world

The office found that about 663,000 inventions had high quality and market value. About 4.9 patents per 10,000 population were filed, according to the data.

Enterprises have been pillars of research and the development of new technologies and products, according to the office.

In 2014, about 485,000 invention patent applications were filed by enterprises, more than the number filed by individuals, academies or research institutes.

“It shows that China has already established a new technological innovation system that is strongly bolstered by enterprises,” said Gan Shaoning, deputy head of the office.

Huawei Technologies, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, was granted 2,409 invention patents in 2014, according to the SIPO data.

China’s inventors need to raise the quality of their inventions in order to catch up with world’s best, Gan said.

Market insiders said economic growth, as well as higher demand from industry and individual consumers, have pushed up the number of inventions.

“New inventions enable businesses to run at lower cost, with greater efficiency and with more care for the environment. For customers, inventions simply mean a better life and more choices,” said Zhang Ming, a Shanghai-based patent consultant.

In 2014, applications for invention patents accounted for 39.3 percent of all applications, exceeding that of so-called utility model applications – mainly cosmetic design or appearance – which stood at 36.8 percent, a recent SIPO circular said.

One of China’s priorities has been to boost innovation by improving protections for intellectual property, an effort that has induced many intellectual property rights firms to expand business here.

The country also plans to set up a standardized IPR service system by 2020, according to a guideline jointly released by the SIPO, the Standardization Administration, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Copyright Administration.

Awapatent, a consultancy firm specializing in intellectual property, launched its Asian arm this month in Beijing and Hong Kong – AWA Asia – in response to increasingly frequent calls from clients in the region.

via Patent applications lead the world|Focus|chinadaily.com.cn.

21/05/2015

China’s nuclear power capacity to reach 30m kilowatts by year end|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

China will have 30 million kilowatts (KW) of nuclear power capacity by the end of 2015, said Xu Yuming, deputy director of the China Nuclear Energy Association on Thursday.

Currently there are 23 nuclear power units operating in China, with a combined capacity of 21.4 million kilowatts. Twenty-nine units are being built or planned, Xu said.

The government plans to increase China’s total nuclear power capacity to 58 million kilowatts by 2020, a rise of 170 percent over the current level.

Xu estimates that this will require 100 billion yuan ($16.34 billion) of investment every year.

It is expected that China’s electricity usage will double by 2030, Xu said, adding efforts should be made to promote clean energy including nuclear power.

Last month, China approved the construction of pilot nuclear power units using the Hualong One technology, a domestically-developed third generation reactor design drawing on the world’s leading design philosophy. The homegrown technology will help contribute to industrial upgrades and steady economic growth.

via China’s nuclear power capacity to reach 30m kilowatts by year end|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

21/05/2015

Watch Indian Fighter Jet Land on Highway to Taj Mahal – India Real Time – WSJ

The Indian Air Force on Thursday landed a fighter jet on an expressway for the first time to showcase its ability to use national highways as runways in case of conflict.

The Mirage-2000 jet landed on a cordoned-off stretch of the Yamuna Expressway that leads to Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal.

Test landing of a Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Indian Air force on the Yamuna Expressway near Delhi on Wednesday. India’s Ministry of Defence

The single-engine, single-seater combat plane is produced by Dassault Aviation SA of France. It can reach a top speed of 2,495 kilometers, or 1,550 miles an hour.

The jet took off from an undisclosed air base in central India. Facilities such as a makeshift air traffic control center, safety services, rescue vehicles, bird clearance parties were set up in coordination with local agencies for its landing.

The air force has “plans to activate more such stretches on highways in the future,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The Mirage-2000 strike aircraft is a critical part of India’s fighter jet fleet. Its flying qualities and maneuverability came into prominence during the bombing of Pakistani positions in the Himalayas during the Kargil war in 1999.

India’s air force fleet however comprises mainly Russian-origin aircraft such as the Sukhoi and MiG planes.

via Watch Indian Fighter Jet Land on Highway to Taj Mahal – India Real Time – WSJ.

20/05/2015

Renault Unveils Its Cheapest New Car in India, the Kwid – India Real Time – WSJ

Renault S.A. unveiled on Wednesday an affordable small car in India as it seeks to expand its foothold in this growing automobile market.

Named Kwid, the car would have a 0.8 liter gasoline engine and go on sale during the festival season that starts around September, Carlos Ghosn, Renault’s chief executive, said after its unveiling. It would be priced between 300,000 rupees ($4,710) and 400,000 rupees ($6,280).

“The Kwid will be a big contributor to Renault’s growth in India followed by emerging markets and other parts of the world,” Mr. Ghosn said. The company is aiming to increase its market share in India to 5% from the current 1.5%, he added, without elaborating by when it hopes to do so.

via Renault Unveils Its Cheapest New Car in India, the Kwid – India Real Time – WSJ.

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