Archive for December, 2016

31/12/2016

5 Billionaire Families From India’s Powerful Parsi Minority – Briefly – WSJ

India’s Parsis are one of the most successful minority and migrant groups in the world. They make up less than 0.005% of India’s population but three out of the country’s top 10 billionaires.They fled Iran and settled in India in the 10th century and have since played an outsized role in the evolution of India’s economy as pioneers of trade and industry.

For centuries, prominent Parsis have shared their success through philanthropy – their religion encourages wealth creation as well as charity–so the names of top Parsi traders and industrialists are plastered on the hospitals, schools, libraries and streets of Mumbai and other cities.

A Wall Street Journal article looks at how the battle for control of the $100 billion Tata Group–which was founded and headed by Parsis – has caused a lot of stress and soul searching in the proud community. Three of the richest Parsi families – the Tatas, the Mistrys and the Wadias – are involved in the unusually ugly and public brawl which has now shifted to the courts.

Here are snapshots of those three Parsi families and two others that have made billions building the backbone of Indian industry.

1 Tata Head: Ratan Tata

Net worth:  $570 Million

Established: 1868

Industries: Software, steel, autos, hospitality, airlines

Companies: Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Tetley Tea

2 Mistry Head: Pallonji Mistry (father of Cyrus Mistry)

Net worth:  $15 billion

Established: 1865

Industries: Property development, construction, energy

Companies: SP Real Estate, SP Infra, Eureka

3 Wadia Current leader: Nusli Wadia

Net worth:  $3 billion

Established: 1736

Industries: Textiles, property, food, health

Companies: Bombay Dyeing, Britannia, Go Airlines

4 Godrej Current leader: Adi Godrej

Net worth: $12 billion

Established: 1897

Industries: Consumer durables, retail, property

Companies: Godrej Consumer Products, Godrej Properties, Gorej Industries

5 Poonawalla Head: Cyrus Poonawalla

Net worth: $12 billion

Established: 1966

Industries: Biotech, vaccines

Companies: Serum Institute of India, Poonawalla Stud Farms

Source: 5 Billionaire Families From India’s Powerful Parsi Minority – Briefly – WSJ

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22/12/2016

Are India and Pakistan set for water wars? – BBC News

India is stepping up efforts to maximise its water use from the western rivers of the Indus basin, senior officials have told the BBC.

The move would involve building huge storage facilities and canals.

The three rivers flow through Indian-administered Kashmir but most of the water is allotted to Pakistan under an international treaty.

Experts say Delhi is using the water issue to put pressure on Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir.Relations have deteriorated since a deadly militant attack on an Indian base in September. Pakistan denies any link to the attack.

Why India’s water dispute with Pakistan matters

Kashmir: Why India and Pakistan fight over it

Kashmir profiled

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said a government taskforce is finalising details of the water project, which he has made a priority.

“The ball has started rolling and we will see some results soon, most of them will be about building new storages in the basin,” one top official said on condition of anonymity.

Another senior official said: “We are quite familiar with the terrain as we have already built a number of structures there.

But he added: “We are talking about few years here.

“How much water is at stake?

India wants to “maximise” its use of water from the Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers. Millions of people in both countries depend on water in the rivers.

An official with India’s water resources ministry insisted that this action would be “well within” the terms of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

India began reviewing the treaty after the militant attack in Indian-administered Kashmir in September in which 19 soldiers were killed.Delhi accused Islamabad of being behind the attack and relations have plummeted, leading to a rise in cross-border tensions.

The IWT was signed in 1960 and allocated the three eastern rivers – the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej – of the Indus basin to India, while 80% of the three western ones – the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab – was allotted to Pakistan.

India says it has not fully utilised the 20% of water given to it in the three western rivers. Pakistan disputes this.

Officials in Delhi said the IWT allows India to irrigate 1.4 million acres of land using water from those rivers.

But they say only 800,000 acres are irrigated at present.

They added that the building of hydropower projects would also be accelerated.

India currently generates around 3,000MW of hydroelectricity from the western rivers, but the Indus basin is said to have a potential of nearly 19,000 MW.

How safe is the water treaty?

 

Pakistan is watching India’s moves closely.

India shares a heavily militarised international border with Pakistan

Speaking in an open debate of the United Nations Security Council on “water, peace and security” last month, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, denounced any use of water as an “instrument of coercion and war”.

“The IWT is equally a good case study of what could go wrong if such agreements are not honoured or threatened by one of the state parties to be abrogated altogether.

“Water experts say the treaty seems to have at least survived because India is not talking about withdrawing from it.

But, they believe, maximising use of water from the western rivers in the Indus basin can still fuel tensions.

Islamabad is already unhappy with some of India’s existing water projects.It has asked the World Bank, which brokered the signing of the treaty between the two countries, for a court of arbitration to consider two Indian hydropower projects in the Indus basin.

India has objected to this move, prompting the bank to pause the dispute process while it tries to persuade the two countries to resolve their disagreements, fearing that otherwise the treaty itself could be in peril.

In 1987, Delhi suspended the Tulbul navigation project on the Jhelum river after Pakistan objected to it.But sources within India’s Water Resources Ministry say this project could now be revived.

“The decision to review the suspension signalled the Modi government’s intent to revive it irrespective of Pakistan’s protests,” the Times of India newspaper wrote.

“As an implication, India gets to control Jhelum water, impact Pakistan’s agriculture.

“What else could India do?

Some experts say India could also demand a review of the IWT.

“The review can be used to demand more rights over the western rivers,” says Himanshu Thakkar, a regional water resources expert with South Asian Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

Some water resources analysts believe Delhi will also have to be mindful of China before making any major move.

In September, Tibet blocked a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo river (known as the Bramhaputra in India) as part of its most expensive hydro project, Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

The news came just when Indian media were suggesting that Delhi could pull out of the IWT.

“We need to remember that China is an upper riparian country in Indus and Bramhaputra basins and it is also Pakistan’s closest ally,” said Mr Thakkar.

Many experts agree that completing such huge and complex infrastructure projects may not be as swift as some Indian officials suggest.

Source: Are India and Pakistan set for water wars? – BBC News

22/12/2016

China Sends Carbon Fight Into Orbit – China Real Time Report – WSJ

As the climate-change community watches whether President-elect Donald Trump will retreat from U.S. greenhouse-gas commitments, China signaled it is charging ahead, launching a satellite to monitor rising levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

The move comes after a week when a thick blanket of smog hung over much of northern China, forcing the government to shut schools and businesses.

The launch of the satellite known as TanSat, reported early Thursday by state media, marks a renewed effort by the world’s biggest emitter to better understand and track the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. It also reflects the bigger role China aims to play in shaping the global response to climate change at a time the incoming U.S. administration voices skepticism about the Paris accord enacted this year to control and reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s a significant step in terms of being an indicator of China investing large amounts of resources and energy to understand the science behind climate change and carbon emissions,” said Ranping Song, a climate expert at the World Resources Institute in Washington.

The 1,400 pound satellite will orbit more than 400 miles above the earth for the next three years, said Yin Zengshan, the TanSat project’s chief designer, according to Xinhua News Agency, and follows similar projects by the U.S. and Japan to track global carbon levels from monitoring in space.

The satellite—in development for nearly six years—collects independent carbon data. Loaded with sensitive equipment that reads changes in atmospheric CO2 levels to within 1%, TanSat will take carbon readings every 16 days.

As a result, it could help “double check” emissions data reported by countries world-wide, said Mr. Song. Emissions accounting today still largely relies on estimates from energy-consumption statistics. The satellite readings would be a source of independent data for Chinese policy makers.

China has been trying to raise its image in the global climate-change debate, wanting to appear active in aiding global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, rather than serving as an obstacle. It has already pledged to peak and begin reducing its carbon emissions by 2030 as part of a deal reached with the U.S. in 2014. Yet it also comes against a more complicated backdrop today, with Mr. Trump’s incoming administration promising to boost production of polluting fossil fuels including coal.

Mr. Trump’s pledge ahead of the election to “cancel” the U.S. commitment to the global climate pact that entered force this year has worried Chinese officials. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate-change affairs, has urged Mr. Trump to adhere to what China views as a global trend toward cutting emissions.

Under Mr. Trump, many in the U.S. environmental community fear funding for climate-change research could be hacked. In California, Gov. Jerry Brown has even vowed to launch the state’s own monitoring satellite if budgets get chopped.

“If Trump turns off the satellite,” Mr. Brown said this month, “California will launch its own damn satellite. We’re going to collect the data.”

In effect, the Chinese satellite could help add more “eyes in the sky” for monitoring carbon levels in the atmosphere, and serve as a complement to the existing data already being collected by the U.S. and Japan. Xinhua quoted officials as saying China was prepared to share its new data with researchers world-wide.

“Since only the United States and Japan have carbon-monitoring satellites, it is hard for us to see firsthand data,” Xinhua quoted Zhang Peng, vice director of China’s National Satellite Meteorological Center, as saying. “The satellite has world-wide scope and will improve data collection.”

Source: China Sends Carbon Fight Into Orbit – China Real Time Report – WSJ

21/12/2016

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21/12/2016

China seizes an underwater drone and sends a signal to Donald Trump | The Economist

IT WAS an operation carried out with remarkable cool. On December 15th, less than 500 metres away from an American navy ship, a Chinese one deployed a smaller boat to grab an underwater American drone. The object was then taken to the Chinese ship, which sailed off with it. Point deftly made.

The incident occurred in the South China Sea, in which China says the Americans have no business snooping around. By seizing the drone, it has made clear that two can play at being annoying. Mercifully no shots were fired. After remonstrations by the Americans, China agreed to give the drone back “in an appropriate manner”. It chose its moment five days later, handing the device over in the same area where it had snatched it. The Pentagon, though clearly irritated, has downplayed the drone’s importance, saying it cost (a mere) $150,000 and that most of its technology was commercially available. The drone was reportedly carrying out tests of the water’s properties, including salinity and temperature.

But it may turn into less of a game. Relations between the two nuclear powers, never easy at the best of times, are under extra strain as Donald Trump prepares to take over as president on January 20th. Mr Trump has already angered China by talking on the phone to Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, and challenging China’s cherished “one-China” policy, crucial to which is the idea that Taiwan is part of it.

The capture of the drone took place on the outer perimeter of China’s expansive claim to the sea, about 50 miles (80km) from the Philippine port of Subic Bay, which was once home to a large American naval base (see map).

It appeared calculated to show China’s naval reach, with only minimal risk of any conflict—the American ship that was operating the drone, the Bowditch, is a not a combat vessel. Once in office, however, Mr Trump could face tougher challenges, exacerbated by China’s growing presence in the South China Sea: it appears to be installing weapons on islands it has been building there.

His two predecessors were each tested by a dangerous military standoff with China in their first months in office. With George Bush it involved a mid-air collision in April 2001 between an American spy-plane and a Chinese fighter-jet off China’s southern coast. The Chinese pilot was killed and the disabled American plane made an emergency landing at a Chinese airfield. There the crew of 24 was released after 11 days of painstaking diplomacy. The aircraft, full of advanced technology, was returned—in pieces—months later.

In March 2009 it was Barack Obama’s turn. According to the Pentagon, an American surveillance ship, the Impeccable, was sailing 75 miles from China’s coast when it was buzzed by Chinese aircraft and then confronted by five Chinese ships. First the Chinese forced it to make an emergency stop, then they scattered debris in front of the American ship as it tried to sail away. They also attempted to snatch sonar equipment it was towing. The Impeccable soon returned—this time in the reassuring company of an American destroyer.

For now, feuding between Mr Trump and China is less nail-biting. In Twitter messages, Mr Trump bashed China for taking the drone and later said China should keep it. Chinese media have in turn bashed Mr Trump. One newspaper said he had “no sense of how to lead a superpower”. Global Times, a nationalist newspaper in Beijing, said that China would “not exercise restraint” should Mr Trump fail to change his ways once in the White House. He would be wise to study the form.

Source: China seizes an underwater drone and sends a signal to Donald Trump | The Economist

21/12/2016

What China claims to have invented | The Economist

Strange the Chinese felt the need to do their own reasearch about its inventiveness when that had already been done thoroughly by Joseph Needham – http://www.nri.cam.ac.uk/joseph.html – and summarised in

  The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention
Robert Temple
Inner Traditions
Paperback
288 pages
November 2007

http://www.curledup.com/geniusch.htm

Needham’s research uncovered many more than 88 Chinese inventions!

EIGHT is a lucky number in China. How fortunate it was, then, that a team of more than 100 scientists was able, after three years of research, to declare that ancient Chinese had achieved no fewer than 88 scientific breakthroughs and engineering feats of global significance. Their catalogue of more than 200 pages, released in June, was hailed as a major publishing achievement.

All Chinese schoolchildren can name their country’s “four great inventions”: paper, printing, the compass and gunpowder. Now it appears they have a lot more homework to do. The study purports to prove that China was first with many other marvels, including the decimal system, rockets, pinhole imaging, rice and wheat cultivation, the crossbow and the stirrup.

It is no coincidence that the project, led by the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences, got under way a few months after Xi Jinping took over as China’s leader in 2012. Mr Xi has been trying to focus public attention on the glories of China’s past as a way to instil patriotism and provide a suitable historical backdrop for his campaign to fulfil “the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

Mr Xi is building on a long tradition among the Communist Party’s propagandists of claiming world firsts. “China invented Lassie,” ran a headline in Global Times, a party-controlled newspaper, about dogs being domesticated in China 16,000 years ago (another group of scientists reckon China first did this 33,000 years ago). In 2006 official media shocked the Scots with an assertion that China invented golf a millennium ago, hundreds of years before the game took off in Scotland.

As a lover of football, Mr Xi likes drawing attention to China’s pioneering of that sport, too. On a visit to Britain in 2015 he stopped at one of the country’s most famous football clubs, Manchester City. There he was presented with a copy of the first rules for the modern game (drawn up by an Englishman in 1863). In return, he handed over a copper representation of a figure playing cuju, a sport similar to football invented by China 2,000 years ago (see picture, from a football museum in Shandong province). It was apparently popular both among urban youths and as a form of military fitness training. Mr Xi would like a great rejuvenation of this, too. In 2014 he announced plans to put football on the national curriculum. The aim is to make China a “first-class power” in football by 2050 (it has a long way to go).

The growing attention that China pays to its ancient achievements, real and exaggerated, contrasts with the almost total rejection of them by Mao Zedong after he seized power in 1949. In Mao’s China history was not something to celebrate. A central aim of his Cultural Revolution was to attack the “four olds”: customs, culture, habits and ideas. Many Chinese dynasties destroyed some glories of the previous one, but the Communists took this to new extremes. Across the country state-sponsored vandals destroyed temples, mansions, city walls, scenic sites, paintings, calligraphy and other artefacts.That began to change after Mao died in 1976. Now Mr Xi claims that Chinese civilisation “has developed in an unbroken line from ancient to modern times”. He glosses over not just the chaos and destruction of the Mao era but the long centuries when the geographical area now called China was divided into many parts, and even run by foreign powers (Manchu and Mongol).

The party also wants to use ancient prowess to boost China’s image abroad and to counter widespread (and often unfair) impressions in the West that the country is better at copying others’ ideas than coming up with its own. The four great inventions were one of the main themes at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, an event that China saw as its global coming-out party after decades of being treated with suspicion and contempt by foreign powers.

Envy of the West’s rapid gains in technology since the 19th century has been a catalyst of Chinese nationalism for over 100 years. It fuels a cultural competitiveness in China that turns ancient history into a battleground. This was evident in China’s prickly response to a recent documentary made by the BBC and National Geographic, which suggested that China’s famous terracotta warriors in Xi’an showed Greek influence. Some people interpreted this as a slight. One Chinese archaeologist dismissed the theory as “dishonest” and having “no basis”; another said that foreign hands could not have sculpted the figures because “no Greek names” were inscribed on their backs. Likewise in 2008 Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, was derided for saying that table tennis originated not in China but on Victorian dining tables and was known as whiff-whaff.

Just a slight inconsistency

The publication of the 88 achievements, however, has drawn attention again to an enduring mystery: why, after a long record of remarkable attainment in technology, did Chinese innovations largely cease for the 500 years or so leading up to the collapse of the last imperial dynasty in 1911? As state media observed, few of the inventions on the new list belong to this period. This puzzle is often referred to as the “Needham question”, after a British scientist and Sinologist, Joseph Needham. (It was he, in his study of China’s ancient science in the 1950s, who first identified the four great inventions—before then most people thought they had emerged in the West.) A member of the team that produced the list said the question deserved “deep reflection” and would be a topic of future research.

Mr Xi skates over this. He lauds Zheng He, a eunuch who launched maritime voyages from China across the Indian Ocean from 1405, as one of China’s great innovators—an early proponent of a vision of China that Mr Xi would like to recreate: prosperous, outward-looking and technologically advanced (the admiral’s massive boat is number 88 on the list). Yet he fails to point out that soon after Zheng He’s explorations China turned inward, beginning its half-millennium of stagnation.

In this 15th-century turning point, reformists in China see an obvious answer to Needham’s question: isolation from the rest of the world is bad for innovation. They take heart in China’s efforts since the 1970s to re-engage with the West, but lament the barriers that remain. With luck, it will not take 100 state-sponsored Chinese scientists another three years to reach the same conclusion.

Source: What China claims to have invented | The Economist

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18/12/2016

China to return seized US underwater drone, Pentagon says – BBC News

The Pentagon says it has “secured an understanding” with China that it will return an underwater drone seized in the South China Sea.China captured the US vessel in international waters on Thursday. It has not explained why and accused the US of “hyping-up” the incident.US President-elect Donald Trump accused the Chinese of “stealing”.

“We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back – let them keep it!” he tweeted.

The incident is among the most serious military confrontations between the two powers for decades.

The Pentagon said the drone, known as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), was being used to carry out scientific research at the time it was captured and demanded its immediate return. It warned China not to repeat such a move in the future.

But a spokesman said later on Saturday that an agreement had been reached.”Through direct engagement with Chinese authorities, we have secured an understanding that the Chinese will return the UUV to the United States,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.

The Chinese defence ministry said the vessel would be returned in an “appropriate manner”. It is not clear when this might happen.

It criticised the earlier US response, calling it “inappropriate and unhelpful”.

Source: China to return seized US underwater drone, Pentagon says – BBC News

16/12/2016

Taiwan fears becoming Donald Trump’s bargaining chip | The Economist

BY THE end of this month, say Chinese officials, work will be completed on a big upgrade of facilities at a monument to one of the scariest moments in the recent history of relations between China and the United States: an upsurge of tensions in the Taiwan Strait in the mid-1990s that saw the two nuclear powers inching towards the brink of war.

The structure is a concrete tower on an island in the strait, just off the Chinese coast. Atop it more than 100 generals watched a mock invasion of Taiwan by China’s army on a beach below. “Unite the motherland, invigorate China”, says a slogan in gold characters down the side of the building. The meaning of these words at a place where tanks and troops once stormed ashore with warplanes streaking overhead is: we want Taiwan back, by force if necessary.

The building work involves an expansion of the tower’s car park, improvements to the road up to it and other changes to make the place on Pingtan Island in Fujian province more tourist-friendly. The timing may be fortuitous. On December 11th America’s president-elect, Donald Trump, in an interview with Fox News, questioned what China regards as a sacred underpinning of its relationship with America: the principle that there is but “one China” (which, decoded, means that the government of Taiwan is illegitimate). China, bristling with rage, may well seek to remind its citizens, as well as America, of what happened when that principle was last challenged by the United States with a decision in 1995 by its then president, Bill Clinton, to allow his Taiwanese counterpart, Lee Teng-hui, to pay a private visit to America. Handy, then, that Pingtan will be able to handle extra busloads of visitors to that hilltop where China’s brass surveyed the pretend assault.

Relations between China and America are far less precarious than they were during those tense months, when China fired dummy missiles near Taiwan and America sent two aircraft-carrier battle groups close to the island to warn China not to attack it. China, though enraged by Mr Trump’s remarks (and a congratulatory call he took from Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, on December 2nd), is unlikely to take retaliatory action unless Mr Trump continues to challenge the notion of one China after his inauguration on January 20th.

The chip is down

Taiwan has been in the doghouse anyway since Ms Tsai took office in May. China has cut off channels of communication with the island to show its displeasure with her own refusal to embrace the one-China idea. But Ms Tsai may have reservations herself about the way Mr Trump phrased his one-China scepticism. “I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” he said. Mr Trump listed ways in which America was being “badly hurt” by China, such as by the fall in the value of its currency and its island-building in the South China Sea. He accused China of “not helping us at all with North Korea”.

Many Taiwanese worry that this could mean their island will be treated by Mr Trump as a bargaining-chip. Memories are still fresh in Taiwan of secretive dealings between America and China during the cold war, which resulted in America severing diplomatic ties with the island in 1979. Ms Tsai’s government has avoided direct comment on Mr Trump’s remarks. Apparently to avoid raising tensions with China, she has also avoided public crowing over her phone call with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump’s remarks would have riled the Chinese leadership at any time. But they are particularly unwelcome at this juncture for China’s leader, Xi Jinping. He is absorbed by preparations for crucial meetings due to be held late in 2017 at which sweeping reshuffles of the Politburo and other Communist Party bodies will be announced. Those trying to block his appointments would be quick to seize on any sign that he is being soft on America over such a sensitive matter as Taiwan. Should Mr Trump persist in challenging the one-China idea, the risk of escalation will be even greater than usual in the build-up to the conclaves—all the more so, perhaps, given Mr Xi’s insistence that differences between China and Taiwan “cannot be passed on from generation to generation”. Hawkish colleagues may say that it is time to settle the issue by force.

Street protests in China against America or Taiwan would also make it more difficult for Mr Xi to compromise: he would fear becoming a target himself of Chinese nationalists’ wrath. But the risk of this may be low. Since Mr Xi took over in 2012 there have been no major outbreaks of nationalist unrest, partly thanks to his tightening of social and political controls (including locking up ever more dissidents).

Sun Zhe of Tsinghua University says people are unlikely to demonstrate over Taiwan “because they understand the new rules, the new emphasis on political discipline in the last few years.” He says a lot of people in China still admire Mr Trump for his wealth and his unexpected political success. They think that “he wants to make a deal with China.”

In Taiwan, some take comfort in the difficulty Mr Trump would face in changing the terms of America’s relations with Taiwan, such as by announcing a permanent end to arms sales. These are guaranteed by the Taiwan Relations Act, which was passed by Congress in 1979 to reassure Taiwan that America still had an interest in the island’s defence, despite the severance of official ties. Many Republicans sympathise with Taiwan and would be reluctant to support any change to that law (itself a challenge to the one-China idea with which China has—very grudgingly—learned to live).

They might also take solace in what appears to be a change in the Chinese government’s tone since the war games 20 years ago. In April Global Times, a newspaper in Beijing, published a poll showing that 85% of respondents supported unifying China with Taiwan by force, and that 58% agreed the best time would be within the next five years. It was reportedly chastised by China’s internet regulator for “hyping sensitive events” by running such a survey.

Source: Taiwan fears becoming Donald Trump’s bargaining chip | The Economist

16/12/2016

China upset as Dalai Lama meets President Pranab Mukherjee | Reuters

China expressed dissatisfaction on Friday after exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama met President Pranab Mukherjee, saying it hoped India would recognise the Nobel Peace Prize winning monk as a separatist in religious guise.

Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama and other Nobel Peace laureates at a conference on children’s rights at the presidential palace on Sunday.

Those who attended, and spoke, included Princess Charlene of Monaco and the former president of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta.

The Indian government had ignored China’s “strong opposition and insisted” on arranging for the Dalai Lama to share the stage with Mukherjee, and meet him, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in the Chinese capital.

“China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to this,” he said, adding that the Dalai Lama used the guise of religion to engage in separatist activities and China opposed any form of official contacts with him.China wanted India to recognise the “anti-China, separatist essence of the Dalai Lama clique and take steps to banish the negative impact of this incident” to avoid disrupting ties between the Asian giants, Geng said.

While the Dalai Lama has had private meetings with Indian leaders, Sunday’s conference was the first public event, said the political head of the Tibetan government in exile based in the hill town of Dharamsala.

“There are many European governments shying away from hosting His Holiness,” he told Reuters. “Here you have the president of India hosting His Holiness. I think is a powerful message to the world, and particularly to Beijing.”

China regards the Dalai Lama as a separatist, though he says he merely seeks genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland Tibet, which Communist Chinese troops “peacefully liberated” in 1950.

The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

China also expressed displeasure with India this month over the visit to a sensitive border region of another senior Tibetan religious figure, the Karmapa Lama, Tibetan Buddhism‘s third-most-senior monk, who fled into exile in India in 2000.India is home to a large exiled Tibetan community.

Source: China upset as Dalai Lama meets President Pranab Mukherjee | Reuters

16/12/2016

More Trump-Branded Projects Set to Sprout Up Across India – India Real Time – WSJ

India is set to get more Trump-branded projects as local developers seek to capitalize on the brand.

A story from The Wall Street Journal Friday took a look at the many projects around the world connected to the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, including those in India.

Unimark Group, a developer based in Kolkata, has tied up to rebrand a previously planned residential apartment building in the eastern city into a Trump-branded project.

The project is being redesigned to make it better and more luxurious to fit with Trump standards, said Dipanjan Ray, head of marketing at Unimark.

He said the project is still in planning stage, so they aren’t marketing it yet. When they do, he doesn’t doubt Mr. Trump’s election as the next U.S. president will help sales as it has elevated brand awareness in India.

“People were not so aware of Mr. Trump,” a year ago, Mr. Ray said. “He is well known to everybody right now.”

The Trump Organization has also signed up with developer M3M India Pvt. Ltd., to build a residential building in the bustling New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon, according to two people familiar with the matter. The deal was done prior to Mr. Trump’s election, according to both people, but has yet to be formally announced.

In April, Trump announced a tie-up with another developer Ireo to build an office building in Gurgaon. A spokesman for Ireo wouldn’t comment on the status of that project.

Panchshil Realty, a developer in the western Indian town of Pune, finished building the first Trump Towers in India earlier this year. The price tag for the fancy flats: $2.2 million and some are still available.

The developer had been planning another project with the Trump brand name. Sagar Chordia, a director at Panchshil, told The Wall Street Journal in November that he was planning to meet with officials at The Trump Organization to discuss a new residential project, named Trump Riverwalk.

Mr. Chordia met with Mr. Trump in the U.S. after his election, but said that they didn’t discuss any business. He wouldn’t discuss the latest status of Trump Riverwalk but said it doesn’t have plans to launch any new projects at the moment as the property market in India is a bit soft.In Mumbai, developer Lodha Group is building a 75-story Trump Towers which has three-and four-bedroom apartments with options for indoor Jacuzzis and automatic toilets. The flats are listed at around $1.3 million onward, and some are still unsold.

Source: More Trump-Branded Projects Set to Sprout Up Across India – India Real Time – WSJ

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