Posts tagged ‘Himalayas’

14/12/2016

Pop-Up Restaurant at Everest Base Camp Aims for Peak of Fine Dining – India Real Time – WSJ

Chefs are trekking thousands of feet to prepare fancy food in the cold

Trekkers pass through a glacier at the Mount Everest base camp, Nepal.

The peaks of fine dining just keep getting higher and higher.

A caravan of roving chefs and their 15 guests is currently making its way up the Himalayas toward the base camp at Mount Everest, where, 17,500 feet above sea level and amid the lashing winds and bone-penetrating chill of the Nepalese winter, food will be served.

The One Star House Party, as the project has been dubbed, is preparing 16 more such destination dining experiences, one a month, through 2018, though not all of the destinations are so extreme. Among the chefs involved is James Sharman, a onetime chef de partie at Noma, the influential, soon-to-close restaurant that put Copenhagen on the global culinary map.

The Nepal journey is costing its participants $1,050 each. Down jackets and sleeping bags are included. The group didn’t immediately respond to a request for the menu.

Everest Base Camp is, literally, a trek. Not a quick one, either. The group first flew from Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu to the tiny airstrip at Lukla, undertaking one of the most treacherous landings on the planet. From there they are walking, helped by porters, who are presumably carrying more than the usual amount of kitchen gear on their backs. Most travelers are advised to spend more than a week making their way up to base camp, to allow their bodies to adjust to the altitude.

On the way, the chefs have been collecting local flora for their mountaintop pantry.

Everest Base Camp is no stranger to haute cuisine. Adventurers scaling the great mountain with some of the more full-service expedition companies can enjoy sushi, pork chops and Peking duck alongside their protein bars and instant noodles. A few years ago Glenfiddich sponsored a whiskey tasting there, billed as the world’s highest, that was broadcast live online.

For more earthbound eaters in South Asia, there will be at least one more chance to join the One Star House Party. Their next destination, slated for January, is Mumbai. Reservations aren’t yet being taken.

Source: Pop-Up Restaurant at Everest Base Camp Aims for Peak of Fine Dining – India Real Time – WSJ

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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.

12/05/2015

Optics as well as substance important as India’s Modi visits China | Reuters

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in the ancient city of Xian on Thursday at the start of a visit to China, he will be met by Chinese President Xi Jinping, in an unusual departure from normal protocol.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) and China's President Xi Jinping shake hands during a photo opportunity ahead of their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi September 18, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Top Chinese leaders almost never travel outside Beijing to meet senior foreign guests on bilateral visits, and Xi’s appearance in Xian, located in Xi’s home province of Shaanxi, underscores China’s determination to set aside past rancor between the world’s two most populous nations, experts said.

“It definitely indicates the significance our president puts on Mr. Modi’s visit,” said Li Li, an India expert at the government-backed China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

“From the Chinese side, we were very impressed by the hospitality extended by Mr. Modi during Xi Jinping’s visit to India,” he added, referring to Modi greeting Xi in his home state of Gujarat when Xi visited India last year.

Modi will visit a Xian pagoda connected to Xuanzang, also known as Tripitaka, the monk who bought the Buddhist sutras to China from India thousands of years ago, according to people briefed on the trip.

“It is sending a very important message,” Li said of Xi’s going to Xian to greet Modi, a place closely connected to the deep historical links between China and India.

Still, the list of problems both countries face are considerable, ranging from a festering border dispute to China’s support for India’s arch-rival Pakistan.

Mistrust runs deep, something Xi will be keenly aware of despite the bonhomie and billions of dollars in deals likely to be signed.

Modi’s new account on Chinese social media site Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, was filled with messages soon after launching this month asking him to return what China calls South Tibet, otherwise known as the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

“This is the great, great pressure the Chinese government is facing,” said Mao Siwei, a former senior Chinese diplomat who was based in India and Pakistan, talking about the need to manage Chinese public concern about the disputed area.

China claims more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) disputed by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas.

India says China occupies 38,000 square km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.

In September, the two armies faced off in the Ladakh sector in the western Himalayas just as Xi was visiting India for the first summit talks with Modi. This time, the border has been quiet ahead of Modi’s arrival.

While chances of a breakthrough on the border look distant, the exchange of visits by Modi and Xi so soon after both took office is a positive sign, said Ram Madhav, a senior leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a hardline Hindu nationalist organization that has close ties to Modi’s BJP.

“There is an earnest eagerness to connect with the Indian leadership,” Madhav told a forum in Beijing.

“Prime Minister Modi has chosen to come in his first year (of office) to China. It shows that the leaders on both sides are seriously attempting to … bridge the most important challenge between the two countries – the trust deficit.”

via Optics as well as substance important as India’s Modi visits China | Reuters.

24/03/2015

China says it agrees with India to maintain border peace | Reuters

China and India have agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity along their Himalayan border while they work on resolving a long-festering boundary dispute, China’s foreign ministry said after talks in New Delhi.

China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi (L) and India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval shake hands during a photo opportunity before their meeting in New Delhi March 23, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer

The talks are aimed at fixing a dispute over the border that divides Asia’s largest nations, part of a push to make progress on the festering row before Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits China.

China’s foreign ministry said in a statement released on Monday both countries would build on the results of previous negotiations and push forward in “the correct direction”.

“Both sides reiterated the appropriate management and control of the dispute and joint maintenance of the peace and tranquillity of the border region before the border issue is resolved,” the ministry said.

As major neighbours and developing countries, the development of relations is good for both peoples as well as for regional and global peace and development, it said.

“Both sides ought to work together to push for practical cooperation in all areas, and further increase coordination on global and international issues.”

The talks are the first since Modi took office. The nationalist Indian prime minister is keen to resolve a dispute that has clouded rapidly expanding commercial links. Any progress would throw a positive light on his expected visit to Beijing in May.

However, there is no simple solution to a conflict that largely dates back to British colonial decisions about Tibet.

The disagreement over the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border led to a brief war in 1962 and involves large swaths of remote territory.

China claims more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) disputed by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. Much of that forms the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls South Tibet.

India says China occupies 38,000 square km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.

In September, the two armies faced off in the Ladakh sector in the western Himalayas just as Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India for the first summit talks with Modi.

via China says it agrees with India to maintain border peace | Reuters.

15/12/2014

China Breaks India Monopoly on Nepal Economy as Investment Grows – Businessweek

In the dusty outskirts of Kathmandu, south of the Himalayan mountain range that holds the world’s highest peaks, Chinese engineers in orange hard hats oversee construction of Nepal’s first eight-lane highway.

Highway Construction

The $45 million upgrade of a road circling the Nepalese capital is one of dozens of projects helping China challenge India’s dominance in a country that is sandwiched between them. Until recently, the Himalayas served as a natural barrier that prompted Nepal to trade more across its flat border with India.

“China is growing in importance,” Ram Sharan Mahat, Nepal’s Finance Minister, said in a Dec. 4 interview in Kathmandu. “Because of new trade horizons and the cheap pricing of Chinese goods, Chinese trade vis-a-vis Nepal is growing.”

via China Breaks India Monopoly on Nepal Economy as Investment Grows – Businessweek.

27/11/2014

South Asia Summit Nearing Failure as India, Pakistan Bicker – Businessweek

South Asian leaders overseeing a quarter of the world’s people struggled to agree on how to ease trade barriers in the region as India and Pakistan continued a decades-long row over a disputed border.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to meet every regional leader except Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for a one-on-one meeting during a gathering in Nepal starting today. Leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC, last held a summit in 2011.

Failure to agree on cross-border travel and electricity supply would risk derailing Modi’s plan to turn the bloc into a regional force that can counter China’s growing influence. Chinese leaders have promised to invest part of a $40 billion Silk Road fund on infrastructure in South Asia.

via South Asia Summit Nearing Failure as India, Pakistan Bicker – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

Massive Himalayan hydropower dam comes on stream in Tibet | South China Morning Post

Tibet‘s biggest ever hydropower project has begun generating electricity, state-run media reported, the latest dam developed on Himalayan rivers to prompt concern in neighbouring India.

tpbje20141123187_46897531.jpg

The first generating plant at the 9.6 billion yuan (HK$12.1 billion) Zangmu Hydropower Station, which stands more than 3,300 metres above sea level, went into operation on Sunday, Xinhua said.

The dam on the Yarlung Zangbo River, known as the Brahmaputra in India where it is a major waterway, will be 116 metres high when completed next year, according to reports.

It will have a total generating capacity of 510,000 kilowatts.

“The hydropower station will solve Tibet’s power shortage, especially in the winter,” Xinhua quoted an official from Tibet Electric Power Company as saying.

India has previously expressed concern about damming the Brahmaputra, one of the largest Himalayan rivers and a lifeline to some of India’s remote, farm-dependent northeastern states.

India’s Foreign Ministry last year urged China “to ensure that the interests of downstream states are not harmed by any activities in upstream areas” of the river after state media reports that China planned several more dams there.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said yesterday that New Delhi had been aware the dam was “coming up”.

“The Chinese have told us that it should have no implications for us,” he said.

Dam construction in China has been blamed for reduced flow and sudden flooding on the Mekong River, which flows into Southeast Asia, claims Beijing has denied.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters: “The hydropower stations China builds will not affect the flood prevention and ecological system of downstream areas.”

via Massive Himalayan hydropower dam comes on stream in Tibet | South China Morning Post.

25/11/2014

India-Pakistan Sparring Opens Door for China in South Asia – Businessweek

For a senior Afghan diplomat sitting in India’s capital, it’s easy to explain how a region with a quarter of the world’s people can account for only five percent of global trade.

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping

“India and Pakistan need to overcome their problems,” M. Ashraf Haidari, deputy chief of mission at Afghanistan’s embassy in New Delhi, said in an interview ahead of this week’s meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, or SAARC. “Summits happen, leaders come, there’s all this consensus and declarations announced. But unfortunately it doesn’t happen in reality.”

As leaders of eight SAARC countries meet in Nepal this week for the first time since 2011, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has more reasons than ever to turn the bloc into a regional force to counter China’s growing influence in South Asia. Doing so will require him to overcome differences with Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif.

So far, things aren’t looking good. Modi’s government scrapped talks with Pakistan in August, which was followed by the worst border fighting between the countries in a decade. At the same time, China has promised SAARC nations part of a $40 billion Silk Road fund to finance infrastructure investments.

“SAARC won’t be able to counter China’s influence,” said Nishan de Mel, executive director and head of research at Colombo-based Verite Research Pvt., a policy research group. “China tends to have an approach that isn’t too demanding and isn’t politically difficult for the partner country and where the partner country will tend to see benefits quite quickly. India’s approach tends to be more hard-nosed.”

via India-Pakistan Sparring Opens Door for China in South Asia – Businessweek.

25/11/2014

India names special envoy for China border talks | Reuters

India on Monday named its powerful national security adviser as a special envoy on China, opening the way for resumption of talks on the disputed border, where tensions have risen in recent months over border patrols and stiffer defenses.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing September 9, 2014.  REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool

Ajit Doval, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will lead the negotiations with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi to try and reach a settlement on dispute over the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border that has clouded rapidly expanding commercial links.

In September, the two armies were locked in a faceoff in the Ladakh sector in the western Himalayas just as Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India for the first summit talks with Modi.

Both leaders vowed to work together to resolve the border row that has defied a solution even after 17 rounds of high level talks over the last decade and negotiations even earlier between the diplomats of the two countries.

China lays claim to more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) disputed by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. India says China occupies 38,000 square km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.

Doval, a hardliner on national security issues, will conduct boundary negotiations as well as strategic consultations with China, Modi’s office said in a statement.

New Delhi has vowed to beef up defenses along the border to narrow the gap with China’s network of roads and communication links. Beijing has expressed concern about India’s plan to build roads and border outposts in Arunachal Pradesh in the east, which it refers to as south Tibet.

Indian officials say Chinese border patrols have been intruding deeper into their side of the de facto border, in a sign of assertiveness that has fueled concern in the region.

(Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

via India names special envoy for China border talks | Reuters.

18/09/2014

Chinese Views of India: Culturally Rich but Backward – China Real Time Report – WSJ

From China’s side of the Himalayas, the view of India isn’t always that great.

“This place is like China from 20 years ago. It’s much, much worse than I’d imagined,” said Tony Jiang, 29, an employee at an electronics-parts maker in Hangzhou visiting New Delhi this week.

Reshma Patil, an Indian journalist who spent more than three years based in Beijing reporting on China for the Hindustan Times newspaper, writes in a recently published book that Chinese she met tended to view India as poor and unsanitary.

In “Strangers Across the Border: Indian Encounters in Boomtown China,” Ms. Patil argues that ties between the two countries are hampered by their citizens’ mutual ignorance of each other.

A survey by the Pew Research Center published this year found that 30% of Chinese have a “favorable” view of India and 55% an “unfavorable” one. By contrast, 50% of Chinese have a favorable view of the U.S., according to Pew. Just 8% of Chinese hold a favorable view of Japan.

More Chinese are getting first-hand knowledge by visiting India as tourists or on business trips.

But the numbers are still small. India’s Ministry of Tourism says that about 175,000 Chinese tourists visited India in 2013, a 46% increase from around 120,000 in 2010. Tourism experts say China’s newly affluent prefer traveling to Europe, the U.S. and Southeast Asia.

India Real Time interviewed some Chinese visitors to India to get their impressions of the country as the two nations focus on bolstering ties that have long been strained by territorial disputes. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in India on Wednesday for a three-day trip aimed at deepening economic relations.

For some Chinese, the allure of India is its cultural heritage, especially its connection to Buddhism.

Mario Tang, a 26-year-old store manager from Shanghai who traveled across north India, said he came to see India’s centuries old history — against the advice of family and friends.

“My parents thought I was crazy. Most people I know think India is a poor, dirty, backward place,” Mr. Tang said.

He found it magical. “India is one of my favorite places on the planet,” he said. He visited Buddhist holy sites and even took a dip in the Ganges, India’s sacred river. He said Indians he spoke to seemed happy, something he attributed to “the power of belief and culture.”

Di Wenjie, a 32-year-old Chinese magazine editor who has visited India several times, said the country is “beyond imagination and full of color.” She says she studied meditation and yoga and plans to come again soon.

Others take a dimmer view.

“We didn’t have high hopes coming here,” said Mr. Jiang, the electronics-company employee, who was visiting Delhi for a trade fair. “Our impression was that Indian people are dirty and disorderly,” he said, while working on his laptop at a Starbucks in the center of the Indian capital this week.

Mr. Jiang also questioned Indians’ dedication to their jobs. “Indians are still eating breakfast at 10 a.m. Then they go home by 5 to 6 p.m.,” he said. “This is why this country is developing so, so slowly.”

His colleague, Ray Zhang, 28, said that his experience in New Delhi had been “terrible.” But he said he wouldn’t rule out returning to India to see the sights. “I’ve heard a lot about the Taj Mahal,” he said.

via Chinese Views of India: Culturally Rich but Backward – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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