Saturday 6 March 2021
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India going soft on China again? Officials disagree

India had in 2020 reacted to Chinese expansionism by putting up barriers to the flow of investment from countries along its land borders

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Economy India going soft on China again? Officials disagree

India is not considering any proposal to allow any Chinese company to invest in India, high-ranking union government officials told reporters today, rubbishing reports that New Delhi could clear 45 investment proposals from China. The news media has been flooded with such reports against the backdrop of easing of tensions due to disengagement at Pangong Tso, one of the many friction points between troops of the two countries over the last nine months, over the past 48 hours.

The Reuters report is factually incorrect, an official said, adding the government had not cleared investment from China at any level. “There is no such proposal either,” the official said. The Reuters report had indicated that New Delhi was set to clear 45 investment proposals from China.

The government has cleared only three foreign investment proposals from Hong Kong. Two of these are investments from Japanese companies, the third is a Non-Resident Indian group, the official said.

An official in the Ministry of External Affairs said any suggestion that New Delhi was ready to abruptly change its stand on foreign investment from China was grounded in an inadequate appreciation of New Delhi’s position on the border friction in the Ladakh sector.

India has always maintained that peace and tranquillity at the border is a prerequisite for developing bilateral relations. The two countries have taken early steps to restore normalcy at the Ladakh border but they need to travel some distance between status quo ante is restored.

New Delhi had last year responded to China’s aggressive manoeuvres in Ladakh by erecting barriers to the flow of investment from countries that share land borders with India and made it mandatory for companies based in these countries to get special approvals to get government contracts.

Of the three proposals of companies based in Hong Kong that have been cleared includes Nippon paints headquartered in Japan. The foreign investors proposing investment, in this case, include Nippon Paint Holdings Co. Ltd, Japan, Nipsea International Limited, Hong Kong — it is a 100% subsidiary of Nipsea Holdings International Limited whose ultimate beneficial owners are, among others, the Goh family who are citizens of Singapore, Netherlands and Australia; and FraserHong Kong.

Another FDI proposal, which is cleared is of Citizen Watches (India) Private Limited which is 100%held by Citizen Watches Company Limited, Japan.

The third FDI proposal relates to Netplay Sports Private Limited, which is involved in sports, amusement and recreation activities. The foreign investors, in this case, include Allshores Capital Limited, Hong Kong, owned by 2 NRIs, Sandeep Singh and Ashwin Mehta; and Rajeev Leekha, also an NRI.

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