WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s investments in real estate overseas, including in Indian cities of Pune and Gurgaon, could have implications on America’s foreign policy if the Republican presidential nominee wins the elections and occupies the White House next January, a major US weekly said.
In its cover story on Trump’s investments in properties overseas, the Newsweek yesterday said that as the Republican National Convention was about to get underway in July, the Trump Organization declared it was planning a massive expansion in the South Asian country.
“That is a chilling example of the many looming conflicts of interest in a Trump presidency,” the weekly noted.
“If he plays tough with India, will the government assume it has to clear the way for projects in that ‘aggressive pipeline’ and kill the investigations involving Trump’s Pune partners? And if Trump takes a hard line with Pakistan, will it be for America’s strategic interests or to appease Indian government officials who might jeopardize his profits from Trump Towers Pune?” the weekly asked.
According to the weekly, several Indian political leaders including from the both BJP and the Congress have established close relationship with the Trump family as a result of its real estate investment in Pune and Gurgaon.
In India, the conflicts between the interests of the Trump Organisation and American foreign policy are starker, Newsweek said.
Trump signed an agreement in 2011 with an Indian property developer called Rohan Lifescapes that wanted to construct a 65-storey building with his name on it. Leading the talks for Rohan was Kalpesh Mehta, a director of the company who would later become the exclusive representative of Trump’s businesses in India, the weekly said.
However, government regulatory hurdles soon impeded the project, the cover story said adding that Donald Trump Jr. flew to India to plead with Prithviraj Chavan, chief minister of Maharashtra, asking that he remove the hurdles. But Chavan refused to make an exception for the Trump Organization.
“It would be extremely difficult for a foreign politician to make that call if he were speaking to the son of the president of the United States,” Newsweek said.
“Last month, scandal erupted over the development, called Trump Towers Pune, after the state government and local police started looking into discrepancies in the land records suggesting that the land on which the building was constructed may not have been legally obtained by Panchshil,” it said.
The Indian company says no rules or laws were broken, but if government officials conclude otherwise, the project’s future will be in jeopardy–and create a problem that Indian politicians eager to please an American president might have to resolve, Newsweek observed.
Through the Pune deal, the weekly said the Trump Organization has developed close ties to India’s Nationalist Congress Party.