Conflicts in India

Continuing the NYT article, Part 1 and Part 2

This example, analysts here say, points to a potentially serious ethical hazard for a United States president who is also a real estate mogul in India, with five projects underway. Mr. Trump was operating much like other developers in India, who cozy up to politicians — officially or unofficially — to push projects through the bureaucracy.

Another international Trump project is under investigation. This one is for allegedly having a fraudulent permit.

The very nature of the country’s real estate business, however, underscores larger concerns about potential damage to American efforts to discourage corruption in business abroad.

[…]

It is so routine for developers to pay bribes at every step of the approval process that many bureaucrats have informal rate sheets showing exactly how much must be paid to each official.

[…]

Top officials might “think in some way the U.S. president will help them,” and “can put in a friendly word with the banks” to extend loans for around 8 percent interest, rather than the characteristic 15 percent, said Vikas S. Kasliwal, the chief executive officer and vice chairman of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure.

[…]

“If the son goes himself, if the son is willing to go and meet the prime minister of India, or the urban development minister, that is a very big thing,” he said. “They will think the president is meeting them.”

The last quote there highlights the issue with the Trump children running the company. It would not remove the concern that other governments might bend the rules or give favors to the company, solely because of the Trump name.

Another issue is that some of his Indian business partners are politicians as well.

Suraj Hegde, the secretary of the All India Congress Committee, a national body of Indian National Congress party members, said he was troubled by the dual roles Mr. Trump and his family would play in Indian affairs — particularly given real estate’s important role in India’s fast-growing economy, and the clout the United States has on the world stage.

[…]

He added that he was already calling for an independent parliamentary investigation of such maneuvers, including Mr. Trump’s real estate ventures in India.

To summarize: In India the real estate and development industry is tightly linked with the government. Trump has multiple business ventures in India, many of which include business partners who are either politicians themselves or have some connection to politicians. These connects can be (and typically are) used to get permits and approval for projects.

All quotes from NYT

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