DHARAMSHALA, February 23: The Taj group of hotels, one of the leading hotel brands in Asia, has expressed plans of establishing its presence in Tibet.
According to the Hindu, the hotel group, which is currently involved in four projects in China, if allowed to proceed would become the first Indian company to run hotels in Tibet.
The group’s strategic advisor in Beijing told the paper of its plans to expand its presence to Tibet, Sichuan, a province which constitutes the Amdo region of historic Tibet, and the ancient capital of Xian.
Among its ongoing projects in China, the group has one property at Beijing’s historic Temple of Heaven, another in the southern island province of Hainan, and two in Yunnan province, which also includes areas belonging to the Kham region of historic Tibet.
“Yunnan is the garden of China, and Beijing the political centre,” the Hindu quoted Dana Schuppert, Senior Strategic Advisor and Envoy for Special Projects for the Tata Group as saying.
“The specific locations the Taj has will give a very good foundation to go ahead to Sichuan, to Tibet, and to Xian, where history let China and India play an important role, jointly.”
Dr Schuppert noted that having Taj group’s presence in Tibet, Sichuan, and Xian, places where Buddhism once flourished, will be part of a larger “vision” highlighting India’s “historical and cultural links with China.”
In August last year, China rejected India’s request
to re-open its consulate in Lhasa, which was shut down following the 1962 border war between the two nations.
Observers believe that China will not tolerate a constant foreign presence in the restive capital of Tibet. Currently, only Nepal has a consulate in Lhasa.
China being India's largest trade partner in goods, Indian officials have been quoted as saying that a consulate in Lhasa would help bilateral trade and pilgrimage, such as the Kailash Mansarovar yatra.
Also last year, India’s ambassador to China, S Jaishankar, made a rare trip to Tibet, the first by an Indian envoy in ten years.