Santosh is a Partner with Link Legal and has 14 years of experience.

He is enrolled as an Advocate in India and has qualified as a Solicitor(NP) with the Law Society of England & Wales, London.

His work experience gained in India, China, UK and Thailand encompasses cross-border M&A, joint ventures, greenfield investments, technical collaborations and policy research. His other areas of interest include cross-cultural negotiations, business development and public speaking. He is also a practitioner of the ‘Policy Governance’ model of board governance.

As the founder and head of the India-China practice group, he has advised Chinese investors in India and Indian companies doing business with Chinese counterparts since 2010. He has lived in China for five years and visited over 40 Chinese cities. He is one of the few Indian lawyers who can speak Mandarin Chinese. He is a member of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Core Group on China and also a member of the general body of Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi.

He has authored a thesis titled “Chinese investments in India: Opportunities and Challenges” under the guidance of Prof. Gao Xiqing, former Vice-Chairman of China Securities Regulatory Commission and China’s sovereign wealth fund. His manuscript titled “Practical Guide for Chinese investors in India” was translated into Chinese and published by China Law Press.

Contributions from him have appeared in the peer-reviewed journal China Report and several business publications such as China Business Law Journal, Board & Directors (董事会)and SOE (国企). He has also been quoted by leading newspapers and media platforms such as South China Morning Port, Reuters, Bloomberg, Economic Times and Hindustan Times. He is a regular speaker at conferences in India and abroad. He teaches two core courses in the ‘Managing Business in India-China’ PGPEX Program at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong. He also chairs the regional board of an international environmental NGO that supervises operations in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.

  • Exchange Control and Foreign Investment
  • General Corporate & Commercial
  • M&A, Joint Ventures and Private Equity
B.A.,LL.B (Hons.) National Law School of India University, Bengaluru; LL.M (Chinese Laws) Tsinghua University, Beijing, PRC; MBA, Vlerick Business School, Belgium (at Peking University, Beijing, PRC)
Jul 30 2021
by The Economic Times - dated 30th July 2021

Read the expert article “Loans, taxis, education: what’s next in China’s tech crackdown?” authored by our Partner & Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai published by The Economic Times.

Chinese entrepreneurs truly believed China had abandoned socialism and the Chinese Communist Party would never sacrifice China’s vibrant internet ecosystem. The ongoing tech crackdown has laid waste to that belief.

Read more here.

Jul 22 2021
by Sputnik News - dated 22nd July 2021

Read the expert views of our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai published on Sputnik News in its story "Indian Start-Ups Must Have 'Osmosis' With Chinese Ecosystem Despite Geopolitical Tensions - Analyst".
 
"It is essential now for India to divide industries into sensitive and non-sensitive categories so that investments from China can continue without being a threat to national security..."
 
Read more here.

Jul 15 2021
by The Hindu - dated 15th July 2021

Check out the latest episode of In Focus Podcast by The Hindu titled "The battle between Big Tech in China and the Communist Party" wherein our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai interacts with the host, Ananth Krishnan on what is driving the tensions between the party and big tech, and where China's tech sector is headed.

The episode highlights the battle unfolding in China between its big tech companies and Communist Party regulators in the wake of the latest tussle in this on-going tug-of-war.

Access the full episode here.

Apr 05 2021
by The Hindu - dated 05th April 2021

Check out the latest episode of In Focus Podcast by The Hindu titled "How China's Digital Currency will change online payments" wherein our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai interacts with the host, Ananth Krishnan on China's plans for a Digital Currency, officially titled the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), also known as the digital RMB (the Renminbi is China’s currency).

The episode highlights how Digital Currencies work, how are they different from e-wallets, reasons behind the roll-out, global implications, and more.

Access the full episode here.

Mar 26 2021
by Money Control - dated 26th March 2021

Read the expert article 'Why China is putting its internet champions on the backfoot' authored by our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai, published in Money Control.

"China’s urge to dictate the fortunes of its technology giants is coinciding with a global backlash which is pushing them to seek listings closer to home."

Read the full article here.

Mar 08 2021
by Outlook India - dated 08th March 2021

Read the expert opinion of our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai published on Outlook India in its story "India-Taiwan Business Cannot Be Built On An Anti-China Platform".

"Investments have to be preceded by growing trade volumes. Chinese investments into India came in only after bilateral trade volumes rose dramatically. There is more to developing business ties with Taiwan than wishful thinking about cutting China down to size."

Read the full story here.

Feb 08 2021
by The Hindu - dated 08th February 2021

Read the expert views of our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai published in The Hindu in its story "Buffeted by Centre and State, General Motors threatens legal action".

"The GM-GWM saga is a stalemate that benefits no one and is adversely impacting India’s stature as an FDI destination."

Feb 01 2021
by The Wire - dated 01st February 2021

Read the expert views of our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai published in The Wire.

"China accounted for more than 80% of India’s imports in 375 categories of items in 2018-19. Out of the 57 product categories which have 100% dependency on China, the three industries of pharmaceuticals, electronics and automotive account for about 19%."

Read the full story here.

 

Jan 28 2021
by Business Standard - dated 28th January 2021

Read the story “Time's up: TikTok to shut operations in India after permanent ban”, where our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai shared his expert views with Business Standard.

"When the ban came into force, internet companies were an easy target for the Indian government. If the border situation had been resol­ved in one or two months, the Indian government could have allowed TikTok and other Chinese apps to continue operations, with a few safeguards, but in the past six months, there has been no improvement in the border situation. TikTok has a global and an Indian problem. That TikTok is Chinese owned has been a problem in many countries. Eventually, to get around this issue they might sell to a US company. This might be a permanent global solution. India may then choose to review the situation. If they do not change ownership, I don’t think India will be open for TikTok."

Read the full story here.

Jan 27 2021
by The Economic Times - dated 27th January 2021

Our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai shared his expert views with The Economic Times in the story "Chinese apps weighing legal recourse against India ban".

"It was advisable to not challenge the government’s action during the early days as it seemed to be prompted on national security grounds and was temporary with the government giving (the banned apps) a chance to make representations. Now, that incentive to wait or to have further discussions with the government is not there anymore."

Read the full story here.

Dec 16 2020
by Live Mint - dated 16th December 2020

Our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai shared his expert views with Live Mint in the story "India has to be selective and strategic about discouraging imports: Experts."

That is a very careful balancing act. We cannot be inward-looking and protectionist because that is not going to help us with the rest of the world. At the same time, we had to reduce our dependence on China, which was a real requirement… The whole world will be watching this balancing act," said Santosh Pai, referring to a ‘U’ turn India has taken on trade with China.

Read the full story here.

Dec 11 2020
by Asia Times Financial - dated 11th December 2020

Read the article "In the race for foreign investment, can India gain from China’s loss?" authored by  Mr. Santosh Pai (Partner and Head - China Desk)  published in Asia Times Financial.

"Political sincerity is required to tap international sources of capital and technology, and a hedging approach balanced between protectionism and free trade is fraught with danger; India needs to learn from the policies that brought China so much success."

Read the full article here.

Dec 10 2020
by IndiaToday - dated 10th December 2020

Read the story “India has not realised its potential as FDI destination, says study” published by IndiaToday on a draft Paper for presentation at the 13th All India China Studies Conference (AICC) to be held on January 28-30, 2021, authored by our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai along with researcher, Shubhi Bhandari.

India has not been able to realise its potential as an FDI destination over the last three decades despite successive liberalisation of sectoral caps and projecting the attractiveness of its domestic market.

Read the full story.

Nov 17 2020
by BBC Hindi - dated 17th November 2020

"How much India can reduce 'dependence on China', it will not be seen in six-seven months, but in five years it will show its full effect."

Read the full story here.

Nov 09 2020
by Global Reporting Centre - dated 09th November 2020

Check out the latest episode of ‘On China's New Silk Road’ by the Global Reporting Centre titled ‘The Other Asian Giant: India’ wherein our Partner and Head - China Desk, Santosh Pai interacts with the host Mary Kay Magistad on how India has chosen not to be part of China's New Silk Road despite China being one of India’s top trading partners.

The episode highlights how India is offering its own investments and vision of a more multipolar world and its strengthening ties with the US, Japan, Australia and others, to counterbalance China's influence.

Access the full episode here.

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