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Government Likely to Divest up to 25% in Major Railways.  The government on March 20 initiated steps to divest up to 25% in the initial public offerings (IPO’s) of three railways undertakings — IRCTC, IRFC and IRCON. The department of investment and public asset management (DIPAM) has invited applications from merchant bankers to manage the IPO’s in 2017-18.

Vodafone’s Indian Unit and Idea Cellular Announce Merger.  UK telecoms giant Vodafone has merged its Indian business with Idea Cellular, India’s third-largest network, to create the country’s largest operator. The combined company will have almost 400 million customers, accounting for 35% of the market share.

Volkswagen, Tata Motors Plan to Cooperate in India.  German carmaker Volkswagen said on March 10 it had signed a memorandum of understanding to explore a partnership with India’s Tata Motors to jointly develop auto components and vehicles for the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

Russia and China Veto UN Resolution to Impose Sanctions on Syria.  Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the six-year war. Nine UN council members voted in favour of the resolution and Bolivia voted against, along with China and Russia. Egypt, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan abstained.

China Sees First Monthly Trade Deficit in Three Years.  China has reported its first monthly trade deficit in three years, after imports surged and a slowdown during the Lunar New Year holidays hit output.

Chinese Premier Warns World Entering Period of Political and Economic Upheaval.  China’s premier has warned the world is entering a period of profound political and economic upheaval. Li Keqiang urged China to brace for “more complicated and graver situations” ahead, as a result of developments “both in and outside China”.