Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has hired former Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton associate Sanjeet Malik as of counsel to help build its India practice in the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Malik focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity and business restructuring. He also has experience in advising on distressed transactions.

In his new role with Milbank, Malik will help coordinate the firm’s India practice and will also work on cross-border corporate and finance transactions for clients based in Asia.

According to Glenn Gerstell, Milbank’s Washington, D.C.-based head of its India practice, the addition of Malik reflects an increase in the firm’s work originating in India.

Foreign lawyers are barred from practicing in India. As a result, many international firms base their India practices in other Asian jurisdictions such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Last year Milbank advised New Delhi-based Bharti Airtel Ltd., one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, on its $10.7 billion acquisition of Kuwaiti company Mobile Telecommunications Co.’s African mobile operations.