Proper treatment to Russian firms sought

Moscow has asked New Delhi to ensure that Russian companies doing business in India receive “proper treatment” and investments made by them remain protected.

During a meeting with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin conveyed Moscow’s concerns over uncertainty about Sistema JSFC’s investments in the Indian telecom sector in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision canceling 122 licences for 2G spectrum that were given in 2008.

Rogozin is understood to have conveyed to Krishna concerns of the Sistema JSFC over recommendation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) for fixing the reserve price for the CDMA spectrum at twice as high as the price for the GSM airwaves.

The Sistema JSFC recently complained that the Trai recommendation was “targeted” towards the Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited or SSTL, its joint venture with Shyam Group of India.

“We exchanged constructive views on various aspects of India-Russia trade and investment cooperation. We sought definite solutions to certain outstanding problems confronting our business communities and explored ways to enhance our trade turnover,” said Krishna. He was addressing a joint news conference with Rogozin after an inter-session meeting of the India Russia Inter-Governmental Commission Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation, in New Delhi.

Rogozin was recently appointed as Krishna’s counterpart to co-chair the IRIGC. The Supreme Court on February 2 last cancelled 122 telecom licences, including 21 of the SSTL, which were awarded in 2008 when A Raja was the telecom minister.

The Sistema JSFC invoked the Russia-India bilateral agreement for promotion and mutual protection of investment to seek protection for its investments of $3 billion in the wake of the Supreme Court’s order.

The Russian government, too, has a 17.14 per cent stake in the SSTL.

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