New Delhi, Oct. 15: Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin today accused India of having damaged investor confidence by changing the rules of the game midway.
Rogozin didn’t specify any deals. But he appeared to be hinting at investments by telecom firm Sistema and, to an extent, the re-negotiation of the techno-commercial agreement on phases III and IV of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in the light of India’s nuclear liability law.
The law holds suppliers responsible for compensation in case of a nuclear accident.
The Russian leader said the two governments should both “demonstratively help” businesses “deal with bureaucracy” and support investors “to create a positive climate” for investments.
Rogozin, who concluded discussions with foreign minister S.M. Krishna as part of the 18th session of the Indo-Russian inter-governmental commission, made it clear Moscow was unhappy that Sistema’s investments in India’s telecom sector were in limbo after the 2G scam.
A public-private joint venture with Russian taxpayers’ money, Sistema had invested $3.1 billion, holding nearly 57 per cent stake in Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd (SSTL). Of the 122 2G licences the Supreme Court had cancelled earlier this year for not following the auction route, 21 were of SSTL’s.
“We should never reconsider the rules of the game once the game has begun. We should hold the rules till the game is over,” Rogozin said.
Rogozin’s complaint about rules having been changed midway primarily relates to the 2G licence, initially allotted on a first-come-first-served basis.
The Russians are unhappy with India’s nuclear liability law, which has hindered progress of negotiations on the Kudankulam plant’s units III and IV. Russia says this law should not apply to these units as the agreement predates the 2010 law. “We did discuss the preparatory work for units III and IVů. I have no doubt that we will come to a mutually acceptable resolution of this issue,” Krishna said.
The meeting prepared the groundwork for President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for the 13th annual summit scheduled on November 1.