New Delhi, December 16 The stalemate over Russian telecom giant Sistema's over $3billion investment in India and differences between the two countries over the civil nuclear cooperation threaten to cast a shadow over President Vladimir Putin's visit to India for the annual India-Russia Summit on December 24.
Official sources said the two sides were in regular touch, trying to overcome the differences and pave the way for a ‘result-oriented’ meeting between Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Ahead of the visit, Russian conglomerate Sistema has cautioned India that a lack of progress in the dispute over the telecom’s licences was putting bilateral relations at risk.
The issue has been hanging fire ever since the Supreme Court passed an order in February cancelling all 122 licences (including that of Sistema Shyam Teleservices) following allegations of bribery and corruption in the allocation of 2G spectrum.
Sistema has challenged the court order and wants the Indian government to find an alternative solution to avoid international arbitration.
The sources said New Delhi could hardly do anything in the matter since it was sub-judice. In February, Sistema sent a notice to the Indian government citing a bilateral treaty between India and Russia and asked New Delhi to "amicably settle" the dispute in six months.
Sistema had said it had the right to approach an international tribunal and seek damages if the dispute was not resolved. New Delhi says the company was free to seek international arbitration.
India's civil nuclear law has also become a thorny issue between the two countries with Moscow seeking certain amendments in the liability clause but New Delhi contending that no changes could be introduced in the act as it was now the property of the Indian Parliament.
The two sides, meanwhile, are exploring the possibility of signing an accord for units III and IV of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KNPP) in Tamil Nadu. The sources said unit I of the KNPP would become critical anytime now.
The defence relationship between the two countries has also come under some strain with India conveying to Russia its unhappiness over the prolonged delay in the delivery of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier. Putin was scheduled to come to India in November but the trip was postponed, apparently to give time to the two sides to resolve bilateral differences. The two countries are expected to ink a host of important bilateral agreements during Putin's visit. The Russian leader and the Indian PM are expected to review the entire gamut of India-Russia bilateral relations and also lay down a broad agenda to be followed for the coming year.
This will be the 13th annual summit between the two countries, a mechanism set up in 2000, which has since witnessed steady growth in bilateral relations in the political, strategic and economic spheres.
Russian telecom giant Sistema's $3billion investment in India is at risk due to lack of progress in the dispute over cancelling of its licence following allegations of bribery and corruption in the allocation of 2G spectrum
India's civil nuclear law has also become problem area between the two countries with Moscow seeking certain amendments to the liability clause but New Delhi contending that no changes could be introduced in the act
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will arrive for the annual India-Russia Summit on December 24, was scheduled to visit India on November 1, but the trip was postponed, apparently to give time to the two sides to resolve bilateral differences