Russia, India to Discuss Sistema Licence During BRICS Summit

Moscow/New Delhi: Russian and Indian leaders will discuss the issue of Sistema Shyam Telecom (SSTL), which provides services under the MTS brand but stands to lose licences in 21 circles following the Supreme Court order, during the BRICS summit beginning. "All matters of this kind are usually discussed at the highest level. I believe that they (Russian and Indian leaders) will be discussing this issue on an informal basis," Arkady Dvorkovich, Adviser to Russian President,Dmitriy Medvedev, said at a media briefing in the Russian capital. "We hope our key telecom companies will continue their operations in India because this will ensure further development of the Indian telecommunications market." Dvorkovich said the issue in any case should be resolved in compliance with the legislation of the country in question. "Russia will definitely not take any action that would be in breach of the Indian law," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. The Supreme Court last month ordered cancellation of 122 telecom licences, including 21 of SSTL in which Sistema holds a 56.68 percent stake and runs its telecom business in partnership with the Shyam Group. According to Dvorkovich, Medvedev is going to discuss the issue with the Indian government officials behind the scenes of the March 28-29 BRICS summit. The Russian government acquired a 17.14 percent equity stake in SSTL in 2010, investing around $600 million. The foreign ministry has thrown its weight behind Sistema which has said it would initiate proceedings as per the provisions of the bilateral investment treaty if the issue of revocation of telecom licences is not resolved within six months. The firm has invested almost $3 billion in the country. SSTL has over 15 million customers across India.
Source: IANS