India Reviewing its 83 Bilateral Investment Pacts: Sharma - The New Indian Express

India Reviewing its 83 Bilateral Investment Pacts: Sharma

Published: 22nd February 2014 03:29 PM

Last Updated: 22nd February 2014 03:29 PM

The government today said it is reviewing all its bilateral investment promotion and protection pacts amid global firms raising concerns about India's investment policies.

So far India has implemented 83 bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements (BIPPAs) with various countries.

"We have 83 BIPPAs which are currently under review because there are lessons learnt when these have been invoked by some (foreign) investors...then there is question of domestic jurisdiction in many cases. It was debatable and that is why it has led to a number of international arbitrations," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here at a function.

Referring to the invocation of these pacts by major foreign telecom firms like Telenor, Sistema and Etisalat, he said these companies came in after thorough scrutiny by government agencies like RBI and FIPB.

With the cancellation of telecom licences by the Supreme Court in 2012, Norway-based Telenor, Etisalat of UAE and Sistema of Russia went for international arbitration citing bilateral investment pact with India.

"We have bilateral treaties with these countries and these investments came in through our FDI policy, through the RBI,through proper scrutiny of FIPB approval and CCEA approval," he said.

The Supreme Court had on February 2, 2012 quashed allotment of 122 2G licences given during the tenure of the then Telecom Minister A Raja in 2008 on the ground that they were issued in a arbitrary and unconstitutional manner.

"Once the investment comes in, they enjoy full protection under the law which cannot be taken away and that has to be borne in mind because in recent past we have seen some developments which did cause anxiety... ," he added.

He also pointed out that efforts are being made to determine what the legal framework of the agreement should be in the investment protection agreements.

"How to protect your investment and to assure your partner country that the investment that they make in our country have adequate legal protection," he said at an India International Law Foundation function.

"The specific issue which are being discussed is what should be the legal framework of the agreement in the investment protection agreements and treaties, whether it should be only the same protection as we give to domestic businesses for investment or it has to be beyond," he added.

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