The Opposition may not be too far off the mark when it alleged in Parliament on Tuesday that foreign lobby groups have made inroads into Indian polity, affecting policy decisions in various sectors.
The US lobby group, Patton Boggs, hired by Walmart for its access to the higher echelons of the US Government, has not shied away from advertising its access to the Indian system.
On its web page, Patton Boggs says that it has “extensive experience representing companies doing business in India, as well as Indian companies on various matters”.
Moreover, it boasted about how Patton Boggs officials have managed to cut through the Indian bureaucracy and regulatory systems.
It specifies how Nicholas Allard, co-head of Patton Boggs’ public policy department, had a “long history of successful involvement in India”, through his official positions.
The portal illustrated how Allard, as a lawyer, had represented a US pharma major to get it out of a sticky situation in India. “Mr Allard successfully represented a Fortune 100 US pharmaceutical company in preventing an expropriation by the Government of India of a major pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and prevented a retroactive price reduction that the government had demanded from the company,” said the web site.
Allard, who is also the Dean of Brooklyn Law School, is also closely associated with ITC Ltd, and has represented it on several issues. “Over the last year, he has assisted ITC chairman Yogi Deveshwar with high-level government and finance meetings in the US,” it said.
Further, the website brags about how the members of Patton Boggs’ India “maintains relationships at the highest levels of the Government of India, with whom we work closely and discreetly to advocate and resolve our clients’ interests strategically and effectively”.
“We often combine our political reach in the Indian Government and our strong public policy and international trade and transactions practice to maximize success for clients with significant operations and interests in India,” it added.
The Patton Boggs lobby group is headed by Graham Wisner, brother of Frank W Wisner, former US Envoy to India.