India will protect foreign investment: Sibal

India on Sunday assured Norway that foreign investments would be protected amidst the Scandinavian nation saying it apprehended political implications if Telenor suffered losses due to adverse telecom developments in this country.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal told the Norwegian trade and industry minister, Trond Giske, that the Indian government is committed to protecting foreign investments and ensuring a robust roadmap for them.

‘There is absolutely no room for concern. Government of India is committed to protect foreign investments in India and make sure that not just Telenor, but all foreign investors have a robust roadmap ahead,’ Sibal said.

Giske is the representative of Norwegian government on the board of Telenor, which holds 67.25 per cent stake in the telecom operator, Uninor. The balance is held by Unitech.

Sibal told the Norwegian Minister that: ‘We will take into account all concerns of Telenor as we decide on our policy’.

Giske had indicated that any failure of Telenor’s $3 billion investment in India could have political implications.

‘Telenor is not just any company. 54 per cent of the shares are owned by Norwegian people through state and thus, it has even further political implications that such a company will be harmed. If this investment fails, it will be probably the biggest loss a Norwegian company has in foreign investments ever. I think also it will be fair to say that it will influence the view of India as an investment country,’ Giske had said.

‘I think the discussion we had were government friendly. We were received at all political meetings with understanding and hospitality and also an assurance that they hope to find solution that ensures Telenor presence in India,’ Giske said.
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