The Sistema-Shyam telecom license cancellation threatens to cast a long shadow over India-Russia ties. CNBC TV18's Siddharth Zarabi caught up with Alexander M Kadakin, the second time Ambassador of the Russian Federation to India.
In his first exclusive TV interview on the recent developments, Kadakin warned that Russia would not allow its taxpayers money to go waste due to India's internal politics, adding that while Sistema and Russia were keen to resolve the matter, one of the options could also be to exit India.
Here is an edited transcript of the interview on CNBC-TV18.
Q. Let me begin by asking you about the Russian Deputy Prime Minister's short visit to India. Although Russian-Indian economic cooperation has continued for many years, for the last few months we saw some irritants coming up. It seems that (due to recent developments) investors from around the world and obviously investors from Russia too may have some concerns about India's quality and attractiveness as an investment destination. What do you have to say to that?
Kadakin: Well, we have very broad cooperation with India in the field of mutual investment too. The Sistema or Shyam Telecom and India investment cooperation started in 2008 when they became bonafide buyers of the license. They acted in strict accordance with all laws and regulations of India and bought the license for the frequencies, not claimed by anyone.
We were very happy that such a new and interesting field of our mutual cooperation as telecom was opened, a new investment destination for the Russian capital - both private capital from the Sistema, as well as from the government with its shares.
As a bona fide buyer of that license, we were thunderstruck when the whole thing changed all of a sudden in India and all those licenses were pronounced invalid. It was a very unexpected development. I feel the judicial and other authorities did not make a distinction between our company, which was a bona fide buyer, and