Telco may invoke India-Singapore treaty amid 2G fallout

Norway's Telenor, which was among worst affected after mass cancellation of mobile permits in India last month, considering plans to invoke India-Singapore bilateral pact to protect its investments.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

Norwegian telco Telenor has issued a notice to the Indian govenment seeking damages for the cancellation of its 2G licences, and may invoke the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore in a bid to protect its investments.

Glenn Mandelid, director of communications at Telenor told ZDNet Asia that the company  would "seek compensation for all investment, guarantees and damages" if the Indian government did not resolve the issues related to its licence cancellation within the next six months.

"While we haven't stated any amount, we do intend to seek compensation for all investment, guarantees and damages. We are hopeful that it remains the government's intent to protect and encourage bona fide foreign investment in the country."

Telenor also clarified that it was required to allow a period of six months for the issue to be resolved following its notice, before it could proceed with actions as per the treaty. The Norwegian company had made its investment in India through its Singapore-registered unit.

Under the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), Telenor could seek international arbitration through the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law or the World Bank-affiliated International Centre for Settle of Investment Dispute.

Telenor's actions follows a similar move by Russia's Sistema, noted newswire Bloomberg, which reported that Sistema threatened to use Russia's bilateral protections with India to salvage its operations.

Both companies were among those hit by the Indian government's decision last month to revoke all 122 2G licences issued since 2008 amid allegations of fraud over its allocation.

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