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Russian Deputy PM calls on Manmohan Singh

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 21:47

New Delhi: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin today called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, amid uncertainty over Indian investments made by Sistema in which his country holds 17 percent stake.

Rogozin, who first raised the issue of telecom firm Sistema with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, later called on the Prime Minister. It, however, could not be ascertained whether he raised the issue with Singh.

Subsequently, Rogozin met Sharma and flagged concerns about the firm in which the Russian government has around 17 percent stake.

Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) operates under the brand name 'MTS'. SSTL is a JV between Sistema and Shyam. Sistema holds 53 percent stake in SSTL.

SSTL's 21 licences were among the 122 cancelled by the Supreme Court in February.

"The delegation raised the issue of its telecom company Sistema's investments in India with Sharma," an official said.

To continue its operations, SSTL needs to buy 2G spectrum through the auction that is due before August 31 as per the Supreme Court order.

Telecom regulator Trai has recommended a base price of Rs 3,622 crore per megahertz (MHz) pan-India spectrum for 1800 Mhz band, which is almost 10 times higher than the price at which 2G licences bundled with 4.4 MHz spectrum were allocated in 2008.

Sistema had earlier warned that it will pull out of India if Trai's proposals on spectrum auction are accepted by the government in their present form, saying the base price for airwave auction should be kept at Rs 1,658 crore.

In 2011, the bilateral trade between India and Russia was in the range of USD 9 billion.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 21:47
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