Don’t pressurise Dow on Bhopal: US

Last Updated: Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 09:28

New Delhi: With India pursuing efforts to
make Dow Chemicals pay higher compensation in the Bhopal gas
disaster, a senior US official reportedly asked the government
not to persist with it so as to avoid any "chilling" in
the investment relationship between the two countries.

"We are hearing a lot of noise about the Dow Chemical
issues. I am not familiar with all the details but I think we
want to avoid development which put a chilling effect on our
investment relationship", US Deputy National Security Advisor
Froman Michael wrote to Ahluwalia in a recent e-mail, a news channel reported today.

His remarks came in response to Ahluwalia`s e-mail in
which he sought US help in ensuring that India gets
accommodation by continuing to get concessional aid from the
World Bank`s soft-lending arm IDA.

When asked about this e-mail exchange, Ahluwalia said he was not involved in any discussions with the US on
issues that are sub judice--a reference to the Bhopal case.

"I don`t interpret from Froman`s -e-mail that
there is any link between two (Dow Chemicals and World Bank)."

Asked about the US "pressure" to go slow on Dow
Chemicals, Ahluwalia told the channel, "I don`t regard these
e-mails as pressure at all."

Froman reportedly assured Ahluwalia that US would take
care of India`s request.

"We are aware of this issue and we will look into it.
While I have got you, we are hearing a lot of noise about the
Dow Chemical issues. I trust that you are monitoring it (Dow
Chemical issue) carefully," Froman replied to Ahluwalia
according to the TV Channel report.

Ahluwalia also acknowledged that he was aware that the US government and businesses were concerned on Dow issue.

Meanwhile, official sources said the government`s stand
is clear as contained in Home Minister P Chidambaram`s
statement in Parliament last week during a debate on the
Bhopal disaster.

On the liability of Dow, Chidambaram had said in Rajya
Sabha that there are three players--Union Carbide, Dow and

Once the Madhya Pradesh High Court fixes liability,
"we will certainly hold that company or those companies liable
for remediation and whatever we had done by way of remediation
before the liabilities are crystallised we will ask for
restitution. We are not allowing anyone to go scot-free," he had said.

Reacting to the report, Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed said India didn’t feel any pressure from the US.

Khurshid said the Government has said at the highest
level that appropriate "lawful actions" will be taken.

"Whatever needs to be done is being done and will be
done. There is no reason For us to be distracted from that,"
he said.


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First Published: Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 09:28

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