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Resolve Etisalat issues to step up infra investment

26 Jan 2017

Resolve Etisalat issues to step up infra investment

The UAE on Wednesday indicated that it would step up the planned infrastructure investment of up to $75 billion in a proposed fund with India if the government quickly resolved its concerns over Etisalat, which had invested in Swan Telecom that lost its 2G licences following a Supreme Court ruling.

NEW DELHI: The UAE on Wednesday indicated that it would step up the planned infrastructure investment of up to $75 billion in a proposed fund with India if the government quickly resolved its concerns over Etisalat, which had invested in Swan Telecom that lost its 2G licences following a Supreme Court ruling.

In an interview to TOI, UAE’s economy minister Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori said the experience of companies such as Etisalat and real estate developer Emaar in India had made other investors cautious and a resolution of some of the disputes would increase the confidence level. He listed DB World, TAQA as potential investors, among others. Etisalat had invested around $750 million in the Indian telecom venture with the DB Group and pulled out after the 2G spectrum controversy. Al Mansoori said none of the directors had been found to be involved with any wrongdoing and the company wanted its investment protected, an issue which had been discussed with the finance ministry.

“We are serious with our investments here in India. It is much more comprehensive than just only telecom. We want to discuss about new investments in India. We want the Indian government to think about how to move on resolving these issues so we can jump into other areas of investment,” Al Mansoori said. “The ministry of finance had promised to resolve Etisalat issues during a meeting last year. But so far we have not seen any progress.” The government has been keen on setting up the National Infrastructure Investment Fund to boost infrastructure financing but so far there has been limited progress as it was banking on support from the Abu Dhabi Investment authority.

Al Mansoori was critical of the new aviation policy. “The new policy is strange to us. As if it is targeting airlines within 5,000 km. They cannot see or recognize that within these 5,000 km lie your neighbours, who could do so much business with you as opposed to someone who is way out there. I do hope civil aviation will review that and understand why it is not only important for us but also for India.”

Al Mansoori also backed a free trade agreement between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which has UAE as a member.