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'Allow foreigners to hold key positions in telcos'

Sunil Mittal pitched hard for allowing foreign nationals holding key positions in telecom companies saying there should not be different rules for companies with or without FDI.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 18:26 IST

Head of country's leading telecom service company Bharti Airtel, Sunil Mittal, on Friday pitched hard for allowing foreign nationals holding key positions in telecom companies saying there should not be different rules for companies with or without FDI.

"I feel there should be no differential treatment (one rule for companies with FDI another for without FDI. Foreigners must be and should be allowed to take key positions and Indian companies are strong enough to take care of security.

Today when we have Arun Sareen leading Vodafone and Sanjeev Ahuja leading Orange worldwide and many other illustrious Indians are there as CIOs and CTOs, I don't think we need to go a step back," Mittal told media while replying to a query on the issue

He supported the proposal that Ministry of Home clears such cases. Today foreign pilots coming to the country are cleared, foreign nationals in other areas of industry are cleared. Similarly in telecom, any foreigner coming in should be cleared.

Mittal was critical of any different rules applicable to companies with or without FDI. Current FDI in telecom guidelines bars companies to have foreign CEOs, CFOs. But Tata Teleservices which do not have FDI has a foreign CEO Darryl Green.

"If you allow foreigners in a company which do not have foreign investment, I think it is making a mockery of the whole thing. Because you can not say that the investment through Vodafone and SingTel is at a discount and, therefore, needs to be penalised," he said.