Mike Pence to address US-India business council day after Modi visit | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Mike Pence to address US-India business council day after Modi visit

The USIBC announced Pence’s speech on Monday, with the two  business leaders it will honour with the Global Leadership Awards. This year’s recipients are Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, and Andrew Liveris, CEO of The Dow Chemical Company.

world Updated: Jun 23, 2017 15:49 IST
HT Correspondent
US Vice President Mike Pence with a Sikh delegation led by Gurinder Singh Khalsa that met  him in Indianapolis.
US Vice President Mike Pence with a Sikh delegation led by Gurinder Singh Khalsa that met him in Indianapolis. (AP)

US vice-president Mike Pence will be the chief speaker at the annual meeting of the US-Indian Business Council (USIBC), an advocacy organisation, on June 27, the day after his boss President Donald Trump’s first meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi will be in the Netherlands, his next destination after the US, when Pence takes the stage, but the two would have met possibly by then during the prime minister’s visit to the White House on June 26, the details of which are still being worked out, according to multiple US sources.

Modi’s only publicly confirmed engagements so far are a reception with the Indian American community on June 25, the day he arrives in Washington, a meeting with Trump in the White House the next day — specifics remained unclear — and a meeting with business leaders, the date for which is yet to be announced.

The USIBC announced Pence’s speech on Monday, with the two  business leaders it will honour with the Global Leadership Awards. This year’s recipients are Adi Godrej, chairman of the Godrej Group, and Andrew Liveris, CEO of The Dow Chemical Company.

Since 2001, The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC) has owned Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), whose pesticide plant in Bhopal malfunctioned on the night of December 2-3, 1984, leaking deadly methyl isocyanate. The final death toll is put between an estimated 15,000 and 20,000 people.

UCC chairman Warren Anderson would, in subsequent years, become one of India’s most infamous fugitives and US courts — he was American and stayed here till his death in 2014 — refused to extradite him.

Seventeen years after the tragedy that’s been called the world’s worst industrial accident, Dow bought UCC in 2001 and has since found itself compelled to explain time and again that it didn’t own the controversial company at or around the time of the tragedy and it was not responsible for UCC’s legal commitments.

Dow has an explainer on its website about its ties to UCC in a Q&A format that says, among other things, it had not inherited any liability for Bhopal on account of its purchase of Union Carbide. “While UCC's stock is owned by TDCC, UCC remains a separate company as a TDCC subsidiary. Under well-established principles of corporate law, both in India and the United States, TDCC did not assume UCC's liabilities as part of the 2001 transaction.

“Indeed, according to the formal legal opinions of two respected Indian jurists, Senior Counsel, Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Mr Arun Jaitely, TDCC cannot be found liable under the laws of India.” Singhvi is a Congress leader and Jaitley, a BJP leader, is minister of finance.