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India in talks with US, Russia, EU to negotiate new bilateral investment treaty

BITs help project India as an attractive FDI destination as well as protect outbound Indian investments.

india Updated: Jul 26, 2017 16:50 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
India-Russia,India-US ties,European Union
Minister of industry and trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov with commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in Chennai in March, 2017.(PIB File)

The government on Wednesday said it was currently in discussion with Russia, the US and European Union to commence negotiation on bilateral investment treaty (BIT) based on the new model text.

BITs help project India as an attractive FDI destination as well as protect outbound Indian investments by increasing the comfort level and boosting the confidence of investors by assuring a minimum standard of treatment and non-discrimination, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharman said.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, she said the existing BITs were largely negotiated on the basis of model BIT text adopted in 1993 and as amended in 2003.

She said the 1993 text contained provisions which were susceptible to broad and ambiguous interpretations by arbitral tribunals.

“Further, significant changes have occurred globally regarding BITs, in general, and investor-state dispute resolution mechanism, in particular,” the minister said.

Accordingly, she said India started the process for review and revision of the earlier model BIT and came out with a revised version in December 2015.

“Discussion on commencing negotiations on BIT or investment agreement based on approved Model BIT text with Russia, USA and EU are ongoing,” she added.

Replying to a separate question, Sitharaman said 2,360 entities had been recognised as startups by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) as of 20 July.

Under the Startup India initiative, Fund of Funds for startups (FFS) of Rs 10,000 crore has been established and is being managed by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI).

“67 startups have received an overall investment of about Rs 250 crore, of which Rs 55.79 crore has been drawn from FFS,” she added.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 16:50 IST