The British government is hopeful that the three-year old dispute of Vodafone’s joint venture in India involving a tax claim of over Rs.11,000 crore ($2.5 billion) will be settled amicably, a British official said Wednesday.   Vodafone is one of the important companies in India. Its joint venture is rapidly growing and like other foreign investors they need to have stability in tax regime,’ said Vince Cable, Britain’s secretary of state for business, innovation and skills.

Talking to reporters here after the annual meeting of the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), Cable said the British government was expecting a good outcome of the dispute.

‘We have discussed this in a very amicable way and look forward to a good outcome,’ Cable said without elaborating as the case was sub judice.

India’s income-tax department has raised a demand of over Rs.11,000 crore on Vodafone International Holdings , a unit of the world’s largest telecom operator Vodafone Group Plc , on account of its $11-billion deal to acquire Indian telecom firm Hutchison Essar in 2007.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said India would continue to liberalise policies to attract more foreign investment.

‘Indian foreign direct investment (FDI) policy regime is robust, stable and irreversable. That is something which is very reassuring and comforting for our partners,’ Sharma told reporters after co-chairing the JETCO meet here.

He said India would emerge as the second most favoured FDI destinations in the world after China in the coming years.Sharma said several British companies are likely to increase their investments in India.

‘Two-way investments are healthy with $18 billion UK investment in India and much more are in the pipeline. Similarly $20 billion of Indian investments have already been made in British economy,’ he said.

On India-Britain bilateral trade, Sharma said it had crossed $10 billion in 2010.

‘According to the initial figures that we have, bilateral trade between India and UK has once again reached $10 billion,’ trade minister added.

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February 2024