Walmart lobbyist was hired by India for n-deal
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Patton Boggs, one of the lobbying firms which represented global retail chain Walmart, was hired by the Indian embassy in the US in 2008 to help clinch the India-US nuclear deal.
News of Walmart spending Rs 125 crore in the last four years to lobby with US lawmakers disrupted the Rajya Sabha Monday, with MPs alleging that the company had indulged in corruption to enter India.
Patton Boggs's web site says, "We championed the US-India civilian nuclear advocacy initiative for the US India Business Council (USIBC), which resulted in US Congressional passage of the Henry Hyde Peaceful Atomic Energy Act of 2006 and the signing of the landmark US-India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2008".
Patton Boggs' India practice, the firm says, "maintains relationships at the highest levels of the Indian government with whom we work closely and discreetly to advocate and resolve our clients' interests strategically and effectively".
"Like most foreign markets, having the right local relationships and resources is necessary to help maximize our clients' capture of opportunities in India. Several of our attorneys have travelled extensively throughout the Indian subcontinent and have developed substantial, reliable networks of attorneys, independent consultants, current and former Indian government officials, and Indian families," the firm says.
"We represent other commercial interests on issues where their business needs intersect directly with the government of India. For example, our activities have included: spearheading advocacy efforts aimed at reducing or eliminating Indian import tariffs, facilitating the receipt of licenses through Indian national and state governments, and assisting new entrants in developing resources/relationships and in tapping the increasingly attractive Indian commercial and retail/consumer markets," the website said in an entry under the sub-head 'India practice'.
In March 2009, former US ambassador to India Frank Wisner joined the firm as foreign affairs advisor.
His brother, Graham Wisner, heads the firm's India practice and is used for his expertise in Indian political, diplomatic, and commercial matters.