Washington: Continuing its lobbying among the American lawmakers over Indo-US bilateral relationship, the Indian government has spent $180,000 (about Rs. one crore) to its lobbyists in Washington in the first quarter of 2013.
Cumulatively, the Indian government has paid its lobbyist firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers LLC (BGR), close to $5 million (over Rs. 25 crore) since it began lobbying in the US in September 2005, shows the Congressional records of lobbying disclosure reports filed in Washington.
Lobbying is a legal activity in the US, but the lobby firms are required to mandatorily submit the disclosure forms with the Senate for each of their clients.
The latest quarter lobbying disclosure report on behalf of the Indian government was filed by BGR on Sunday, wherein it has disclosed an income of $180,000 on issues related to the bilateral relationship between the two countries.
On behalf of India, BGR has lobbied at the US Senate, the House of Representatives, US Trade Representative (USTR), Department of State and Department of Commerce in the area of Indo-US bilateral relations, while its lobbying issues in the past have included the US-India civil nuclear deal.
Other Indian entities having lobbied in the US during the quarter which ended on March 31, 2013, included ONGC Videsh Ltd, software industry body Nasscom and Sterling Biotech.
ONGC Videsh, which began lobbying in the US this year itself, paid $20,000 to its lobby firm Patton Boggs LLC, which has disclosed having lobbied on "issues related to GAO Report regarding Iran sanctions issues".
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its December 2012 report on Iran's energy sector had listed ONGC Videsh among the "foreign firms reported in open sources as engaging in commercial activity in Iran's energy sector at some point between June 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012".
"Open sources reported ONGC Videsh Ltd as having a 40 per cent interest in the Farsi Block, an Iranian gas field.
"However, the firm notified us that although negotiations were held, no agreements had been reached and no contracts to develop the field had been signed, and it had decided not to pursue further work on the Farsi Block gas field under the present circumstances," GAO report said.
Various Indian companies have been lobbying for their business interests among the US lawmakers, although some including Reliance Industries recently stopped doing so.
A number of US companies are also lobbying with their own lawmakers to seek their help in pushing further their business interests in India, which is emerging as a major market for various businesses for global companies.
A probe is currently underway in India over retail giant Walmart's US lobbying activities for its Indian entry. The probe was ordered after disclosures related to Walmart's lobbying generated an intense political debate late last year.