Bhopal: Just A Legacy Legal Issue

From a letter the Chairman of Dow Chemicals wrote to the Indian Ambassador after their meeting as part of the India-US CEO forum (link to Business Line article here ):
In yet another letter to the Indian Ambassador after the meeting of the Forum on September 14 2005, Mr. Liveris said “to facilitate the Indan-U.S. strategic partnership and to help chart a path forward, the following proposal is designed to help resolve a specific legacy legal issue — the Bhopal matter.”

Mr. Liveris in the letter goes on to outline as the first step of the proposal, “The GoI will implement a consistent, government-wide position that does not promote continued GoI litigation efforts against non-Indian companies over the Bhopal tragedy.” He added that “identified companies” should be invited to discuss their views directly with the relevant ministries of the GoI at the request of the latter. Linking this request for a softer approach to foreign companies facing liabilities to the broader issue of U.S.-India business ties, Mr. Liveris said, “One of the top areas cited as a barrier to mutual business success was legacy legal issues within India. Several companies face such issues, and all agree that legal matters which are unpredictable and changeable are a barrier for any company to feel certainty in the investment climate.”
And why was the Indian Government stating that "Dow is not responsible for Bhopal and will not be pursued by the Government of India" when the case was in the courts? This goes beyond any particular government. Any other government would have done the same. Capital wins over people any day.

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