Washington: Having spent thousands of dollars for many quarters lobbying on bilateral ties and for the nuclear deal with the US, India cut down on these expenses in the last quarter, even as neighbour Pakistan paid a higher quarterly bill for canvassing support in America.
The Indian government paid $140,000 (Rs65 lakhs) to high-profile lobby firm BGR during the July-September quarter to push forward its case in the US Congress and various government departments on the two countries’ bilateral relationship and issues related to the civil nuclear agreement.
This is down from $180,000 paid in each of the past two quarters for lobbying on the same issues, according to lobbying disclosure reports filed with the US Senate.
Capital push: India paid $140,000 to high-profile lobby firm BGR during the July-September quarter to push forward its case in the US Congress and various government departments. Daniel Acker / Bloomberg
In comparison, Pakistan’s lobbying expenses rose to $410,000 in the third quarter, from $230,000 in the second. In the first quarter, it stood at $270,000.
While India has engaged just one lobbyist agency BGR, the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has engaged two—Cassidy and Associates and Locke Lord Strategies.
The agencies entrusted by Pakistan are lobbying on issues ranging from anti-terrorism and counter-insurgency to the US-Pakistan bilateral relations and also Acts such as Afghanistan-Pakistan Security and Prosperity Enhancement Act, Afghanistan and Pakistan Reconstruction Opportunity Zones Act and Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement Act.
While lobbyists for Pakistan focused on the US Senate and House of Representatives, those working for India also lobbied in the departments of commerce, defence, labour and state as also the executive office of the president, national security council and the US trade representative.
In total, the Indian government has paid $500,000 as lobbying expenses in the US so far in 2009, while its total since it began lobbying in 2005 has reached $2.09 million.
In comparison, the lobbyists for Pakistan have been paid a total of $910,000 so far in 2009 and $1.54 million since 2003, when India’s neighbouring nation began lobbying among the US lawmakers.
India spent $630,000 on lobbying during 2008, $360,000 each in 2007 and 2006 and $240,000 during 2005.
For Pakistan, the lobbying expenses stood at $590,000 during 2008 and $40,000 during 2003.
A host of Indian companies have also been lobbying among the US lawmakers, who also hold key to a number of issues affecting the corporates in the country. However, none of the Pakistani companies figure in the lobbying disclosure reports.
Among Indian firms, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), which has previously been warned of possible penalties by the Barack Obama administration for business ties with Iran, spent $190,000 during the third quarter.
According to the disclosure report, RIL spent the same amount in each of the first two quarters of 2009, taking its total to $570,000.