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28 Feb, 2024 11:27

India examining EU sanctions on tech firm – media

A company sanctioned by for its ties to Russia provides solutions to government clients
India examining EU sanctions on tech firm – media

New Delhi is examining European Union sanctions against the Indian tech firm Si2 Microsystems over its ties with Russia, and is considering whether to “protest the decision,” The Hindu newspaper reported on Monday, citing an unnamed official.

Brussels added the firm to its expanded sanctions list as ‘entity number 624’ last Friday. Last year, the company was put on the US ‘restricted entities’ list for supplying “US-origin integrated circuits” to the Russian military, the report noted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has branded the EU’s latest sanctions “fruitless attempts to apply pressure,” and expanded the list of EU officials banned from entering Russia.

Si2 Microsystems is based in India’s IT capital Bengaluru, and is an industry partner of the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in a recently launched scheme with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras). The project – the Silicon Photonics Research Centre – was inaugurated in October 2023 and is set to play a “major role” in the government’s ambitious 'Semiconductor Mission', according to an official release.

On its website, the company describes itself as a “solutions provider” for the Indian army and various government entities, and lists the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) among its clients.

A few years ago, a director of the company, who had been put on notice over debts, approached courts for a waiver to travel to Russia, his lawyers confirmed, according to the report.

“India has done nothing illegal”, a government official told The Hindu. “It is [the EU’s] interpretation that ties with Russia is a problem. As far as the government is concerned the sanctioned company is an industry partner and MeitY’s research partner.” The official also reiterated India’s traditional position of close ties with Russia, according to the newspaper.

India’s Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (CIM), and MeitY are all believed to be “aware” of the situation surrounding the local firm, the report noted. Neither the ministries nor the firm have commented on the matter.

New Delhi’s top officials have on various occasions defended trade and diplomatic ties with Russia despite sanctions pressure, arguing that the relations are driven by “pragmatism” and trust. Western media have claimed that ties to India have greatly softened the blow of sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.

India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has described unilateral sanctions as “levers” used by developed nations and argued that many countries oppose them.

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