By: Pramod Thomas
INDIA’s Infosys played down its business ties in Russia after British chancellor Rishi Sunak came under fire over his wife’s stake in the IT giant.
Infosys, with a market value of some $100 billion, was co-founded by Sunak’s father-in-law NR Narayana Murthy. His daughter Akshata Murty, Sunak’s wife, owns a stake worth around $1 billion.
With Britain and others seeking to isolate Russia economically over its invasion of Ukraine, Sunak was grilled in an interview with Sky News on Thursday (24) about Infosys and his wife’s share.
Asked if Infosys was also reducing its presence in Russia, Sunak said: “I have absolutely no idea because I have nothing to do with that company.”
“I am an elected politician and I’m here to talk to you about what I am responsible for, my wife is not,” he said.
Infosys also issued a statement saying that it had committed $1 million towards relief efforts for victims of the war.
“Infosys has a small team of employees based out of Russia, that services some of our global clients, locally. We do not have any active business relationships with local Russian enterprises,” it said.
New Delhi and Moscow have had close ties since the Cold War, with the Indian military still heavily dependent on Russian equipment.
India has stopped short of condemning Russia’s invasion, abstaining several times in votes at the United Nations and continuing to buy Russian oil.
President Vladimir Putin has been a regular visitor to India, most recently in December in a rare overseas trip when he called India “a great power, a friendly nation and a time-tested friend”.
Putin also visited the corporate headquarters of Infosys in Bangalore in 2004 and was welcomed by co-founder Murthy, who has since retired.