London: British Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out taking India's side in its quest to have Dow Chemicals dropped as the sponsor of the London Olympics. Cameron was speaking to Karan Thapar on this week's Devil's Advocate special from London.
Cameron said he did not see any problem with Dow's association with the 2012 games and that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was completely within its right to decide whom it wanted as a sponsor.
Here is an excerpt of the interview:
Karan Thapar: Prime Minister, let's come to what could be an issue that bedevils the relationship over the next four months. I am talking about Dow Chemicals' sponsorship of the London Olympics. Now the Indian government has formally asked for Dow to be dropped as a sponsor. Do you as the Prime Minister of Britain understand and sympathise with the sentiment behind it or do you oppose it?
David Cameron: But of course I understand the anger there is... The huge suffering that happened at Bhopal and afterwards, and in fact my heart still goes out to all those who suffered from that appalling tragedy. I can remember as a young man reading about that and being profoundly shocked by what happened. But I think we do have to recognise two important points. First, Dow was not the owner of Union Carbide at the time, so this is a different company and a different business. Secondly and more importantly, the sponsorship of Dow for the Olympics is arranged and done by the International Olympic Committee. It is their decision-making process. That is the case. And I don't criticise their decision-making process.
Karan Thapar: Is this not an ideal opportunity to force it out, to recognise responsibility that up till now Dow doesn't wish to apologise. Because Dow would be embarrassed - this is an opening for people in India to force it out to recognise its responsibility.
David Cameron: Well it's up to people to make their own decisions, to take their own choices. What I am saying is the British Prime Minister wants to see the Olympics be successful. I am wanting to see the Olympics not used for industrial or political or other purposes... that I cannot see a problem with the IOC being sponsored by Dow. I think it followed perfectly reasonable processes. Therefore, I cannot complain about Dow sponsoring the London Olympics.