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The Indian Bar Council, the regulator of the Indian legal profession, has signalled that it would be ready to talk to foreign regulators about conditions of liberalisation.
Indian Bar Council secretary Shri Radhakrishnan said: "Earlier our stand was that we are totally opposed to permitting foreign lawyers to practice in India. There is little change in that thinking but we are ready to now discuss this with foreign authorities. We have a dialogue with them."
He added that details would be worked out and be discussed with various countries' regulators, including the UK and Australia, but that there would be no timetable or time limit on the discussions.
This position stops short of reports in the Indian press last week that the Indian Bar Council would consider applications of UK-based firms only if they allowed Indian lawyers to practice in the UK, on the basis of reciprocity.
Radhakrishnan said that the Indian Bar Council had been "misquoted" in the piece.
An India head at an international law firm said: "I’ve always struggled with the reciprocity argument if you apply to the UK. It is already possible for Indian lawyers a to come and practice here."