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India, Russia ink 19 business deals, explore trade pact

Tuesday December 21, 2010 10:27:07 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Seeking to put innovation and business at the centre of a partnership that has remained mostly defence-centric and setting a bilateral trade target of $20 billion by 2015, India and Russia Tuesday inked 19 business-related deals. They also agreed to explore the posibility of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement.

"Both sides agreed to consider the possibility of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement," said a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev here.

The two countries agreed to "continue their efforts to achieve the strategic target of bilateral trade volume of $20 billion by 2015," it added.

Strengthening bilateral trade and economic ties topped the agenda of Medvedev's two-day visit to India that began Tuesday. Of the 29 deals signed Tuesday, 19 were related to trade and business and were inked between Indian and Russian public and private companies.

"The two sides recognise that considerable potential exists for mutually beneficial investments by Russia and India in the privatisation programmes and programmes aimed at fostering technological innovation in their respective economies," joint statement noted.

Major business deals inked between the two countries include memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, strengthening the regulatory framework for monitoring bilateral trade and bolstering banking linkages between the two countries.

Other deals pertain to simplification of visa procedures for certain categories, including businessmen, and cooperation in the oil and gas sector.

The major business deals concluded on the margins of the India-Russia annual summit, include:

* Opening of official representative office of Gazprombank in India

* Agreement between Exim Bank and Vnesheconombank to operationalise a $100 million line of credit agreed on during the December 2009 summit

* Agreement between State Bank of India and Vnesheconombank on banking sector cooperation

* Pact between Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) and Federal Customs Service on exchange of information on foreign trade

* Joint venture between Reliance and Sibur, a subsidiary of Gazprom, for setting up a butyl rubber manufacturing facility in India

* MoU between Tata Sons and Skolkovo Foundation for joint research and development in high-tech innovations

In his opening statement at a joint press interaction with Medvedev, Manmohan Singh said: "We have signed agreements in the pharmaceuticals and information technology sectors. These are areas which have immense possibilities for expansion. The agreement on visa simplification that has been signed will help in ease of travel of citizens of our countries."

Medvedev too emphasised on the need for strengthening bilateral trade and investment ties pointing to "a new and qualitative change" in the India-Russia relationship. "A modernization cooperation was shaping up between the two countries," he added.

Medvedev's trip to India tops visits by leaders of the US, Britain, France and China in the last few months, making 2010 unique in Indian diplomacy when the leaders of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council visited the country.






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