16th Session of the India-Russia Economic Joint Commission meeting

Thursday, 18 November 2010 00:00

November 18, 2010

The Sixteenth Session of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) was held in New Delhi on 18 November 2010. The Indian side was led by the Minister of External Affairs and the Chairman of the Indian side of the Commission, H.E. Mr. S.M. Krishna. The Russian side was led by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation and the Chairman of the Russian side of the Commission, H.E. Mr. S. B. Ivanov.

The entire spectrum of India-Russia trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation was reviewed during the meeting. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the recent increase in bilateral trade and investments while recognizing that the level of economic engagement remained below its potential give the size of the two economies. In this context, both sides identified concrete steps to further develop economic relations in priority areas of cooperation. The main outcomes of the discussion are summarised in the enclosure. The next session of the IRIGC-TEC will be held in Moscow in 2011.

DPM Ivanov is on an official visit to India from 17 to 19 November 2010. He is accompanied by senior officials of the Russian Government and business representatives. During his visit, DPM Ivanov is scheduled to call on the Prime Minister and have bilateral meetings with other Indian dignitaries. The discussions will contribute to the preparations for the forthcoming visit of the President of the Russian Federation, H. E. Mr. D. A. Medvedev to India in December 2010 for the Indo-Russian Annual Summit.

New Delhi,
November 18, 2010


Salient outcomes of the 16th Session of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC)

Bilateral Exchanges


• The Commission expressed satisfaction at the continuation in the momentum of high-level bilateral contacts in the past one year which have delivered concrete results in the further development of bilateral economic relations. Both Sides resolved to work in tandem to proactively follow up on these discussions with a view to finalising some key Agreements/ MOUs in the economic sphere to be signed during the forthcoming visit of the President of the Russian Federation, H. E. Mr. D. A. Medvedev to India in December 2010 for the Indo-Russian Annual Summit.

• Recognising the importance of establishing direct B2B contacts in achieving a quantum leap in bilateral trade and investment levels, the Commission underscored that the Indo-Russian Trade and Investment Forum (IRTIF) and the CEOs’ Council have to play a lead role in this regard. The Sides noted with satisfaction the considerable interest of business circles of both countries in the Fourth Session of IRTIF, which will be held in December 2010 in New Delhi. They also welcomed the holding of first-ever India-Russia Business Dialogue within the framework of the prestigious St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2010 and expressed confidence that the MOU entered into by CII and SPIEF Foundation would pave the way for regular institutionalized B2B interactions and exchanges.

Review of Bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation

• While reviewing the bilateral trade & economic cooperation, the Commission observed that trade and investment between India and Russia has been growing but is still modest compared to the sizes of the two economies and their potential. Both Sides agreed to make sustained and enhanced efforts to achieve the bilateral trade turnover target of USD 20 billion by 2015. The Commission called upon relevant Working Groups and agencies on both sides to identify new and innovative joint projects in priority areas of cooperation in order to increase the level of bilateral economic engagement and to speedily achieve the economic targets set by the two countries.

• The Commission agreed that with its proven competence in the fields of IT, financial services, pharmaceuticals and hydrocarbon processing, India can be a strong and reliable partner in Russia’s pursuit of modernization of its economy. The Commission asked for the preparation of a forward-looking bilateral programme on cooperation in the areas of modernization and innovation.

• The Commission noted the strong interest of Indian companies to participate in the privatization programme of the Government of the Russian Federation and called for organizing B2B interactions in this regard inter alia within the framework of India-Russia Forum on Trade & Investment and CEOs Council.

Priority Areas for Cooperation

Energy

• The Commission expressed satisfaction at the progress achieved in bilateral cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy sector. It welcomed the signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Atomic Energy Cooperation for Peaceful Purposes and the Roadmap for Serial Construction of Russian-designed Nuclear Power Plants in India, during the March 2010 visit of the Russian Prime Minister to India.

• The Commission agreed on the need to enhance bilateral cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector which could be an excellent vehicle to achieve a quantum increase in bilateral trade and investment ties. While noting that India and Russia have made a good beginning in this direction with the collaboration in Sakhalin-I, and the acquisition of Imperial Energy by ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), both Sides called for tangible steps to move forward on new project proposals.

Diamonds

• Recognizing the strong complementarity between Indian and Russia in the area of trade in rough diamonds, the Commission welcomed the signing of long-term contracts between Russian and select Indian companies and called for sustaining this positive momentum through conclusion of additional contracts.

Agriculture/ Food Products

• Recognising the large scope for export of food commodities and processed food products from India to Russia, both Sides resolved to work towards early finalisation of the agreement on mutual recognition/equivalence of standards and conformity assessment procedures for facilitating trade in goods between India and Russia.

Pharmaceuticals

• Both Sides welcomed the growth in bilateral trade in the pharmaceuticals sector and called for bilateral investments and establishment of JVs. The Commission noted the huge potential for participation by Indian companies in the realization of Pharma 2020 programme of the Government of the Russian Federation. The Russian side conveyed its interest in joint activities for developing new pharmaceutical products and technologies.

IT

• Recognising the huge potential for mutually-beneficial cooperation in the IT sector, the Commission emphasized the need to identify specific projects for collaboration between Indian and Russian companies in development of Techno Parks (including Skolkovo Innovation Centre), e-governance, BPO/KPO, IT learning and tele-medicines.

Fertilizers/ Chemicals/ Mining

• The Commission expressed satisfaction at the steady growth in the fertilizer trade between India and Russia amounting to a value of over USD 2.1 billion in the period April 2009 – March 2010. The Sides also welcomed the signing of the MOU between the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India on cooperation in the field of mineral fertilizers, and also signing of the framework agreement on supply of fertilizers between Russian and Indian companies. The Commission identified specific steps to enhance cooperation in this sector including through establishment of JVs in Russia for setting up fertiliser manufacturing units and possible participation of Russian fertilizer entities in the revival of closed urea plants in India.

Mining & Metallurgy

• The Commission recognized the interest shown by Indian and Russian companies for collaboration in the area of mines and metallurgy including through conclusion of long-term supply contracts.

Banking and Finance

• The Commission welcomed the strengthening of banking linkages between India and Russia through opening of Representative Office/Branch by several Indian and Russian banks in each-other’s countries. It called upon banks and financial organisations of the two countries to work towards providing appropriate banking services, which is critical for developing trade and economic cooperation.

Science & Technology

• Recognizing the large benefits that have accrued from scientific cooperation under the Integrated Long-term Program of Cooperation in Science and Technology (ILTP) so far, the Commission noted with satisfaction that the Agreement to extend the program for next 10 years had been finalized.

Tourism & Culture

• The Commission noted the considerable growth in the number of Russian tourists visiting India, and agreed to work towards creating an environment for two-way growth of tourist traffic, including favourable visa regimes. In this context, the Commission welcomed the finalization of bilateral visa-facilitation agreement.

• The Commission agreed to continue providing support for holding of exhibitions, conferences, lectures, film shows and artistic performances between the two countries. The Commission also agreed to finalise at earliest the programmes of the Festival of Indian Culture in Russia in 2011 and the Festival of Russian Culture in India in 2012.

• Both Sides noted the importance of large-scale celebrations planned by the Government of India to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore in 2011. The Russian side confirmed their intention to organize commemorative events in different regions of Russia.

• Both Sides agreed to facilitate further development of cultural linkages through direct contact between cultural institutions of the states and regions and city authorities.

Next Session of the Commission

• The Seventeenth Session of the Commission shall take place in 2011 in Moscow.

New Delhi
November 18, 2010


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