PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA DMITRY MEDVEDEV: Mr Prime Minister, gentlemen, colleagues,
We are happy for this opportunity to meet with representatives of Russian and Indian business circles. We consider this format of direct communication with the business community very important. In essence, it has already become a regular component in the visits at the highest level.
The current visit by Mr Prime Minister has proven, as usual, being held in a friendly, constructive atmosphere. We have signed documents and engaged in a truly thorough dialogue. I hope that mechanisms of interaction such as the Business Council for Cooperation with India, chambers of commerce and industry, and industrialists’ associations of Russia and India will actively supplement the work of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation.
Our economic ties have spanned many decades. In the 1960s and 1980s, with Russia’s assistance, India built major production facilities that were a key part of Indian industry at that time. One example is the metallurgical factories in Bhilai and Bokaro, which became symbols of Russian-Indian friendship.
During our talks, Mr Prime Minister and I noted that there are real opportunities for increasing trade and optimising an increase in investment activity. Today, we are ready to participate in the modernisation of industrial enterprises, which were built in India during that period. Indian businesspeople, in turn, participate in the Skolkovo Foundation, which aims to promote investment and science projects. Last year, when we met in New Delhi, Mr Prime Minister and I discussed the idea of transferring the success of our experience in military aviation to the civilian aviation sector. Now, I hope we will move on to implementing it.
You know, we are joining – or have practically joined – the World Trade Organisation. We have been trying to do this for a very long time of 17 years. After our accession, Russian companies in India and Indian companies in Russia will function on the basis of universal rules, which of course is very good.
We were also happy to begin work on the agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation in the format of relations between India and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. We could set a working group for this, with participation by experts to study prospects for such an agreement.
Among the multilateral formats, we particularly value our countries’ participation in the BRICS forum, the Russia-India-China forum, the East Asian summits, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Incidentally, we support India’s intent to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which I already spoke about several times today.
During lunch, Mr Prime Minister and I discussed the situation in our economies. True, the situation in the world is very difficult, and we have felt some decline in our economies, but as far as bilateral ties are concerned, we have fairly good and growing turnover. At the same time, our GDP is growing correspondingly, though not as quickly as we might like. This year, it will grow at a good pace in comparison to the rest of the world.
At the moment, we are implementing major projects that will last years into the future. We all know what they are; I don’t even need to mention them specifically. But there are whole sectors where our cooperation is strategic: these include nuclear energy, the automotive industry, and existing joint venture in mobile communication and mobile internet, as well as a project to launch a joint Russian-Indian metallurgical enterprise. The ONGC Indian state-owned oil and gas company has also settled here in Russia and is participating in many projects. In addition, Gazprom has signed memoranda with several Indian companies stipulating large supplies of liquefied natural gas to India beginning in 2016. We are also implementing a long-term project to supply mineral fertilisers to India. All these are just several examples of cooperation in different sectors of the economy.
Currently, we have a solid regulatory framework for developing cooperation. Today, we signed a number of bilateral documents. Among them was a memorandum of mutual understanding between our nations’ regulatory authorities responsible for compliance with pharmaceutical standards. Pharmaceutical products from India are well-known in our country; over 800 medicines produced in India are registered here. I hope this document will promote the advancement of high-quality medicines on our market.
Beginning on December 1, the Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Agreement on Simplification of Requirements for Mutual Travels of Certain Categories of People has gone into effect. It stipulates the most simplified and accelerated procedures for Indian businesspeople to receive an entry visa into the Russian Federation. But if it is not working, then you can tell me about it during this meeting, and we will try to fix it.
I would like to wish you success in your work on the Russian market. We are always happy to see you, and I share this position with my colleague, Mr Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.