Dmitry Rogozin and Sushma Swaraj during a signing ceremony following the meeting of the IRIGC. Source: Mikhail Voskresenskiy / RIA Novosti
At the 20th meeting of Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), Russia and India decided to resolve all key outstanding issues of the bilateral ties in a friendly way.
The November 5 meeting in Delhi, co-chaired by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, thoroughly examined the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation and recommended actions for realizing the full potential of this important relationship. At the end of the meeting, the sides also approved the protocol on the results of the session.
Following the meeting, Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesman for the External Affairs Ministry, told media persons that the commission’s meeting in New Delhi was important in view of the annual summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expected to be held in early December.
An official statement on the results of the meeting said that the sides reached agreement on several issues, overdue for long. Among them, first of all, the commission decided to set up a Joint Study Group (JSG) for the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for trade in goods and services and free flow of investments.
This is for the first time that the two countries agreed on negotiations for a FTA between India and the Customs Union that could increase bilateral trade turnover and investment flow.
It also decided to enhance bilateral trade through the International North-South Corridor Project (INSTC) by freight forwarders and exporters particularly to boost trade in agriculture and food processing industry. Maintaining the momentum of bilateral cooperation in the fields of priority areas of hydrocarbons, coking coal, fertilizers, mining, civil aviation, infrastructure and trade in rough diamonds was another important decision.
The two sides agreed on joint cooperation between Indian National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and the Russian company ACRON for development of potassium and magnesium deposits in Talitsky mine in Perm region of Russia and Partomchorr apatite-nepheline ore deposit (Murmansk region).
Other major decisions taken at the meeting included proposals for setting up of a 200-250 MW Power Plant at Ulan-Ude by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), establishment of a joint venture in India for production of Cold-Rolled Grain Oriented silicon steel (CRGO) grade steel by Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) in collaboration with Russia, establishing Joint Supercomputer Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences (JSCC RAS), collaboration on various applications of High Performance Computing (HPC), supercomputing, and establishment of an India-Russia Joint Investment Fund for supporting joint projects in high technology sector including transfer of technology.
The meeting reached agreement on the proposals for establishment of a ‘Smart City’ in India by the Russian company AFK Sistema, manufacture of lighting equipment for general and special purpose in Karnataka by an affiliate of MGK, Lighting technologie, Russia, and a project of the group of companies Dauria Aerospace and Aniara Communications Pvt. Ltd for a group of telecommunication satellites NextStar on geostationary orbit of the Earth on the basis of a low-budget platform.
Trade and investment forum
On the margins of the commission’s meeting, Rogozin co-chaired the 8th Indo-Russian Trade and Investment Forum. It was organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), in partnership with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Indian Commerce Ministry, and Russian Economic Development Ministry.
The forum brought together high-level government officials and policymakers from both India and Russia. Rogozin and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman made the keynote addresses at the Forum’s plenary session. The Forum focused on “opportunities and partnership” in 3 priority sectors, including infrastructure and modernization, best practices in manufacturing and innovation and pharma industry and healthcare.
This year the forum also highlighted the investment potential and opportunities in focus sectors and special economic zones of Russia as well as strengthening ties between small and medium-sized businesses of the two countries.
“The interactions on November 5 also served to review the preparations for the forthcoming visit of the Russian President Putin to India for the 15th India-Russia annual summit,” the statement of MEA said.
Meeting with Narendra Modi
During his visit, Rogozin also called on the Prime Minister Modi. During the meeting, Modi emphasized that India attached very high importance to the time-tested and the special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia.
Modi said he looked forward to the visit of Putin to India in December for their annual summit. The visit would provide an opportunity to take forward the bilateral relations to a new height, the prime minister noted.
The commission’s meeting also reviewed preparations for Putin’s summit with Modi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to India later this month.
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