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Joint Site of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of BRICS Member States

Friday, March 17, 2017

India, Russia Discuss Steps to Strengthen Trade, Strategic Ties

Aiming to boost the India-Russia economic and strategic ties, the two countries today discussed the proposed FTA encompassing Eurasian nations and also the operationalisation of the International North South Transport Corridor that will cut the time and cost for cargo movement.

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov held a bilateral meeting here before inauguration of the India Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS) with Russia as the Partner Country in the flagship annual event of EEPC India.

"Mr Manturov and I had a meeting today morning. We agreed that there is enormous potential to enhance the bilateral trade which is presently at USD 6.62 billion. We discussed the North-South corridor," Sitharaman said while addressing a press conference here.

"We also deliberated upon other measures to enhance the trade ties including the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. Both countries also noted the need to finalise a revised bilateral investment treaty," she added.

FDI from Russia is estimated at USD 1.2 billion till date while Indian investment in Russia is around USD 4.9 billion.

In her inaugural address at the IESS, she said both India and Russia discussed the need to finalise a revised Bilateral Investment Treaty. There is tremendous potential for enhancing such investments, she added.

All these measures, including the FTA and work on the ground on several MoUs, would help take the bilateral trade to USD 30 billion by 2025, the minister said.

Though the mutual trade at present is only USD 6.3 billion, the USD 30 billion target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin is "absolutely achievable", the Indian minister pointed out, adding that a high-level engagement is possible in June or July this year.

Asked whether countries, other than Russia in Eurasia like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are also willing to speed up the talks on the trade-opening pact, the visiting Russian minister said, "We are trying to push the FTA with other countries as well."

Source: India Today