St Petersburg, Russia — India accepted the invitation extended by the Russian government to participate as the partner country in the major industrial fair “INNOPROM 2016” to be held at Yekaterinburg, Russia in July 2016. This was conveyed by Minister of State (Independent Charge), Commerce & Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman to her counterpart Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of Russian Federation, at a bilateral meeting held at St Petersburg on 19 July.
India is likely to participate in the key handing over ceremony at Moscow later this year.
Sitharaman led a strong delegation to the annual St Petersburg International and Economic Forum (SPIEF) held 18-20 July at St Petersburg, Russia, which included a 30-member business delegation from CII. The Minister held bilateral discussions with Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Union, Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade and Andrey Slepnev, Member (Trade), Eurasian Economic Union.
The commerce MoS signed a joint statement for establishment of a joint study group between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. The group will submit its report within a year regarding the feasibility of an FTA between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, namely Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Belarus. India is already negotiating the International North-South Transport Corridor Project (INSTC) with Russia to promote bilateral trade. The project proposes greater movement across Nhava Sheva (Mumbai) through Bandar Abbas (Iran) to Astrakhan (Russia) and Baku (Azerbaijan).
The Indian minister highlighted the importance of this corridor to her counterpart during her bilateral discussions emphasizing the need for multinational access of Eurasian countries to this proposed route.
The minister participated in the panel discussion on “The Eurasian Economic Union: A new Compass in Global Economic Relations” during SPIEF. The issue of renewal of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between India and Russia came up for discussion, too, during her bilateral interactions. Both sides agreed that the present level of investment and trade between the two countries which is presently in the range of $11 billion and $13 billion was very low, given the warm relationship between the two countries. The two sides agreed to take all necessary steps to ensure that the target of bilateral investment of $15 billion each way by the year 2025 signed during the last Annual Summit is achieved.
The minister informed the Russian side about the rationalisation and liberalisation of FDI policy in India and steps taken for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India under the flagship programme “Make In India” launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014.
The minister emphasised that India was among the most open economies for making investment and that the recent initiatives offered huge opportunities for Russian investors in India.