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Are India and Russia negotiating Free Trade Agreement as economic ties prosper?

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov addresses the Indian and Russian business community in New Delhi on Monday. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also attended the event (Image courtesy: FICCI)

Russia plans to intensify negotiations with India to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in a bid to unlock the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations.

A few hours after he arrived in New Delhi on a two-day visit starting Monday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov outlined Moscow’s plan of action to give a fillip to the existing trade and economic ties between the two countries.

“We will rely on reliable foreign partners. We will make every effort to expand our cooperation ties. To exchange competencies and experience in the most promising technological areas,” said Manturov as he and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met with representatives of Russian and Indian business in the Indian capital.

“Particular importance is attached to the issues of mutual access of products to the markets of our countries. Together with the Eurasian Economic Commission, it is planned to intensify negotiations with India to conclude a Free Trade Agreement,” he added.

Both ministers are the co-chairs of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC).

Jaishankar, meanwhile, spoke on the significance of improving connectivity – the International North-South Corridor and the Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor or the Northern Sea Route which will play an important role in the development of India-Russia trade relations in the future.

Spotlighting the time-tested India-Russia ties, the EAM hoped that the payments issue will be worked out soon and the economic ties will continue to bolster in the future.

The participants at the business forum considered issues of further expansion of India-Russia practical cooperation, including within the framework of the Intergovernmental Commission.

“The IGC is a unique mechanism for a comprehensive discussion of topical issues of the Russian-Indian agenda with the participation of relevant departments and organizations of the two countries. We are talking not only about trade and economic relations but also about humanitarian areas of interaction, such as education and culture,” said Manturov.

The attendees got acquainted with a new measure of support – a cluster investment platform that can be applied to joint projects. It provides for preferential loans for the development and production of priority products, subsidies for the implementation of pilot batches, and preferences for insurance premiums, and income tax.

Additionally, the issue of signing an India-Russia agreement on the encouragement and mutual protection of investments is being worked out as trade preferences and mechanisms that guarantee the safety of investments will be in demand by businessmen from both countries.

On Tuesday, Jaishankar and Manturov will co-chair the plenary meeting of IGC, following which a final protocol for the 24th IGC meeting will be signed.

The Russian Deputy PM will also discuss issues of bilateral trade, economic and humanitarian cooperation in several bilateral meetings during his stay.

Also Read: India and Russia take trade ties to next level, new transport arteries from Caspian to Far East on radar