In the spirit of traditional friendship and mutual understanding
The 23rd session of the Russia-India Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation was held in the middle of September in Moscow
Our two countries enjoy a special and privileged strategic partnership. This partnership has strengthened over time and covers a vast agenda involving almost all spheres of human activity. In 2017 annual trade between India and Russia has reached USD$10.17 billion. Two-way investments have already crossed the USD$30 billion target, which Moscow and New Delhi had set for 2025. Now Russia and India have therefore proposed that they enhance this figure to USD $50 billion by 2025.
The discussions in Moscow were held in the spirit of traditional friendship and mutual understanding. The Russian side was led by H.E. Mr. Yu.I. Borisov, the Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Chairman of the Russian side of the Commission. The Indian side was led by H.E. Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, the Minister of External Affairs, Government of India, the Chairperson of the Indian side of the Commission.
The sides discussed the possibilities of working together on projects in third countries. As a new dimension of their strategic partnership. There has been significant expansion in their cultural and tourism exchanges. Tourism flows in both directions has shown impressive growth. Moscow and New Delhi are working on further liberalizing visa regulations on both sides. Indian side welcomed the initiative of the Russian Government to enable electronic visas for Indian nationals visiting the Russia Far East. Energy is the traditional area of cooperation. Both sides identified new areas of cooperation such as agriculture, infrastructure, transport and science and technology. Russia and India would like to expand their cooperation in the area of space. Discussions in Moscow will further strengthen cooperation between two countries in all fields in existing and new areas of cooperation.
Trade, economic and investment cooperation
Two countries agreed to accelerate the beginning of negotiations on the free-trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Republic of India.
They stressed the need to create an effective mechanism to ensure comprehensive protection of investments in order to stimulate the growth of mutual investments as well as welcomed holding of the first technical consultations on determining the main parameters of the bilateral investment treaty in the near future.
The sides noted that the negotiations on the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India are pending for long and should be started forthwith. The Russian side also pointed out the issue of double taxation on dividends.
The sides noted the need to develop bilateral cooperation in attracting companies to special economic zones (SEZs) of both countries. The sides emphasized the importance of sharing experience between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India in the sphere of SEZ.
The sides agreed to start the implementation of the “Green Corridor” project in test mode and agreed to make all efforts to roll out the “Green Corridor” project in a full-fledged manner.
The Russian side expressed interest in continuing cooperation with Indian partners in the construction of waste treatment facilities and in participating in tender procedures for the construction or modernization of waste treatment facilities in the Republic of India.
The mechanism of elimination of barriers in trade, economic and investment spheres.
Moscow and New Delhi welcomed the holding of the first meetings of the Sub-Working Group on elimination of barriers in trade, economic and investment spheres and noted the positive contribution of the Sub-Group in increasing the level of mutual understanding between the sides on elimination of existing barriers in trade, economic and investment spheres.
Priority investment projects
The sides noted the intensification of investment cooperation, emphasized the contribution of the Working Group on Priority Investment Projects and called on the Working Group to continue searching for the new investment projects.
Both sides confirmed their intention to develop cooperation in the field of civil aircraft manufacture.
They underpinned the expansion of collaboration in aluminium sector under the aegis of Subgroup on Mining of the Working Group on Modernization and Industrial Cooperation.
The Indian side proposed to develop collaboration between Geological Survey of India (GSI) with its Russian counterpart to explore deep seated/ or concealed mineral deposits (at more than 400 meters depth) in India.
The sides welcomed the successful cooperation between PJSC SIBUR Holding and Reliance Industries Ltd. on the construction of butyl rubber and halobutyl rubber production facilities in Gujarat.
The Russian side expressed its interest in developing cooperation between Sinara – Transport Machines JSC and Indian Railways in the field of supplying track equipment for the construction, repair and maintenance of railways, as well as other projects in the field of railway engineering.
Cooperation in diamond sector
The sides expressed appreciation of the level of the bilateral cooperation in the diamond sector.With the aim to uphold and promote the diamond consumer equity and sustainable growth of the market, both India and Russia are cooperating on the development of diamond generic marketing campaigns by the Diamond Producers Association.
Within the framework of the multilateral international cooperation in the diamond sector the sides expressed mutual interest in establishing a permanent secretariat of the Kimberley Process and improving its peer review mechanism within the discussions that are still ongoing in the KP.
The sides noted the successful holding of the first session of the Russian-Indian Working Group on Cooperation in Agriculture under the Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission, established in accordance with the decision of the Co-Chairs of the Commission. Particular attention during the
meeting of the Working Group was paid to the issues of mutual market access of agricultural products and ensuring security of supply.
The Indian side has conveyed to the Russian side the information about the steps taken to gain access to the Russian market for agricultural products and requests the Russian side to study the Indian side’s requests.
The sides expressed satisfaction with the progress of work under the Agreement for the Nagpur-Secunderabad Semi High Speed execution study. The Russian side expressed its desire for the joint implementation of the project. The sides agreed to continue cooperation in respect of project implementation keeping in view the prevailing rules/procedures of both sides.
The sides noted the interest shown by RZD Holding in its participation in railways infrastructure projects in India, including electrification, increase of speed of trains, construction and design of heavy railways, tunnels and high-mountain railways, as well as a pilot project for the modernization of automation and telemechanics.
The sides agreed to continue cooperation in the field of air transport in the framework of consultations between the Russian and Indian Aviation Authorities.
The sides welcomed the ongoing cooperation between the Rosneft, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), Oil India Limited (OIL), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Bharat PetroResources Limited (BPRL) in various projects in Russia, including Vankorneft and Taas-Yuryah. The sides noted with satisfaction the progress of the companies in the development of comprehensive cooperation and expressed the hope for the completion of negotiations between the companies on the Vankor cluster in the near future.
The sides supported the interest of Russian and Indian companies in cooperation in the field of LNG supplies of Russian origin to India. The sides welcomed successful development of Gazprom Group’s cooperation with GAIL India Ltd. for LNG supplies to India.
The sides expressed their support for development of cooperation and continuation of discussions between PJSC Gazprom Neft and Indian oil and gas companies in exploring opportunities for joint development of oil fields on the land side and the Arctic shelf of Russia.
Nuclear Energy cooperation
The sides emphasized the importance of the cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of the atomic energy and resolved to continue to work in the areas of mutual interest.
The Sides noted the progress in the implementation of Kudankulam NPP and agreed to work together to achieve expected operational performances and scheduled completion of the project construction.
The sides confirmed their interest in continuing bilateral cooperation in the health sector.They agreed to actively cooperate in the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Service for Surveillance in Healthcare and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, including the implementation of regular bilateral exchange of information on the detection of poor-quality and falsified medicines and pharmaceutical substances in their respective territories, including in the case of emergency.
Science and higher education cooperation
During the session the sides appreciated the establishment of partnerships between Russian and Indian scientific and educational organizations for the implementation of joint research projects within the framework of various research programs.
They expressed interest in developing direct partnerships between Russian and Indian organizations, carrying out educational activities on higher education programs, on the basis of bilateral cooperation agreements.
Moscow and New Delhi reaffirmed their interest in further development and intensification of bilateral cooperation in the field of joint scientific research and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, in particular, human space programme including life support system, crew module and astronaut training; advanced technologies in remote sensing of earth; ground stations for satellite navigation systems (GLONASS and NavIC); and space solar power systems.
Urban development cooperation
Both sides expressed their intention to develop cooperation in implementation of smart city projects, the introduction of modem information and innovative technologies and infrastructure solutions within these projects.
The Sides agreed to continue work on expanding direct trade and economic relations between regions of the Russian Federation and states of the Republic of India, establishing direct ties between economic entities through mutual participation in exhibitions and fairs, business missions, exchanges of information on products with export potential as well as on economic entities interested in establishing commercial contacts.
Next meeting of the Commission
The sides agreed to hold the 24th Session of the Commission in 2019 in India.