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India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission Meeting in New Delhi (September 13, 2016)

September 13, 2016

The 22nd Session of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) was held on September 13, 2016 in New Delhi. Smt. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, led the Indian delegation; while H. E. Mr Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, led the Russian delegation.

The Intergovernmental Commission reviewed the preparations for the forthcoming India-Russia Annual Summit to be held in Goa on 15 October 2016. While expressing satisfaction at the progress made in regard to some projects, the Commission also directed concerned Ministries and Departments to focus on key sectors in the trade & investment spheres to finalise concrete outcomes by the forthcoming summit in October 2016.

On the investment front, there has been substantial progress with expanding cooperation in oil & gas sphere. Indian and Russian oil & gas companies are working towards finalisation of investments in each other’s countries. On 13 September 2016, both sides launched an industry level Working Group- led by Gazprom, biggest Russian gas company, and a consortium of Indian oil and gas companies- for creating an ‘energy bridge’ between the two countries through possible gas pipelines for direct gas delivery from Russia to India.

India and Russia reiterated their strong desire to further broaden their strategic cooperation with emphasis on key sectors such as nuclear energy, space, modernisation, high technology, disaster management, and supercomputing. A new milestone was recently achieved in the India-Russia cooperation in nuclear energy with the dedication of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam nuclear power project by Prime Minister Modi and President Putin in August 2016. Both sides renewed their commitment to work together on remaining stages of Kudankulam 2,3,4,5 and 6; and other projects through localisation under the Make in India programme.

Connectivity was a major theme of discussion during the meeting of the Commission. Implementation of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project and the launch of the ‘Green Corridor’ project for customs facilitation are major steps towards better connectivity and trade facilitation. Cooperation between Indian and Russian railways in the field of dedicated freight corridor, modernisation of railway stations, and training of railway personnel emerged as a new area to broaden cooperation in transports & logistics.

India-Russia cooperation in pharmaceutical sector is also expanding rapidly. Indian companies are closely engaged with Russian partners to develop cooperation under the Russian ‘Pharma 2020 programme’. On the sidelines of the Commission’s meeting, an Indian company Wockhardt and a Russian company PharmEco have signed an agreement for joint project for insulin production in Russia under the Pharma 2020 programme.

Student and faculty exchange, cultural cooperation and tourism have emerged as new areas for bilateral cooperation. There has been 20% increase in the number of Indian students studying in Russia, while there has been 14% increase in Russian tourist visiting India in recent months. India and Russia will be celebrating the 70th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and the erstwhile USSR (now Russian Federation) in 2017. A series of activities are being planned to celebrate this important milestone. There will be a new emphasis on promoting cooperation among various states in India and federal regions in Russia, especially the Far East region of Russia- as attractive investment destinations.

New Delhi
September 13, 2016

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