India, Russia commit to early talks on FTA with EEU

St. Petersburg [Russia], June 1 (ANI): Acknowledging the importance of developing economic cooperation at the regional level, India and Russia on Thursday said they will take steps to facilitate an early commencement of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin, using the medium of the St. Petersburg Declaration announced today, said, "We appreciate the compelling logic of regional connectivity for peace, progress and prosperity. We believe that connectivity must be strengthened It should be based on dialogue and consent of all parties concerned with due respect to sovereignty."
"The Russian and Indian sides being guided by the principles of transparency, sustainability and responsibility, (also) reiterate their commitment to build effective infrastructure for the International North South Transport Corridor and implementation of the Green Corridor," they added.
Both leaders further said, "Our major economic objectives include expanding trade and investment and diversification of trade in goods and services, in particular increasing the share of high-technology products in bilateral trade, fostering industrial cooperation, improving the environment for entrepreneurship and investments and developing cooperation in banking and financial matters between the two countries."
"As the next stage of our strategic partnership, we will extend our bilateral technical, economic and scientific cooperation to third countries by undertaking joint development projects in mutually agreed sectors. We will coordinate our efforts to promote settlements of Indian-Russian trade in national currencies to reduce dependence of our bilateral trade on other currencies. We will jointly encourage our business communities to use the existing workable schemes and mechanisms for settlements in national currencies elaborated by the Reserve Bank of India and the Bank of Russia," Modi and Putin said.
Both leaders said the two governments would work to coordinate positions to develop a credit rating industry that is transparent for the market participants and independent from political conjuncture.
Taking note of the fact that both nations are committed to building knowledge based economies, on the basis of latest scientific advances and innovation, they said, "We will broaden cooperation in designing, developing, manufacturing and bringing to foreign markets high-technology products and strengthen scientific collaboration in areas such as space technology, aviation, new materials, agriculture, information and communication technologies, medicine, pharmaceuticals, robotics, nanotechnology, supercomputing technologies, artificial intelligence and material sciences."
"We welcome the establishment of the High Level Committee on Cooperation in High Technologies between the two countries. We will work together to step up joint efforts aimed at modernising infrastructure, explore ways to jointly respond to urbanization challenges, address issues related to ensuring food security, preserving water and forest resources, and share experience in carrying out economic reforms and national programs for the development of small and medium enterprises and in skill development."
"We will work together to further develop the potential for cooperation in the diamond industry with an objective to take full advantage of existing strengths and resources of both our countries in this area. We will also intensify our joint efforts to counter undisclosed synthetic stones entering diamond market and to support the development of generic marketing programmes for diamonds."
Recognizing the strength of Russia in shipbuilding, river navigation and desalination technologies, both leaders said that their government would work together to develop joint projects through transfer of technology and experience sharing for developing inland waterways, river embankments, ports and cargo containers towards effective utilization of extensive river systems in India.
"We will work together in development of high speed railways, dedicated freight corridors, and application of newer technologies for efficient rail transport through joint development and sharing of technologies, and training of personnel to benefit from each other's competences in the railroad sector."
Modi and Putin also said that both nations would work together to improve market access for agriculture and food commodities in each other's country and develop joint strategies through research and development for utilization of existing potential in the agriculture and food processing sector covering an entire spectrum of activities from farming, harvesting, production, processing to marketing strategies.
"We will work together to explore joint projects for effective use of natural resources in each other's country through application of existing technologies and development and sharing of newer technologies for search in the field of mining and metallurgy for affordable and climate friendly utilization of natural resources," they said in the declaration.
President Putin said, "We note that India will become the third largest aviation market by 2020 and in this connection, recognize that the Regional Connectivity Scheme of the Government of India provides an opportunity for strengthening cooperation in joint production and setting up of joint ventures in India in the field of aviation manufacturing to serve the demand created and for export to third countries." (ANI)

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