India, Russia to set up study group to push FTA

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 09, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Dmitry O. Rogozin, Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, during a meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. Kamal Narang

Move to boost trade from the current level of $10 billion

India and Russia have agreed to set up a joint study group to look at the feasibility of a free trade agreement between India, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

The decision to set up a study group was agreed at the four-hour long meeting between Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry O. Rogozin and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here on Wednesday.

“Formalities for these are under process in all the countries and a formal announcement of the constitution of the study group will be made as early as possible,” said a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs.

The study group is being set up both the leaders feel the existing level of bilateral trade at $10 billion did not reflect the potential.

The spokesman added that the principal focus was on improving the untapped potential between India and the customs union countries of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in terms of economic and commercial engagement.

Hydrocarbons, nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, diamonds, cooking coal and infrastructure development were the sectors identified for enhancing trade.

Energy ties

The two leaders also had a detailed discussion about cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons and energy.

The two leaders also felt that the CEO Council, which was set up last year, should be asked to work more intensively to make suggestions for boosting trade and investment ties.

At the meeting the possibility of India having a trade show in Moscow in September also came up.

Sushma Swaraj also informed the Russian Deputy Prime Minister about Kudankulam attaining criticality of 1,000 MW on June 7.

“They discussed the way ahead and the understanding was that Kudankulam II is likely to attain criticality by the end of the year,” the spokesman added.

Rogozin is here to prepare the ground for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit later this year for the annual summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Published on June 18, 2014

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