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India, Russia discuss steps to strengthen trade, strategic ties

India, Russia discuss steps to strengthen trade, strategic ties
Aiming to boost the India-Russia economic and strategic ties, the two countries on Thursday discussed the proposed FTA encompassing Eurasian nations and also the operationalisation of the International North South Transport Corridor that will cut the time and cost for cargo movement. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Russian Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov held a bilateral meeting here before inauguration of the India Engineering Sourcing Show (IESS) with Russia as the Partner Country in the flagship annual event of EEPC India.

"Mr Manturov and I had a meeting today morning. We agreed that there is enormous potential to enhance the bilateral trade which is presently at $6.62 billion. We discussed the North-South corridor," Sitharaman said while addressing a press conference here.

"We also deliberated upon other measures to enhance the trade ties including the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. Both countries also noted the need to finalise a revised bilateral investment treaty," she added. Though the mutual trade at present is only $6.3 billion, the $30 billion target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin is "absolutely achievable", the Indian minister pointed out, adding that a high-level engagement is possible in June or July this year.

Asked whether countries, other than Russia in Eurasia like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are also willing to speed up the talks on the trade-opening pact, the visiting Russian minister said, "We are trying to push the FTA with other countries as well."

The Russian minister is leading a 120-member high-level delegation to India, participating in the IESS where over 400 exhibitors of high technology products and technologies from 45 countries are participating.
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