Pranab arrives in Moscow for IRIGC meet on Oct 11

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Moscow, Oct 11: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is arriving here today to co-chair the 13th session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation with his Russian counterpart Alexander Zhukov.At the plenary session tomorrow, the two sides will make a thorough review of the whole gamut of cooperation in different fields between the two countries, ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next month for his annual summit with President Vladimir Putin, a source said.

Raising the level of bilateral cooperation in different fields, including energy, space, IT, pharmaceuticals, diamond, and traditional basket of tea, coffee and tobacco will be high on the agenda of the IRIGC, he said, pointing out special attention will be paid to service sector as a whole range of trade sector can benefit from trade in service sector.

Mr Mukherjee and Mr Zhukov will sign a protocol on the assessment of the deliberations, in the five joint working groups, which will be reviewed at the plenary session.

The two sides are expected to finalise the composition of a Joint Task Force (JTF) to be set up during Putin-Singh summit.

The setting up of the Joint Task Force was recommended by the Joint Study Group (JSG) formed in 2006 to examine the feasibility of signing a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Russia, in order to increase the bilateral trade turnover to 10 billion dollars by 2010.

The JSG, led by the Commerce Secretary G K Pillai from Indian side and Mikhail Dmitriyev of Centre of Strategic Research from Russian side, submitted a report last July to their respective governments for final approval.

The JTF would monitor the implementation of the recommendations by the Joint Study Group to achieve a significant increase in bilateral trade turnover by diversifying and increasing trade in goods and services and through investment and economic cooperation. Currently, the trade turnover stands at about 3.8 billion dollars.

During his two-day stay, Mr Mukherjee is also expected to call on Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.


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