India,Russia to increase trade to $10 billion by 2010

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New Delhi, Feb 12 (UNI) India and Russia today signed an agreement to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) for checking customs offences and decided to operationalise the Task Force on Trade and Investment for doubling bilateral trade to 10 billion US dollars by 2010.

They also decided to consider a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) for exploiting the existing potential in bilateral trade and investment.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, while making the announcement at a joint press conference here today along with his visiting Russian counterpart Victor Zubkov, said it had also been decided to build upon the existing cooperation in Defence, Space, Science and Technology and energy sectors.

The two Prime Ministers who held discussions for about 90 minutes, expressed the hope that if bilateral trade continued to increase at the current level, it would not be difficult to achieve the target of 10 billion US dollars by 2010.

The two countries signed two pacts including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for greater cooperation against smuggling of drugs, narcotic substances and their precursors, dual use goods and contraband and checking customs offences in commercial trade by constituting a JWG.

Under the MOU, customs authorities of the two countries will exchange information and hold regular meetings to check customs violations.

The second pact--a Memorandum of Cooperation--will enable cooperation between the archival agencies of the two countries through exchange of specialists, sharing of information and documents on their history.

Mr Zubkov, who arrived here yesterday on a two-day official visit, will inaugurate the 'Year of Russia in India' along with Dr Singh here this evening. He will also attend the Indo-Russian Business Forum.

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