Russia-India sign protocol on economic engagement

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New Delhi, Feb 13 (UNI) India and Russia today signed a protocol to boost trade and investment between the two countries.

The two sides resolved to cooperate in areas of infrastructure, metallurgy, real estate, pharmaceuticals and other sectors.

Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath and Russia Economic Development and Trade Minister Mrs Elvira S Nabiullina signed the protocol after conclusion of the two-day second India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investment they co-chaired here. The Forum, which was set up in March 2006, will hold its next meeting in Russia in 2009 or earlier, an official announcement said.

On the opening day, Russian Prime Minister Victor Zubkov said his country was looking at investing a part of India's outstanding rupee debt in viable projects in India. The Rs 2,000-crore titatnium joint venture agreement signed by the Russian government recently with an Indian company will be one project in which the rupee debt will be used. Mr Zubkov said Russia was also interested in investing in pharmaceutical sector.

The Russian Prime Minister said it was possible to achieve the target of doubling bilateral trade between the two countries to 10 billion dollar by 2010. Mr Kamal Nath shared the view.

Of the 4 billion bilateral trade in 2005-07, India's export to Russia was 1.10 billion dollar and import 2.99 billion dollars.

But Russian FDI in India is paltry 94 million dollar so far. India, on the other hand, has so far approved an investment of 2.84 billion dollar in Russia till March 2007, an official statement said.

UNI SAA PDT HT1630

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