India accepted the invitation extended by the Russian Government to participate as the Partner Country in the major Industrial Fair “INNOPROM 2016” to be held at Yekaterinburg, Russia in July 2016. This was conveyed by Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Commerce & Industry, Government of India to her counter-partMr. Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade of Russian Federation at a bilateral meeting held at St. Petersburg on July 19, 2015.India is likely to participate in the key handing over ceremony at Moscow later this year.
Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman led a strong delegation to the annual St. Petersburg International and Economic Forum (SPIEF) held on July 18-20, 2015 at St Petersburg, Russia which included a 30-memberbusiness delegation from CII. The Minister held bilateral discussionswith Mr. Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Union, Mr. Denis Manturov, Minister of Industry and Trade and Mr. Andrey Slepnev, Member (Trade), Eurasian Economic Union. She signed a Joint Statement for establishment of a Joint Study Group between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. The Study Group will submit its report within a year regarding the feasibility of an FTA between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, viz. Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Belarus. India is already negotiating the International North-South Transport Corridor Project (INSTC) with Russia to promote bilateral trade. The project proposes greater movement across Nhava Sheva (Mumbai) through Bandar Abbas (Iran) to Astrakhan (Russia) and Baku (Azerbaijan). Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the importance of this corridor to her counterpart during her bilateral discussions emphasizing the need for multinational access of Eurasian countries to this proposed route.
The Minister participated in the panel discussion on “The Eurasian Economic Union: A new Compass in Global Economic Relations” during SPIEF. The issue of renewal of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between India and Russia also came up for discussion during her bilateral interactions. Both sides agreed that the present level of investment and trade between the two countries which is presently in the range of 11 billion USD and 13 billion USD is very low compared to the warm relationship between the two countries. It was agreed to take all necessary steps to ensure that the target of bilateral investment of USD 15 billioneach way by the year 2025 signed duringthe last Annual Summit is achieved. The Minister informed the Russian side about the rationalization and liberalization of FDI Policy and steps taken for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in India under the flagshipprogramme “Make In India” launched by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in September 2014. She emphasized that India was among themost open economies for making investment and that the recent initiatives offered huge opportunities for Russian investors in India.