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Russia plans huge investments in India

November 17, 2004 11:08 IST
With swelling currency reserves of $110 billion, Russia is keen to invest heavily in India's economic infrastructure and several agreements are expected to be signed during President Vladimir Putin's visit to the country next month, a top Russian official said.

"Russian companies are keen to heavily invest in India in core sectors like energy, modernisation and upgradation of the Soviet-built power plants and steel mills as well as knowledge-based industries, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals" Russian deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said in Moscow on the eve of his India visit beginning from Thursday.

In New Delhi, Zhukov will co-chair the Indo-Russian intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation, which would finalise the economic agenda of the India-Russia summit.

This would be the first meeting of IRIGC after the Congress-led UPA government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came to power and President Putin's re-election in March.

External affairs minister K Natwar Singh would co-chair IRIGC from the Indian side. "We are planning to discuss our economic ties and joint projects in wide areas including energy - ranging from oil and gas to coal, thermal, hydro and nuclear power," Zhukov said.

President Putin will begin his India visit on December 3.

"We are absolutely not satisfied with the volume of our trade and economic cooperation (approx. $3 billion) as it has a very large potential. However, with the expansion of cooperation in core sectors it will increase several times and in the near perspective may increase ten times," Zhukov said.

Russia is eyeing participation in India's Lunar "Chandrayan" project and Zhukov intends to discuss supply of Russian lunar technology, ground control facilities as part of the space co-operation, currently at a very low level.

Even in atomic energy, Russia is looking beyond Kudankulam power plant currently under construction in Tamil Nadu although Nuclear Suppliers' Group restrictions against India for its stand on Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty were named by Zhukov as 'some objective problems' in way of inking new nuclear deals between Moscow and New Delhi.

"Atomic energy is a very promising sector of co-operation and Kudankulam is not the last such project, though due to objective reasons there are some problems, but we are confident that they would be solved," Zhukov underscored.

Revamping of IRIGC structure and induction of private business is a must to boost the Indo-Russian trade and economic co-operation, Zhukov said.

"Instead of scores of working groups and sub-groups we need to have only three-four sub-commissions to look after the whole sectors. For example we have a sub-group on coal, why a sub-commission on energy cannot look after the whole energy sector," he said.

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