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India, Russia talk business

December 07, 2005 03:45 IST
India and Russia have agreed to set up a joint study group to examine the feasibility of a comprehensive economic co-operation agreement (CECA) between the two countries.

"India and Russia are large economies, experiencing rapid economic growth. There is, thus, a vast potential for expanding our trade and economic relations even as we integrate with and take advantages of the opportunities offered by globalisation," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference he addressed along with Russian President Vladimir Putin here today.

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Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran had yesterday told Business Standard that the initiative to include the CECA in the agenda of the joint study group, which is being set up to look at how to expand trade relations, came from the Russian side. The CECA will be along the lines of India's agreement with Singapore.

Singh said India would support Russia's bid to enter the World Trade Organisation. "I have assured President Putin of India's support for Russia's accession to the WTO. The bilateral accession agreement will be concluded at the earliest," he said.

Trade, key to Indo-Russian ties

In a restricted meeting between the two heads of state, Singh told Putin that all pending issues in this regard would be resolved in a time-bound manner. He also invited the Russian trade minister to carry the process forward.

Singh also announced that India and Russia had agreed in principle to jointly develop a multi-role medium-range transport aircraft and a fifth-generation multi-role fighter aircraft.

According to Saran, this would involve production of some parts in India and some in Russia. "It is yet to be decided where the aircraft will be finally put together," he said, adding that no timeframe had been set for the development of the aircraft.

In addition, India and Russia signed three agreements relating to collaboration in space exploration programmes, India's involvement in the Global Navigation System (Glonass) being developed by Russia and protection of intellectual property rights on technical military collaboration.

India-Russia: Strategic brotherhood

India has agreed to provide IPR protection to safeguard technology in the development of Glonass for peaceful purposes. Experts see this as a ground preparation for India's full-fledged participation in the development of Glonass, which is being built to rival US' GPS and Europe's Galileo systems.

A fourth agreement on extending defence co-operation between the two countries to joint production and development of military hardware till 2010 was also signed.

Give and take

  • Collaboration in space exploration programmes
  • India to participate in the Russia-developed Global Navigation System (Glonass)
  • Agreement on protection of intellectual property rights on technical military collaboration
  • Extending defence cooperation between the two countries to joint production and development of military hardware till 2010
Bhupesh Bhandari in Moscow
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