India on Thursday offered to set aside about $100 million for new areas of cooperation with Russia covering information technology, biotechnology and nano-technology.
This was conveyed by External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh during an hour-long meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Vladivostok.
The two leaders also discussed the proposal of Russian company Rosmeft, which has offered ONGC Videsh equity participation in an oil producing block. Lavrov agreed with
Singh's suggestion that a decision in this regard should be taken at the earliest.
"Moscow was interested in the rupee debt fund and Russian company Systema has proposed to the Russian government to utilise nearly $400 million worth of rupee funds for investment in the telecom sector," Lavrov said.
He said Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov may undertake a visit to India later this year so that the economic content of bilateral relations gets a "systematic boost".
He also said that before the end of the year, an agreement would be signed to facilitate the travel of businessmen, students and tourists between India and Russia.
Under an agreement arrived at in February this year, diplomats and official passport holders don't need visas for travel to each other's country.
As part of efforts to boost people-to-people contacts, Lavrov proposed 2008 as the year of Russia in India and 2009 as the year of India in Russia.