India, Russia eye cooperation in hi-tech industries

21 Sep 2013


Trade ministers of India and Russia who met under the seventh India Russia Forum on Trade and Investment on Friday agreed to an overarching framework to track hi-tech projects for cooperation between the two countries.

India's minister of commerce and industry Anand Sharma yesterday met Russia's deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin and trade minister Denis Manturov at St Petersburg during the 7th India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investment.

The meeting of the forum assumes significance in the light of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's forthcoming visit to Russia next month.

During his meetings, Sharma pressed the Russian side for market access for Indian products, mainly pharmaceutical products. The Indian minister, in particular, asked for simplification of regulatory procedures for supply of Indian generic medicines to Russia.

India had, during the 19th India-Russia Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation (IRWGTEC) meeting held in Moscow recently, also requested the Russian side to examine the issues troubling the Indian pharmaceutical companies.

''As Indian pharma companies are keen to establish manufacturing bases in Russia, it is imperative that Russian government should address their concerns in an expeditious manner,'' Sharma said.

Meanwhile, the two sides have renewed the thrust to joint manufacturing in hi-tech areas, and have developed a framework for tracking key priority projects at the ministerial level.

The sectors include automobile, industrial and road-building machinery, chemical and petrochemical industry, civil aircraft construction, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, energy, diamonds, IT, automobiles, and agro and processed foods.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made by plant construction unit for manufacturing butyl rubber with capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year at Reliance Industries' production site in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

The new complex will be the biggest in India and one of the biggest in the world for butyl rubber production.

The project is being built as a joint venture of Russian petrochemical company SIBUR Holding and Reliance Industries Limited. The two sides signed the agreement for the project construction in early 2010 and construction started in February 2013.

The plant will be operational by 2015, as per the schedule.

Meanwhile, both sides have agreed for collaboration in joint development and manufacturing of civilian aircrafts and helicopters, especially for emergency relief and medical purposes.

This collaboration will not only be for domestic use, but will also explore the possibilities of third country exports.

One of the projects envisages the setting up the joint venture for manufacturing in India different modifications of light helicopter Ka-226T for medical, rescue and other purposes.

The Russian side has mooted a new proposal involving IL-112V.

Russia has also lifted a temporary ban on import of rice / rice cereals and peanuts from India imposed under Russian Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS) regulations.

Sharma highlighted the issues regarding export of bovine meat from India and market access to egg powder and sought early and favourable decision by Russian FSVPS on import of bovine meat and egg powder from India.

The Russian side, however, said a review on the issue will be taken in October and hoped that a satisfactory resolution will be formed.

India and Russia also identified biotechnology and nanotechnology as emerging areas for collaboration even as Sharma stressed the need to leverage India's expertise in information technology sector.

Other areas where the two sides propose to increase cooperation included mining and metallurgy, where there has been a long-standing partnership between India and Russia in the steel sector.

Russian companies in power sector are also keen to participate in modernisation of old power plants and heavy engineering units based in India.

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