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Updated: June 18, 2011 22:22 IST

Sharma seeks to energise bilateral ties with Russia

Vladimir Radyuhin
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Anand Sharma.
The Hindu Anand Sharma.

Invites Pakistani counterpart to India later this year

India seeks to energise bilateral ties with Russia, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here on Saturday.

The two sides agreed to set up a joint study group to draft a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), to hold the next annual Forum on Trade and Investment in Moscow in November and to set up within the forum three round tables in the Public-Private Partnership format focussing on innovation and commercialisation of scientific research, infrastructure and pharmaceuticals.

Mr. Sharma revealed that during his meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, the latter offered to provide unused industrial facilities in the Russian capital for Indian pharma and auto parts producers.

India and Russia will shortly exchange delegations to negotiate better access of Indian pharmaceutical companies to the Russian market.

“Russia is inviting and welcoming Indian pharma companies to set up production in this country,” Mr. Sharma said. Pakistani Minister of Commerce would lead a high-power business delegation to India later this year, Mr. Sharma said.

“I offered to host a delegation of Pakistani businessmen and industrialists led by my Pakistani counterpart and the offer has been accepted,” Mr. Sharma said after meeting Pakistani Minister of State for Investments Saleem Mandviwalla in St. Petersburg on Friday, where they both took part in Russia's annual economic forum.

“During the coming visit we will put in place a structured format for exchanges between the apex commerce and industry chambers of the two countries,” Mr. Sharma told Moscow-based Indian journalists on Saturday during his four-day visit to St. Petersburg and Moscow.

He recalled that during the Indian and Pakistani Commerce Secretaries' talks in Islamabad in April Pakistan had agreed to give India the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status and to replace the current ‘positive list' (of items that can be traded) with a ‘negative list' (a shorter list of products that require protection).

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