India and Russia will strive to “galvanise” bilateral trade after it missed the $10 billion target set for last year.

The Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission (IRIGC) on trade, economic, technological, scientific and cultural cooperation, which met in Moscow on Friday, resolved to give thrust to four vectors of bilateral cooperation, the Indian Embassy said in a press release.

The 17th annual meeting of the IRIGC was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov.

The sides decided to launch a Joint Public-Private investment fund that will invest in both countries. The two governments will also set up a Joint Study Group to prepare a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with the Customs Union, which unites Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. A new Working Group on Modernisation has been added to the nine WGs already existing within the IRIGC. It will deal with integration of technological platforms, not only on a bilateral basis, but also in the format of BRICS.

India and Russia will strive to revive the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) through Iran that has failed to take off more than 10 years after the three countries signed an agreement to set up the trade route. India and Russia agreed to “enhance connectivity” through the NSTC, the Embassy press release said.

Briefing Indian journalists on background a senior member of the Indian delegation to the IRIGC admitted that the NSTC project had been “long neglected” and the governments were “very slow” in implementing it. The Indian government will organise a brain-storming international conference to discuss the NSTC and new trade routes to the former Soviet Union, including through China.

It was revealed that the long-discussed Indo-Russian Science and Technology Centre will be inaugurated in Moscow during the coming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for an annual bilateral summit here. A similar centre will later open in New Delhi.

“Russia has fantastic technologies, but the challenge is to commercialise them,” the Indian official said. “The S&T Centres will be the places where businessmen can shop for new technologies.”

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