BUSINESS

Putin for more economic cooperation

Russian President, Vladimir V. Putin (right) looks at Foreign Minister, Yashwant Sinha, at a FICCI, CII Joint Business Luncheon meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. To Mr. Sinha's right is CII President, Ashok Soota. — Photo: Anu_Pushkarna.

Russian President, Vladimir V. Putin (right) looks at Foreign Minister, Yashwant Sinha, at a FICCI, CII Joint Business Luncheon meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday. To Mr. Sinha's right is CII President, Ashok Soota. — Photo: Anu_Pushkarna.  

NEW DELHI DEC. 4. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, today called for developing economic cooperation with India to meet the challenges of the future rather than be mired in its past trading relationship. He suggested creation of banking channels as a pre-requisite to increase levels of bilateral trade and investment even as he sought to convert Indian debt into joint venture projects.

Addressing a joint meeting of Indian trade and industry organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), he looked forward to a "serious breakthrough" in the area of economic cooperation between the two countries. He felt that the "positive elements" of the past economic ties could be utilised such as the accumulated debt lying in rupee funds in this country. He felt this could be transferred to joint venture projects moving on from the existing trade based on this debt.

The business meeting, which Mr. Putin reached 40 minutes late, was attended also by the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, who took on the onus for the late start by saying his discussions with Mr. Putin were delayed. At the same time, he said the prolonged talks were not only "important and very useful' but also augured `very well' for the bilateral relationship on all fronts especially on the economic side.

In his address, Mr. Putin urged that the two countries enter into close cooperation in science and technology as well as energy in order to strengthen their position in world markets. He recalled that India was collaborating with Russia in major oil projects such as Sakhalin I while Russian companies were involved in oil exploration in the Bay of Bengal.

Mr. Putin felt time was for trade relations to take off as the two countries have made the transition to market-oriented economies though trade was now only around $1.5 billion. He urged Indian businessmen to invest in Russia, as his country had put in place a large number of structural reforms ranging from accounting to stock markets, legislative and tax administration system, to create a conducive business environment. He said the Russian economy had registered a growth of 4 per cent at a time of world-wide recession which was a good indicator of future development. He noted that Russia was seeking to integrate with the global economic system as part of its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). He also assured legislative support to the business community and said Russia was enforcing international book keeping standards to provide protection to shareholders and investors rights.

Earlier, Mr. Sinha urged the domestic industry to invest in Russia saying that both countries have decided to take concrete steps to "revitalise, reinvigorate all the agencies responsible for promoting trade relations".

"Go to Russia with goodwill, products and money, you will not regret it," he told the gathering of corporate leaders as he stressed that those who had gone in the past had not regretted doing business in that country.

He stressed that both countries have now decided to completely transform their economic relations, which do not reflect the potential at all. But the government could only create a conducive environment, it was for industry to establish a business-to-business networking, he said.

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