Protocol of the Fourteenth Session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (New Delhi, 5 December, 2008)

Authentic text

PROTOCOL
OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION OF THE INDO-RUSSIAN INTER-GOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION ON TRADE, ECONOMIC, SCIENTIFIC, TECHNOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL COOPERATION
(New Delhi, 5 December, 2008)

The Fourteenth Session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) (hereafter referred to as Commission) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation was held on 3 December 2008 in New-Delhi. The Indian Side was led by the Minister of External Affairs and the Chairman of the Indian side of the Commission, H.E. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. The Russian Side was led by the Deputy Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation and the Chairman of the Russian side of the Commission H.E. Mr. Alexander Zhukov.

The composition of the Indian and the Russian delegations (hereafter referred to as "the Sides") is at Annexure I.

The discussions were held in the spirit of traditional friendship and mutual understanding and the Sides decided the following:

The Sides expressed satisfaction on the steps that are being taken to increase bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation between India and Russia and their expectation is that the two countries would reach a level of interaction that would be commensurate with the existing potential.

The Sides shall implement proactively the decisions taken during highest level visits, including the visit of the Prime Minister of India H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh to Russia on 11-12 November 2007 and the visit of the President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. D.A. Medvedev to India on 4-6 December 2008.

The Sides noted successful holding of numerous events in the context of the Year of Russia in India including Russian national exhibition and the Russian side agreed to provide all the necessary assistance in organizing the Year of India in Russia in 2009. The Sides agreed to direct relevant organizations to take steps to implement agreements reached in this regard.

The Sides noted positive trends in the bilateral trade. In the first nine months of 2008, it grew by 55% to US$ 4.7 billion. The Sides stressed the importance of maintaining the dynamics to achieve the target of US$ 10 billion bilateral trade turnover by 2010.

The Sides noted progress in cooperation in the areas of power, nuclear energy, oil and gas, space, telecommunications, metallurgy, machinery and automobile industry, banking and financial services, construction of highways and pipelines, air transport service, science and technology, tourism and underlined that there is considerable scope for cooperation in sectors such as minerals development, railway and water transport, aircraft and shipbuilding, information technologies, biotechnology, nano-technology, construction, fertilizers and chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural and processed food products, ready made garments and textiles, gems and jewelry.

The Sides noted the holding of the first meeting of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on 6-7 November 2008 in New-Delhi coordinated by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation to monitor the implementation of the Joint Study Group (JSG) recommendations to promote the bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation between India and Russia. The Sides recommended that the organizations concerned should implement the JTF decisions.

The Sides noted with satisfaction the establishment of Indian-Russian Chief Executive Officers Forum and expressed their expectation that it would become an effective instrument of cooperation between business circles of both countries and would promote faster growth of the bilateral trade and investment.

The Sides recommended that the organizations concerned of both countries should hasten the consideration of bilateral documents which regulate mutual recognition of certificates issued by certification agencies.

The Russian side noted that successful cooperation in the realization of industrial projects in India with participation of Russian companies may make a substantial contribution to increase bilateral trade turnover up to US$ 10 billion by 2010.

The Russian side pointed out that the Russian company V/O "Tyazhpromexport" emerged as the lowest bidder twice in the tender for modernization of blast furnace at Bhilai Steel Plant (SAIL) and requested the Indian side to facilitate further negotiations to pursue the matter. The Indian side informed that the initial tender was cancelled by SAIL because the price quoted by TPE was much higher than SAIL's estimated cost of the project. The second bid is under consideration of SAIL.

The Russian side mentioned the cancellation of tender for construction of a seamless tube mill at RINL/VSP, where the Russian company JSC "The Electrostal Heavy Engineering Works" (EZTM) had bid. The Indian side clarified that the project for which EZTM had bid was dropped after due consideration by RINL on account of concerns regarding economic viability.

The two Sides agree on facilitating transparent and fair conditions for participation of their companies in tenders in each other's country.

Taking note of the adjudication between JSC TPE & NTPC with regard to their contract for "Barh" STPP, the Sides urged TPE and NTPC to hold negotiations for the purpose of formulating and concluding further arrangements as early as possible to resolve their issue.

The Russian side expressed concern over the beginning of anti-dumping investigations in India on import of Hot Rolled Plates Steel Products originating in or exported from Russia.

The Indian side expressed concern over the imposition of restrictions on the export of plant products from India to Russia by Russia and pointed out that it is acting as a major deterrent to the growth of bilateral trade. The Indian side suggested to the Russian side that appropriate consultation measures need to be evolved to address any concerns before undertaking such steps. The Russian side agreed to consider the possibility of removing pending restrictions on import of plant products from India taking into account the significance of a Protocol on sanitary & phyto-sanitary measures signed between the two sides in May 2008, and also Memorandum on phyto-sanitary regulation of mutual supplies of plant products, which is under consideration of the sides.

The Sides noted with satisfaction the considerable interest of the business circles of both countries in the Second Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investments which was held in New Delhi on February 2008. The Sides called upon the relevant organizations of both countries, especially the representatives of the regions of India and Russia, to take part in the Third Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment which is to be held in Moscow in September 2009.

The Sides agreed that the further development of cooperation between the regions of two countries would contribute to further expansion of bilateral cooperation in diverse spheres.

The Sides noted that the signing of the General Letter of Exchange for utilizing rupee debt funds on November 12, 2007 gives additional opportunities for investment in new projects in India. The Sides noted the beginning of realization of the first commercial project utilizing debt funds "Titanium Minerals Private Limited" in Orissa.

The Commission noted that effective realization in time of the pilot project of construction of titanium products plant in the state of Orissa with debt Rupees fund financing is of great importance for the further development of bilateral investment cooperation in general and hoped for satisfactory realization of the project based on the mutual arrangements.

The Sides recommended that the interested organizations should establish informational exchange on investment possibilities of special economic zones in India and Russia.

The Russian side informed about the progress made by IFK Sistema in participation in the telecommunication sector of India with considerable Russian investments.

The Sides called upon the banking and financial institutions of the two countries to increase their activities and presence on the territories of India and Russia for enhancing bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The Sides welcomed opening of the branch of the JSC VTB, the state-owned Russian bank, at New-Delhi.

The Sides noted the considerable potential in cooperation in the field of nuclear energy in India and highly appreciated the signing the Agreement on cooperation in the construction of additional nuclear power plant units at "Kudankulam" as well as in the construction of Russian designed nuclear power plants at new sites in India.

The Sides agreed to continue the discussion on the possibility of Russian companies' participation in realization of projects in Indian fuel and energy complex and of Indian companies' development of Eastern Siberia's and other Russia's regions fuel and energy resources.

The Sides noted the interest of Indian and Russian companies in expanding cooperation in coal sector and agreed to support perspective projects in this field.

The Sides recommended that the interested organizations should examine the abilities of widening cooperation between Indian and Russian companies in the energy machinery and ore mining equipment sectors.

The Sides agreed to encourage cooperation in the sphere of tourism, and in the development of tourism infrastructure.

The Sides agreed to promote cooperation of electronic and printing business media of Russia and India to ensure regular exchange of materials on economies of the two countries.

Both Sides expressed satisfaction at the activities undertaken within the framework of the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP). They noted that over 100 projects in 17 thematic areas are currently underway under ILTP and eight Indo-Russian research centers have been operating successfully in the fields of powder metallurgy, vaccines, computer researches, biotechnologies, seismology, gas-hydrates, ayurveda, and biomedical technologies. Both Sides agreed to speed up work for early setting up of the Indo-Russian Centre on Technology Transfer in Moscow and the Indo-Russian Centre for Non-ferrous Extractive Metallurgy and Indo-Russian Centre for Accelerator and Laser in India.

The Sides noted active contacts in the sphere of science, education and culture in the context of Year of Russia in India and recommended that interested organizations should continue its efforts in further consolidation of bilateral cooperation in this field.

The Protocols of the meetings of the five Working Groups under the Commission are at Annexure II.

The Commission directed the Working Group on Communications and Information Technology to hold the meeting of the Group at earliest.

The Commission directed the Working Groups to implement the Protocols.

The Fifteenth Session of the Commission shall take place in Moscow in 2009. The dates and agenda of the Session would be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

This Protocol was signed in New Delhi on 5 December 2008 in Russian and English languages.

For the Russian Side

For the Indian Side

(A.D. Zhukov)

(Pranab Mukherjee)

Deputy Chairman of the

Minister of External

Government of the Russian Federation,

Affairs India,

Chairman of the Russian side of the

Chairman of the Indian side

Commission

of the Commission