Russian Deputy PM pushes for FTA with India, Jaishankar says payments issue to be worked out

"For the period between April 2022 to February 2023, bilateral trade was about $45 billion and is expected to grow," Jaishankar added
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. (Photo | PTI)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that discussions are on over the payments issue with Russia, referring to the trade in local currencies (rupee-rouble).

"There are discussions on the payments issue under the scheme of international trade settlement in Indian rupees through the special rupee vostro account system. And I think the payments issue clearly needs to be worked through between our systems. It is something we will be discussing," said Jaishankar at the India-Russia Business Dialogue which was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with FICCI and the Business Council for Cooperation with India (BCCI).

India and Russia have a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.

"For the period between April 2022 and February 2023, bilateral trade was about $45 billion and is expected to grow," Jaishankar added.

Russia has said that within the framework of the intergovernmental dialogue, they propose to consider the possibility of the wide use of national currencies.

Meanwhile, Russia also wants to take its partnership with India to another level by having a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"Together with the Eurasian Economic Commission, we are looking forward to intensifying negotiations on the FTA with India. Additionally, we are working on signing the Russia-India Bilateral Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments," said Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Denis Manturov, who is also the Minister of Trade and Industry.

To protect the principles of free trade, Russia has undertaken a set of measures which includes permitting import of original goods without consent of the rights’ owners from unfriendly countries – so-called parallel imports.

"Besides, we’ve launched the program of preferential loans and insurance of Russian importers towards procurement of priority products from foreign countries. Among the most demanded goods under this programme are components and equipment for road construction, products of chemical and pharmaceutical industries. I am sure that this will create opportunities for Indian companies to increase their supplies to Russia," Manturov added.

Russia has also invited Indian companies who are keen on joint projects to consider 'cluster investment platform'.

"This provides preferential credits for designing and manufacturing of priority products, subsidies for pilot batches of goods, insurance premium and income tax preferences. As far as certain components and technologies are concerned we will definitely rely on trusted foreign partners. We are working in this manner with our Indian friends for decades," Manturov added.

Russia is also hoping to increase the frequency of Aeroflot flights to India. In addition, an India-Russia agreement on mutual protection of investment is also being worked out that would gurantee the safety of investment for both nations.

Marupov also met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and discussed a wide range of issues under the India-Russia Strategic Partnership.

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