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Maiden Indo-Russian Strategic Economic Dialogue on Nov 25-26 to focus AI & industrial sectors

In 2017, bilateral trade increased more than 20% and at the annual summit Modi and Putin agreed to work towards increasing and diversifying it further.

Updated: Nov 22, 2018, 11.17 AM IST
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The two sides had signed a pact for partnership between India and Russian SMEs at the annual summit in Delhi on October 5.
NEW DELHI: The maiden Indo-Russian Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held in St Petersburg on November 25-26 to explore new areas of partnership including artificial intelligence (AI), transport and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that would further bolster strategic partnership.

NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar will lead the Indian side at the dialogue, which was scheduled after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin agreed that economic partnership between the two countries was not commensurate with the political relations. Russia’s economic development minister Maxim Oreshkin will lead the delegation of hosts at the dialogue.

India and Russia have identified five areas – transport; agriculture and agro-processing; SMEs; digital transformation and frontier technologies (AI and robotics); and industrial cooperation – that the dialogue will focus on in its maiden meet, said people aware of the matter. The two sides had signed a pact for partnership between India and Russian SMEs at the annual summit in Delhi on October 5.

The dialogue will also attempt to identify and expand areas of cooperation between Russian provinces and Indian states, said one of the persons, referring to attempts by Russia to invite investors and entrepreneurs to its resource-rich but sparsely populated Far East. Experts said Russia has been keen on a wider Indian presence in its Far East along with Japan and South Korea to balance China, which has made massive inroads into the region owing to geographical contiguity.

The dialogue will also take into account reforms introduced by Russia as well as India to boost economic growth across a range of areas from tax to macroeconomic policies and accordingly suggest ways to boost bilateral financial partnership, said the person cited earlier.

“Russia-India relations are developing extremely fast. An important role in the cooperation of the two countries is attributed to science and technology,” Anton Kobyakov, adviser to Putin, was recently quoted as saying. “Today, projects are being implemented in various areas: metallurgy, energy, defence industry, development of infrastructure facilities, digitalisation of the economy, pharmacology, and so on ... I am confident that the strategic dialogue will provide new opportunities for expanding and strengthening bilateral ties.”

Last year, India participated in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum for the first time as the guest country. At this year’s forum, the Indian delegation was among the larger ones. In 2017, bilateral trade increased more than 20% and at the annual summit Modi and Putin agreed to work towards increasing and diversifying it further.

While the Prime Minister’s Office is facilitating Russian investments under Invest India programme, Russia’s economic development ministry is set to launch a single window service to ease operation of Indian companies in Russia.
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