India and Russia on Thursday proposed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Eurasian nations, an investment protection pact and an International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) to cement economic ties with the erstwhile ally.
Speaking at a International Engineering Sourcing Show, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she have had a detailed meeting with Russian counterpart Denis Manturov, who is in India with a high-level 120 member delegation.
“We agreed that there is enormous potential to enhance the bilateral trade which is presently US$ 6.62 billion. We discussed the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that would cut the time and cost for transportation of goods between both countries,” she said.
“We also deliberated upon other measures to enhance the trade ties, including the proposed FTA between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Both countries also noted the need to finalise a revised Bilateral Investment Treaty,” she said.
The commerce minister invited Russia to be the ‘Partner Country’ in India International Jewellery Show 2017 scheduled to be held in July 2017 in Mumbai and Advantage Healthcare India scheduled to be held in October 2017 in Delhi or Mumbai.
India is already talking to a host of countries and regions including the European Union and Britain for boosting trade and investment.
India is negotiating a broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (India-EU BTIA) with the European Union. The negotiation started in 2007 and sixteen rounds of negotiations have been held so far.
After the Brexit verdict, UK has started talks for a seperate trade and investment pact with India.
Soon after assuming office on January 20, President Donald Trump described India as a “true friend” of the US and invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit the country later this year. In a phone conversation, the two leaders discussed various issues including trade.