India-Russia High-Tech Cooperation Needs a Boost, Lavrov Says

In order to broaden bilateral trade relations, technological cooperation in knowledge-intensive areas of the economy should be developed by Russia and India, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Indian newspaper Economic Times in an interview.

“Today, such tasks as qualitatively improving the bilateral trade pattern and shifting its focus from commodities to high value-added products are taking priority. We need to move forward, build a portfolio of joint projects, forging new technological alliances in advanced, knowledge-intensive industries,” the foreign minister was quoted as saying.

He also said that the main obstacle to growing economic cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi were the differences in taxation rules.

“Yet, India’s asymmetrical tax treatment of foreign business as compared to the regime enjoyed by Indian entrepreneurs in Russia remains the sticking point. Consultations on the removal of trade barriers are underway to make our domestic markets more attractive for mutual investments,” he said, as quoted by the Economic Times.

Lavrov also said the two countries have been “working on developing economic and legal mechanisms to reduce the negative impact of restrictions on bilateral trade and investment ties”.

Russia and India have a long history of technological cooperation going back to the Soviet period, but both countries have expressed a will to extend cooperation utilizing the rapidly changing technology, Russian media say.

In early October, Indian Ambassador to Russia Bala Venkatesh Varma told Russian news outlets that both countries were currently considering taking part in joint solar energy projects.

“Currently, New Delhi and Moscow are vigorously working to prepare a new intergovernmental agreement on the mutual protection of investments, which will by far increase investor protection for both sides,” he noted.

The agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and India which is currently being negotiated should also contribute to this, Russia’s foreign minister said.

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