Russia, India Reassess Co-operation

Ahead of June 1 annual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two “friendly” nations have reviewed their co-operation in various sectors, like civil nuclear, trade and investments.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who arrived in New Delhi on May 10 for a one-day visit mainly to attend the meeting of India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, discussed different aspects of bilateral ties with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Speaking at a joint press conference in the Indian capital, Swaraj said: “We decided to take forward our co-operation in civil nuclear, trade and investments among other areas. In the presence of her Russian guest, she also said that strongest pillars of the Indian foreign policy were its relations with Russia. India is ready to make the 70th anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties memorable by organising various events, added Swaraj.
For his part, the Russian deputy PM said that India is not only an old partner of his country in South Asia, but also a good friend. He assured the Indian minister that Moscow would work closely with New Delhi in order to take forward many collaborative ideas.
In a joint statement, both the leaders claimed that India and Russia successfully implemented a number of agreements signed between the two countries during the BRICS Summit held in western Indian province of Goa in 2016. Swaraj informed the media that New Delhi and Moscow identified more than 100 items for joint production.
Meanwhile, Swaraj thanked Russia for simplifying visa norms for the Indian nationals. In April, Russia and Ukraine made it easier for Indian tourists and businessmen to visit the two countries.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced last month that Indian nationals could visit his country’s far-east region without visas. In Kremlin, the PM said that Moscow decided to scrap the traditional procedure of Russian visas receipt, which prohibited Indians to visit the place without proper official documents. According to Medvedev, the proposed move is aimed at boosting tourism and investment in the region.
The premier revealed that citizens of 17 other countries, too, could visit Russia’s far-east region without visas. It has also been mentioned on the official site of the Russian Cabinet that people from Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, India, Iran, Qatar, China, North Korea, Kuwait, Morocco, Mexico, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Tunisia, Turkey and Japan will enjoy the facility.
“I have recently approved the list of countries, whose nationals can take advantage of the preferential regime. We are pro actively forming the modern infrastructure and creating special regimes in the far-east; the law on visits to the Vladivostok free port was approved in March,” Medvedev told the press.
The Russian premier further stressed on the tourist attractiveness of the far-east, saying that the region could earn a huge amount of money from tourist traffic growth. “This is not because these states are situated at a closer or longer distance – we are appropriately introducing bilateral agreements on visa-free travel for those ready to use such an approach for us,” he explained.
Ukraine, too, announced that it would provide visa-on-arrival for Indian tourists in order to strengthen bilateral ties. A senior Ukrainian diplomat said that Kiev simplified the visa procedure for Indian nationals on March 1 and decided to grant visa-on-arrival for certain categories of Indian travellers. The diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous, stressed: “Considering India’s continuous economic grown, the government of Ukraine has enacted a new law granting the facility of visa-on-arrival for Indian businessmen and tourists for trips lasting up to 15 days.” However, he made clear that Indians would have to pay USD 65 for a visa on the basis of the new visa law. “The new tariff will be applicable irrespective of the number of entries,” he told the media.

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