Russia raises Sistema' investments; civil nuke coop discussed

He said the two sides have agreed to redouble efforts to achieve the 20 billion US Dollar trade target by 2015.

Updated: Jul 17, 2012, 17:36 PM IST

New Delhi: Russia on Tuesday raised concern over Sistema' investments in telecom sector with India, which said there is a judicial process on in the matter even as both countries discussed ways to enhance ties in key areas of civil nuclear cooperation, trade and space technology among others.

After comprehensive talks on strategic bilateral issues, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who jointly co-chaired the Indo- Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) for Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation, talked about the "issues" confronting their business ties.

"We sought definite solutions to certain outstanding problems confronting our business communities and explored ways to enhance our trade turnover," Krishna said at a joint press interaction with Rogozin here.

Referring to "some issues" which needs to be addressed, Rogozin said, "We must do everything possible to address these problems as soon as possible for mutual benefit" but did not get into the specifics of it.

According to official sources, Russian side raised their concerns over the USD three billion Sistema' investments in the telecom sector to which the host side responded saying that there was an ongoing judicial process which was looking into the matter.

Telecom licences of Sistema Shyam Teleservices (Sistema's JV in India with Shyam Group) were among the 122 cancelled by the Supreme Court in February this year.

Rogozin said Vladimir P Yevtushenkov, Chairman of Board of Directors of JSFC Sistema's presence in his delegation was evidence of the "interest" his country has in the issue. "We feel that in this sensitive area, we must find....Proper treatment to Russian economic entities participating in the local markets similar to other actors," he said.

The two sides also discussed the status of the third and fourth nuclear reactors for which the "techno-commercial" agreements were underway. "After the first two units (1000 mw each) of the project in Kudankulam, techo-commercial negotiations are underway for the third and fourth units, which are expected to be inked shortly," the sources said.

The two sides also talked about other areas of cooperation such as military and defence, trade and space technology. However, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister said his meeting with Krishna was just a beginning and he will have discussions in these areas with Defence Minister A K Antony and Commerce and Trade minister Anand Sharma also.

"Today's was an inter-session meeting of the two Co- chairs of the bilateral Commission, where we focused on the economic aspects of our relationship. We also discussed cooperation in some strategic sectors. We exchanged constructive views on various aspects of India-Russia trade and investment cooperation," Krishna said.

He said the two sides have agreed to redouble efforts to achieve the 20 billion US Dollar trade target by 2015.

Noting that Russia was the leading force behind the increasingly integrating Eurasian economic space, Krishna said "to forge greater contacts, we have agreed to jointly study a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with the Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russia Customs Union."

The two sides also outlined the milestones to be reached prior to the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin here for the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit later this year.

"In that context, we reviewed the progress being made by the various Working Groups in the economic areas reporting to the IGC under its elaborate institutional mechanism," he said.

Rogozin also talked about expanding and promoting the cooperation in business to business area and easier visa regime for this purpose.

Giving the details of their expertise in the space technology and military and defence fields, the visiting dignitary said Russia wants to move from basic trade to joint development projects in these areas. He also expressed interest in joint ventures for production of cargo and passenger aircraft.