The Russian Federation which represents the major portion of the former USSR continues to be India’s most important economic partner in the region.
The bilateral framework Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation with Russian Federation, signed on 22nd May, 1992, provides that all transactions between the two countries would be undertaken in hard currency, unless otherwise specified by Intergovernmental Agreements.
The only exception with Russia is that trade is also carried on through debt repayment route and escrow accounts. The bulk of our export to Russian Federation is moving through these routes.
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During the year 1998-99, the following meetings have been held to discuss various matters regarding bilateral cooperation:-
(a) The Fifth session of the Indo-Russian Joint Commission for which, the Ministry of External Affairs is the nodal agency, was held in Moscow in November 1998.
(b) The Fifth meeting of the Working Group on TEC under the banner of Indo-Russian Joint Commission was held in November 1998, in Moscow.
(c) Under the aegis of the Indo-Russian IGC, the Third meeting of the Indo-Russian Working Group on pharmaceuticals was held at Moscow in November 1998.
(d) Under the aegis of the Indo-Russian Working Group on Financial Matters a meeting was held at New Delhi in November 1998, to sort out the various issues concerning finance and banking in the Indo- Russian bilateral trade.
(e) Under the aegis of the Indo-Russian Working Group on TEC, the Fifth Meeting of the Sub-group on Transport was held in Moscow in November 1998.
During the Fifth Session of the Indo-Russian Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation held in Moscow on 24 and 25th November 1998, both the sides had taken a frank and constructive approach to resolve the various issues, i.e. consignment sale, pending claims, opening of banks and broad basing the trade basket.
In this connection, the addendum to the arrangements between Vneshecono bank and RBI, providing for consignment of exports under debt repayment route has been signed.
The Joint Document on promotion of Trade, Economic, Industrial, Financial and S and T cooperation between Russia and India was also finalised. It was also agreed by both sides to take concrete steps is making long-term arrangements for expansion of trade.