Tuesday , July 23 2019

IRSED comes at an opportune moment as India embarks upon ensuring the fruits of development devolve to the grassroots, as evidenced by a forward-looking Union Budget: Dr Rajiv Kumar

New Delhi: The Second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was held today in New Delhi, under the chairmanship of Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog and Mr. Timur Maksimov, Deputy Minister of the Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

The Second meeting of the IRSED focussed on six core areas of cooperation, namely, Development of Transport Infrastructure and Technologies; Development of Agriculture and Agro-Processing sector; Small and Medium Business support; Digital Transformation and Frontier Technologies; Cooperation in Trade, Banking, Finance, and Industry; and Tourism & Connectivity.

“The IRSED comes at an opportune moment as India embarks upon ensuring the fruits of development devolve to the grassroots, as every citizen of the country becomes part of the growth & development process, as evidenced by a forward-looking Union Budget. Increased investment and international cooperation is key”, said Dr Rajiv Kumar at the Second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue.

“Results of today’s discussions will help enhance strategic economic cooperation between our countries. We must discuss and prepare specific proposals for joint action in the future and establish economic relations which reflect the potential of cooperation between the two countries”, said Mr Timur Maksimov.

The Dialogue included parallel roundtables which discussed areas of cooperation and concrete roadmaps for future negotiations across outlined core areas. Participants included government officials, business leaders and experts, bringing in diverse perspectives for ideation.

The roundtable on Digital transformation and Frontier Transformation focussed on areas of collaboration between India and Russia in the digital space and frontier technologies. Various platforms developed by Russia and how these can be leveraged by India, and vice versa, and potential for future collaborations were dicussed across various sectors such as payments platform, joint startup ecosystem, use of digital technology in various areas such as education, construction and skilling.

Development of Transport Infrastructure and Technologies roundtable discussed areas of cooperation across various modes of transport such as speed upgradation, safety and passenger comfort in railways, creation of twin ports between India and Russia, ship building and river navigation, research and development, and ensuring predictability of cost and movement schedules across transport corridors.

For increasing collaboration and cooperation between Small and Medium Businesses in India and Russia, the roundtable recommended setting up of nodal points of interaction between the two countries. Ensuring access to finance, seamless digital banking, access to E-markets and broad-based engagement across sectors were also discussed.

The roundtable on Agriculture and Agro-processing noted the dynamic nature of agriculture, livestock rearing and food processing in both countries and the immense opportunities of cooperation. Recommendations included closer communication between the respective agriculture ministries to streamline collaborative efforts. Reciprocity in terms of acceptance of certification, deployment of AI-backed frontline technologies and software were also under discussion.

The roundtable on Tourism and Connectivity highlighted the need to increase bilateral tourism and exploring natural avenues for economic and commercial partnerships. Expanding visitor itineraries for both countries, and creating more products for tourist interest such as yoga and medical tourism were also considered. Working towards improving regional connectivity and improving government and industry cooperation was also discussed.

The roundtable on Industrial Trade and Cooperation saw participation across industries in energy, finance and industries, which emphasised awareness exchange between the two countries in areas of investment opportunities. Exploring better Business-to-Business communication and collaboration, generating greater investment flows through public and private cooperation in an organised way were also discussed.

The IRSED was established following a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation during the 19th edition of the Annual India-Russia Bilateral Summit, which was held on October 5, 2018, in New Delhi.

The First India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in St. Petersburg between November 25-26, 2018, and was chaired by Mr. Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, and Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog.

Actionable framework shall be worked out and included in the joint statement to be released soon.

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