India is considering signing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the customs union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. According to sources from the external affairs ministry, India has had discussions with Russia on the possibility of an agreement.
The CEPA is expected to help achieve the goal of doubling bilateral trade between India and Russia from $10 billion at present over the next few years. “The CEPA between India and the customs union, which will become the Eurasian Union in 2015, is important as it will increase India’s penetration in the region. And will in turn increase India’s share in the global trade,” an official from the ministry said.
The issue related to CEPA was also on the agenda at the 20th Inter-Governmental Commission on trade, economic, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation meeting here on Wednesday, during which an entire gamut of bilateral ties were discussed, with a focus on cooperation in energy, defence and civil nuclear areas. The meeting was co-chaired by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin.
Ahead of the meeting with external affairs minister, official spokesperson of the ministry Syed Akbaruddin said that this meeting would be a precursor to the 15th annual India-Russian bilateral summit, being held here in early December, between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Indo-Russia meeting is taking place as both sides are to hold a 10-day air exercise in Punjab later this month. Exercise Avia-Indra between the Indian Air Force and the Russian Federation Air Force will take place at Halwara air base in Punjab from November 17 to 27.
Both the countries are expected to finalise the details of the joint “economic vision” package that will be unveiled when Putin visits India for the summit. They are expected to follow through on issues that were discussed earlier at the second session of the Russian-Indian Working Group on priority investment projects.