VLADIVOSTOK, September 4. /TASS/. The first round of talks on the free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) will take place in the near future, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am convinced that additional opportunities for the diversification of commodity flows will open up with the creation of a free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union. This is our common goal and the first round of negotiations on drafting an agreement will be held in the near future," he said.
According to Putin, at the talks, priority attention was paid to trade and investment cooperation.
"Last year, bilateral trade added almost 17% and amounted to $11 bln. We believe that there are all conditions for its further growth," the Russian leader said.
He also drew attention to the strategy of interaction between Russian and Indian special department that was signed on September 4 in Vladivostok. This document is aimed at enhancing economic cooperation and involves the removal of barriers in the investment sector, the promotion of large mutually beneficial joint projects in priority areas, and building up scientific, technological and innovative cooperation.
Putin stressed importance of using national currencies in mutual settlements.
"India’s joining the Bank of Russia’s financial messaging system will contribute to ensuring smooth interbank transactions," Putin said.
During the talks Putin and Modi paid special attention to energy cooperation.
According to Putin, at the end of 2018, Russia shipped India 2.3 mln tonnes of oil, nearly 550,000 tonnes of oil products, 4.5 mln tonnes of coal. At the same time, the head of state noted that a significant part of hydrocarbon exports to India comes from the Far East. He recalled that partners from India own 20% in the Sakhalin-1 project, and Indian energy companies were invited to participate in other promising projects, such as Far Eastern LNG, Arctic LNG-2.
Privileged nature of relations
Putin called the relations between India and Russia strategic and privileged adding that these relations are gradually developing on a friendly and mutually beneficial basis. He noted that he maintains not only working but also friendly contacts with Modi. According to the Russian leader, their meetings have become a good tradition.
"More recently, we saw each other on the sidelines of a meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in Bishkek and the G20 Summit in Osaka. At the same time, our negotiations always take place in a friendly, frank atmosphere, being always informative and constructive. This was the case this time," Putin said summing up the negotiations.
Putin said that during the talks he and Modi exchanged views on aspects of bilateral cooperation, discussed the implementation of the decisions of last year’s summit in New Delhi, and outlined specific tasks for the future, which were reflected in the joint statement.
"The interdepartmental documents and corporate agreements that have just been signed cover a wide variety of areas [of cooperation] and, of course, will further expand the multifaceted Russian-Indian relations," the Russian president said.