$14.5 BN DEAL INKED:Russia, India agree to boost joint military production, trade cooperatio

MU XUEQUAN

– Russia and India on Wednesday agreed to promote cooperation in a wide range of fields including joint production of military equipment as well as trade and investment, after the leaders and delegations of the two countries met on the sidelines of the fifth Eastern Economic Forum.

A number of documents were signed by the delegations in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who adopted a joint statement following their talks.

The two sides pledged to upgrade their defense cooperation, such as fostering joint development and production of military equipment and components, improving the after-sales service system and continuing regular joint military exercises, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, India signed a record-breaking contract with Russia ordering 14.5 billion U.S. dollars worth of weapons and other military equipment, chief of the Russian federal service for military-technical cooperation Dmitry Shugayev said later on Wednesday.

The Russian and Indian parties also signed a strategy for the enhancement of Russian-Indian trade, economic and investment cooperation.

The two sides agreed to remove barriers in mutual trade and reduce restrictive measures through dialogue. In particular, Putin told a press conference after the talks that the first round of negotiations on an agreement to create a free trade zone between India and the Eurasian Economic Union will be held soon.

In addition, the two sides signed documents covering expansion of cooperation in the oil and gas sector, road transport and infrastructure; the development of maritime communications between Russia’s Vladivostok and India’s Chennai; investment cooperation in coking coal mining, LNG supplies and combating customs violations.

They also agreed to continue the work to ease visa travel regimes and to increase interaction in the Russian Arctic and the Far East.

Apart from bilateral cooperation, Russia and India expressed their willingness to provide assistance in dealing with a number of international and regional issues, including fighting terrorism, facilitating dialogue on the Iranian nuclear deal, as well as promoting the peace process on Syria, Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula, according to the statement.

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