India, Russia Hold 20th Panel Meeting, Ahead of Air Exercise in Punjab

The 20th Inter-Governmental Commission Meeting was held on Wednesday by India and Russia in which the entire gamut of bilateral ties was discussed by the countries with the focus on cooperation in the fields of energy,defence and civil nuclear cooperation.

The meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Rogozin had also visited Delhi in June to touch base with the Narendra Modi government. The previous meeting of the Commission was held last October.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said that the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission is a precursor to the annual bilateral summit meeting, being held in early December between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Prime Minister Modi is expected to be called and participate in the plenary session of the Trade and Investment Forum, which will be attended by about 200 businessmen.

The Inter-Governmental Commission has various sub-groups related to trade and economic cooperation, energy, tourism, science and technology and information and communication technology.

The India-Russia meeting comes as both sides are to hold a 10-day-long 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 Nov 17-27.

According to the Russia and India Report, Rogozin and Sushma Swaraj are to lay the groundwork for the 15th annual India-Russian bilateral summit next month.

The two sides are expected to finalize 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.

India and Russia have two Inter-Governmental Commissions between them – one on trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation, co-chaired by Rogozin and Swaraj.

The other IRIGC is on Military Technical Cooperation and is co-chaired by the two defence ministers. The meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu and his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley is to focus on the fifth generation fighter aircraft and Russian joint production of weapons in India.

(With inputs from IANS)

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