The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Russia moots JVs to wipe off debt pile

New Delhi, Dec. 4: Russia today said India’s rouble debt could be liquidated through investments by Russian firms in joint ventures with Indian partners here.

“Positive results can be achieved by investing part of Indian debt into joint ventures in India,” President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin said at a business meet jointly organised by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Indian officials negotiating with the Russians said this was a key demand advanced by Putin’s team and the Indian government was likely to give in on this. Earlier, the Indian government had stone-walled the Russians on this score which saw the latter backing out of projects like the revival of Iisco. If India agrees to the proposal this time around, sources said Russian Aluminium may well bid aggressively when Nalco is put up for disinvestment.

Putin, in his speech, underscored the need to make use of Russia’s technical and scientific potential and India’s successes in the fields of biotechnology, information technology and communication.

“I am convinced that close co-operation is the key to strengthening our positions in the global technology markets and the creation of joint ventures is our future,” he said.

The Russian President pointed that transition to a market-oriented economy had taken a toll on the trade turnover between the two countries, currently hovering around $ 1.5 billion.

He emphasised the importance of direct contact between the business communities of the two nations. “We need permanent channels for exchanging information about mutual opportunities, new projects and initiatives. We are ready to give all necessary assistance to such projects.”

He said the Russian economy has registered a 4 per cent growth at a time when the rest of the world was undergoing a period of recession.

Putin highlighted a few key steps that were being undertaken to stabilise the Russian economy.

“We are modernising not only tax but judicial, administrative and the pension system as well. The restructuring and improvement of activities of natural monopolies are under way. We are working to create the efficient system to promote SMEs and are considering active development as a key factor to form the present day business environment,” he said.

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