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Anand Sharma to hold talks with Putin in St. Petersburg Friday

New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Commerce Minister Anand Sharma is scheduled to call on Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his two-day visit to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) meeting June 18-19, officials said Wednesday.

The forum gathers the world’s leading decision makers from government, business and civil society every year to identify and deliberate on key challenges facing emerging markets and find common purpose and frameworks to forge solutions.

Accompanying Sharma during the visit will be a high-level business delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the event’s promotion partner.

An important side-event at the forum, to be inaugurated by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, is the first India-Russia Business Dialogue, signalling the growing economic engagement between the two countries.

Sharma will be addressing the plenary session of the forum along with Medvedev.

‘For over 10 years now this international event has attracted delegates from countries all over the world,’ said Medvedev, ahead of the meeting.

‘The presence of the most eminent politicians, entrepreneurs and experts is not only an indicator of the growing interest in the Forum, but a clear signal of readiness for mutual cooperation.’

The economic event is held annually with support of the Russian President’s Office, said the organisers, adding that more than 2,300 delegates from across the globe will participate in what will be the 10th edition.

The bilateral trade between India and Russia in 2009 stood at $7.4 billion, registering a growth of 8 percent over the previous year. A target has been set at $20 billion by 2015.

During his visit, Sharma is also scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Sobyanin, Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina and Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Khristenko.

The Indian minister’s visit to Russia follows a highly successful visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to India in March this year.

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