India for free trade agreement with Eurasia

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 13:50 hrs

Kolkata, Feb 14 (IANS) With an aim to rapidly increase trade with Eurasia, negotiations have started between India and Eurasian countries for a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), an official said Thursday.

Russia and the central asian countries comprise the Eurasian region.

"The negotiations have just begun on the CECA. It's roughly the same like foreign trade agreement and when concluded our trade with Eurasia will increase rapidly," Ajay Bisaria, joint secretary (in charge of Eurasia), ministry of external affairs, told reporters here.

He was addressing a seminar on business partnership between India and Eurasia.

According to him, 90 percent of the rail link of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is almost commissioned with only some "missing links" along the corridor remain to be connected.

The INSTC is a multimodal network connecting India to central asia through Iran. It is expected to reduce cargo transit time between some points by as much as one month.

"Once the INSTC is operational, the transportation of containers would be 30 per cent faster," he said.

"The vital logistic link between India and Eurasian economies such as Russia and Central Asian countries including, Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan is expected to be operational by 2016," said Bisaria.

This agreement is aimed at facilitating the trade between India and the Eurasian countries with the completion of INSTC project, he added.

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