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India ready to invest in Russian pharmaceutical plants - minister

India is ready to invest in pharmaceutical plants in Russia, the Indian minister of commerce and industry said on Wednesday.

In 2009, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and co-chairman of the Russian-Indian commission on trade, scientific and cultural cooperation Sergei Sobyanin called on Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers to invest in the construction of plants in Russia.

India is a leading manufacturer of generics, cheap analogues of brand medicines that are produced after the patent protection period of the originals has expired.

"We are ready [to invest], including in the form of joint ventures. Russia is in the process of preparing a list of medicines it needs, and we are waiting for this list," Anand Sharma said on the eve of his visit to the St. Petersburg economic forum.

Sharma said the Russian and Indian governments were close to signing a joint protocol on the production of pharmaceuticals that contains, in particular, the safety standards of medicines.

The minister also said India was highly interested in Russian natural sources, as well as metals and fertilizers. Russia nano- and biotechnology are also of particular interest for India.

"We are interested in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and research that will make health care more affordable," Sharma said.

India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is currently taking part in Sakhalin-I, an oil and gas project off the coast of Russia's Pacific island of the same name. It is also the owner, via the subsidiary ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), of the British oil company Imperial Energy, with production licenses for fields in west Siberia's Tomsk Region.

Sharma said that since energy was one of the priority issues in Russian-Indian cooperation, India "is ready for further investment in Sakhalin-I as well as Sakhalin-III"

Sharma said an Russian-Indian partnership could be prosperous in oil extraction in third countries, particularly in Central Asia where "Russia has a significant influence"

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which runs Thursday through Saturday, is being held under the slogan "Laying the foundation for the future." The discussion will focus on the problems faced by emerging economies.


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