President of Russia Vladimir Putin has called upon Indian businessmen to make investments in the Russian economy.
While speaking at a meeting with Indian entrepreneurs on Wednesday, the president of Russia stressed that many foreign partners "have already assessed the gains of investment cooperation with Russia". He expressed hope that representatives of Indian big business, too, "will manage to find interesting and promising projects for investing their capitals." As Putin said, the reduction of the tax load on business is a major factor for stable economic growth in Russia. He also noted that quite a number of resolute measures in this field have been taken of late. "Not only the tax system but also the judicial, administrative and pension systems are being modernised in the country, and the restructuring of the natural monopolies is under way," the head of the Russian state emphasised.
The Russian leadership's policy line of "consistent integration into the world economic system" is undeviating, Putin said. He also stressed that Russia "has been seriously preparing to enter the WTO, naturally, on terms acceptable for the interests of the national economy." In the Russian leader's opinion, "the flexible policy aimed at drawing investments" is also of great importance for increasing the economic growth rates. Measures to maintain macroeconomic stability and to preserve stability and predictability of the exchange rate of the national currency" are being carried out for this purpose, he said.
Putin said that the value of the gold and currency reserves of Russia as of the end of November 2002 ran into 47.7 billion dollars. Their monthly increment amounts to approximately one billion. According to him, "in the context of the stable decline of the inflation indicator the real incomes of the population keep growing". By preliminary estimates, this year the growth exceeds 6 percent.
The president noted that the Russian leadership attached particular attention to the introduction of international standards, accounting, and protection of the rights of shareholders and investors.
Putin stressed that the positive tendencies in the Russian economy "are of a stable nature". As he said, a "sufficiently high industrial growth rate" which, by the preliminary estimates, made up 4 percent over the first three quarters of 2002, has been registered for a fourth year in succession. Putin also stated that it is much higher in some sectors. For instance, the increment of industrial output in the power industry exceeds 8 percent, and is in excess of 7 percent in the food and manufacturing industries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart