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SOURCE: IANS

The first consultations between Russia and India on the launch of a visa-free group tourist exchange are scheduled for June, and a bilateral agreement is to be signed by the year-end, Nikita Kondratyev, Director of the Russian Economic Development Ministry’s Department of Multilateral Economic Cooperation and Special Projects, told Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik.

“The process with group visa-free trips has moved a little. The Indian side returned with the answer that they are at the final stage of internal state coordination and asked us again for the latest draft of the document and promised to return in the very near future. I think we will hold the first consultations with them in June to discuss a draft agreement,” Kondratyev said on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum ‘Russia–Islamic World: Kazan Forum 2024’ in the city of Kazan.

“We plan to sign by the end of the year,” he mentioned.

The ministry had said earlier that it expects to launch visa-free tourist exchanges with India in 2024, following the example of agreements signed with China and Iran.

Russia and China launched a visa-free group tourist exchange on August 1, 2023, as part of an intergovernmental agreement. In addition, from August 1, a visa-free group tourist exchange between Russia and Iran was also launched.