Easy Indo-Russia visa from December 1

Moscow: The much-awaited Indo-Russia easy visa agreement to ensure greater business and people-to-people exchanges will come into force from December 1.

On its entry, the deal inked in December last year during President Dmitry Medvedev`s Delhi visit will put behind the bitter chapter in ties, when India was blacklisted as the "illegal immigration risk" and Russia had insisted on a `readmission pact` binding India to take back its illegal immigrants trying to sneak into EU via its soil.

"An agreement on facilitation of Russia-India visa regime will come into force on December 1, after that tourists will be issued a six-month visa and the procedure for businessmen will be simplified," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich here announced.

He said after the completion of ratification procedures by both houses of Parliament and signing of the "Inter- Governmental Agreement on simplification of requirements for mutual travels of certain categories of citizens" into law by Medvedev, the Indian Embassy had been notified on November 1 about its entry into force 30 days later on December 1.

"In line with Article 13 paragraph 1 of the Agreement, it is coming into effect 30 days after the note has been received by the embassy of India, thus it will be on December 1", Lukashevich said in his regular weekly briefing.

Signed in Delhi on December 21, 2010, the pact provides for simplified visa process for official delegations, businessmen, members of the chambers of industry and commerce, persons involved in scientific, cultural and creative professions, sister-city exchanges, school children, other students, their group leaders, research scholars and tourists.

India has already started the implementation of the accord from June 12 after the ratification of the treaty by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).