Indian firms are to form their own IT cluster at the Skolkovo Innovation Center. An agreement to that end was signed Thursday in New Delhi between the Skolkovo Foundation and Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) of India.

ESC director DK Sareen, center, and Skolkovo vice president Igor Bogachev, to his left. Photo:

The agreement, reached on the sidelines of the IndiaSoft industry conference in which 15 Skolkovo startups are participating, foresees a number of measures to boost the investments of Indian IT firms in Russia, the IT cluster chief among them.

“Being the key innovative hub in Russia, Skolkovo welcomes Indian hi-tech companies to use Skolkovo as an entry point to the Russian market,” said Igor Bogachev, Skolkovo vice president and executive director of the IT cluster. “For making entry smoother we have launched a specific Soft Landing initiative.”

That was a reference to a special program run by Skolkovo aimed at taking the hassle out of doing business in Russia, carrying a wealth of benefits including eased visa regulations, customs supports and special tax rates.

The agreement is part of a deal overseen by President Vladimir Putin in December, when Skolkovo president Victor Vekselberg and ESC executive director DK Sareen shook hands on a broad cooperation accord between the two countries.

 “We are highly impressed by the booming Indian IT industry and, of course, the Russian hi-tech companies are looking for the opportunities to take part in the implementation of the aspirational Digital India initiative,” said Bogachev.  

“I am sure that increasing business contacts between the Indian and Russian IT companies will result in mutually beneficial enterprises and highly innovative solutions.”

No timeframe or value was put on the agreement to house offices of Indian IT companies at the Skolkovo Innovation Center, a 400-hectare site to the west of Moscow.

DK Sareen, for his part, noted “the scope for enhancing cooperation in the IT sector” between the two countries, which have seen renewed interest in cooperation.

“The excellent [Skolkovo] ecosystem along with the expertise both the countries have in IT can be used for developing newer products and solutions, not only for the needs of both countries but also for third-country requirements,” Sareen said.

Representatives from top Russian IT companies including the likes of Anton Voronov, VP of Innovations at ABBYY Language Services, Alexander Dorzhiev, co-founder at AlterGeo and C3D Labs CEO Oleg Zykov, who have long been doing business in India, also expressed their desire to increase investments in the country to proactively help accelerate the Digital India drive, a pet project of the Indian prime minister.

IndiaSoft is an annual international conference featuring progressive IT companies and venture capital investors, held by ESC. More than 160 companies from 70 countries are involved in the February 12-14 event this year.

Among Skolkovo’s participants at IndiaSoft are: 3d-tek, a videowall developer; inventory managers GoodsForecast; cloud video surveillance platform Ivideon; CAD component developer SZD LabsABBYY Language Services; real-time positioning systems developer AlterGeo; banking graphical user interface developer CashOff; unified communication and videoconferencing company Freeng; software developer Kintech Lab; robotics firm Navirobot; data transmission specialists OTS; structural monitoring innovators SODIS Lab; video infrastructure and business intelligence companySynesis; cloud communication developers Zingaya; and mobile data traffic specialists Telum, developer of the Ranberry 4G/LTE cell.