India, Russia Aim For $30 Billion Annual Trade

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 16:27

India and Russia have discussed ways to boost their economic ties to achieve the target of $30 billion in bilateral trade in the next 10 years.   External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, chairing the 21st India-Russia Inter-Governmental Consultations, also looked at ways to enhance the mutual direct investment to $15 billion by 2025.   Both the sides identified various sectors to achieve these commercial targets, agreed upon by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their summit meeting last year.   Bilateral trade during in 2014 amounted to $9.51 billion, with Indian export touching $3.17 billion and imports from Russia $6.34 billion.   Agriculture, pharmaceutical and infrastructure were some of the areas identified by both sides to strengthen their economic engagement.   While economic agenda was one of the focus areas in the consultations today, the other areas deliberated upon were space, energy, culture and science and technology.   Officials said India also reiterated its commitment to work towards having 12 Russian nuclear plants as was agreed between Modi and Putin.   Russia is an important partner for India in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.   Earlier Swaraj interacted with top Russian Indologists.   The Indologists briefed her about their work including translations of Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as teaching of Indian languages.   In her remarks, Swaraj said hallmark of Indian literature and culture has been respect for all points of view.   "From translations of Ramayana and Mahabharata to Rabindra Sangeet and teaching of Indian languages, Russian Indologists briefed the External Affairs Minister on their work," Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup said.   Swaraj also said she was very happy to convey that there was progress on all components of "Druzhba-Dosti", the vision document agreed upon during the meeting between Modi and Putin last year.   Swarup said the two ministers talked about ways to boost cooperation in civil nuclear sector and trade and investments.   The two sides also discussed situation in Syria and UN Security Council reforms.   The talks with the Russian officials took place in the backdrop of warming up of ties between Pakistan and Russia. Ending its self-imposed embargo on arms sales to India's archrival, Moscow has agreed to sell four MI-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan.   Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin made light of the helicopter deal with Pakistan, telling PTI: "What is the big deal about our giving four helicopters to Pakistan? We are giving technology to India to make 200 helicopters. India will be a helicopter superpower."   He was referring to a Rs 6,000-crore deal between a Russian company and Anil Ambani's Reliance to manufacture 200 twin-engine Kamov 226T choppers for the Indian Army in India which is a boost to the "Make in India" programme.   Indian officials did not specifically confirm whether the Russia-Pakistan defence cooperation figured during Swaraj's talks with Rogozin or her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, however they said, "India has its ways to convey its concerns and Russia was well aware of these concerns."    On his part, Lavrov said he was hopeful that Swaraj's visit will provide impetus to India-Russia ties.   He also referred to India's entry into Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and said that its full membership will give boost to the efforts of the group in achieving its goals.   Russia has been favouring India's permanent SCO membership, saying joining of the group by the world's largest democracy will add weight to the organisation.

http://www.businessworld.in, 21.10.2015

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