India wants more trade with Russia going beyond traditional sectors

It is important to diversify and expand the India-Russia trade basket, according to India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. The sides should cooperate in new areas that will add momentum to bilateral ties, he said.

Shringla, who was addressing a meeting hosted by the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said there is interest in taking forward cooperation in railways, transport and logistics, civilian shipbuilding and repair, inland waterways, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. He also mentioned minerals, steel, chemicals (including petrochemicals), ceramics, agro-industry, timber, high technology and scientific research. 

According to the diplomat, the oil and gas sector has been a flagship sector of commercial cooperation between the two nations. India is now looking at investment in new areas such as coking coal, timber and liquified natural gas (LNG), as there is huge potential there. 

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“We have already started a shipping line between Vladivostok and Chennai. We are looking at a significant trade route which was never there, a new route between our two countries,” Shringla said.

The foreign secretary pointed out that the India-Russia trade, amounting to $10.11 billion in the fiscal year 2019-2020, is far below its potential. “Last year there was a slump but we are finding ways of reviving it," he said. "Both countries have set the bilateral trade target at $30 billion by 2025.” 

Shringla said that India’s intention to join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) could help encourage bilateral trade and investment, and the use of national currencies in bilateral trade settlements will also reduce cost and time as well as the risk of held-up payments.

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