Take Indo-Russia trade ties to new high: PM tells businessmen

Take Indo-Russia trade ties to new high: PM tells businessmen

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling upon the industry capitals to strenghten the bond between two nations (AP)

"India and Russia are strategic partners and we have a broad-ranging relationship. However, our bilateral trade and investment cooperation have not kept pace with our close political ties. This is despite the fact that there are strong complementarities between our two trillion-dollar-plus economies," Singh said addressing Indo-Russia CEOs Council.

Assuring full support to the Council in this regard, he said there may be other areas for cooperation and that the industry captains should take the lead. During their summit-level talks On Monday, Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev set a trade target of USD 20 billion by 2015 from around USD seven billion in 2008.

India expects greater trade in specific areas like nuclear energy, IT, pharma and infrastructure with Russia, Singh, who is on a three-day official visit here, told the Council last night Rough diamonds is another area where India expects to convert adhoc contacts with Russian industry into long-term arrangements, he said.

"The energy sector illustrates the strong complementarities between us - Russia is a major producer of energy, and India is one of the fastest growing consumers...," he said.  India is a participant in the Sakhalin-I oil and gas fields in Russia and state-run ONGC Videsh Ltd recently acquired Imperial Energy that has assets there. "This needs to be carried forward," Singh said.

"The recent conclusion of negotiations on a broad-based inter-governmental agreement on civil nuclear energy will open fresh opportunities," he said underlining the areas for cooperation. India can be an ideal partner for Russia in the pharmaceuticals sector, which has been identified by Russia as a priority area. India has already emerged as the most reliable supplier of quality generic drugs to Russia. We should consolidate our cooperation in this sector, including through the establishment of joint ventures," Singh said.

He also said offshoring of jobs to India has helped European and American companies save costs and a collaboration in this sector could prove beneficial to Russia. "There are significant opportunities for Russian companies in India particularly in the area of infrastructure, construction and engineering services. We invite them to invest much more in India," he said.

India had estimated over USD 500 billion as the investment need in its infrastructure sector by the end of its 11th Five-Year Plan in 2012.  "There is natural complementarity between our two countries in the area of trade in rough diamonds - Russia as the largest producer and India as the centre for cutting and polishing. While there have been some adhoc contacts, our companies should consider developing long-term arrangements in this sector," Singh said.

He said there are several other areas which the Council can focus on. "Our two countries are going to be engines of global economic growth in the coming decades," he said, asking the Council to take the lead in ensuring much greater interaction at the business-level between India and Russia.

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