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PM Modi's visit to Moscow expected to yield 'tangible outcomes' in many areas: Indian envoy to Russia

This will be Modi's first visit to Russia in nearly five years. His last visit to Russia was in 2019 when he attended an economic conclave in the Far East city of Vladivostok.
Last Updated : 08 July 2024, 07:27 IST

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Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia and his talks with President Vladimir Putin will focus on bilateral trade and economic ties and in some new areas of scientific and technological research, the Indian Ambassador to Russia has said, expressing confidence that the talks will yield "tangible outcomes" in many areas.

Prime Minister Modi will be in Moscow from July 8 to 9 at the invitation of President Putin for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit. It will be Modi's first visit to Russia since Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The two leaders will review the entire range of multifaceted relations between the two countries and exchange views on contemporary regional and global issues of mutual interest, the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi on Thursday while announcing the high-level visit starting on Monday.

Speaking to PTI Videos on Modi's visit, Indian Ambassador to Russia Vinay Kumar said that extensive dialogue on trade, economic and investment cooperation and connectivity will be a key focus of discussions during Modi's visit.

"This is a part of annual summits that the two countries have and hence the agenda would be an entire range of issues in our bilateral relationship," Kumar said.

Asked about likely decisions in the areas of energy and defence, Kumar said "We have a set of documents that we are working on. Some of those agreements relate to trade and economic ties and also in some new areas of connectivity, and scientific and technological research. So I expect that we would have tangible outcomes in many of these areas."

Kumar agreed that trade imbalance remained a major area that needed to be addressed, and the matter is likely to be discussed during the prime minister's visit. An uptick in bilateral trade "has created a situation of significant deficit for India," he said while expressing hope that some decisions are likely to address the issue.

"So we will be discussing these issues and also work on expanding the trade basket, commodity-wise as well as volume-wise. Some new areas of exports include agricultural and processed food products, automobile components, engineering goods, and pharmaceuticals," he said.

This will be Modi's first visit to Russia in nearly five years. His last visit to Russia was in 2019 when he attended an economic conclave in the Far East city of Vladivostok. The annual summit between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Russia is the highest institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

So far, 21 annual summits have taken place alternately in India and Russia.

The last summit was held on December 6, 2021, in New Delhi. President Vladimir Putin had visited India to attend the summit.

India's import of discounted Russian crude oil has also gone up significantly notwithstanding the G7 price cap and increasing disquiet over the procurement in many Western capitals.

As per figures of the Department of Commerce, in FY 2023-24, bilateral trade has reached an all-time high of USD 65.70 billion, according to the Indian Embassy, Russia.

Major items of export from India include pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, electrical machinery and mechanical appliances, iron & steel, while major items of import from Russia include oil and petroleum products, fertilizers, mineral resources, precious stones and metals, vegetable oils, etc.

Stepakhno Genaddy, Deputy Speaker of Russia's Murmansk Region (Arctic) said India can be a major player in tapping the economic potential of the resource-rich Arctic region.

He highlighted the importance of India-Russia friendship, emphasising India's focus on building up projects in the Russian Arctic.

"The Russian Arctic is very important for many countries. For us also it is very important. It is interesting for us that India and China can be good partners for the Arctic. But India is slightly slow in this because China is building many things in the Arctic, India is slow so India should focus on this because we have a lot of oil and gas in the Arctic zone. Eighty per cent of oil and gas is in our region because it will be interesting," Genaddy told PTI.

In an attempt to enhance bilateral trade relations and cultural exchanges between India and Russia, Genaddy said, "We are already working on the project going to begin from Murmansk, Northern seaport to Mumbai which is already announced. Now we have sent one train with coal from Murmansk to India. I want India to take the Arctic as a serious project."

An Indian industrialist in Russia urges the early opening of the Chabahar route for trade with Russia.

R Chakrapani, an industrialist involved in the petrochemical business, has urged swift operationalisation of the Chabahar route for benefits to trade between India, Iran, and Russia.

He expressed hopes for some special concessions to incentivize stakeholders to use the North-South Transport Corridor.

"As industrialists in Russia, we expect the Chabahar route to start very fast and we give some special concessions for those engaged in this corridor, including specific export benefits in India and Russia," he said.

The Chabahar port in Iran, developed by India, is expected to facilitate trade with Russia and other Central Asian countries.

Meanwhile, students in Russia hope Modi's visit will result in stronger ties with Moscow.

Students of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration hope the bilateral talks between India and Russia will strengthen ties between the two nations.

"It is a big day for us. We hope that the relationship between India and Russia will be much stronger. We have a long history between our countries and a successful relationship. In the news we will see some updates about our relationship, about new steps," a Russian student said.

Terming PM Modi's visit to Russia a sign of a "new era of friendship between Russia and India", a Russian student said, "We are all waiting for this visit. All the students are fascinated by this opportunity to establish good relations for future business, development between two countries and development of business interaction. I hope this will become a new era of friendship between Russia and India."

"I think Prime Minister Modi's visit is unique. Right now we need this visit very much because if you look at the trade pot, we have just seen it is more than USD 65 million, it has gone up so much. So it is going to give us new results, more cooperation in the field of business, education and other areas which is coming up and I am just looking forward to it," Dr Mitali Mitra, Director for the Pan Asian MBA programme.

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Published 08 July 2024, 07:27 IST

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