Moscow (Russia): India and Russia on Friday discussed ways to increase trade, remove barriers in business and possibilities of working together on projects in third countries during 23rd Inter Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation. The IGC was meeting was led by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov following a comprehensive discussion on all bilateral matters.
Following the meeting, the two sides expressed satisfaction over the present trade and investment situation. With the two-way investments crossing the $30 billion target, set for 2025, India and Russia have now proposed to enhance this figure to $50 billion by 2025.
"India and Russia enjoy a special and privileged strategic partnership. This partnership has strengthened over time and covers a vast agenda involving almost all sphere of human activity. India attaches the highest importance to its relations with Russia. The Deputy Prime Minister and I have conducted a comprehensive review of our relations. I am satisfied with the outcomes of our meeting. The Commission has met in the run up to the 19th India-Russia Annual Summit which is expected to be held in India early next month. Both sides are currently working to prepare for this summit," Swaraj said in a media statement after the talks.
Talking about trade, Swaraj said that in 2017, the annual trade between India and Russia reached $10.17 billion. "We discussed ways and means to increase this momentum, ensure balanced trade, and remove barriers to trade. Two-way investments have already crossed the $30 billion target, which we had set for 2025. We have, therefore, proposed that we enhance this figure to $50 billion by 2025. Energy is the traditional area of cooperation. Earlier this year the first shipment of LNG from Russia arrived in India, in a new breakthrough of our energy partnership," Swaraj said.
To boost trade ties, a first ever India-Russia Business Summit involving major companies from both sides will be held in India in early October.
Swaraj added that the two sides have identified new areas of cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, transport, space and Science and Technology, and discussed the possibilities of working together on projects in third countries as a new dimension of strategic partnership.
On the cultural side, Swaraj said there has been significant expansion in cultural and tourism exchanges. "A festival of India covering 22 cities over a six month period is currently underway in Russia. Tourism flows in both directions has shown impressive growth. We are working on further liberalising visa regulations on both sides. I welcome the initiative of the Russian Government to enable electronic visas for Indian nationals visiting the Russia Far East," she added.
Swaraj also met Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov. "Both leaders had a good exchange of views on bilateral and regional issues. FM Lavrov hosted a dinner in honour of EAM," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said on Twitter.