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India, Russia to bump up bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030

Modi and Putin also agreed to strengthen industrial cooperation, forge new technological and investment partnerships, especially in advanced high-technology areas

India, Russia to bump up bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030
[Source photo: PIB]

India and Russia on Tuesday agreed to bump up bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030 during the 22nd annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Though both nations had set a trade target of $30 billion by 2025 during their last annual summit held in New Delhi in 2021, consistent Indian crude oil imports from Russia at a discounted rate propelled bilateral trade to $65.70 billion last year.

During their talks, Modi and Putin agreed to pursue mutually beneficial bilateral relations that span political and strategic, military and security, trade and investment, energy, science and technology, nuclear and space, cultural, education, and humanitarian cooperation.

Both leaders also agreed to strengthen industrial cooperation, forge new technological and investment partnerships, especially in advanced high-technology areas, and find new avenues and forms of cooperation.

While jointly addressing the media in Moscow, Modi said, “When the world was facing the challenge of fuels, your (Russian) support helped us fulfil the petrol and diesel requirements of people in India. Not just this, the world should accept that India-Russia agreement regarding fuel played a big role in bringing stability to the international market.”

During the summit, Modi also raised Russia’s missile strike on a children’s hospital in Ukraine this week, while beckoning Putin to pursue the path of dialogue and diplomacy. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had criticized the meeting between Modi an Putin a few hours earlier, calling it a “huge disappointment” and “a devastating blow to peace efforts”. The US had called on Modi to “emphasize on Ukraine’s territorial integrity” during his visit.

Meanwhile, Russia has promised to release Indians fighting for its army in Ukraine, according to top Indian foreign ministry officials. Modi raised with Putin the issue of Indians being recruited into the Russian army and being sent to the war in Ukraine.

“There was a sense of a promise from the Russian side on that,” foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said during a media briefing after the annual summit.

On strengthening transport and connectivity between India and Russia, a joint statement issued by the leaders said both sides sought to actively expand logistics links through the launch of new routes of the North-South International Transport Corridor, the Northern Sea Route and the Chennai-Vladivostok Sea Line.

Both nations agreed to continue promoting bilateral settlement system using national currencies, apart from continuing consultations for interoperability of financial messaging systems. They also noted the importance of finding mutually acceptable solutions for issues of insurance and reinsurance for facilitating further enhancement in bilateral trade.

The leaders also directed their relevant officials to explore the possibility of commencing negotiations for signing a bilateral free-trade agreement in services and investments.

New Delhi and Moscow also sought to expand cooperation in the field of communication technologies, including telecommunications, satellite communications, digitalization of public administration and the urban environment, mobile communications, and information security.

On energy, both sides noted the continued importance of bilateral trade in energy resources and agreed to explore new long-term contracts.  Both nations noted the ongoing cooperation in the coal sector and agreed to explore the possibility for further increasing supply of coking coal to India, and the opportunities of exporting anthracite coal from Russia to India.

Both nations also recognized the value of their strategic partnership in peaceful nuclear energy and confirmed progress in the construction of additional nuclear units at Kudankulam, promising to stick to the planned schedule. They agreed to broaden discussions on the VVER 1200 Russian nuclear design and expand cooperation in manufacturing and various nuclear power applications, including in third countries. The VVER 1200, noted for its safety features, has a power capacity of about 1,200 megawatts, and uses water for both cooling and moderation.

During the visit, Putin on Tuesday conferred Russia’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, on Modi, acknowledging “his contribution to the development of a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia and friendly ties between the peoples of the two countries.”

Modi is the fourth foreign leader to receive the honor; the three other leaders include Chinese President Xi Jinping; former Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

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