Singh Urges Industry Leaders to Enhance Indo-Russia Trade Ties to New Level

With India and Russian setting an ambition trade target of $20 billion by 2015 from the existing $7 billion, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked industry leaders from both the countries to work for enhancing bilateral economic ties so that they can get to the level of close political ties shared by two sides.

“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.

He assured the Council of full support in the regard and said that there are other areas for cooperation and industry leaders should take a lead.

Singh told the Council last night that India expects greater trade in specific areas like nuclear energy, IT, pharma, and infrastructure with Russia.

He identified rough diamonds as another area where India expects to convert adhoc contacts with Russian industry into long-term arrangements.

“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. “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.”

The prime minister said the outsourcing of jobs to India has benefitted European and American companies save costs and collaboration in this sector could prove advantageous 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 $500 billion as the investment need in its infrastructure sector by the end of its 11th Five-Year Plan in 2012.

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