External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on April 17 said that India Russia partnership is a subject of attention and admiration because it has not changed.
Addressing the India-Russia Business Dialogue 2023 in New Delhi, Dr Jaishankar underlined that it has been among the steadiest of the major relationships of the world in the contemporary era.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov was also present on occasion. The External Affairs Minister stressed the need to address the trade imbalance. He said that India and Russia had crossed the bilateral trade target of 30 billion dollars before the target year of 2025.
These new volumes have created a trade imbalance, the Minister said. He also spoke about the importance of connectivity initiatives. He said the International North-South Transport Corridor, as well as the Eastern Maritime Corridor, which is the Chennai-Vladivostok Corridor, are being given due consideration.
He said the payments issue needs to be worked through, and it will be discussed during the Inter-Governmental discussions. He mentioned expanding the correspondent relationship network under the scheme of International Trade Settlement in Indian Rupees through the Special Rupee Vostro Account system.
Dr Jaishankar further said there is a need to motivate business on both sides.
“There are understandable concerns about trade imbalance and we need to work with our Russian counterparts to address this imbalance. We should be honest about short and medium-term challenges. There could be over-compliance.”
He further said there is a need to motivate business on both sides.
“You can see that there are big changes going on like ‘Make in India’. We are determined to make India a global manufacturing hub. I want to emphasise on the opportunity of ‘Make in India’,” Jaishankar said.
The Russian Minister said, “We need to boost trade from India. In this case we are looking at balance, like for example, we have with China – we have 200 billion dollars trade with China and it’s balanced.”
He was commenting on the India-Russia trade and payments issue. Dr Jaishankar said that India and Russia have historic people-to-people ties.
“Our partnership today is a subject of attention and comment, not because it has changed but because it hasn’t. We share a commitment to a multipolar world. Russia is looking towards Asia and for India, it could mean broadening of ties. What we make of the current situation depends very much on us,” he said.
“We are discussing the importance of connectivity and the north-south and maritime corridors have been considered. There is also discussion on payment issues like international trade settlement in the Indian rupee,” Jaishankar said.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, also the Trade Minister, said they are discussing a free trade agreement, FTA, with India. Manturov said that India and Russia pay special attention to the issues of mutual production access to the markets in the two countries.
He said that Russia and Eurasian Economic Commission look forward to intensifying negotiations on a free trade agreement with India.
Dr S Jaishankar hoped that both countries would pick up on the issue as it would make a real difference to their trade relationship.