Bilateral trade ties with Russia lagging behind political partnership, says Manmohan

November 14th, 2007 - 10:36 am ICT by admin  

Moscow, Nov 12 (ANI): Pointing at the extremely small volume of bilateral trade between India and Russia, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today admitted that the trade and investment relations between the two countries are not in sync with the political understanding between them.

“Trade and investment relations between India and Russia have lagged far behind our excellent political understanding and our joint commitment to strategic partnership,” Singh said in his address to a group of businessmen here.

“We wish to see our economic engagement expand to become a major pillar of the Indo-Russian strategic partnership,” he added.

Presently the bilateral trade between India and Russia amounts to four billion dollars, which is far less than Russia-China and Russia-European Union bilateral trade volume, which are 35 billion dollars and 200 billion Euros respectively.

Singh said that both countries have agreed to set up a Joint Task force to implement the recommendations of a Joint Study group for enhancing the bilateral trade volume to 10 billion dollars by 2010.

Urging Russian businessmen to invest in India, Singh said that there are enormous opportunities, and the government is playing the role of a facilitator.

“India’s energy requirements are going to increase manifold,” Singh said, adding, “Our refining capacity is projected to double by 2012 from the existing level of 120 million tonnes. There is an expanding market and organized distribution channels. I believe that there are bilateral synergies in this important sector waiting to be exploited.”

He also mentioned the immense possibility for joint investments in areas like banking, information technology, telecommunications, high-technology sectors, power, pharmaceuticals and textiles.

Stating that Indian and Russian enterprises could collaborate in third country markets, Singh highlighted that both the countries control over 80 percent of the world’s total mined production of rough diamonds.

“Indian companies have strong presence in the international jewellery market and opportunities for collaboration need to be explored,” he said.

Referring to the over 9 per cent growth rate of Indian economy, the Prime Minister said that country’s macroeconomic fundamentals are strong with growth process being largely based on growing domestic consumption.

He highlighted that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have crossed 250 billion dollars and the Foreign Direct Investment would surpass 30 billion dollars this year.

“We have a highly favourable demographic profile and a robust educational system. We have plans to establish 6000 model schools in the country, open 30 new Central Universities, 370 new colleges, and undertake a huge expansion of Institutes of Technology, Management and Science,” Singh said.

Stating that his government’s priority being infrastructure development, Singh said that over 450 billion dollars are required over the next five years in this sector.

“Mechanisms have been institutionalised to sustain high levels of investment through public-private partnerships, systematic bidding systems and innovative financing mechanisms,” he added.

Singh, who is concluding his visit today, earlier held Summit level talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both the countries today signed four agreements, and agreed to “redouble their efforts” to achieve a bilateral trade target of 10 billion dollars by 2010. (ANI)

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