Observing that Indo-Russian bilateral trade is far below its true potential, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sought its diversification to high value items and investments in sectors like machinery and agriculture.
"Currently, India's exports to Russia are around $ 1 billion, which is less than 1 per cent of India's overall exports and Indian imports from Russia are about 1.2 per cent of Russia's total exports," he said in an interview to Russia's government agency RIA Novosti ahead of his two-day Moscow visit beginning on Sunday.
According to him, relatively high transportation costs and inadequate exchanges between Indian and Russian businessmen were some of the reasons for low trade volumes.
"Diversification of trade to high value items such as gems and jewellery could offset the transportation cost disadvantage. Rationalisation of tariff lines, setting up of joint ventures and greater information exchange would also contribute to enhancing trade," he said.
"Additionally, there is potential for investment in sectors such as machinery, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, agricultural and food products."
The Prime Minister called for a greater involvement of the private sector, which is essential to expanding bilateral trade. Quality standards and certification requirements also need to be mutually agreed upon. "I look forward to discussing these issues with President Putin," Singh said ahead of Monday's summit in the Kremlin.