After historic visit, Modi and Putin unveil $100bn trade target by 2030 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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After historic visit, Modi and Putin unveil $100bn trade target by 2030

By, New Delhi
Jul 10, 2024 04:00 AM IST

PM Modi and President Putin aim for $100 billion trade by 2030. Focus on predictable Russian supplies. Bilateral trade surged to $65.7B in 2023-24.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday set an ambitious India-Russia trade target of $100 billion by 2030 even as the New Delhi focused on measures aimed at ensuring predictable and assured supplies of Russian crude, fertilisers and nuclear fuel for the Kudankulam power plant.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a ceremony to decorate India's PM with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 9, 2024.(AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a ceremony to decorate India's PM with the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle the First-Called following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 9, 2024.(AFP)

The new goal for trade aims to build on a recent surge in two-way commerce, already worth more than double the earlier target of $30 billion set for 2025. Bilateral trade ballooned to $65.7 billion in 2023-24, largely because of India’s uptake of discounted Russian crude after the imposition of Western sanctions, but concerns have grown in New Delhi about the trade being skewed as Indian exports are worth less than $5 billion.

In his opening remarks at the annual bilateral summit, Modi said Indian citizens faced no difficulties with the supply of petrol and diesel amid a global fuel crisis because of Putin’s cooperation. Putin noted in his remarks that two-way trade had grown 66% in 2023 and by another 20% in the first quarter of 2024.

Also Read | PM Narendra Modi wraps up high-profile Russia visit, heads to Austria

“The world will have to acknowledge that the agreement between India and Russia on fuel played an indirect role in giving market stability...to the world,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi and referring to India’s increased purchases of Russian energy after the start of the Ukraine conflict.

Russia has emerged as an important partner in meeting India’s energy needs, supplying more than 80 million metric tons of crude last year. Indian officials said securing affordable energy supplies to keep inflation and price rise under check was an important part of the discussions in Moscow.

Modi also said that at a time when the world was passing through a crisis of food, fuel and fertilisers, he was able to address the concerns of Indian farmers over the supply of fertilisers because of Russia’s cooperation. “We are committed to protect the interests of farmers in the coming times too, and we want our cooperation with Russia to increase even more for the interests of the farmers,” he said.

Also Read | Vladimir Putin awards PM Modi Russia's highest civilian honour for 'outstanding service'

Russia remains a key supplier of fertilisers, providing more than 4.8 million tonnes of the commodity last year. This supply is crucial, especially during the ongoing Kharif season and the Ravi season starting in October, officials said. The two sides agreed to continue cooperation on the sustainable supply of fertilisers to India through company-to-company long-term contracts.

The two sides discussed a range of measures aimed at both growing bilateral trade and making it more balanced, especially in view of trade being currently skewed in Russia’s favour. Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra told a media briefing after the summit that the economic agenda had dominated the discussions between the two leaders, who discussed in detail the challenges to the trade and investment partnership.

Modi raised the need to broaden India’s trade basket and sought greater market access for Indian agricultural and industrial goods. The discussions also centred round making India’s trade basket more sustainable, Kwatra said.

Modi also noted Putin’s public support for the “Make in India” initiative and for manufacturing in India, saying these steps had created many new employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

A joint statement on developing strategic areas of Russia-India economic cooperation up to 2030 outline nine key areas for cooperation, including elimination of non-tariff trade barriers and dialogue for liberalisation of bilateral trade, including the establishment of a Eurasian Economic Union-India free trade area.

As part of the trade target of $100 billion by 2030, the two sides will cooperate to increase the supplies of Indian goods to achieve balanced trade and reinvigorate investment activities within the framework of special investment regimes. They will also develop a bilateral settlement system using national currencies and introduce digital financial instruments into mutual settlements, the joint statement said.

Russia will work to increase cargo turnover with India through the launch of new routes of the North-South International Transport Corridor, Northern Sea Route and Chennai-Vladivostok sea line. Customs procedures will be optimised by using intelligent digital systems for barrier-free movement of goods, the joint statement added.

In an apparent move to overcome the impact of Western sanctions, a separate joint statement issued after the 22nd India-Russia Summit said the two sides will continue consultations for “interoperability of their financial messaging systems”. The two sides also “noted the importance of finding mutually acceptable solutions for issues of insurance and reinsurance” to further enhance bilateral trade.

In the field of civil nuclear cooperation, the two sides agreed to adhere to the schedule, including the timelines for delivery of supplies, for building the four remaining reactors at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Kwatra said cooperation on fuel supplies for these four reactors was part of the discussions. “We hope to move forward on fuel supplies quickly,” he said.

“Both sides noted the importance of further discussion on the second site in India [for a nuclear power plant] in accordance with earlier signed agreements. The sides agreed to continue technical discussions on the VVER 1200 of the Russian design, localisation of equipment and joint manufacturing of NPP components as well as on cooperation in third countries,” the joint statement said.

The two sides also confirmed their intention to broaden cooperation in nuclear power, including fuel cycle, life cycle support for operating the Kudankulum nuclear power plant.

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