Exclusive: Eyeing trade deal in services, investments, says Russian minister ahead of Modi visit | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Exclusive: Eyeing trade deal in services, investments, says Russian minister ahead of Modi visit

Jul 08, 2024 05:46 PM IST

India’s fast-growing economy provides a foundation for deepening and diversifying cooperation, said Russian minister of economic development, Maxim Reshetnikov

NEW DELHI: Russia’s economic ties with India are flourishing, with bilateral trade volumes increasing fivefold over the past five years, Russian minister of economic development, Maxim Reshetnikov has said. In an interview with Hindustan Times, Reshetnikov delved into key areas such as trade, investment, technology transfer, and tourism. The minister also shed light on new opportunities within the BRICS framework and the alliance’s primary objectives for the coming years, including its much-discussed dedollarisation efforts. Edited excerpts:

Maxim Reshetnikov said BRICS cooperation offers dual leverage for Russia and India and allows both countries to align their trade and economic approaches (Photo courtesy: Maxim Reshetnikov’s office)
Maxim Reshetnikov said BRICS cooperation offers dual leverage for Russia and India and allows both countries to align their trade and economic approaches (Photo courtesy: Maxim Reshetnikov’s office)

How do you see the economic partnership between India and Russia evolving, particularly in areas like trade, investment, and technology transfer?

India is one of our key partners. Mutual trade volumes have increased five times in the last five years. In 2023, India moved up to second place, reaching an 8 per cent share of Russia’s total foreign trade. Our cooperation develops smoothly in line with agreements between Mr. Vladimir Putin and Mr. Narendra Modi, and we expect Modi’s upcoming visit to further strengthen bilateral ties and explore new areas of mutual interest.

Russian exports to India include agricultural and food processing equipment, aviation, and IT products. Indian mining companies buy our excavators and draglines, and our equipment is actively used in track construction and servicing. We anticipate that passenger transportation in India will soon use Russian-designed rolling stock.

India’s fast-growing economy provides a foundation for deepening and diversifying cooperation. In 2023, imports from India grew steadily, with significant increases in machinery, vehicles, chemical products, metals, and food products exceeding $1 billion.

Therefore, significant opportunities exist for expanding Russian exports to India, particularly in chemical products, fertilisers, energy, railway engineering, metallurgical equipment, timber products, and agricultural goods. Growth in bilateral trade can be facilitated by increased investment activity and a broader range of products.

Currently, discussions are underway for a new investment agreement. Alternatively, we have proposed negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement covering trade in services and investment protection. Such an agreement could enhance trade and facilitate investment-related discussions, aiming for higher protection of bilateral investments.

What new opportunities do you anticipate for both countries within the BRICS framework?

BRICS cooperation offers dual leverage for Russia and India. It allows both countries to align their trade and economic approaches, with 200 meetings under Russia’s chairmanship this year, including traditional Trade Ministers Meetings and sessions on economic and trade issues. These platforms enable open discussions on key matters like supply chain stability, seamless business operations, and sustainable growth.

On the other hand, BRICS could be considered as a horn of the two countries’ voice. I mean, both Russia and India may expect to scale up their bilateral initiatives within BRICS, thus, granting them international attention. India has strongly supported several Russian initiatives, such as enhancing e-commerce, protecting consumer from fraudulent commercial practices, and exploring digital solutions for internal and cross border B2C and B2B disputes. So, this mutual understanding may turn these aspirations into multilateral outcomes.

What are the primary objectives and priorities for BRICS in the coming years? Can you elaborate on the de-dollarisation efforts within BRICS?

The key goals of BRICS are outlined in the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership 2025, which focuses on trade and investment, innovation and digitalisation, and sustainable and inclusive growth. Despite being drafted before the Covid-19 pandemic, the strategy remains relevant and addresses BRICS heritage and economic trends.

This year, BRICS aims to enhance World Trade Organization (WTO) efficiency, implement environmental trade measures, facilitate agricultural trade, and streamline joint supply and production chains. These long-standing issues aim to simplify trade rules, boost competitiveness, expand export potential, and improve citizens’ welfare.

We also seek to capitalise on digital transformation opportunities, including protecting consumer rights in e-commerce, exploring pre-trial dispute resolution mechanisms, and ensuring BRICS marketplace accessibility for national Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Another focus is leveraging AI for trade and investment cooperation and connecting BRICS special economic zones – an absolutely new initiative to the grouping -- to aid industry localisation.

As for the second part of your question, it is indeed on the agenda – namely, how to develop an independent financial infrastructure that would facilitate cross-border economic activity not only within BRICS, but also with other partners, such as Africa within the framework of BRICS+.

This includes removing barriers to mutual payments in national currencies, creating hedging instruments, developing a multilateral digital settlement and payment platform, and expanding the correspondent banks network. So, we expect gradual progress in these areas.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, July 14, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On