India and Russia Set $100 Billion Trade Target, Strengthen Economic Ties

India and Russia have set their sights on achieving a significant milestone in bilateral trade, aiming for an annual volume of USD 100 billion by 2030. This ambitious target was announced during a summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two leaders also pledged to develop a robust bilateral payment settlement mechanism using their national currencies. The summit, part of Modi’s two-day visit to Russia, marked his first trip to the country since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.

The focus of the discussions centered around strengthening economic engagement between the two nations. A key aspect of the talks revolved around exploring how the India-Russia partnership could contribute to the success of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and other manufacturing collaborations. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra highlighted that Prime Minister Modi emphasized the need to broaden the trade basket and called for enhanced market access for Indian goods in Russia, specifically in the agricultural and industrial sectors.

The two leaders also identified critical areas for economic cooperation, including securing fertilizer supplies from Russia to India, a crucial factor for crop production and farmers’ yields. Notably, they set a new trade target of USD 100 billion by 2030, aiming to significantly increase the current bilateral trade volume of around USD 60 billion.

Furthermore, both leaders acknowledged the importance of advancing the India-Eurasian Economic Union trade and Goods Agreement. With one round of discussions already completed, the agreement is expected to progress rapidly in the coming months.

A joint statement released by the two sides, titled ‘Leaders’ Joint Statement on the Development of Strategic Areas of Russia-India Economic Cooperation for the Period Up to 2030,’ outlines a roadmap for expanding economic ties. The document prioritizes the development of a bilateral payment settlement system using national currencies and the introduction of digital financial instruments for mutual payments.

The statement identifies key areas for cooperation in the energy sector, including nuclear energy, oil refining, petrochemicals, and enhanced energy infrastructure partnerships. It emphasizes the importance of mutual and international energy security, taking into consideration the global energy transition. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to promoting a bilateral settlement system using national currencies and agreed to continue consultations on the interoperability of their financial messaging systems.

Addressing concerns related to trade barriers, the statement highlights the importance of finding mutually acceptable solutions for insurance and reinsurance issues to facilitate further bilateral trade growth. The leaders expressed appreciation for the initial meeting held in March 2024 to initiate full negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement on goods between India and the Eurasian Economic Union, aiming to eliminate non-tariff and tariff barriers.

Looking ahead, the leaders directed their officials to explore the possibility of commencing negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement in services and investments.

India and Russia reaffirmed the significance of robust and extensive cooperation in the energy sector as a cornerstone of their Special and Privileged Strategic partnership. The joint statement highlighted the ongoing importance of bilateral trade in energy resources and agreed to explore new long-term contracts. The two nations acknowledged their ongoing cooperation in the coal sector and expressed their intent to explore opportunities to increase the supply of coking coal to India, along with exploring the potential for exporting anthracite coal from Russia to India.

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