OVERVIEW OF INDIA-RUSSIA ECONOMIC COOPERATION


A. OVERVIEW

1. Enhancing trade and economic cooperation between India and Russia is a key priority for the political leadership of both the countries as is clear by the revised targets of increasing bilateral investment to US $ 50 billion and bilateral trade to US $ 30 billion by 2025. Bilateral trade amounted to USD 11.16 billion in 2019 wherein Indian exports were USD 3.92 billion and Russian exports were USD 7.24 billion.

2. A number of institutionalized mechanisms at governmental and non-governmental levels contribute to the development of economic cooperation between the two countries. While the India Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific & Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) guides the conduct of economic cooperation at the Governmental level, the Indo-Russian Forum for Trade & Investment and the India-Russia CEO’s Council have evolved into the platforms for facilitating direct B2B interactions between the two countries. Pursuant to the decision taken during the 19th Bilateral Summit, India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) has also been established for enabling partnerships, sharing experiences in the field of development of economic policy, having regular interactions and cooperation between the two countries.

3. India is also contemplating a FTA/ CECA with the Eurasian Economic Union. The Eurasian Economic Union is one of the important emerging economic blocks, and India is keen to engage more closely with Russia and the CIS countries to further intensify our trade and economic cooperation with this region.

4. There have been regular bilateral exchanges at the highest levels. The visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Russia, Vladivostok for the 20th Indo-Russian Annual Summit on 4-6 September 2019 has provided a strong impetus to the bilateral relations. During the summit, 50 agreements were signed, including 15 documents on Governmental level and 35 agreements related to economic and trade matters, reaffirming the desire to intensify the economic engagement as a new pillar of the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.

5. Ms. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister visited Moscow and co-chaired the 23rd Session of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) on 18 September 2018.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Yury Borisov, heading an 18-member Russian delegation, representing various Ministries, visited New Delhi on 22 July 2019, and met Dr. S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister. Both co-chaired the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC).

On 10 July 2019, the second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was held in New Delhi, led by NITI Aayog Vice Chairman and Russian Minister of Economic Development. The dialogue included parallel round tables, which discussed areas of cooperation and concrete roadmaps for future negotiations across core areas of transport infrastructure, agriculture, small and medium business support, digital transformation, trade, banking, investment, and tourism and connectivity.

Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, GoI along with Chief Ministers of five states (Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra), led a high-level big scale business delegation to Vladivostok on 11-13 August 2019.

Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship inaugurated the India Pavilion at WorldSkills Kazan on 22-27 August 2019. The Pavilion adorns myriad hues of India’s culture, traditions, diversity and skills and we welcome all delegates to visit us and know more about Incredible India.

On 4-5 September 2019 Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, visited Vladivostok and met Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia within the framework of Bilateral Summit. PM Modi also participated in the 5 th Eastern Economic Forum as the Chief Guest.

On the eve of the meeting of the President of the Russian Federation V. Putin and Prime Minister of the Republic of India N. Modi in Vladivostok, a meeting of the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation A. Novak and the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Minister of Steel of the Republic of India D. Pradhan was held on August 29, 2019 in Moscow.

On 22-24 October, 2019 Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Steel, Petroleum and Natural Gas, GoI, visited the Far East Region of the Russian Federation.

The first India-Russia Startup Summit was held on December 11, 2018 at Skolkovo Foundation (SF) in Moscow led by Mr. Anjan Das, Executive Director, CII and Mr. Arkady Dvorkovich, Chairman, Skolkovo Foundation. The Summit ended with business match-making between Indian and Russian Startup companies.

On March 11-12, 2019 a high level CEOs delegation led by CII President, Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal visited Moscow and held meetings with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) Director, DPM Trutnev, Minister of Industries and Trade and Adviser to the President, Mr. Anton Kobyakov. The meetings focused on identifying potential sectors, cooperation in the Far East and establishing business linkages.

CEO of Far East Investment and Export Agency Mr Leonid Petukhov visited New Delhi and Ahmedabad from November 25-27, 2019 for a series of Governmental and Business meetings to promote Indian trade & investment linkages with the Russian Far East. During this visit, apart for some high level business meetings, the delegation met with MoPNG Shri Dharmendra Pradhan along with leading coal and steel companies from India, Chief Minister of Gujarat, state representatives from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in a session led by Secretary DPIIT, including senior representatives from Invest India and FICCI. He also had interactions with Vice Chairman Niti Aayog Sh Rajiv Kumar, as well as representatives from EXIM Bank.

In addition, there were many official and expert level visits from both sides covering a wide spectrum of issues on the economic side.

B. TRADE

6. The bilateral trade in 2019 amounted to USD 11.16 billion, with Indian exports amounting to USD 3.92 billion and imports amounting to USD 7.24 billion. The bilateral trade during the period January–October 2020 amounted to USD 7.02 billion, with Indian exports amounting to USD 2.73 billion and imports from Russia amounting to USD 4.29 billion. Major items of export from India include electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals, organic chemicals, iron & steel, apparels, tea, coffee, vehicle spare parts. Major items of import from Russia include defense equipment, mineral resources, precious stones and metals, nuclear power equipment, fertilizers, electrical machinery, articles of steel, inorganic chemicals.

A key priority for the political leadership of both the countries is to increase bilateral trade to US $ 30 billion by 2025.

Bilateral trade figures for last ten years are given below:

(amt in US $ billion)

Year

India’s Import
from Russia

India’s export
to Russia

Total trade

Percentage
Increase YOY

2010

6.39

2.14

8.53

14.4

2011

6.09

2.79

8.89

4.19

2012

7.91

3.04

10.95

23.8

2013

7.01

3.10

10.11

-7.34

2014

6.34

3.17

9.51

-5.6

2015

5.58

2.26

7.83

-17.67

2016

5.23

2.36

7.59

-3.07

2017

6.46

2.90

9.36

23.32

2018

7.75

3.23

10.98

17.31

2019

7.24

3.92

11.16

1.64

7. Trade in services: Bilateral trade in services has remained stable during the last 5 years with trade balance in Russia’s favor. While in 2017, trade in services was USD 1095.4 million, it reduced slightly in 2018 to USD 999 million. The figure stands at USD 633.68 million for the period (January – June), 2019.

C. INVESTMENT

8. Russian investment in India in 2017 has reached 18bn USD and India’s total investment in Russia so far is 13 bn USD. The overall investment target of 30 bn USD that was set for 2025 has been already crossed. The cumulative Indian investments in Russia, (bulk of which is in hydrocarbons sector) was about US $ 8 billion for the period 2000-2014, while the cumulative Russian investments in India over the same period were about US $ 4 billion, mainly in automotive (KAMAZ) and telecommunications (AFK Sistema) sectors. In 2015-2017, there was a renewed emphasis on increasing the bilateral investment, especially in the hydrocarbon sector.

9. Both the Governments have undertaken initiatives to promote bilateral investments, primarily through facilitating high-level Government to business and Business to Business contacts apart from the on-going investment process in strategic sectors in both the countries. Investment cooperation has been envisaged in some priority sectors such as hydrocarbons, power, coal, nuclear power, fertilizers, IT, mineral and metallurgy, steel, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure projects amongst others.

D. Institutional Framework for Bilateral Economic Cooperation

I. Government-to-Government

10. The India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) is the apex G2G forum for bilateral economic cooperation. IRIGC-TEC is chaired by the External Affairs Minister from the Indian side and Deputy Prime Minister from the Russian side. The IRIGC integrates inputs from the working groups on economic and trade cooperation, Priority Investments, Modernisation and Industrial Cooperation (sub-groups on Civil Aviation, Fertilisers, Mining and Modernisation), outstanding issues, energy & energy efficiency, tourism and culture, science and technology, IT & Communication, and sub-groups on banking and financial matters and on conservation of tigers & leopards. The 23rd session of IRIGC-TEC was held in Moscow on 14 September 2018. Later, Russian Deputy Prime Minister visited New Delhi on 22 July 2019, and met External Affairs Minister of India. Both co-chaired the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC). The 24th session of the IRIGC-TEC is scheduled to be held in India in 2021.

II. Business-to-Business

11. Conscious efforts are being made by both India and Russia to promote establishment of new contacts and wider cooperation between commercial and industrial circles and business associations of the two countries. The main institutional arrangements are as follows:

Fora:

i. India and Russia have agreed to have enhanced Indian participation in the prestigious St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Accordingly, CII and SPIEF Foundation have entered into a MOU for regular institutionalized B2B interactions and exchanges. An Indian delegation led by Ambassador D.B. Venkatesh Varma along with Embassy officials and representatives from CII and Invest India, participated in 23rd SPIEF-2019 which took place on June 6-8, 2019 in St. Petersburg.

ii. An Indian delegation led by the Deputy Chief of Mission of Embassy of India in Moscow and representatives from nine Indian companies participated in the ‘XI International Information Technology forum with BRICS and SCO Participation’ held on June 10-11, 2019 in Khanty Mansiysk region of Russia.

iii. A 13-member CII delegation led by Mr Pankaj Bajaj, Director Bajaj Industries Pvt Ltd attended the INNOPROM industrial, trade and export platform of Russia held in Ekaterinburg on July 8-10, 2019. The event also hosted the Global Manufacturing & Industrialization Summit (GMIS) 2019.

iv. An Indian delegation led by Ambassador D.B. Venkatesh Varma participated in the Arctic Forum held on December 10-12, 2020 in St. Petersburg where he outlined India’s priorities as observer to Arctic Council and bilateral cooperation with Russia as part of Prime Minister Modi’s Act Far East policy.

B2B interactions: Around 40 sector- specific B2B events were organised in 2019.

III. Banking Links

12. Development of banking links between India and Russia has witnessed some concrete progress. Several Russian banks have opened their Representative Offices/Branches in India. These include VTB, Sberbank, Vnesheconombank, Promsvazbank and Gazprombank. Similarly, the Commercial Bank of India LLC (JV of two major Indian banks: SBI & Canara Bank) is providing banking services in Russia.

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