Live Mint - 17 April 2023
India, Russia discuss FTA to guarantee investment, says Russian deputy PM
By Alka Jain
India and Russia are discussing a free trade agreement to guarantee investment between the two countries, said Russia’s deputy prime minister Denis Manturov, speaking at an event in New Delhi with India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar on Monday.
Jaishankar has said that the South Asian country was in ‘advance agreement’ for a bilateral trade treaty with Moscow, according to a report published by Reuters.
The New Delhi-Moscow relations have withstood the West’s pressures, and bilateral trade has been the biggest benefactor as well as a catalyst in this transformation. However, a sharp surge in imports from sanctions-hit Moscow has made trade figures overwhelmingly one-sided.
Historically, India’s imports from Russia have stayed under five times its exports to the country, with the ratio touching 4.1 in 2017-18, previously the highest under the Narendra Modi government. But in 2022-23 till January, imports have been 15 times the exports.
In 2017, Russian investment in India reached USD 18 billion and India’s total investment in Russia so far is USD 13 billion, according to an official statement by the Indian embassy. It stated that the overall investment target of USD 30 billion that was set for 2025 has already been crossed.
The cumulative Indian investments in Russia, were 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 bilateral investment, especially in the hydrocarbon sector, the statement added.
Both sides have undertaken initiatives to promote bilateral investments, primarily through facilitating high-level Government to business and business-to-business contacts apart from the ongoing investment process in strategic sectors in both countries.
Investment cooperation has been envisaged in some priority sectors such as hydrocarbons, power, coal, nuclear power, fertilizers, IT, mineral and metallurgy, steel, pharmaceuticals, and infrastructure projects amongst others, it added.