Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin today reiterated together their support for expanding business and economic cooperation between India and Russia. They were speaking at the India – Russia Business Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in cooperation with DIPP and Invest India in New Delhi today.
President Putin emphasised the importance of India as a trade partner for Russia. “We must actively work to engage Russian and Indian businesses, to improve technological alliances and knowledge-based cooperation. A sound development and economic basis is important to ensure our special and privileged strategic partnership,” he said.
He lauded the Summit as proof that businesses on both sides are interested in stepping – up partnerships. The President highlighted opportunities for trade in energy, digital economy, infrastructure, and start-ups. These were issues discussed at the various sessions at the Summit. The President promised all government support to ensure that any issues will be addressed and greater trade facilitated.
President Putin noted that the two countries have agreed to work together to address customs issues as well as any other barriers to trade. “This will be further boosted when the India – EAEU FTA is successfully completed,” he said, referring to the India-Eurasian European Union free trade agreement currently being negotiated.
He indicated that energy is a key area of interaction as, “Russia has always been a strong supplier of energy for India and that has not changed. We are expanding partnership with the first LNG shipments recently taking place.” He noted the work of ONGC in Russia and mentioned that Rosneft’s acquisition of Essar Oil at US$ 12.9 billion was one of the biggest deals in India. He added that continued collaboration on energy is also important to address issues of climate change.
The Russian economy has shown that it can navigate complex economic systems. “Unemployment is at 4.7% while wage rates have risen to over 8%,” he noted, highlighting the opportunity that the Russian market presents to Indian investors.
Prime Minister Modi stated that India – Russia relations have deepened further. “Under President Putin’s leadership, India – Russia relations have reached new heights. Our ‘special and privileged strategic partnership’ show our mutual interests,” he said.
Over time, he noted, many things had changed, but India – Russia relations, have remained constant and the basis of this relationship is mutual trust. “Our relations have grown even stronger due to the efforts of businesses on both sides. In the past two years alone, the trade between the two nations has increased a lot and in particular grown by 20% in 2017-18,” he said. India considers Russia its most important partner in its economic growth, he added.
To further facilitate India – Russia relations, the ‘Russia plus’ initiative has also been started, to be a one stop solution centre for Russian businesses in India. A Joint Working Group has also been created.
Prime Minister Modi stressed that the Indian government has built its policies around the pillars of “Reform, Perform, and Transform.” Various steps have been taken to ensure these goals are achieved, including structural reforms which has reflected in India’s global rankings for Ease of Doing Business, Innovation, and especially, Foreign Direct Investment. GST has been the single most reform which has made the tax system in India more transparent.
Prime Minister Modi noted that India is working steadily toward being a leader in Industry 4.0 with an emphasis on “Speed, Scale, and Skill”. India is making rapid strides in areas of the digital economy including Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, 3-D Printing, Robotics, etc.
There are many opportunities in India that Russian businesses can take account of, like the Sagarmala project, metro projects, and others especially in Infrastructure, Pharmaceuticals, New and Renewable Energy, and Nuclear Energy. He also took the opportunity to invite Russia to make a dedicated “Defence Industrial Park” in India.
He congratulated the Summit on picking four dynamic and pressing sectors – start-ups, energy, infrastructure, and digital economy, which are all pillars of stronger future India – Russia relations. He invited Russian businesses to take advantage of the opportunity that India provides.
5 October 2018