Russia-India trade booming – official

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India and Russia have seen massive growth in bilateral trade over the past year, rapidly outpacing the goals initially set by the two countries, according to the Indian Minister of External Affairs.

The trade turnover between the nations touched $45 billion between April 2022 and February 2023, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar announced on Monday at a Russia-India business-dialog meeting in New Delhi.

Riding largely on oil shipments and fertilizer exports from Russia, the volume of trade has outperformed the countries’ $30-billion-by-2025 target, and well ahead of schedule. It is also more than triple the $13 billion trade turnover registered in 2021.

Russia is now one of India’s top five trade partners and, according to Jaishankar, mutual interest in boosting cooperation is growing across the spectrum, from large to small businesses. The official highlighted a surge in trade from last April, noting that Moscow and New Delhi are discussing further diversification of economic cooperation.

“Over the past decade, we have witnessed an increase in the level of cooperation in many fields such as energy, science and technology… which have complemented traditional areas of cooperation in the defense, nuclear and space sectors,” the foreign minister said.

Russia has also become India’s top supplier of crude, after Moscow rerouted its energy supplies away from Western countries in response to sanctions, embargoes and price caps.

Over the past few months, the nations have been ditching the US dollar in trade, with most deals settled in other currencies, such as the Russian ruble, Indian rupee, and the UAE dirham, according to oil-trading and banking sources.

The countries have also resumed negotiations on a free-trade agreement between India and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, which were disrupted by the pandemic. The talks mark a step-up in economic relations and will create more opportunities for Indian companies to increase their exports to Russia.

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