Ministers from India and Russia on Monday (17) announced that they are engaged in discussions for a free trade agreement that would strengthen their economic relationship.
The two countries have experienced strong commercial ties since the onset of the Ukraine conflict. India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar disclosed at a New Delhi event that his government had reached an “advance agreement” on the proposed trade treaty.
According to Russia’s Trade and Industry Minister Denis Manturov, the treaty would provide a guarantee to bilateral investment.
India has refrained from openly condemning Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, which Moscow has characterised as a “special military operation.” Instead, India has urged for a peaceful settlement to the conflict via dialogue.
Russia, which is a traditional supplier of defense equipment, displaced Iraq last month as India’s primary supplier of crude oil. Additionally, in the year leading up to March 31, India’s total imports from Russia rose nearly fourfold to $46.33 billion.
Manturov said, Moscow is interested in boosting machinery imports from India to improve its trade balance. “We need to find a niche in the products which India can replace,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
“In civilian projects, we need as wide cooperation as it was before the sanctions.”
According to a Reuters report from November, Russia was allegedly considering importing over 500 products from India for crucial sectors like cars, aircraft, and trains due to the impact of western sanctions on Moscow’s core industries.
India also aims to decrease its expanding trade deficit with Russia, which has been the country’s main supplier of military equipment for several decades and is the fourth-largest market for Indian pharmaceuticals.
During the New Delhi event, Jaishankar mentioned that Indian businesses could leverage Russian technology and that the Indian government was working towards resolving any problems regarding payments, certification, and logistics.