The Union Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma addressed a group of political and business leaders from Russia and India at the third India-Russia Business Dialogue which was held under the umbrella of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2012.
Speaking on the historical bonds between the two nations, Shri Sharma said that India and Russia today share a special and privileged strategic partnership which permeates the entire spectrum of economic activity.
Highlighting the fact that the GDP of both the countries is over US$ 3 trillion, Shri Sharma further added that the bilateral trade between India and Russia in 2011 was in the range of US$ 9 billion. We have set for ourselves an ambitious target of reaching US$ 20 billion by 2015. However, there is a need to diversify the trade basket between our countries as the current profile of trade is dominated by commodities with large imports of iron, steel, fertilizer and oil from Russia. We need to expand the trade basket to have more value added products, he underlined during the event.
India is also planning to invest US$ 1 trillion in the infrastructure sector alone in the next five years. For this, Shri Sharma welcomed Russian participation to build a strong infrastructure base in India. We are also building gas and oil pipelines and Russian companies have considerable expertise in pipeline construction technologies which will greatly be valued. In the telecom sector, of course, we have seen the emergence of flourishing partnerships between India and Russia which will see investments of over US$ 1.5 billion in the coming years said Shri Sharma.
During his address, Shri Anand Sharma informed that India aims to double its food processing capabilities in the next five years with the establishment of 64 fully equipped Agro Processing Zones and Food Parks. He said that Russia can be an invaluable partner to develop cross sectoral linkages in the entire value addition chain from agriculture to retail, packaging and logistics. I am confident that the coming weeks will see the emergence of political consensus on liberalizing FDI in Multi-brand retail which will open immense opportunities, Shri Sharma added.
With the rolling out of the National Manufacturing Policy last year, Shri Sharma showed his interest to invite Russian companies both in the development of industrial townships as well as in investments which will flow into these zones.
We are keen to participate in the Pharma 2020 program of Russia where Russian Government has ambitious plans in developing pharmaceutical industry with an objective to reducing healthcare cost, said Shri Sharma.
The event was co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Russian Federation, Mr. D. Rogozin. Mr. Cheremin, Chairman, Business Council for Cooperation with India; Mr. Adi Godrej, President, CII; Mr. Ajai Malhotra, Ambassador of India to Russian Federation and business leaders from Russia and India attended the event.