India, Russia eye $100 bn trade by ’30

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NEW DELHI: Citing how India’s need for fuel and fertilisers was being met amid a crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Russian efforts and asked the world to acknowledge the role of the India-Russia crude oil agreement in maintaining fuel prices globally.

Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held the 22nd India-Russia annual summit in Moscow today.

On fuel supplies, Modi said the world faced a crisis of fuel, but due to India-Russia cooperation, “we have been able to provide petrol and diesel to our citizens”.

“The world needs to accept that the India-Russia fuel agreement helped bring stability in fuel prices. Russian supplies saved us from inflation and brought stability,” Modi said.

Last year, India imported more than 80 million metric tonnes of crude from Russia.

Modi and Putin spoke about the growing economic ties and widening of trade. A joint statement on “development of strategic areas of Russia-India economic cooperation for the period up to 2030” said “the two sides aspire for elimination of non-tariff trade barriers and achievement of a mutual trade volume more than $100 billion by 2030”. This will include increased supplies of goods from India.

Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said, “India is looking to expand its basket of exports. PM Modi stressed on the need to ‘broad-base’ market access to Indian products, especially agri-produce”.

The joint statement following the 22nd India-Russia annual summit explained this would include “facilitation of entry of Indian and Russian companies in each other’s markets by creating subsidiaries and industrial clusters”. India wants a long-term nuclear fuel supply agreement for the upcoming phases of the nuclear power plant at Kundankulam, Tamil Nadu. Two units of 1,000 MW each are already in operation. These are based on Russian technology. Two more units are in advance stages of construction.

The joint statement said, “The two sides agreed to continue technical discussions on localisation of equipment and joint manufacturing of components. They intend to broaden cooperation in nuclear power, including fuel cycle, life cycle support”. Modi went on to term Putin a “facilitator” of the India-Russia ties. “We hope that in future, we will deepen our ties,” said Modi.

Meanwhile, miles away in Washington, 32 NATO countries, led by the US, are planning to ramp up support to Ukraine and are expected to criticise Putin’s actions. In Moscow, Modi lavished praise on Putin saying “India was able to provide fertilisers and our friendship played a major role”. Last year, over 48 lakh tonnes of fertilisers were imported from Russia. The joint statement said, “The two sides agreed to continue cooperation on the sustainable supply of fertilisers to India.”

As part of expanding their economic agenda, the two sides look to launch new trade routes in addition to the North-South International Transport Corridor that was recently used for sending coal from Russia to India.

New Delhi and Moscow are looking at the Chennai-Vladivostok marine link. The two sides also look to expand cooperation in oil refining, petrochemicals, energy infrastructure, technologies and equipment.

On the defence sector, Kwatra said the matter of delay in supplies was taken up.