Currently, Russias private sector presence in India is almost non-existent, with only one investment in a titanium oxide project in Orissa by Oleg Deripaska in the pipeline. The same goes for Indian investment in Russia, with very few private Indian companies present there. Despite the oft-pronounced close relations that exist between the two countries, bilateral trade volumes are an abysmal $1.3 billion, 60 per cent of which consists of Russian purchases made with Indias annual debt repayment. This, however, is scheduled to come to an end in 2005. With Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayees upcoming visit to Moscow this month, a golden opportunity presents itself for Indian businessmen to enter that country and make up for opportunities missed out during the earlier period of privatisation. However, this would require some fast-tracking by the bureaucracy on both sides. For instance, the existing hurdles in banking (India does not recognise Russian bank guarantees) and transport facilities need to be sorted out. Though the State Bank of India-Canara Bank have opened a branch in Moscow, the scope exists for financial intermediation on a bigger scale. The lack of information regarding the Russian market and investment climate is also a deterrent. As the Russian ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, recently said, Moscow reposes enormous trust in India, not shared with any other country in the region. Its time to exploit the benefits of this mutual relationship.