Our relations will expand

Updated: Jan 30 2008, 04:27am hrs
Although in the years following Indias Independence, Indo-Russian ties were at their zenith, lately they have been on the wane. However, trade and political ties between the two countries are currently being revived with great vigour. Russian Trade Commissioner Mickail Rapota in a tete-a-tete with FEs C Jayanthi discusses various issues including BRIC relations. Excerpts:

After Putins landslide win in Russian parliamentary elections, will Indo-Russia economic ties change for the better

Russia and India are time-tested traditional strategic partners and there is no doubt that our economic relations will grow and expand. The leaders of our countries have set the task to increase bilateral trade up to $10 billion by 2010 and we are sure that by mutual efforts, we will be able to realise it. The ministry of economic development and trade of the Russian Federation and the ministry of commerce and industry of India have worked out the joint programme in this connection. We are considering the possibility of preparing a Comprehensive Agreement on Economic Cooperation. On February 12-13, the second Indo-Russian Forum on trade and investments will be held that will be attended by more than 200 Russian business representatives. It is expected to be inaugurated by the Prime Ministers of the two countriesViktor Zoubkov and Manmohan Singh.

The year of 2008 is officially announced to be the Year of Russia in India. Its programme includes various events in the economic sphere, which, we hope, will give impetus to the development of bilateral economic ties.

How do you visualise the future of economic ties between BRIC countries

According to the expertsestimates by 2020, the total GDP of BRIC countries can exceed the aggregate GDP of the so-called G-6US, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, France and Italy. Even at present, China and India are the main players in the fields of manufacturing and services, Russia and Brazil boast a wealth of natural resources, including oil and metals. Russia has huge plans for diversification of its economy including ties with BRIC countries as well as our colleagues.

The Indo-Russia gas linkageshow do you see it going forward

First of all, I would like to note that our relations in gas and oil sectors are already developing in various forms. Gazprom is carrying out exploration works in the Bay of Bengal. Stroytransgas is actively engaged in the construction of gas pipelines in India.

Is Russia considering investing in India

The investment cooperation is certainly one of the most important areas that requires attention and without which it will be difficult to increase our bilateral trade. More and more Russian companies are considering investments in India. For example, one of the Russian leaders in telecommunications AFK sistema intends to make significant investments in Indian telecommunication sector. World-wide known Russian automobiles manufacture Kamaz is going to invest in Indian automobile industry. Russian companies are interested in investing in IT, metallurgy and coal.