India on Wednesday sought greater market access in Russia for its merchandise exports in sectors such as pharmaceutical, automobiles, textiles and value-added agri-products even as Moscow demanded strengthening of the Rupee-Rouble trade.
Addressing the eighth India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investment, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman pitched for enhanced market access for Indian goods in Russia and also invited Russian companies to increase their investments in India.
“More Russian companies should come and manufacture here, employ our skilled and young work force, and later sell those products to us,” Sitharaman said, referring to the recently launched ‘Make in India’ campaign of the Narendra Modi government.
Speaking at the function, organised with the help of industry chambers such as Ficci and CII, Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin said both countries must promote a transparent mechanism of bilateral trade in rupee and rouble, a suggestion which was supported later by Sitharaman.
Bilateral trade between the two BRICS-member countries witnessed a 7.84% decline in 2013-14 to $6 billion with India’s exports to Russia at $2.1 billion and Russia’s exports to India at $3.9 billion, a background paper prepared for the occasion said.
The share of Russia in India’s imports declined by 0.87%, which is not in tandem with the friendly historical bilateral relations and economic position of both countries, it said, adding that the trade balance is in Russia’s favour due to import of energy supplies.