Russia and India have created a comprehensive strategic partnership in political, military and humanitarian spheres. And while economic relations have strengthened over the years-bilateral trade increased from $2 billion in 2004 to $9.5 billion in 2014-trade remains the least developed area of the two countries’ collaboration. In 2014, India ranked 19th among Russia’s top trading partners (with a share of 1.2 per cent in total trade), while Russia was placed 33rd in the Indian list.
The future seems promising though. In 2014, the share of primary and resource-based pro-ducts was 43 per cent in Russia’s exports to India, and 38 per cent in Indian exports to Russia. The share of those goods exceeded 84 per cent for Russia and 53 per cent for India in total exports. The share of high-technology products was 20 per cent of Russia’s exports to India and 12 per cent of Indian exports. Prospects are bright for cooperation in agriculture, energy, mechanical engineering, aircraft construction, pharma and biotech spheres. Special attention should also be paid to space collaboration.
The potential for bilateral trade remains untapped because the partners have not fully used the opportunities offered by India’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, enhancement of collaboration within the BRICS, and the impact of Western sanctions. Russia’s introduction of counter-measures on import of elementary products from Western countries, in August 2014, had considerable positive impact on food supply from India-in 2014, import of elementary products under sanctions from India to Russia rose from $104 million to 142 million year-on-year. There is a huge potential for Indian export of fish, vegetables and fruits as well. Substantial progress is required in interaction if the goal of $30 billion bilateral trade by 2025 is to be achieved. First, collaboration should be strengthened on the level of export support agencies, regional authorities, and SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) development institutions. The indispensable part of bilateral trade development is the creation of a free trade area between India and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
Another significant factor in strengthening bilateral trade is solving the problem of low transport accessibility by developing transportation routes, specifically the International North-South Transport Corridor. It is worthwhile to coordinate their activity at the level of EAEU, within which a common transport space and a single market of transportation services is to be created. This will help harmonise the approach towards solving problems of trans-boundary movement of goods and avoid needless competition between partner countries. Finally, the BRICS platform should also be fully employed to fulfill mutual goals.