India-Russia trade target of $100 billion realistic

India-Russia bilateral trade target of  $100 billion by 2030, set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent annual summit, seems “quite realistic” given the current growth trend and efforts will be made to create further favourable conditions to increase India’s exports to Russia to address the existing trade gap, Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin said at a briefing on Wednesday.

India and Russia were going ahead with the national currency settlement system, as mentioned in the joint statement issued after Modi and Putin’s annual summit meeting on Tuesday, and would also continue with the issues of quick payment for alternative to Swift (international payment network), with a focus on digital instruments, especially digital currencies of central banks, Babushkin said.

“It (alternative payment systems and digital currencies) is a topic also relevant to BRICS declaration. This is a trend along with the de-dollarisation tendencies…that is another example of the multipolarity in our desired, established, independent payment mechanism…,” he added.

The challenges

Referring to the initial hiccups faced by India and Russia in carrying out financial transactions (due to the West’s economic sanctions against Moscow), Babushkin said the increase in bilateral trade, successfully ensured by financial transactions, showed that it was not a big issue any more. “That means by and large we have resolved this financial problem. There is not much that is unresolvable if there is good will from both sides to go ahead to sort whatever problems we are facing to resolve them amicably for the benefit of the nations,” he said.

The Indian PM two-day visit to Moscow on July 8-9, the first since Russia attacked Ukraine in February 2022, was closely watched by Western nations, including the US and the EU, that have been trying to isolate Russia both economically and diplomatically.

“We continue to urge India to support efforts to realise an enduring and just peace in Ukraine, based on the principles of the UN Charter, based on upholding Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its sovereignty,” US State Department’s Spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday responding to questions from the media. He also said that the US was quite clear about its concerns about India’s relationship with Russia.

Modi’s talks with Putin were historic and game-changing considering the turbulent geopolitical environment, Babushkin said. As the visit was watched by the whole world, it was evident how significant the trip was, he added.

Recognising that it was important to boost India’s exports to Russia, which was at $4 billion in 2023-24 compared to its imports from the country valued at about $61 billion, the Russian diplomat pointed out that Indian exports had actually posted a growth of 40 per cent over the previous year.  “This is a trend and they have expressed the commitment to support the trend and create further favourable conditions for the trend (of India’s export growth) to continue….In January-March this year, our bilateral trade grew by 10 per cent. The new target set by leaders of reaching $100 billion by 2030 seems quite realistic,” he added.

Russia remains India’s fourth largest trading partners and we have very optimistic scenario that we will continue our successful and mutually beneficial association with India, he said.

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